Crime and Violence

“Los Caballeros Templarios” accept a truce during Pope’s upcoming visit to Mexico

Archbishop José Guadalupe Martín Rábago, of León, called for a truce during the Pope's upcoming visit in March, which was allegedly accepted by one of Mexico's narco-gangs, the Knights Templar. Photo Credit: Milenio.

02/06/12 – Through 11 so-called “narco-banners” (narcomantas) the criminal organization Los Caballeros Templarios (The Knights Templar) accepted a truce during the upcoming visit of the Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico in March. The banners, which were found in seven different municipalities in the central state of Guanajuato, conditionally accepted the truce suggested by the Archbishop of León, in Guanajuato, José Guadalupe Martín Rábago, who requested that crime groups refrain from attacks during the Pope’s visit, scheduled from March 23 to 26. Some of the messages in the banners make a specific reference to a rival organization called Nueva Generación (New Generation) that is allegedly allied with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel. One of the messages read, “That New Generation does not try to enter Guanajuato, let there be peace during this time that we are about to experience because of the Pope’s visit.” According to reports from the Attorney General of Guanajuato (Procuraduría General de la Justicia del Estado de Guanajuato), in some of the messages the criminal group also distanced itself from a previous attack against the state attorney general’s vehicle, an attack that injured a personal security guard although the attorney general himself was not in the vehicle at that time. The banners were found in Apaseo El Alto, Apaseo El Grande, Leon, Acámbaro, Celaya, Valle de Santiago, and Villagran.

The truce, suggested on January 22, by the Archbishop Martin Rábago, stated, “To those who do evil, if somehow my word reaches them, tell them to consider the time that we will live is a time for peace and grace, to collaborate, (to) not do something that somehow leads to grief and death.” The Archbishop also said that during the Pontiff’s visit, the country should live in peace and he called on authorities to ensure a safe environment. “It is a request from the whole of Mexico to everyone, and especially to the authorities, to effectively safeguard the roads so people can travel with peace and tranquility,” he said. Rábago hoped that criminals have sensitivity to stop their criminal acts, stating, “We also hope that in the heart of [criminals] that ultimately are human beings, there is sensitivity to respect the lives of people.” Later, on January 28, the Pope’s representative in Mexico, Christophe Pierre, said the Church did not ask for a truce, but rather a “change of mindset,” and added that Pope Benedict is not afraid to come to Mexico because of the violence.

Data reported on by Grupo Reforma's "Ejecutometro 2012," and tracked by the Trans-Border Institute.

Guanajuato will be the only state visited during the Pope’s stop in Mexico between March 23 and 26, before he departs to Cuba. Guanajuato has not been a major place for drug related violence despite a significant spike in 2009 due to a clash between La Familia Michoacana, the Gulf Cartel, and their former allies, the Zetas. With approximately 36 drug-related killings in 2011, Guanajuato represents only 0.3% of the national total for such homicides, which was estimated at 12,366 in 2011. The Knights Templar is an organization that was born from the dismantling of La Familia Michoacana, and they currently fight for the control of the state with New Generation, originally from Jalisco, who are supposedly allied with the Sinaloa Cartel.

This is not the first time the Mexican Catholic Church called for a truce to the drug-related violence.  In 2010, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez asked for one in preparation of the traveling tour of John Paul II’s relics through Mexico, while Alfonso Cortés Contreras, the bishop of Cuernavaca, called for a ‘Christmas truce’ last year. On March 2011, Archbishop Rábago also called on drug dealers and hit-men to repent their sins and withdraw from killing to obtain God’s forgiveness.


Álvarez, Xocitl. “Violencia en Guanajuato, por venganza de narcos.” El Universal. November 23, 2009. 

Redacción. “Piden tregua a narco por visita papal.” Reforma. January 22, 2012.

Alvarado, Juan. “Visitará Papa Benedicto XVI México y Cuba en marzo.” International Business Times. January 26, 2012. 

Espinosa, Verónica. “Ordenan ‘Caballeros Templarios’ al cártel Nueva Generación abandonar Guanajuato.” Proceso. February 6, 2012.

Martínez, Julio. “El Papa no teme venir a México por violencia, dice el nuncio apostólico”. La Crónica de Hoy. February 06, 2012.

Redacción. “Reportan 11 narcomantas en Guanajuato”. Reforma. February 06, 2012.

“Ejecutometro 2012.” Grupo Reforma. Accessed February 7, 2012.

1 thought on ““Los Caballeros Templarios” accept a truce during Pope’s upcoming visit to Mexico”

  1. Of course they’re calling for a truce. The pope and the cartels on on the same side, i.e. those who seek the continuation of the golden goose of prohibition.

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