The deadline set by Mexico’s federal government for the Michoacán ‘self- defence’ groups to join local law enforcement bodies or demobilise passed on 10 May. While it was observed by a significant number of vigilantes, it is still far from clear if all of those that decided to take up arms and stand up to organised crime in the western state, given the inability of the authorities to do so, have been convinced to put down their weapons for good. The chal- lenge for the federal government led by President Enrique Peña Nieto now is to show that the security situation in Michoacán is under control; that the security forces will not allow it to deteriorate once again; and that there is no need for the vigilante movement to remain active. If not, the uneasy agree- ment reached with the ‘self-defence’ groups could quickly unravel.

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