Things That Matter

Julio Cesar Chavez Lashes Out At Mexican Police, Distraught Over His Brother’s Murder

On Sunday, the older brother of legendary Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez was shot and killed at his home in Culiacán, Mexico. According to the Associated Press, Rafael Chávez González was at his home when two men entered through the back door and demanded money from him. Rafael was fatally shot after he resisted the intruders, according to Sinaloa state prosecutor Juan José Ríos.

Credit: NoroesteTV / YouTube

Ríos said that the culprits were given some money but wanted more. Rafael didn’t give in as easily, and that’s when he was shot. Rafael was killed in front of his family. Roberto Chávez González, Julio César’s brother, confirmed the story to authorities on Monday.

While no suspects have been arrested, Ríos said that on the same night of the fatal robbery, 10 armed men had kidnapped an “undetermined number of people” at a restaurant in Culiacán. It’s not clear if these two incidents are related.

Julio César Chávez was extremely emotional while speaking to reporters about his brother’s murder.

Credit: El MEXICANO / YouTube

The 54-year-old said he couldn’t believe his brother was gone. In the video above, Julio César says it’s been incredibly difficult, especially for his mother, who is in a fragile state. Contrary to the reports from the Associated Press, Julio César says there were three men involved in the robbery, not two.

A reporter asked him if family members who witnessed the shooting could identify the killers. He responded by saying that none of them could ID them.

“[The police] could not identify any of them, but we have clues and I’m not going to let them know [by telling the media], but it’s all very advanced, thank God, and this is not going to go unpunished, I swear — because unfortunately there has been a lack of security in Culiacán and not just in Culiacán… this is happening throughout the Mexican Republic and I think we must unite, all Mexicans, to fight against this, to support each other because it seems that there is no government,” Julio César said. “Today it was my brother, maybe tomorrow it will be me.”

Julio César said the violence in Mexico is only getting worse, adding that he’s very angry because he has also been threatened.

“I asked for help and support from the authorities in Tijuana,” Julio César said. “[Pero] se han hecho pendejos,” he added. Julio César said that the FBI has informed him that people wanted to kidnap him and his daughter. He said he contacted authorities in Baja California, but added that high-ranking officials have not responded to his pleas. He believes police are probably waiting for something to happen to him, but said, “What’s the point then? It’ll be too late.”

Julio César said he never considered leaving Culiacán despite the violence and threats against him and his family because that’s where he has always lived. But now, he may reconsider. He also lamented the fact that his brother had to die so tragically after overcoming drug problems:

“My brother was dedicated to helping people who have problems with alcohol and drugs or any type of addiction. Thanks to my recovery he could also recover, and the saddest thing is that he lost his life for some drug addicts.”

Julio César Chávez Jr. retweeted this message from WBC Boxing President Mauricio Sulaiman:

Omar Chávez, Julio César’s younger son, posted this heartbreaking message.


“It’s unbelievable that my uncle was assaulted because he did not want to give them the money, so they killed him. It’s unbelieveable how people can take the life of someone who has children and a mother. They have no idea the pain and damage they have inflicted so easily. I hope and wait for justice.” He also tagged two government officials, including the governor of Culiacán.

“I will miss you,” added Omar Chávez.

Te voy a extrañar pues si así es aunque no quieras aya nos vemos pronto tío D.E.P tío borrego me mataste en el primero ??

A post shared by Omar Alonso Chavez Carrasco (@omarchavezzbu) on

READ: JC Chávez On Drugs, Narcos And Suicide

Please let us know your thoughts on this story by sharing it and commenting below.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Group Of Female Vigilantes Is Taking The Lead In Protecting Their Communities From Cartel Violence

Things That Matter

This Group Of Female Vigilantes Is Taking The Lead In Protecting Their Communities From Cartel Violence

Omar Torres / AFP / Getty Images

In Mexico’s state of Michoacán, cartel violence has spiraled out of control for decades. But in recent years, the problem has become even more pronounced as towns across the state are basically being ran and operated by the ultra-violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Everyday citizens are now being forced to fend for themselves amid out of control violence thanks to a lack of protection from police and the armed forces. In one town, a group of women have banded together to help defend their community and families from the increasing threat of violence and they’re making headlines for their bravery.

An all female vigilante group is working to protect their small town from cartel violence.

The Michoacan area of Mexico has gotten so lawless, a band of female vigilantes are taking it upon themselves to protect their friends and family.

The state, which is the world’s largest supplier of avocados and limes, has recently been overrun by the violent Jalisco drug cartel that hail from the neighboring state and so the women are fighting back, according to The Associated Press.

The women carry assault rifles and post roadblocks, often while pregnant or carrying small children with them, to combat the growing homicide levels, which have skyrocketed since 2013. The group doesn’t only use assault weapons and roadblocks to defend their town. They also have a homemade tank – a large pickup truck reinforced with steel plate armor.

For many of the women, the mission is personal.

Many of the women vigilantes in the town of El Terrero have lost sons, brothers or fathers in the fighting. Eufresina Blanco Nava told the AP her son Freddy Barrios, a 29-year old lime picker, was kidnapped by presumed Jalisco cartel gunmen in pickup trucks; she has never heard from him since.

Another woman claimed her 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped and hasn’t been seen since, saying “We are going to defend those we have left, the children we have left, with our lives. We women are tired of seeing our children, our families disappear. They take our sons, they take our daughters, our relatives, our husbands.”

And this fight is largely left to the town’s women, as most of its men are being hauled off to work for the cartels (willingly or not).

A battle is raging in Michoacán between rival cartels leading to the surge in violence.

Michoacán has long been dominated by the Nueva Familia Michoacana cartel and the Los Viagras gang, but the CJNG control nearby areas and is determined to increase its area of influence. Naranjo de Chila, a town just across the Grande River from El Terrero, is the birthplace of CJNG leader Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, Mexico’s most wanted drug lord.

The women vigilantes have been accused by some people of being foot soldiers of the Nueva Familia or Los Viagras but they deny the allegations, although the AP said “they clearly see the Jalisco cartel as their foe.”

The vigilantes also made it clear that they would be very happy if the police and army came to El Terrero and took over the job they are currently doing. But few of them see that as a viable option since they’ve been left to fend for themselves for so long.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

Things That Matter

These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite a slight change in strategy in combatting the country’s endemic violence, Mexico continues to see a staggering degree of violence plaguing communities. Although the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, promised sweeping changes that would help pacify the country – violence has continues to spiral out of control, reaching record levels in 2020.

No where is this more evident than in the communities that have lost dozens or even hundreds of loved ones. Many of these communities have formed search brigades to help try and find their loved ones (or their remains) but they’re also getting creative with the ways in which they work to remember those they’ve lost.

A search brigade publishes a recipe book containing their loved ones’ favorite foods.

A group of women who came together to help locate the remains of their loved ones, have worked together on a new project to help remember their loved ones. Together, they have created Recipes to Remember, a book of favourite dishes of some of the missing. Each dish has the name of the person it was made for and the date they disappeared. It was the idea of Zahara Gómez Lucini, a Spanish-Argentine photographer who has documented the group since 2016.

The women are known as the Rasteadoras, and they’ve literally been digging to uncover graves of Mexico’s missing. Now, they’re finding ways to help remember those who have gone missing. The book is a way to strengthen the community and as one of the mothers told The Financial Times, “the book is a tool for building ties.”

“This recipe book is very important because it’s an exercise in collective memory and that’s very necessary,” says Enrique Olvera, the chef and restaurateur behind Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York and a sponsor of the book. “It enables the Rastreadoras to connect with the memory of their loved ones through food and brings us, the readers, closer … It weaves empathy,” he told the Financial Times.

Many of these women came to know each other as they searched for their missing loved ones.

The women – who are mostly housewives in their 40s and 50s – literally scour the nearby grasslands, deserts, and jungles with shovels in hands hoping to make a discovery.

Their “treasures” are among the more than 82,000 people recorded as having disappeared and not been located in Mexico since 2006, when the government declared a war on drug cartels, unleashing terrible, seemingly unstoppable violence. Notwithstanding Covid-19, 2020 may prove to have been the deadliest year on record. As of November there had been 31,871 murders, compared with a record 34,648 in 2019.

Their stories of loss are heartbreaking.

One of the mothers, Jessica Higuera Torres, speaks of her son Jesús Javier López Higuera, who disappeared in 2018, in the present tense. For the book, she prepared a soup with pork rind because “he loves it — when I was cooking, I felt as though he was by my side.”

On the other hand, Esther Preciado no longer cooks chile ribs, her recipe for her daughter’s father, Vladimir Castro Flores, who has been missing since 2013. “That one’s just for the memories now,” she says.

“You get addicted to searching,” she adds. The 120 or so Rastreadoras have found 68 people, but only about a quarter of those are their missing loved ones. She acknowledges many victims may have got into trouble because they sold or used drugs; others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mexico’s missing person problem continues to plague the country.

Since taking office in 2018, the government of President López Obrador has stepped up efforts to locate missing people and identify bodies. It says the number of reported disappearances for 2020 was trending down. But the government acknowledged in November that in 2019, a record 8,804 people had been reported missing and not been found.

According to official data, Mexico has counted 4,092 clandestine graves and exhumed 6,900 bodies since 2006. Sinaloa is notorious as the home of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, once Mexico’s most powerful drug baron, now locked up in a maximum-security jail in the U.S. The city of Los Mochis, where the Rastreadoras are based, is currently in the grip of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, known as El Chapo Isidro.

The Rastreadoras acknowledge that they’re on their own, turning to the authorities for help is not an option. As shown in the mass disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014, which rocked the country, municipal police have a terrible reputation for being infiltrated by cartels. “They won’t help us — they’re the same ones who are involved,” scoffs Reyna Rodríguez Peñuelas, whose son, Eduardo González Rodríguez, disappeared in 2016.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com