Two campesinos with bullet wounds in the town of Aldama, Chiapas

Paramilitary-style group shoots at Aldama communities from Chenalhó

The shooting continues and the National Guard doesn’t intervene [1]

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

After several days of incessant shooting with high-caliber weapons from different points located in the municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas, according to reports received by La Jornada, two indigenous men in San Pedro Cotzilnam, Aldama municipality, were wounded in the back yesterday (Friday) morning while working in their parcels. The two men are Mario and Juan Pérez Gutiérrez, 22 and 27 respectively. The shooting came from T’elemax in Santa Martha, while groups of armed men “went down to the river.”

Hostilities of the civilian armed groups in Santa Martha started early against Tabak, Cotzilnam and Coco’ communities. A group of the attackers was sighted when it was crossing the river that separates Chenalhó from the lands in dispute between the two Tzotzil municipalities in the Highlands (Los Altos).

Just a day earlier, those displaced from Aldama detected “a lot of armed men dressed in black, shouting” at the Tontik Curve. Meanwhile, more armed people arrived and fired countless shots at the aforementioned communities.

The shooting coming from Chenalhó territory has been almost continuous for weeks. Just from Tuesday to yesterday armed attacks had been registered from Tijera Caridad, Vale’tik and Tontik Saclum (all near Santa Marta, Chenalhó) against the towns of Stzelejpotobtik, Yeton, Tabak, Coco’ and Cotzilnam, in Aldama, where dozens of families have been victims of forced displacement for months.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, a dissident group of Las Abejas and an Undersecretary of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, signed a “friendly agreement” to allegedly pay off the Mexican State’s material and moral debt for the Acteal Massacre perpetrated by Chenalhó paramilitaries in 1997. Simultaneously, since reality doesn’t know about speeches, “many armed men dressed in black” gathered on Thursday at Tontik Curve to immediately shoot at the aforementioned towns in Aldama.

As has been denounced for years, as of this date the civilian groups in Chenalhó have not been disarmed, and their aggressiveness increased when they acted against the state police in the communities of Tabak and in Santa Martha itself. The inaction of the National Guard deployed in the area stands out. The federal and state governments insist on talking about hostility between both municipalities, although the fact is that the shooting comes from only one side. Besides, the only story that the authorities seem to hear is that of the Chenalhó municipal government and the armed groups that, unsustainably, present themselves as “victims.”

Finally, after noon yesterday, the unilateral fire from Chenalhó, coming from Tijera Caridad was aimed at Ch’ayomte’ community (Aldama).

Aldama municipal authorities indicated that despite agreements signed with the three levels of government, the armed groups in Chenalhó continue attacking their communities. According to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba): “the government continues giving contradictory messages and messages of impunity that encourage violence in the Highlands (Los Altos).”

[1] The Chiapas Support Committee is collecting signatures on a letter to the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, demanding a stop to the paramilitary violence. The letter will also be sent to the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC, the presidency of Mexico and the governor of Chiapas. We urge our readers to sign the letter, which can be read here. You can send your approval to sign the letter to


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



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