Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vigilantes In Mexico Force Government To Take Action Against Cartels

There comes a time when lawlessness and government indifference to it triggers a populace to take up arms and handle the situation themselves.

That point has been reached in two towns near Acapulco:

Several hundred civilians have taken up arms in two towns in a southwestern Mexico state and are arresting people suspected of crimes and imposing a curfew, leading authorities to promise to reinforce security forces in the area.

People wearing ski masks or bandanas and carrying small arms this week began manning checkpoints on roads into the municipalities of Ayutla de los Libres and Teconoapa in Guerrero state's Costa Chica area about 75 miles southeast of the Pacific resort of Acapulco. Leaders said they were acting against crime and insecurity.

Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero responded Friday by announcing that security in the region would be bolstered by sending in Mexican soldiers and marines and federal and state police officers.

People in the area said about 800 residents were participating in the armed groups acting as unofficial police. The vigilantes ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for the two towns and are looking for suspected criminals. Schools have suspended classes.

This is what happens when a government fails in its primary duty, which is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. It's not just a phenomenon from history. It happened in UK a few years ago, causing the government to promise reform and hastening Labour's downfall. A government that fails to keep its citizens safe from criminals swiftly loses legitimacy.

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