Last century they left the Los Altos region to work in the Bracero Program in the United States, hired and of their own free will; in recent times they left by force, leaving their homes from one minute to the next with one hand in front and the other behind to save their lives from the constant confrontations between hitmen.
The criminal organizations of the Jalisco Nueva Generation Cartel and its successive rivals most recently the Sinaloa Cartel have driven them off their lands or murdered them to control drug routes, the clandestine extraction of hydrocarbons and the main economy of the region: livestock.
Although there is no exact figure for the number of migrants expelled in each municipality, some analysts point out that many of the almost 48,000 migrants from Jalisco left Los Altos, two of the 12 regions of the state, that the National Institute of Statistics and Geography in 2020 outside Mexico, mainly in the United States.
In 2014 there were only 19,000 Jalisco residents abroad, according to official figures, so it is deduces that, in less than six years, the exodus that wants to avoid being one of the five fatalities that there is on average every day in the state has tripled.
Criminal organizations control the areas through representatives who defend the interests. In the case of Los Altos, the authorities know their names and nicknames: “El Sapo”, “El Colombiano”, “El Tarjetas”, “El Loco”, “El Orejon”, “El Grenas”, “La Tuza”, “The ball”.
“Lucille Rivera” or “El Negro”.
The federal government has sent National Guard operatives as “reinforcements” after some massacres, displacements, blockades, discoveries of clandestine graves and has even come into confrontation with the state government, headed by Enrique Alfaro, of the Movement Caudatan party.
The Secretary of the Interior, Adan Augusto Lopez, affirmed that when he is told about bloodbaths, the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Michoacán come to mind, which, he said, “have become a paradise for organized crime.”
His statements caused controversy and in an exchange of accusations with Governor Alfaro, the latter reproached him that, according to his figures, there are 10 states governed by Morena, the party of President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador who They are more violent than Jalisco.
Thus they entered a war of numbers.
Control of territory
“In Jalisco there are territories where the rule of law no longer exists and where the criminal groups control and rule,” said Ruben Ortega, a member of the Security and Justice Observatory at the University of Guadalajara (U de G).
The Los Altos of Jalisco is one of them.
Recently on the highway San Juan de los Lagos – Tepatitlan de Morelos, at kilometer 97, at the height of the municipality of Valle de Guadalupe, elements of the National Highway Guard were attacked with bullets by armed men allegedly belonging to a cell, which they call “managements”. as in any legal company.
“The fight for the squares is intensifying, the confrontation to see who will take over the different territories in this northern zone and Altos where, the cattle ranching , part of agriculture and some other businesses have a lot of weight”, adds the analyst.
Los Altos is the area that supplies milk to the vast majority of the center and west of the country with brands such as 19 Hermanos or Sello Rojo. In addition, the region is a leader in meat exports and the organizations sank their teeth into it, as they did previously with lemons and avocados in Michoacán.
According to complaints from local organizations to the local press, from October 2022, the CJNG charges 5 pesos (around 25 US cents) per kilogram of profit. It also tells them who they have to sell to, and the affected ranchers are afraid to report it.
“Here the ranchers began to lower their arms,” said a merchant in the area.
Information would seem isolated in the region, but behind every violent incident there is money involved. Last April, for example, the municipality of Encarnacion de Diaz was the scene of various violent events.
Encarnacion de Diaz, due to its geographical location, is in a disputed area between criminal groups, particularly with operations in the state of Guanajuato to control fuel theft.
“In the municipality of Encarnacion de Diaz the polyduct from Salamanca passes to Aguascalientes, gangs dedicated to huachicol operate (as the milking of Petrol eos Mexican's pipelines is called),” said Luis Razo, a political scientist who is an expert in security issues.
Jalisco It ranked ninth nationwide in fuel theft with 68 complaints, mainly in Los Altos, surpassed by Guerrero with 591, the State of Mexico with 401, Puebla with 291, Nuevo Leon with 235, Veracruz with 221, Tamaulipas with 151, Tabasco with 109 and Tlaxcala with 88.
On the other hand, the state occupies a large part of a drug trafficking route, from Manzanillo to the north of the country, added Dante Haro, a researcher from the Legal Studies Division of the University Center for Social Sciences and Humanities, for which it is in constant dispute with other organizations.
“We also have the production that is facilitated by geographical areas with little access and where, in a hidden way, drugs can be cultivated or processed, together with to the infrastructure and road network”.
Where are Los Altos de Jalisco?
It is the northeast region of the state and is divided into two:
Altos Norte which is made up of: Encarnacion de Diaz, Lagos de Moreno, Ojuelos de Jalisco, San Diego de Alejandria, San Juan de los Lagos, Rosario, Union de San Antonio and Villa Hidalgo.
Altos Sur is made up of: Acatic, Arandas, Canadas de Obregon, Jalostotitlan, Jesus Maria, Mexticacan, San Julian, San Miguel el Alto, Tepatitlan de Morelos, Valley of Guadalupe, Yahualica of Gonzalez Gallo and San Ignacio Cerro Gordo.