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One Town in Michoacan Revolts Against Corruption. Six Years in, Its Experiment Is Working

Patrick J. McDonnell - The Los Angeles Times
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July 13, 2017
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The town of Cheran in Mexico's Michoacan state has thrown out politicians, cops and the mayor to relieve itself from violence and illegal logging. (LATimes)

Checkpoints staffed by men with assault rifles, camouflage and body armor greet visitors at the three major entrances to this town.

The guards are not soldiers, police officers, drug enforcers or vigilantes. They are members of homegrown patrols that have helped keep Cheran a bastion of tranquillity within one of Mexico’s most violent regions.

The town of 20,000 sits in the northwest corner of Michoacan, a state where authorities say at least 599 people were killed between January and May, an increase of almost 40% compared with the same period last year. Cheran hasn’t had a slaying or other serious crime since early 2011.

That was the year that residents, most of them indigenous and poor, waged an insurrection and declared self-rule in hopes of ridding themselves of the ills that plague so much of Mexico: raging violence, corrupt politicians, a toothless justice system and gangs that have expanded from drug smuggling to extortion, kidnapping and illegal logging.

Six years in, against all odds, Cheran’s experiment appears to be working.

Read the rest at The Los Angeles Times


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