Tancitaro, Mexico – Armed vigilantes who have taken control of territory in lawless Michoacan could turn into the very sort of organized crime forces they’re fighting, a Mexican official assigned to clean up the violence-wracked state said Thursday.
Alfredo Castillo, the federal government’s new envoy to coordinate security and development in the state, said the Knights Templar cartel that the vigilantes are battling formed under a different name about 10 years ago with the same mission: to fight an incursion by the Zetas cartel.
“You can start with a genuine cause, but when you start taking control, making decisions and feeling authority … you run the risk of getting to that point,” Castillo told MVS radio.
Estanislao Beltran, spokesman for the self-defense groups, said the mission is to kick out the cartel, not become one.
To make the point, about 200 vigilante supporters gathered in Tancitaro’s town square Thursday for a symbolic return of 25 avocado orchards that had been seized by the cartel.
Israeli, Jordanian leaders discuss peace
Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday with Jordanian King Abdullah II to discuss developments related to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, according to Petra, Jordan’s news agency.
Netanyahu’s visit to Amman was not announced ahead of time, and was publicly reported from Jordan only after it ended.
King Abdullah’s talks with Netanyahu follow separate meetings held recently with Secretary of State John Kerry and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Thursday’s meeting addressed Jordan’s wish to see the peace talks make tangible progress that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people while protecting Jordan’s interests, according to Petra.