Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles in Caleta: In His Own Words

Danny Benavides
May 31, 2014


Below is an embedded video from YouTube of the legitimate spokesperson of Michoacan’s Autodefensas, Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde speaking earlier this week before a crowd gathered in Caleta de Campos — ground-zero for the Mexican government’s latest attempt to disrupt, co-opt, and disparage the self-defense movement along Mexico’s coastal communities of Tierra Caliente.

For more elaboration on what has taken place there, and a brief history of the vigilante movement in Michoacan state, please have a listen to the recent conversation that Pearse Redmond and I had on his podcast, Porkins Policy Radio. It runs about an hour and twenty minutes, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I urge you to listen to our discussion to get up to speed on the most important aspects of the rise of Michoacan’s criminal organizations, and the subsequent rise of its grassroots self-defense movement, intent on eliminating from its communities all cartel thugs and corrupted authorities that aid and abet them.

Since the beginning of the year, the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto has trotted out false accusations and the usual FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) that is usually leveled against those perceived as threatening the hegemony of the upper echelons of government power. Dr. Mireles is a sharp, unbreakable thorn in the side of President Peña Nieto and a jagged stone in the shoe of his big-shot lawyer confidant, Commissioner for Security and Development in Michoacan Alfredo Castillo.

But this is just me typing here. Better yet, I spent some time translating the entirety of the address delivered by Dr. Mireles in this video. I felt compelled to share his message — a particularly fiery one here, especially from a man already known for his honesty and sincerity — so that more people can hear the battle-cry from Michoacan. Don’t bother trying to comprehend the dire situation that the state of Michoacan has been thrust into from the official narrative packaged and presented by the Mexican government (or for that matter, the conventional press and English-language media which parrots its statements).

Hear it from the man himself.

After a brief introduction and greetings to the audience, Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde addresses the people of Caleta, of Michoacan, and all of Mexico:

The fight has not ended. According to the media, a part of the federal government has finished with this war, they’ve taken their photo with some leaders — I don’t call them “autodefensas” because the only things they were defending were their money and I’m sure they’ll emerge just fine — because some of them, when this fight started were harvesting limes, and now they own 10 lime orchards. When this struggle began, others barely had a bicycle, and now they have a dozen miner’s carts — now they’re miners, these guys. Others partitioned out the middle of Tepalcatepec, and now they’re owners of some 15 avocado orchards. I think these people have mistaken the course of this social struggle. The social struggle, for most of us, is [fought] because they killed our family, kidnapped our relatives, or have stolen our property. From this platform, I want to send a message once again to Enrique Peña Nieto. It’s not with speeches, or applause, or with your messages in the media that you’ll relieve us of the pain that we have in our hearts — we, the true Autodefensas.

It’s not with speeches or applause that you’ll resolve the situation for the more than 2,500 widows that the Caballeros Templarios [Knights Templar] have left in Michoacan. It’s not with speeches or applause that you’ll feed the 4,800 children orphaned in Michoacan because of this organized crime. And the principal criminals that caused all of this disgrace in Michoacan, a few are now prisoners, like [Jesus] “Chucho” Reyna, the mayor of Lazaro Cardenas, the mayor of Apatzingan, and other mayors in prison. But, unfortunately, the only charge that they’re going to see is “criminal association” — and pay no attention to the 4,500 plus orphans that we have.

What’s more, in Michoacan we have some 360 girls raising children — 11 year old girls raising children of 8 or 9 months of age. These are problems that the government doesn’t care about — neither the state [government] or federal [government]. But there are many of us that continue to carry arms to whom these problems are important and its pains us. It hurts so much that I repeat, it’s not with speeches or applause that they’ll take away the pain I have in my heart for the death of my mother, and the abduction of my younger sister. Furthermore, although [Alfredo] Castillo says one thing, remembers another thing, and does it in another way. But that’s not the way it is, analyze it for yourselves: who set the date for resolution in Michoacan as May 10? Was it us, or was it Castillo?

Instead of the noble people of Michoacan, the noble people of Tierra Caliente, the noble people of the coast — as it should be — the plan of the government is that they withdrew roadblocks and placated everyone, but they never fulfilled our demands.

We asked for four important things from them: the first, liberate the people of Michoacan from organized crime. We told them we would do it, but the government insisted ‘no’ and they would handle it; well, go for it! But they haven’t done it. “The Octopus” still lives! It continues with its head and it has many tentacles, and they continue with executions, kidnappings, and dismemberings of people. Yesterday, they left a person in pieces in Jiquilpan; parts in every direction. While this is happening, they keep saying everything in Michoacan is at peace. That’s false! They have not cleaned up the state of Michoacan.

