To Fight the Cartel, Mexican Emigrants Return to Their Hometowns
Kudos to the LA Times for the coverage.
By Hector Becerra
January 25, 2014, 7:41 p.m.
Martin Cruz was chopping onions in the cramped kitchen of the Birrieria Apatzingan restaurant in Pacoima and talking with his co-worker Bertha Infante about the violence that has gripped their hometown — the namesake of the eatery where they work.
Cruz, 47, and Infante, 36, are from Apatzingan in the Mexican state of Michoacan, where armed vigilante militias have recently made headlines around the world for their efforts to drive out the dominant Knights Templar drug cartel.
The Mexican government sent thousands of troops and federal police into the state last week hoping to avert a showdown as the vigilantes seized control of communities around Apatzingan and threatened to attack cartel members there. The vigilantes said they will not disarm until the government arrests the cartel’s top leaders.
Cruz said he has not been back home in 11 years but has heard the stories about how the cartel had made Apatzingan its stronghold, burning down businesses, kidnapping residents and leaving decapitated bodies in town plazas.
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