El Machete Self-Defense Forces of Pantelhó Above Photo from La Jornada
By: Elio Henríquez, Correspondent
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
Supported by National Guard agents and members of the Mexican Army, officials from the National Search Commission for Missing Persons went to the municipality of Pantelhó to try to locate 21 residents last seen when they were detained on July 26 in the municipal seat.
Official sources reported that the inspection, in which personnel from the State’s Attorney General’s Office (FGE) participate, started Tuesday [Feb. 8], without any results having been reported as of yesterday [Feb. 10].
Pantelhó residents affirmed that members of the municipal council and of the El Machete self-defense forces, including their commander, received representatives of the National Search Commission for Missing Persons with whom they toured some areas for at least 5 hours.
They reported that the official itinerary includes a visit to El Progreso ranch, the Guadalupe Victoria community and La Pelona Hill, in addition to the municipal seat.
Relatives of some of the missing commented that they did not participate in the visit because the authorities told them that there are no conditions for that.
The 21 missing inhabitants were detained and exhibited in the central park last July 26, when more than 2,000 residents of the 83 indigenous communities (Tsotsils and Tseltals) and the 18 neighborhoods of Pantelhó took possession of the mayor’s office, looted stores and burned houses to “throw the sicarios (hit men) out of the town.”
The presence of criminal groups in the region led to the formation of self-defense groups that appeared in public on July 7, and later at the integration of a municipal council named in August through uses and customs, endorsed by the local Congress and presided over by Pedro Cortés López.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Friday, February 11, 2022 https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/02/11/estados/029n2est
Re=Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee