<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #67

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Mobilization in Tepoztlán Expels Local Police Chief

The Case is Part of a Recent Wave of Mobilizations Against Police in Mexico

By Fernando León
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

November 11, 2010

On the last week of October the Mexican people of Tepoztlán, Morelos expelled the local police chief from the area after an increase of violence in the city. The local mayor of the town, which is located 80 kilometers south of Mexico City, removed the police commander and seven of his subordinates after a mobilization from residents. Now the security of Tepoztlán is in the hands of citizen brigades, bringing back a period from the 1990s when the crime rate was lowered dramatically due to the departure of the police.

Throughout the last year insecurity has increased in many parts of the town, according to the people of Tepoztlán. The rise in crime occurred during the administration of Lucino Fuentes Bahena as head of the Tepoztlán police. There was the robbery of a residence, and then there were assaults against taxi drivers—even the murder of two of them—which have been constant over the last few months. To the residents of Tepoztlán this was a product of a safety net the police chief had given the assailants.

Lucino Fuentes Bahena, ex-Tepoztlán police chief.
Foto DR 2010 La Unión de Morelos.
Fuentes Bahena is no stranger to controversy. At the end of 2008 he was dismissed from his position as police chief of Jiutepec, Morelos. During his administration there he commanded at least five police officers who were accused of auto theft, while other officers had criminal records. Despite efforts from citizens to remove the traffic police and the accused officers, Fuentes Bahena and Rabindranath Salazar, the mayor of Jiutepec, did nothing. The officers kept their positions.

Later, Fuentes Bahena was removed from his position in Jiutepec after a protest from subordinate police officers. The police protest was held over their chief’s alleged link to drug trafficking groups that he was supposedly protecting. His dismissal as chief of police in Jiutepec occurred in September 2008, and now a little more than a year later he is again being fired from his position, this time in the town of Tepoztlán.

However, the people of Tepoztlán know how to manage their own security. Between 1995 and 1999 the town was governed by the customs of the people. During those four years Tepoztlán declared itself an autonomous municipality and expelled all the authorities—including the police—after they joined forces with real estate companies to try and build a golf course in the town. At that time the security of the town was dependent upon the residents, and according to some of them, there has never been a safer period.

This time, on October 30, the people mobilized to close the highway to Cuernavaca and all of the entrances to the town in response to the police corruption. During the mobilization they forced the Institutional Revolutionary Party mayor, Gabino Ríos Cedillo, to fire Fuentes Bahena and his subordinates, many of whom were ex-police from Jiutepec. Tepoztlán will continue to have some police officers, but they are subject to supervision by the residents themselves.

The mobilization against the Tepoztlán police is happening as other places in the country are organizing for similar reasons. Perhaps now the people will relive Tepoztlán’s golden years when there were no crimes because there were no police to cover up or defend the crimes.

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