Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals (Sep 2015)

Michoacanas self-defence, a regional variation of the “war on drugs trafficking” in Mexico

  • Jesús Pérez Caballero

Journal volume & issue
no. 110
pp. 165 – 188


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The following study analyses the nature of the self-defence forces that arose in February 2013 in Michoacán, a Mexican state located on the Pacific coast. The novelty of this movement is underlined: its ambiguity with respect to the law, its use of modern tactics and its continuity with the ideological assumptions of the “war on drugs”. Furthermore, questions are posed about the similarities and differences from forms of violence such as paramilitarism and insurgency, and from other groups such as the community police operating in Guerrero state, which orders the Michoacán. Finally, the paper concludes with the issues that the rise, tolerance and legalisation of this type of movement raise for the country.