Michoacan ex-governor candidate Hipolito Mora assassinated in La Ruana, Michoacán

In a shocking act of violence, a former self-defense leader becomes a fatal casualty amid unyielding crime in Michoacan.

Hipolito Mora, ex-leader of the Michoacan self-defense groups and former candidate for governor of Michoacan, Mexico, was killed during an attack that occurred this afternoon in the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto “La Ruana,” in the municipality of Buenavista, confirmed Guillermo Valencia, president of the Mexican PRI State Executive Committee.

On Twitter, Valencia detailed that in the attack, the armored van in which Hipólito Mora was traveling was set on fire and that two of his bodyguards were also killed.

“They just confirmed to me that in an attack they killed my friend #HipolitoMora, they set fire to his armored van and killed all his bodyguards, in this #Michoacán we live, and the authorities insisted on denying the situation, now what will they say?” he wrote on social networks.

The attack was captured in several videos disseminated on social networks, in which a burned van can be seen, and several shots can be heard.

Michoacán Attorney General’s personnel moves to the area of attack

The Michoacán Attorney General’s Office reported that personnel from the agency were already going to where Hipólito Mora was attacked to attend to the situation.

“At this moment, personnel from the #FiscalíaMich is moving to the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto(#LaRuana), municipality of #Buenavista, to process the scene of the incident after receiving a report of aggression against Hipólito M. and his bodyguards,” it published on Twitter.

The Michoacán Prosecutor's Office reported that it is already on its way to the site of the attack. | Screen Capture
The Michoacán Prosecutor’s Office reported it was already on its way to the attack scene. | Screenshot

Felipe calderón regrets murder of hipólito mora

Former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa lamented the murder of the former vigilante leader, which he considered cowardly.

In a publication on his Twitter account, the former president sent condolences to the family of Hipolito Mora and affirmed that he joins the demand for justice for the murder.

“It is with deep sadness that I learn of the cowardly murder of Hipólito Mora, who repeatedly risked his life to defend his community from organized crime. My condolences go out to his family. I join in the demands for justice from those who knew him. Rest in peace,” he wrote on social networks.

Calderón lamented the murder of Hipólito Mora. | Screen Capture
Calderón lamented the murder of Hipólito Mora. | Screenshot

Hipólito Mora had already suffered two attempts on his life.

This was not the first attack against Hipólito Mora. Last March, he denounced that hired assassins attacked him with bullets while he was in La Ruana, an attack in which he was wounded, and an escort and a worker at a car repair shop.

The former leader of the self-defense groups denounced the attack through his social networks a few days after he threatened Morelia to take up arms again due to the insecurity in Michoacán.

In the same way, on November 26, 2022, he denounced that several armed men entered his ranch to assassinate him and that two of the assassins died during the attack.

“Friends, at this moment, some hired killers came to my orchard to attack me, and two of them are dead inside my orchard. That happens when you fight,” he wrote on his Facebook account.

At the time, he noted that the aggression was dealt with by members of the National Guard and personnel from the Michoacán State Attorney General’s Office.

(Screenshot Facebook)
(Screenshot: Facebook)

Who was Hipólito Mora?

Hipolito Mora Chavez was a prominent leader of the self-defense groups in Michoacan’s Tierra Caliente, formed in 2013 to confront the violence unleashed by the Knights Templar criminal group. After his retirement, he lived under constant threats from organized crime.

Hipolito was born on July 26, 1955, in La Ruana, and all his life, he worked as a businessman and lemon grower. This sector was severely damaged by criminal groups extorting farmers in the region.

At the age of 18, he became a cotton farmer on land given to him by his older brother, and it was on this plot of land in La Ruana he spent most of his life, where he married and had 11 children. Mora Chavez always carried a gun discreetly on his waist to protect himself from possible threats against his family.

The life of this Michoacan native was not exempt from controversy, as he was arrested twice in the United States for drug possession, the first time in June 1989, at the age of 34, for which he had to serve a 4-year sentence. Subsequently, in 1993, he was again captured in US territory for the same crime, and two years later, he was deported to Mexico.

In 2013, together with other leaders such as José Manuel Mireles, he formed the self-defense groups with the government’s approval of Enrique Peña Nieto and with federal authorities. These civil defense groups supported the location of criminal bosses and laboratories dedicated to drug production.

The uprising against the Knights Templar

During the six-year term of Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel, organized crime extended its extortion activities in the municipalities of Tierra Caliente, which led to discontent among local businessmen and farmers, who had to request permission from the Knights Templar bosses to harvest and pack lemon and avocado production.

According to Hipolito’s account, in early 2013, one of his sons informed him that organized crime cells had prevented him from harvesting on his land, which is why he decided to contact other leaders in the region, with whom he had already been planning a resistance uprising against organized crime for two years.

Mora Chavez set about the task of touring his community. He called different meetings with the inhabitants of his municipality to express the need to defend themselves against criminals so that on February 24, 2013, La Ruana was the first to take up arms against the Templar cells.