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Crossing Borders in Templar Territory
El Enemigo Común
By Simón Sedillo Photos: Juan José Estrada Serafín We left a municipality in Michoacan, which is often confused in the mainstream media as part of the Tierra Caliente region, but is actually Sierra. We hear that there is going to be a negotiation with the state and federal government and autonomous self-defense groups in order to accord the legalization of the self-defense groups. We head to Tepacaltepec where the meeting is to be held. The scene is surreal to say the least, but so is everything else in Michoacan these days, so it is no surprise to us any longer. In what looks like an old farmhouse, seats and tables with white tablecloths are arranged in a large rectangle. The mainstream media begin to trickle in. Outside the tin roofed, open-air farmhouse you can see unarmed self-defense group members or comunitarios from throughout the state gathered under a mesquite tree. Despite the mainstream media and the official line claiming the self-defense patrols are composed of marauding militias, comunitarios is what the people in this part of the state call the self-defense groups in order to clarify their relationship to the community. They are from the community and are therefore comunitarios (communitarians).

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