Number two: They had to re-establish rule of law in Michoacan. What is the “rule of law”? It means to have efficient public safety, and fairness as part of justice, and we don’t have that. Still imprisoned are fellow Autodefensas, whose only crime was possessing or carrying arms to defend the lives of their own family. Still imprisoned! They are deceiving the public. They imposed the May 10 deadline, not me. I only turned it around and gave them until May 10 to comply with the compromises that they made with us, not me with them. The compromise we made with them was to lower our weapons, not surrender them — we would just drop them. We complied, but the government has complied with absolutely nothing. Yet, they deign to threaten us, they deign to continue taking people, they deign to send us lots of funds. But this second issue they have not satisfied. We don’t have justice and we don’t have public safety.

The third point: The liberation of all of our fellow Autodefensas. Our friend Hipolito [Mora Chavez], at 10 last night he was still telling us that he would be here with us. But what was the result they were left with concerning the roadblock [of relatives and protestors] from the day before yesterday [May 23, 2014]… They were supposed to release 46 of our men from La Ruana who had been detained, but they didn’t send them. So the roadblock remains!

Father [Gregorio Lopez Geronimo] Goyo said earlier he wanted to come, but it seems his mother’s brother died, and he said he was going to perform the last rites. I told him he’d be better off taking a bottle of tequila, they’ll be much more satisfied than with your damn prayers. No, you see, the reason is there’s a heavy blockade on the highway and they don’t allow anyone out of Apatzingan. One reason for this — that made me glad, and hopefully they’re certain — they’re waiting in Apatzingan for “Pitufo” and “Cinco” to hang them. I repeat — hopefully they’re sure.

And we’re not the Autodefensas that we’re waiting to hang. No, it’s the people who betrayed us in La Mira, because with these people, with the Templarios, with the ones who were associated, well those are the same ones taking our people to the federal police to get put in jail cells. And those things, they can’t be forgiven. In my case, they wanted to say I was involved in the assassinations of five people during a battle in which I did not participate. But the ones who did kill a lot of people were with the government, they were in uniform, and they feel like commanders now. “What’s more,” said ‘The Beard’, “now we’re the government.” Well, that’s good… But us, we’re still Autodefensas, and we’re going to stay Autodefensas.

The fourth point — focus well! The first point, clean out Michoacan; second point, re-establish the rule of law; third point, release all of the Autodefensas currently imprisoned for having a gun to defend the lives of their families — the fourth point: integration of all the Autodefensas who want to join the Rural Defense or the Rural State Police. But what has our ruling government done? They started with the fucking fourth point!

And there are people who can perform their duties, and here you are. They took away the [Jeep] Cherokee, the [Chevy] Suburban, pickups of this year, most of them armored, and they gave them [Rural Forces] little Nissan trucks to pursue criminals. What a huge advantage gifted from this fucking government! They’re mocking us Autodefensas. Further, they’re insulting the people. And these other men, they signed up for it. They put on uniforms, they were given a pistol with one clip, they were given an AR-15 with one magazine, when everyone else [cartel members] has 15 magazines, with 30 or 40 cartridges, and AK-47s! All dirty, yes, but how nice they sound when they boom — when the occasion necessitates. And now what have they turned into? Little figures in uniforms, oh!, but they have Nissans of this year. Hopefully they’re useful, but to escape they might barely work once in an emergency.

This is what the government is doing to the people. They do the tiniest things to placate the public. In Tepalcatepec, the newspapers said — ‘don’t tell Manuel Mireles’ — Peña Nieto is going to Tepalcatepec to answer Manuel Mireles’s claims that he is the spokesperson of the people. I thought: Perfect! Peña Nieto arrives and has all of the damn people from the gathering thrown out, and installs a bunch of military troops dressed as civilians. These are the people that came out on the television yesterday and today, but no one is from Tepalcatepec!

Because these poor guys — I say poor, because I told them it was all threater and they didn’t want to listen — the coordinators of this event who made the guestlist, this machine, they didn’t want to let us in. I was called at 6 in the morning to show up, just so they could tell me I wasn’t permitted to enter. When they filled the guestlist with all the best and most noble people of Tepalcatepec, and it turns out that they didn’t want to allow us inside. Oh, but yes, they took a photo and they said they wanted Mireles out. But they called me from Mexico, my staff, and they said to me, don’t go because Peña Nieto just wants to a photo taken and to tell the whole world that he’s straightened me out. Ah, how good! I’m not waiting for those photos.

