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INT’L – Self-Protection – Children in Mexico Are Joining a Self-Defense Militia in Response to Cartel Violence

Children in a remote, mountainous region in Mexico’s Guerrero state are training to defend their homes as part of their local volunteer police group. CNN’s Natalie Gallón reports that kids between the ages of 6-12 have begun training about two months ago as part of CRAC-PC (Regional Coordination of Community Authorities – Community Police). The group, which formed in 2014, has about 200 members and began recruiting minors about eight months ago. “I prefer that they had a notebook and pen, but the need forces us,” Elvia told CNN, she has two sons aged 14 and 17 who are part of CRAC-PC. Her husband and CRAC-PC member Jose added,  “If there was an opportunity to for them to study — to become someone — that would be what we want most, but seeing the government do nothing to offer security to our communities, well now we rise up to defend our community.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) took office in 2018 and has maintained a “Hugs, Not Bullets” approach to drug cartel violence which has proven to be ineffective despite his insistence that you can’t end violence with more violence. Crime continues to rise with 2017 initially considered the deadliest year in Mexico with roughly 25, 339 murders however in 2018 that number rose by 33 percent with 33,341 murders. 2019 is the deadliest year yet with 35,588 murders, according to the National Public Safety Secretariat.  [full article]

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