The indigenous people of Chiapas in Mexico had formed a heavily armed militia group in an effort to protect their communities from organized crime groups.

They called their group "El Machete" and marched in the streets of Pantelho in the mountains of Chiapas over the weekend, marking their first public act, according to The Mercury News.

El Machete defines itself as a "David" seeking to defeat the "Goliath" represented by drug traffickers and hitmen, according to its manifesto circulating online that the armed militia group has reportedly written.

The manifesto noted that the armed militia group wants peace, democracy, and justice. El Machete resembles the appearance of the hooded Zapatistas, who made the news headlines when they emerged from the jungle in 1994.

The Zapatistas seized towns and clashed with security forces to demand indigenous rights.

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Militia Groups in Mexico

The Zapatista National Liberation Army had been reportedly founded as early as 1983. However, it did not gain followers until the early 1990s.

It formed its base in the Lancadon rainforest of eastern Chiapas state. The group called for Mexico's Indians to rise up against the party rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party or the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, according to Britannica.

The primary goal of the said militia group was land reform and redistribution while also demanding greater political and cultural autonomy for the indigenous people of Chiapas and the rest of Mexico.

The Zapatistas had seized four Chiapas towns in January 1994 as they urged Indians across Mexico to join the rebellion. The rebels held the towns for several days while fighting with Mexican troops before pulling back into the nearby jungle.

More than 100 people were killed in the initial fights. The insurrections had spread in the nearby states of Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz, and Oaxaca.

Former Mexico's president Carlos Salinas de Gortari had started peace talks in early 1994. However, the conflict with the militia group remained unresolved.

Organized Crime Groups in Mexico

Mexico is home to some of the largest and most violent organized crime groups. They had a long history of drug trafficking and smuggling with its proximity close to the United States.

Several organized crime groups in Mexico traffic illegal drugs, contraband, humans, and arms through their networks stretching from Argentina to Canada. According to an Insight Crime report, they launder proceeds through regional moneychangers, banks, and local economic projects.

Some of the infamous organized criminal groups in the country are the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas, and the Jalisco Cartel New Generation that started working with the Sinaloa and Milenio cartels in the early 2010s.

Mexico has about 37,000 police designated into the federal, border, traffic, state, and municipal police. The Jalisco cartel has been killing police officers at their homes during their days off. It was the group's response to the government's action against their organization.

The Jalisco cartel has declared war on the government, targeting the elite state force known as the Tactical Group. The members of the cartel accused the elite force of targeting its members unfairly, Associated News reported.

The cartel earlier wrote in a banner that they would kill two Tactical members at their homes for each member of the Jalisco cartel they arrest.

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Mary Webber

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