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ptrougeHonest heroes make up an indigenous police force



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Pierre-Yves Marzin




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Produced by the international PHOTOREPORTER Festival, Saint-Brieuc, France, 2012.

In a Mexico made lawless by depleted democracy, the vast majority of legal cases remain unresolved. Impunity reigns.

Yet there is one place in the country where the opposite occurs: 95% of cases are resolved, and only 5% are filed without settlement.

This place is in the state of Guerrero, home to a patchwork of communities comprising 85% indigenous Indians speaking Mixtec and Tlapaneco. The region, a six-hour drive south of Mexico City, is one of the most marginalized in the country and peopled by peasant farmers producing mainly coffee and corn.

The miracle has been going on for over 15 years. The Policia de la Montana was set up in 1995 and has succeeded in bringing down the rate of crime, thefts, rapes and kidnapping. It has also significantly discouraged drug trafficking.

The unofficial police force employs close to 800 policemen, spread over 77 communities, making up for the absence of federal police and corrupt or indifferent regional officers. The local force relies on a two-year ?obligatory service? for all locals, unpaid.

More than a simple police force, it?s an unusual justice system grouped into one body: the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities, or CRAC for its Spanish acronym.