By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Armed attacks continue against various Tzotzil communities in Aldama municipality, in the Highlands of Chiapas, the same attacks that, being chronic, have sharpened since Friday. Civilian armed groups in Santa Martha, Chenalhó perpetrate the attacks. La Jornada receives constant reports from Aldama about the attacks, both about the origin of the shots and about the “target” populations.
An old boundary conflict over 60-hectares (roughly 148 acres) between Aldama and Chenalhó has derived into a situation where high-powered weapons are fired and explosives are thrown only from one side. However, the official versions suggest that there is a “confrontation between two gangs,” and like the local media, they only give credit to information the Chenalhó municipal government and the Santa Martha groups give, who present themselves as victims of Aldama. This Wednesday, the paramilitary group circulated an unusual video, introducing itself to society.
Nevertheless, according to all the on-site reports, there is a vast operation of harassment, siege and attack against Aldama communities, from which there is no evidence of shooting.
On Tuesday, they reported a death in the center of Santa Martha, whose residents blamed Aldama residents. Allegedly, the federal government intervened to “calm spirits,” according to what Misael Rojas expressed on social networks. Rojas is the spokesperson of the undersecretary for Human Rights, Migration and Population in the Secretariat of Governance, Alejandro Encinas, and accepted the version about a “confrontation.”
Given the real circumstances, considers Pedro Faro, director of the Frayba and an attentive observer of the conflict, it’s very improbable that the indigenous people in Aldama would be able to attack and allegedly kill a person in the center of Santa Martha, where other very disturbing things happen.
This morning, it was distributed in social networks that a group of civilians disarmed the detachment of state police in said community: “a group of 80 residents took away their weapons and munitions. There were a total of 20 weapons, between 5.56 mm long and 9 mm short arms. As of now, the comuneros of the Santa Martha sector maintain the weapons in their possession.”
Meanwhile, at 9 pm on the 18th, the state preventive police withdrew from the community of Tabac (Aldama) due to the constant attacks that the community receives, and the shooting continued at the community, according to what the displaced reported at midnight on the 19th, as well as about the concentration of armed civilians in Santa Martha, once the state police and National Guard withdrew.
According to the local media El Imparcial, confrontation would have been unleashed: “the attacks between both gangs began at midnight this Tuesday, when groups from Aldama attacked residents of Chenalhó, which generated a reaction.” That version of the facts would be from the mayor of Chenalhó, Abraham Cruz Gómez, who demands: “the disarming of Aldama.” Everything indicates that we are faced with a new case where “the ducks shoot at the shotguns.” In another video, the mayor of Aldama, Adolfo Victorio Gómez, desperately demands the presence “of the three levels of Government.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee