By: Elio Henríquez, Tuesday, September 29, 2020
San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas
The mayor of Aldama, Rodolfo López Gómez, reported that yesterday “reports were received about eight armed attacks with different caliber weapons” from different points in the Santa Martha ejido, Chenalhó, against the municipal capital (the town of Aldama) and other locations in Aldama municipality, without any injuries reported.
He said that bullet impacts come from points known as Tijera Caridad, Templo, Chuchté, Ladrillos, Valetik, T’ulvits and Tok’oy, belonging to the Santa Martha sector.
López Gómez said that “the attacks” were against the communities of Cocó, Tabac, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Stzelejpotobtic, Juxton and the municipal capital.
He reminded that there were also shots fired at Aldama locations last Friday and Saturday, despite the presence of state police in Santa Martha.
Release a political prisoner
Meanwhile, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) demanded the release of the “political prisoner” Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez, a native of Aldama, arrested last March 14 “for publicizing the generalized violence in his municipality, caused by paramilitary-style armed civilian groups.”
The Frayba specified that the indigenous Tzotzil is “a representative of the Permanent Commission of Comuneros and Displaced of Aldama, and a member of the families that a paramilitary-style group in Santa Martha, Chenalhó dispossessed of their lands and attacked with high-caliber weapons.”
It added that Santiz Jiménez is a community defender, has held positions in his town as a traditional councilor and worked for 21 years as a watchman at the Training Center for Industrial Work number 133, based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
That human rights defense organization remembered that state police arrested Santiz Jiménez last March 14 “when was leaving his work; they kept him incommunicado for five hours and he is currently incarcerated” in El Amate Prison, located in Cintalapa municipality, located in the center of the state.
Aldama and Santa Martha (Chenalhó municipality) have been confronted for 45 years in a dispute over 60 hectares (148 acres), which has left 26 deaths and various injuries on both sides.
Translator’s Note: See article below about continued shooting at communities of displaced persons and a proposal to resolve the dispute.
ALDAMA WITHSTANDS A DOUBLE DAY OF SHOOTING FROM SANTA MARTHA
By: Elio Henríquez
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
The mayor of Aldama, Rodolfo Gómez López, reported that for the second consecutive day, members of the paramilitary group in Santa Martha, Chenalhó, fired high-caliber firearms at Aldama communities, although no injuries have been reported, presumably because of the dispute over 148 acres (60 hectares) between the two municipalities.
He said that on Friday: “shots were fired from the points known as Tok’oy, Pajaltoj, Tojtic, T’elemax, T’ulvits, Valetik, Chino, Ranchito, Ladrillo, Chuchte and Puente Caridad.
He stated that: “the armed groups that are attacking Aldama communities were positioned at different points of the Santa Martha sector.”
Gómez López pointed out that this Saturday at 2:25 pm, “we received reports from Juxtón that it was being the target of shooting from Chalóntic, located near the center of Santa Marta.”
He assured that: “a tense situation prevails, since the armed attacks continue, and it was already reported to the different levels of government for the purpose of asking for their urgent intervention.” The Santa Martha men, the municipal president commented, detained passersby despite the presence of the state police. The police “are far away from the attacks, so they have been asked to install themselves in specific places like Tok’oy and Chuchte or else in Valetik, but that hasn’t happened.” He reminded that Aldama already reached a consensus on and delivered to federal and state authorities its proposal that the 60 hectares be divided among both peoples in order to put an end to the conflict that has lasted 45 years and has left 26 dead and various injured.
“There is a proposed solution from Aldama, we’re just waiting for Chenalhó municipality and the Santa Marta sector to analyze and also come agreement.”
He specified that Aldama has proposed that it be granted 32.5 hectares and that the rest, 27.5 hectares, go to Santa Martha. “Months ago, the people and the Aldama authorities reached consensus, with the desire to seek peace and a definitive solution to the conflict; this alternative has been accepted, which is the state government’s proposal.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee