Vigilantes Fantasmas On-line
In the period of 2009-2014, organized crime subjected all kinds of politicalauthorities and benefited from impunity throughout Mexico, especially inMichoacán and Guerrero. This circumstance provoked a grave constitutional crisissince these authorities were meaningfully overridden and were not able toproperly enforce the rule of law in these regions. These phenomena brought aboutthe rise of self-defense groups from local civil societies, as a desperatemeasure to protect their most fundamental rights from ruthless crime. However,this uprising deepened the constitutional crisis, already experienced in theseregions due to the calamitous activities of criminal organisations, because itimplied the complete absence of the Mexican state to restore legal order. Thepresent article argues that a formal declaration of emergency by the MexicanPresident, with the official approval of the Mexican Congress, would have solvedefficiently the constitutional crisis that Michoacán, Guerrero and other regionswere going through in this period, and would have competently discouraged theexpectations of the local people to relay on vigilantes as their last resort toguarantee their fundamental rights in the face of organized crime. This argumentis based on archive research, testimonies of people uploaded in videodocumentaries, the Mexican Constitution, the International Human Rights Law, thedoctrine of constitutional dictatorship of Clinton Rossiter, and the legaldoctrine on balance and deliberation of Robert Alexy.
Vigilantes Fantasmas on-line
On the other hand, through values coding it was possible to interpret the valuesystem that vigilantes possessed when they rose against organized crime.Finally, versus coding permitted us to elucidate if people approached their ownfight against organized crime as a ruthless war.
Thus, clashes between vigilantes and political authorities unavoidably got under way,and they were exacerbated by the deep lack of trust local people had in theconstitutional judicial system. Due to these unfortunate dynamics, people inMichoacán gradually took distance from the government, especially because they didnot perceive that the Mexican state was doing enough to protect them againstorganized crime.43
On the contrary, federal and state authorities were more concerned on the rise ofself-defense groups than on the causes of their emergence, so some news mediafocused on the official discourse that condemned their appearance more than on thecivic discourse of these groups that had accused political authorities of beingco-opted by and colluded with organized crime.44 Despite of claiming that their movement had beencreated against organized crime and not against the Mexican state, some print andbroadcast news media started to approach vigilantes in Michoacán as dangerous out-laws, rather than a manifestation of the failure of the rule of law in Mexico.45 Nonetheless, some analystsapproached the formation of these groups as a good opportunity to establish formalcollaboration between civil society and state authorities with the aim to conquerorganized crime, although the voices against the operation of these vigilantesincreasingly opposed any form of collaboration with them.46
In addition, Tecoanapa and Ayutla de los Libres were probably thefirst municipalities where the formation of self-defense groups started in thisperiod. These first vigilantes experienced a paradoxical contextthough, because while they enjoyed wide popular support, public authorities and somehuman rights activists condemned their actions from the start.67
Finally, respecting a dangerous conflict, we can claim that thecalamitous activity of organized crime and the absence of the Mexican statetriggered a bitter violent conflict between criminals and thevigilantes, to the point of overriding the constitutionaljudicial system to settle their differences.
Nonetheless, after the analysis of primary data, it is possible to argue thatvigilantes in Guerrero put into effect more like a rebellious movement againstorganized crime, whereas vigilantes in Michoacán implemented more a kind of ruthlesswar, because their enemy was more difficult to defeat.
48SeeAlberto Morales & JuanArvizu, Autodefensas no deben sustituir al Estado:Hurtado, El Universal, April 29, 2014. In thisnote, there is not an acknowledgement of the profound motive of the rise ofvigilantes and of the replacement of the constitutionaljudicial system: The protection of the most basic human rights from organizedcrime.
80The main criminal organisation operating in this state was LosZetas, perhaps the bloodiest and most ruthless that has everexisted in Mexico. There were other two which intended to defeat LosZetas in this state, the Sinaloa Carteland the Gulf Cartel. See Said Rahal, Narcos dejan pueblosfantasmas en Tamaulipas, Youtube, March 2, 2010, =gkXOu4KvXp4. 041b061a72