MORELIA, Michoacán – An apparent dispute between government officials and tribal leaders over the disbursement of funds in the state’s Purepecha region appears to be the motive behind the kidnapping and murder of a local mayor. The murder follows a long history of ties between cartels and tribal leaders in the region.
This week, a group of gunmen stormed the home of David Eduardo Otlica Aviles, the mayor of Nahuatzen, and took him at gunpoint in front of his family. Hours later, authorities discovered the politician’s body in the nearby town of Coeneo. Preliminary information provided to Breitbart News by the Attorney General’s Office in Michoacán revealed that Otlica’s body was bound with rope, showed signs of torture, and suffered numerous gunshots.
In recent weeks, Otlica was at odds with regional tribal leaders over the handling of state funds, since the indigenous communities refused to recognize his election.
Soon after taking office in 2018, Otlica called out some of the regional tribal leaders from the Indigenous Citizen Council. Leaders from 11 communities, including Nahuatzen, established their own form of government in Michoacan. According to Otlica’s statements published in La Voz de Michoacán, the regional indigenous councils morphed into criminal organizations and illegally purchased weapons. The official called for help from the state and federal government, claiming he was threatened and harassed by those groups.
The citizen councils have been praised by AJ+ and Al-Jazeera in Cheran (10 Miles from Nahuatzen and one of the 11 communities) where they ran out city officials, established communal control, and reduced crime. What has not been reported by AJ+ and other outlets is that the indigenous groups were linked by law enforcement to Los Viagras Cartel, the leading criminal organization in Michoacán.
Editor’s Note: Breitbart News traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and other areas to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Jose Luis Lara, a former leading member who helped start the Self-Defense Movement in Michoacán.