Here is an excerpt from Tim Johnson's article in McClatchy Newspapers:
"One of Mexico's major narcotics gangs reportedly offered Wednesday to disband if the government would intensify security in the state of Michoacan, the cradle of its drug empire, and keep rival drug gangs out. The offer came in a series of cloth banners and printed flyers in Michoacan state early in the day. Their authenticity couldn't be determined. None of Mexico's major drug cartels has ever made such an offer. Since gangsters don't often give up their lucrative enterprises, the statement by the Michoacan Family, a cartel known for religious zeal, beheadings and tentacles as far as California's Central Valley, was met with skepticism... The author of the 500-word statement lashed out at the central government, playing off intense regional loyalties that often make Michoacan natives suspicious of federal authority." Link to Full Article
Analysis: Shortly after news of LFM's "offer" came out, several of us who follow these sorts of things were debating back and forth on Twitter regarding the authenticity of the banners and flyers. Originally, when people were asking if the offer was fake, I took it to mean people wanted to know if the banners and flyers themselves were truly written by LFM, or put out there by someone else. That didn't make a ton of sense to me, so I'm taking it to mean that people want to know if the offer itself is genuine. If that's the case, then I really doubt it.
LFM is kinda nutty, as DTOs go. You can read plenty about them HERE, but to sum it up, they've been an up-and-comer in Mexico's drug war for a few years now. They're different from other DTOs because they're evangelical in the way they recruit members and reach out to communities to obtain support for their drug operations - whether that support is voluntary or coerced. They started out with a mission to eradicate meth use and kidnapping in Michoacán, but now they're the biggest traffickers of the stuff in the region; that's something to make you snicker. LFM is also extremely aggressive, and is actively expanding their territory to avoid being hemmed in; this is why we're seeing increased violence in Acapulco, in particular. They've taken beheadings and dismemberments as a way to send a message to a whole new level, too.
LFM is into the missives and messages, and making it look like they're on the side of the Mexican people. Of course LFM isn't going to disband any time soon, but even if they were serious in those banners and flyers, they wouldn't have to. Everyone knows the Mexican authorities aren't going to be providing that kind of safety and security to the Mexican people any time soon. Honestly, it's a great PR stunt, and one that we've seen from other violent groups in Mexico and Latin America. The EPR in Mexico, the FARC and ELN in Colombia, Shining Path in Peru...they all need(ed) the support of the peasants in their countries to survive as organizations and move them towards their different goals. LFM wants the support of the Michoacanos by way of not reporting their activities to the police, or joining their ranks - again, whether that support is provided voluntarily or not is irrelevant.
So really, LFM had nothing to lose by offering to disband - assuming they authorized those banners and flyers - even though they likely didn't mean it. They're just calling the Mexican government's bluff, and courting support from the people of Michoacán by trying to come off as the good guys in the drug war. Next, we'll see if they hire a publicist from New York or Los Angeles.