Esteban Cruz, leader and radio host of an indigenous community in Michoacán, was reported missing this Friday by local authorities, who pointed to an armed group as the probable culprit.
“Yesterday, April 28, an armed commando disappeared comrade Esteban Cruz, coordinator of the Community Government Council of Ocumicho and announcer of Radio Ocumicho,” said a statement from the local government.
According to regional media, the social leader was in an area known as “death row” due to the presence of criminal gangs vying for control of the drug routes in this part of the Pacific coast.
Ocumicho is in the process of achieving an autonomous form of government -as has already happened with other indigenous communities- in which Cruz has participated.
Local authorities blamed the disappearance on the state and federal governments for leaving the community “in a state of defenselessness” and for “not supporting their search.”
After arriving at the community council, Cruz began to participate as an announcer on the local radio station, which has some 3,800 inhabitants.
Michoacán is hit by a wave of violence that includes clashes between rival gangs involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
At the end of March, a massacre in a cockfighting ring left 20 dead in the town of Zinapécuaro.
In February, an armed group attacked attendees at a wake, killing the alleged head of a criminal group, according to the government. Local media indicated that this incursion would have left between 10 and 17 dead.
According to official figures, since 2006, when the government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation, Mexico has recorded some 340,000 violent deaths, most of them attributed to organized crime.