The mayor of Aldama, Chiapas, asks Army and NG to intervene in agrarian fight

Residents of Aldama, Chiapas, displaced from their homes in November 2019 by the violence that prevails in the area for years due to a conflict with their neighbors in Santa Marta, Chenalhó over 148 acres of land. Photo: Cuartoscuro

Frayba: Federal and state authorities are accomplices.

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

The mayor of Aldama, Adolfo López Gómez, asked federal and state authorities that the National Guard (NG) and the Mexican Army to enter his municipality, located in the Highlands region of Chiapas, in order to avoid that the conflict over 148 acres continues with its neighbors from Santa Martha community, municipality of Chenalhó.

The PRI member assured that “40 percent of the approximately one thousand people” from three villages that were displaced early Tuesday morning, due to shots from firearms, took refuge with relatives and the rest already returned to their homes. “We have intermittently displaced people; they go to camps when there are aggressions and return to their homes when they decrease,” the mayor said in telephone interview.

He said that: “apparently at this time (the territory) is calm. Just today (Wednesday) at 7:30 am there were shots coming from Santa Martha.”

The mayor stressed that Tuesday night he asked for “support from the state police, the NG and the Mexican Army in order to provide security to all the families, but they have not given us an answer; we will continue hoping because the armed groups (of Santa Martha) are not respecting the Mixed Operations Base; in fact, it was attacked at 2 am Tuesday morning.”

López Gómez said that he has asked the authorities for “urgent attention to the displaced families and for security to be reinforced along the 11 kilometers of conflict, as well as a detailed analysis for a solution to the problem. And I already asked that the order for the National Guard and the Army to enter to give security to the families.”

He added: “Since 2017 we have been in inter-institutional [dialogue] tables; I have asked that the parapets that are used to attack our communities from the mountains of Santa Martha.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) said that inhabitants of Chuch’te, Koko, Tabak, San Pedro Cotsilman, Yetón, Xivit Tselejpobtic, Xuxton communities and the municipal capital of Aldama “are at high risk due to the increase in aggressions from Santa Martha residents.

In a communication, it indicated that the attacks from neighbors of this latter locality “have not stopped since 2019, with the complicity of the state and federal governments.” It said it had received reports that there was “a critical increase (of shooting) on March 1, at approximately 11:30 am. Inhabitants (of Aldama) denounced that shots were fired.”

The Frayba added that on March 3 at two o’clock in the morning, armed groups coming from Santa Martha attacked Xuxchen, Coco and Tabak communities, so “our people are fleeing once again. Now there are an incredible number of shots, it’s very concerning.”

Meanwhile, the Chiapas Secretary of Government, Ismael Brito Mazariegos, reported that he met separately with the traditional authorities of Aldama, as well as with municipal agents and representatives of the 134 communities in Chenalhó, to whom he made “an energetic call for the immediate stop to the aggressions that inhabitants of both municipalities carry out.”

In a bulletin announced by the state government, the official asked the parties to “assume their responsibility to set aside situations that break the route to work, which is derived from the signing of the non-aggression pact” signed last year.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee






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