PURÉPECHA MUNICIPALITY NAMES THIRD COUNCIL OF ELDERS TO THEIR COMMUNAL GOVERNMENT
On Sunday May 27, 2018, the indigenous Purépecha municipality of Cherán, Michoacán, named its Third Council of Elders (Consejo Mayor, Consejo de Keris) to their communal government.
Cherán has been practicing a traditional form of self-government for seven years. Earlier this year, on April 15, 2018, the community celebrated the seven-year anniversary of its uprising against what they all call today “the narco government.”
The narco government included a wide variety of characters, including cartel thugs or “sicarios” working alongside illegal loggers who conspired to ravish Cherán’s forests and anyone who got in their way. Cherán lost over 50 community members between 2007 and 2011. Many of those simply disappeared, never to be seen again.
When Cherán rose up, the local mayor, his cabinet, and all the local police fled the community and left community members to fend for themselves. This and many other details that would come to light during first months of the uprising exposed the collusion of local politicians and the police with organized crime and the very violent and illicit logging activity.
When Cherán rose up, over 300 campfire barricades were erected at intersections throughout the community. An additional five checkpoints were established at entry roadways to the community. As the police fled Cherán, they also left their weapons, uniforms, and vehicles at the police barracks. The community recovered all of these elements to establish their “ronda comunitaria” or community guard.