This Mexican town kicked out its police, politicians and its drug cartels and today has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
In the town of Cherán in Michoacán, the majority Indigenous Purhépecha community rose up in 2011, created armed militias to fight off illegal logging and drug cartels and eventually kicked out the local government and dismantled the police apparatus which was accused of ties to the drug cartels.
The community collected the weapons, vehicles, and uniforms and established their own “ronda comunitaria” or community guard. They then set up their own system of direct governance based on Indigenous traditions and neighborhood assemblies.
Michoacán is one of Mexico’s most violent regions, but local officials say that not a single kidnapping or extortion attempt has been reported since the uprising. “Cherán’s main achievement has been peace. It has the lowest homicide rate in all of Michoacán – and maybe all of Mexico outside of [the south-eastern state of] Yucatán”, said a sociologist who has been researching the town.