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Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

Punto de Partida airs segment on new Guerrero mayor threatened by alleged Familia Michoacana drug traffickers

Internet video shows alleged traffickers ordering mayor to appoint a police chief friendly to them

Show airs again tonight on Tijuana's Televisa Channel 12

      The Televisa news magazine program Punto de Partida last week aired a segment on a new Ignacio Valladaresmayor in Guerrero state who has been threatened by alleged Familia Michoacana drug traffickers.

      Mayor Ignacio Valladares, who took office in Teloloapan this month, became nationally known late last month as a result of an Internet video in which alleged Familia Michoacana drug traffickers demanded that he appoint a police chief who would cooperate with them.

       Seventeen police have been killed in the municipality of 54,000 this year, including three on Sept. 28.

       teloloapan map The Televisa program showed an Oct. 4 text message Valladares received signed "La Familia Mich." It told the mayor to begin taking different actions if he did not want to wake up chopped into pieces on Oct. 5. The text said Valladares wanted to dismiss the people working in the Casa de Cultura, but that he would be the one departing if he showed up in public. "We know where you are," the text said.

       The program showed the mayor giving the sign of the cross while driving in Teloloapan, which is in northern Guerrero near Michoacan and the state of Mexico in the Tierra Caliente region where La Familia Michoacana holds sway.

      The program wondered whether Teloloapan is just one of many municipalities across the country where elected officials are similarly threatened by organized crime.

       Punto de Partida said a major infusion of the military and state police last week had made Teloloapan the safest city in country. Video showed a military checkpoint and a flyer seeking information leading to the capture of Johnny "El Pez" ("The Fish") Hurtado, the alleged leader of La Familia Michoacana in the region.

       Valladares, 55, is a member of the Democratic Revolution Party. He taught physics and chemistry in middle school 26 years, and also served as a state legislator.

       Gov. Angel Aguirre, a former member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party who won election on the Democratic Revolution Party ticket last year, was shown visiting the municipality to provide support to the embattled mayor. Aguirre also helped lay the cornerstone for a new municipal market, a Valladares campaign promise. Also attending the ceremony for the new market were the mayor's wife, Hermelinda Duarte, and son, Ignacio Valladares, who have been living outside the state for their own safety.

      The mayor told Punto de Partida that the only things the previous administration left him at City Hall were a desk, a flag, and a photo of the governor. "There was no paper nor even thumbtacks," the mayor said.

      The program showed job seekers in his office. The mayor joked to one young man that he would become the new police chief. The young man laughed, but also pointed out that he was 17 and too young for the post.

     The program, "Un Alcalde" ("A Mayor") was reported by Luis Pablo Beauregard, who also hosted last week's show in place of the regular host, Denise Maerker. It airs again tonight (Sunday, Oct. 14) around 9 p.m. on Televisa Channel 12 in Tijuana. The program can be seen on the show's website, but apparently only from computers that are in Mexico.

     Tonight's Punto de Partida on Channel 12 will be preceded by a local Televisa program, Cortapisa, where newsmakers and other citizens discuss topics in the news. The 8 p.m. show often extends past 9 p.m. The Cortapisa program has been providing a valuable window into Baja California with the theme, "Nosotros ponemos la mesa, nuestros invitados los argumentos" (roughly translated as "We set the table ('We provide the forum'), our guests provide the discussion."

     Cortapisa can mean many different things in Spanish, such as "the grace with which one speaks"; "an adornment of a different weave sewn into clothing"; or an obstacle, limitation, constraint or legal obligation.

     The YouTube video where the mayor is threatened: