In February 2013, in the villages of Cheran and Tierra Caliente in Michoacan, two separate self-defense militias began pushing back against the Knights Templar Cartel. All signs point to the two autodefensas, or communitarios, arising entirely separately from each other, and in fact, they have followed two very different models.
Cheran is a majority-indigenous town, and is still largely governed by their old traditions and customs. The community policing fit well into their traditions, as City Hall was replaced by a council of 12 elected members in 2011, and so the communitarios became an outgrowth of self-government that was already there. The Cheran communitarios didn’t just push back against the cartels, having also expelled illegal loggers who were moving into the area.
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