I represent people that have many needs, but unfortunately without any ambition. If they had ambition, we’d already have our avocado orchards, our limes orchards, our mine carts, able to play out on the sidewalk… But we don’t have that. We want just two things — and we’re going to keep demanding them, just as we’re demanding them now in Caleta, where you were the only ones that raised your voices to defend Dr. Mireles. You were the only ones, all of the friends of the coast — Aquila, Coahuayana, Chinicuila, the community of Caleta — you were the only ones to speak up and say, hey, I wasn’t there and I didn’t sign anything.

I got tired of telling the mouthpieces of the government — one of the press houses named Excelsior, another press agency is called El Universal — many of these are nothing more than mouthpieces for the government. One journalist from El Universal spoke to me and said, “Dr. Mireles, [Alfredo] Castillo is saying officially that you’re expelled from the Autodefensas.” I replied: “That’s not the whole story! From which Autodefensas? Because we’re 36 members of the General Council of Autodefensas and Community Guards of Michoacan.”

“No, but ‘Pitufo’, and ‘Los Viagras’, and ‘El Burro’!…” Wait, wait, wait, all those assholes are from the same village, and not all people from that village are Autodefensas! And that’s what they whipped up over and over. They brought that out when they couldn’t convince all of you that Manuel Mireles fired shots here in Chuquiapan. Thanks to you all for that support. If you all didn’t defend me, I’d be locked up. Like when they took my friend, “El Platano”, from the other side.

We have to continue with caution, we have to continue united, the fight is not over.

From this coming Wednesday, within the next four days, our movement, the most trusted in Michoacan, will remain on the coast. Also starting this Wednesday, it spreads out to the rest of the Republic of Mexico. This coming Wednesday [May 28] is the National Convention of Autodefensas, which will represent the most courageous in Michoacan. I’m not one of those because I had to hide for the past three days so they wouldn’t throw me in jail! But present at this event will be Javier Sicilia from the “Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad” [Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity], Father [Alejandro] Solalinde from the “Movimiento Prosolidaridad por los Migrantes Centroamericanos”, Bishop [Jose Raul] Vera from Monterrey. Also included are General [Jose Francisco] Gallardo, and another general from the state of Jalisco, and I think four generals total. I think with seven generals, we’re ready for a revolution. But we’re not arming ourselves to have revolutions against the government. But they [the government] don’t understand! It gives them so much anguish every time Mireles speaks. Each time Mireles speaks, they act as if it’s equivalent to the spraying of an AK-47. They hide, they get frightened, they scream and cry.

That’s why I told my daughter they want to disarm me. But, never in your lifetime will they be able to disarm me. I don’t have pistols [lifts up his shirt to show nothing tucked along his waist], and “la guera” [the blonde] says my other one doesn’t work anymore! Anyway, I stay in the fight. [Mireles laughs with the crowd.]

It’s true, the only weapons that I’ve always used since the movement began are: reason, truth, and justice. They’re the only arms that you don’t buy with money, and they’re the ones that we’re using. And everyone that believes in freedom for this clean and pure movement… we’re going to win! Because they can’t, not one government in the world could win against those three weapons. With those three weapons fell the empire of France, with those three weapons fell the dictators in Mexico and in America. With those three weapons, Nelson Mandela stepped out prison to become president of his nation. Who is the smartest? Because I still advise you all of the doctrine of Benito Juarez, about the freedom and self-determination of the people, that he left to us when he was president of the Mexican republic. He said, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

And we here are armed to give hell to all of those bastards that shatter the peace among our families, in order to kidnap our women, to assassinate our brothers, and to rob us of the productivity of our labor. That’s why we arm ourselves. And also we’re abiding by our Constitution. Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution states very clearly: all Mexicans have the right to possess a firearm for legitimate defense, and not one article of the Constitution says what caliber that should be. Not one! The Mexican government also forgets that Article 39 exists, which states: the only sovereign are the people, and that power emanates from the people, and that the people have all the authority to remove or replace the government officials that they want. The heads of state of the republic are not the owners of Mexico! We are Mexicanos! The governance of Michoacan are not the owners of Michoacan! We are Michoacanos!

Just like this little president Lazaro [Cardenas], who thought of himself as the owner of all of Lazaro. What’s more he decided to steal the beaches here because the bastard fancied them so much, it was thrown into the pot, so they decided to take them. That is the saving of Article 39 of the Constitution.

We’re leaving out one more Article that’s especially good. Article 35, in its fourth subsection, reads: All citizens have the right to be soldiers. Those who want, will be soldiers of the Mexican Army. Others will be soldiers of the National Guard. If they carry forward with this stupid crap about taking our arms, they’re going to hand out a lame badge that says “Rural Police of Caleta”. But if I can’t pass ahead through the barricade, then what the fuck is it for?

