Since late September, more than 600 schools have closed in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. On Thursday, the authorities finally admitted that these closures were the result of threats from the drug cartels.

“We are ordering you to suspend classes in Chilapa and in the entire area of Montaña Baja, let us work.” The message, attributed to drug traffickers in Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero, appeared on social media in late September, according to the Mexican newspaper El Milenio . They threaten to retaliate anyone who would open schools in this key area of drug trafficking in Mexico.
As a result, the educational teams decided as a security measure to close the schools. According to the blog “del Narco” , a specialized site that lists the various facts related to narcotraffic, nearly 650 establishments and 60,000 children are concerned, as well as 3,400 staff members.

Obey where we are going n ****”

The authorities initially preferred to avoid the problem of insecurity and justified a temporary closure of these schools as a consequence of the powerful earthquake that occurred on 19 September , according to El Milenio.

But when a college in Zitlala tried to reopen its classes, BBC Mundo recounts , the teachers received threats on their personal cell: “Why do not you obey, enc ****! We said no classes until further notice, we know where the director lives, and obey where we go! The attempt was short-lived.

Threats taken very seriously in a region plagued by violence. The Guerrero was in the limelight in September 2014 following the disappearance of 43  students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School . But in recent weeks, assassinations and the discovery of mutilated corpses are almost daily in the province of Montaña Baja. In addition to schools, public transport is also targeted: several drivers of taxis and buses were murdered during the past month.

A strategy of terror

The main cause of these murders? Drug trafficking e. Montaña Baja is, in fact, one of the areas producing heroin. Since 2014, two groups have been fighting for control of poppy crops, processing laboratories and traffic routes. In May, 300 “sicarios” (hired killers in the pay of a cartel) searched house by house a large part of the area to hunt down their opponents. Thirty people were then taken away and can not be found to date.

Las, the Secretary of Education of the State of Guerrero, Jose Luis Gonzalez de la Vega, finally recognized Thursday, November 16, that the threats are well behind the closing of classes. “But that does not mean that the courses have been totally suspended,” he wants to qualify BBC Mundo. “Teachers continue to teach their students via the Internet and give them homework.” Indeed, in order not to interrupt the educational process, school teachers started to organize and use Whatsapp and Facebook to communicate with their students. According to the local newspaper Quadratin de Guerrero , José Luis González de la Vega announces a return to normal in the coming days and reinforcements to protect the roads.

However, some teachers interviewed by BBC Mundo believe that this strategy of terror has only one objective: to control the territory and the population with a focus on the general elections of July 2018, the result of which could hinder the affairs of narcotics.