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Saturday’s New York Times reported on community policing efforts in Guerrero, a response to the failure of authorities to protect villages from a wave of violent crime. Nothing too surprising there. Not the first time something similar has happened, as the article pointed out.

But then there was this:

“Federal officials sent in the military to take control of checkpoints in Ayutla de los Libres and several other towns on Wednesday, according to the Guerrero State government. ‘We understand you, and that’s why we have to exercise all the force of the state to protect you,’ Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the interior secretary, said Thursday at a news conference in Nayarit State.”

To anyone who knows Mexican history, that is a rather ominous proclamation. Guerrero, of course, was ground zero in the 1970s dirty war, when military units trampled roughshod over local communities, leaving a legacy of violence, torture, and intimidation, creating as many guerrillas as they ultimately captured. Under the guise, of course, of ‘using the force of the state to protect’.

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