In my home, there’s no room for bodyguards with guns; it’s my home! And Article 10 of the Constitution permits me to bear the arms that I’ve already registered to defend myself in my home. That’s what they’re for. But if the same Defense Secretary says that you can have your uniform because you’re a rancher, you have cattle, you own a plot of land, so you can participate in the ‘Rural Defense’… But all these people say, no, you can’t ever leave from your village — armed — well, then what’s the purpose of the stupid badge? Why ask for uniforms? Why would we want all that? That’s why there exists the other position of the National Guard. If the time comes, when the time comes, they don’t want to permit us to participare in either of those situations, we cannot convert our group into National Guard [interruption from the crowd]… Let them record it all, please, I’m not hiding now and I’m not saying anything new or different! You already know, you already know…

And we’re going to go after all the criminals, it doesn’t matter if they have have uniforms like federal police, or if they have military uniforms, it doesn’t matter if they’re part of the state government! We already have [Jesus] “Chucho” Reyna behind bars. It’s been 15 months I was saying so, but nobody believed what Mireles said. But now, Quadratin came out last month saying that “Mireles indeed was right”. Now it comes out on Facebook — I saw it yesterday and today — that “Mireles was not allowed to register with the Rural Police Forces”! Well when in the hell did I ever ask for permission to join? I’d like to know! I’d like to know who said, “oh, he came with me to register and they didn’t let him”! I’d like to know.

Many things are happening, but it all gets spun by the government. They want to expose Mireles! They can’t be direct or straight with Mireles. I heard that they’re waiting to kill me, but that’s why I’m more careful today than yesterday. I don’t want to die, at this point I’m not down for that. It’s true! I started using bad ‘tortillas’, worse than last year… They tell me to call them ladies, but I call them ‘tortillas’ because just like that I can eat up tortillas when I’m hungry, but with these girls I can’t do anything else.

Now, it’s very important that all of you people here maintain unity. Unity with your leaders, you have them here. Noble people that weren’t assassins before becoming your leaders, that had to get involved because someone they knew was killed.

I remember when I went to my office, and they took the brother of “Teto” and said this man wants to raise up Coahuayana. I thought, yes, perfect! I went very dignified up to the secretary of the federal government, because we were friends. We were always friends, until they betrayed me not the other way around. And I told them the best plan is as follows: Number one, we’re going to attack Los Reyes; Number two, we’re going to attack Uruapan; Number three, we’re going to attack Aquila and Coahuayana; Number four, we’re going to enter Apatzingan.

The federal government said, “get out of here, give us 15 days to organize it!” I said, “come on, don’t fuck around! In 15 minutes, I could have armed all the people and started heading to the first village.” How is it that the government, with all of its helicopters and vehicles, 400,000 soldiers and such takes 15 days to organize the operation? They said, no, you don’t understand the logistical support… I said, no buddy, I’ll bet you I can get all the cattle ranchers in Tepalcatepec together with radios and in five minutes I’ll have them assembled. At least 5,000 people, well-armed! And here’s this sucker lying to me. They left us to go fuck ourselves in the first few fights.

You know what the federal government did about 15-20 days ago? They sent an armored entourage with [Alfredo Castillo's associate, Juana "Michoacan is at peace"] Reyes, what idiots! They thought that we wouldn’t notice! Here’s [Juana] Reyes coming through at 7 in the morning, and at 7:15 we saw them arriving in Tancitaro. They were welcomed with applause… And like four grenades and 5,000 shots fired, but they were able to seize Tancitaro. This is the way things are.

Many times we personally told volunteer forces that there’s a band of criminals over this hill in Coalcoman — they said okay, and took off without any guides. There go the volunteers, some of them acting as guides. They didn’t linger for seven days to outline a plan. But when they got to the damn ranches, there were already military scanning and seizing the area. Why? Because the army would never notify us about their movements. It’s that simple. And it’s going to keep happening.

And now they’ve sent this envoy [Alfredo Castillo] to clean up Michoacan, but they sent him to clean out all the community guards and Autodefensas, not of the criminals. This dumbass is already associating with those criminals! He’s put them in uniform! Oh, but he’s already handed out the 2014 Nissans, so they can be on the move.

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you all to continue on — united. The National Movement begins on May 28. Please continue to support us. Those who can provide moral support, remember that the same fighter with a rifle in his arms is as important as the one who brings a glass of water or a taco with tortillas to a trench. Thank you very much!

 Screenshot of Dr. Mireles addressing supporters in Caleta de Campos, Michoacan.