Mexico’s ‘Anti-Corruption’ Guerrillas Highlight Michoacan Unrest

An armed group declaring war on Mexico‘s corruption has sprung up in a regional hotbed of organized crime and insurgency, where public distrust in state institutions continues to stir conflict.

The group, which calls itself the Insurgency for Institutional and Social Rescue (Insurgencia por el Rescate Institucional y Social – IRIS), has declared a “war” against politicians with alleged ties to organized crime in the southern state of Michoacán, Proceso reported.

IRIS, which has released at least three short videos on social media, recently granted Proceso an interview with its representative and spokesperson, who calls himself José María.

“Our objectives are corrupt politicians,” María stated. “We will not kill them, we are not terrorists, we are not assassins. We will expose them.” Although armed, María told Proceso that the insurgents will only use their weapons for self-defense.

The group has accused Michoacán governor Silvano Aureoles and former Michoacán security commissioner Alfredo Castillo of links with drug-trafficking organizations.

IRIS first announced its existence via banners and social media postings in February 2016. This was around the same time other banners appeared, announcing the creation of the “Nueva Familia” organization, a group that some government officials said had criminal ties.

Following the publication of Proceso’s report, Michoacán Attorney General José Martín Godoy Castro stated that there was no evidence of a guerrilla insurgency in Michoacan, and that this was a case of false video recordings. State governor Silviano Aureoles Conejo also dismissed the group as a “joke.”

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