Above Photo: “We are a people who live under a rain of shots from the armed groups of a paramilitary nature.” Courtesy: Luis Enrique Aguilar
From: Yessica Morales, Editorial Staff
In 2018, the attacks with high-caliber firearms intensified. At that time, 2, 036 people were forcibly displaced into the mountains by an armed group, which attacked them at different points, from the towns of Yok Ventana and Saclum to the Santa Martha Sector, affecting 10 locations.
European organizations demanded a stop to the violence and paramilitary threats in the Magdalena communities in Aldama, as well as unconditional freedom for Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez, an indigenous Maya Tsotsil man, community defender and a representative of the Permanent Commission of 115 Comuneros and Displaced. He was arrested on March 14, 2020, by officials of the Specialized Police of the State Attorney General (FGE) while he was leaving his job in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
In that sense, the communities live “under a rain of shots from armed groups of a paramilitary nature in Santa Martha, municipality of Chenalhó, The Voice of the People organization denounced last October 2021. Likewise, they pointed out that the violence responds to a territorial conflict over 60 hectares (roughly, 148 acres), inside of which lived 7 families who in 2016 were evicted and threatened at gunpoint.
In addition, the paramilitary armed group that operates in Chenalhó was activated in 2016. In 1997, the Agrarian Court had resolved possession in favor of the 115 Aldama comuneros (community members), an agreement that was not respected.
Above photo of Aldama by Isaín Mandujano
Since the beginning of 2020 and 2021 armed attacks have been increasing. This has affected 12 communities and around 5,000 people. In the month of October of last year, those attacks continued daily, even with intervention from authorities of the three levels of government.
It seems to be that it’s a war to which no one pays attention. On Sunday, October 10, a group of people belonging to the Santa Martha sector of Chenalhó, gave an ultimatum to the state government to solve this problem, the organization said.
Nevertheless, by the middle of the month there had already been 203 attacks directed at 9 Magdalena communities: Xuxch’en, Coco’, Tabac, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Yeton, Ch’ivit, Stzelejpotobtik, Juxton and the municipal seat. They were direct attacks on the houses where there are now bullet casings, broken sheet metal roofs, cars and machines with bullet impacts.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) showed its willingness to visit Mexico, specifically Aldama, Chalchihuitán and Chenalhó municipalities, for the purpose of verifying the situation of the beneficiaries of the precautionary measures granted through Resolution 15/2018 on February 24, 2018 (MC-882-17) and Resolution 35/2021 on April 23, 2021 (MC-284-18), the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (FRAYBA) announced.
For 3 years, 9 months and 20 days, the IACHR has asked the Mexican State to adopt precautionary measures to guaranty the lives and personal integrity of the inhabitants of 9 border communities in Chalchihuitán and one in Chenalhó. In the same area, the measures were once again granted de nuevo to the inhabitants of 12 communities in Aldama municipality, adjacent to Santa Martha community, Chenalhó municipality, in the face of the constant attacks of a paramilitary-style armed group.
The forced displacement of the Magdalena population began in May 2016, caused by attacks from paramilitary-style armed civilian groups coming from Manuel Utrilla, Santa Martha, Chenalhó municipality. Courtesy: Luis Enrique Aguilar.
The IACHR has shown that to date the ministerial investigations don’t have elements that permit indicating that the disarming and disarticulation of people belonging to the armed groups that operate in the affected areas have been achieved, despite the actions implemented, such as the arms exchange program and las de intelligence activities, which allow the cycles of violence to persist, including shootings and attacks with firearms that threaten people’s lives.
Therefore, the Commission lamented the deaths caused as a result of the acts of violence in the communities of these municipalities. However, given the risk factors that remain in the areas, it decided to maintain the precautionary measures in favor of 22 indigenous communities, requiring the Mexican State to adopt urgent security measures to protect the life and personal integrity of the residents.
Asambea de Solidaridad con México. País Valencià, Estado Español Asociación Entreiguales València, Estado Español
Ass. Cafè Rebeldía-Infoespai Catalunya Ca
Saforaui País Valencià
Campaign for Psychiatric Abolition (CPA) England, London
Canopia Coop. V. Almedíjar, España
Caravana obrim fronteres Valencia España
Casa Nicaragua Bélgica, Liège
CEDSALA (Centro de Documentación y Solidaridad con América Latina y África) València (Estado Español)
Citizens Summons Alemania, Bonn
Ciudades Invisibles – Universidad del mar Egeo Grecia
Colectivo Acción Solidaria Austria, Viena
Colectivo Armadillo Finlandia
Comité de Solidaridad México Salzburgo Austria, Salzburgo
Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) Estado Español
COOPERAZIONE REBELDE NAPOLI ITALIA
D-Zona República Checa – Praga
Ermuko komite internazionalistak Ermua País Vasco
Gira por la Vida Viena Austria, Viena
Global Women Against Deportations, UK
Global Women’s Strike (GWS), UK
Groupe écosocialiste de solidaritéS Ginebra Suiza
Grupo CafeZ Bélgica, Liège
Grupo Scout 105 Bentaya Islas Canarias – España
Jornal MAPA Portugal
Kaffe Libertad Kollektiv Hamburgo, Alemania
KOMUN.ORG Estado Espanyol
La milpa orto collettivo italia
La Roue Libre Suiza
Landworkers Alliance Cymru Gales, Reino Unido
Legal Action for Women, UK
Libero mondo italia
London Mexico Solidarity Londres – Reino Unido
Mut Vitz 13 Marseille Francia
Payday men’s network, UK
Perifèries del Mon País Valencià
Queer Strike, UK
Rede de Apoio Mútuo do Porto Porto, Portugal
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, UK
Solidaridad directa con Chiapas Suiza
Spazio Vitale Odv italia
Taller Ahuehuete Estado Español
Taula per Méxic Catalunya
TxiapasEKIN Euskal Herria
Women of Colour GWS, UK
Yoga Knowhow España-Netherlands-Suiza-Internacional
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, January 3, 2022
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee