Las Margaritas marches for unity, peace and harmony

Las Margaritas marches for unity, peace and harmony. Photo: Pozol Colectivo.

Several Chiapas news sources, Chiapas Paralelo and Pozol Colectivo, published reports about a pilgrimage that marched through the streets of the municipal seat of Las Margaritas on Sunday, March 20. After a February 24 confrontation between two “social organizations” that resulted in the deaths of 2 people and the injury of 8 others, different religious denominations held meetings for weeks and then announced the Alliance of Churches for Peace, composed of Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostal, Adventist and Catholic churches.

Faced with a wave of violence, residents of Las Margaritas came together to make a pilgrimage called “Voices in search of unity, peace and harmony,”  and to issue a statement expressing their concern and urging people to “put themselves on the path of peace, overcome apathy and indifference and promote a new construction in which we are all co-responsible.”

They also invited the three levels of government to favor conditions of encounter and dialogue and to pay attention to urgent situations, such as health, insecurity and water.

So, what exactly happened on February 24? A Chiapas journalist, Isaín Mandujano, wrote a report for Proceso on the incident. A translated and amended version of his report can be read below.

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“MAYOR’S RESCUE” ENDS UP WITH 2 DEAD AND 8 INJURED BY GUNSHOTS IN LAS MARGARITAS

By: Isaín Mandujano

With sticks, stones and firearms, indigenous Tojolabals from two social organizations confronted each other this Thursday morning in the municipal seat of Las Margaritas, leaving 2 dead and several wounded.

On the morning of February) 24, Mayor Bladimir Hernández Álvarez and his closest collaborators were paying homage to the flag in the central square when they were advised that hundreds of members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical (CIOAC-H, its initials in Spanish), [1] led by Andulio Hernández, were approaching in order to detain him and complain about the lack of support for the members of this social organization.

The mayor and his collaborators entered the headquarters of the municipal council, when the campesinos from the CIOAC-H arrived immediately and took over the building to prevent the municipal officials from leaving until, under pressure, the president decided to receive a commission to dialogue with them.

The dialogue meeting of municipal authorities with campesinos that were demanding support for the countryside, as well as for the members and the families of that organization, was taking place when suddenly hundreds of campesinos from the Alliance of Social organizations and Unions of the Left (ASSI, Alianza de Organizaciones Sociales y Sindicatos de Izquierda), an organization founded by, Aio Hernández, the mayor’s father, arrived.

With sticks, stones and firearms, the ASSI [2] campesinos attacked the CIOAC-H campesinos who had taken over the municipal headquarters, in order to “rescue” the municipal president, who told them they intended to arrest him and take him away to a community.

After the attack, two men were dead, both members of the CIOAC-H, who accused members of the ASSI of having attacked it with high-caliber weapons.

The CIOAC-H, which came today to protest against the mayor and to demand support for the communities where they have a presence, is led by Andulio Hernández, son of the late Luis Hernández Cruz, former deputy and state leader of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC).

Andulio Hernández is the first cousin of the current mayor Bladimir Hernández, because is the son of Antonio Hernández Cruz, who arrived today heading the ASSI. Antonio Hernández Cruz was a prisoner in El Amate prison as the one allegedly responsible for the crime of his brother Luis Hernández Cruz, who was riddled with bullets on May 4, 2017 in front of his house located in Barrio Los Magueyes in Comitán, a municipality close to Las Margaritas.

By telephone, José Antonio Vázquez Hernández, state leader of the CIOAC and leader of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD, its initials in Spanish) separated his organization from this conflict and said that Andulio Hernández was expelled from the CIOAC “a long time ago.” They continue using the CIOAC name, but adding “Historical.” For José Antonio Vázquez Hernández there is only one CIOAC and not more, like others boast about.

Similarly, said Antonio Hernández Cruz, now leader of the ASSI and father of the current mayor, was expelled from the CIOAC since the 1990s’. Therefore, the two organizations in dispute today have nothing to do with “the true and only CIOAC.”

In the last municipal elections, Andulio Hernández supported the MORENA candidate, Jorge Luis Escandón, so that he would be re-elected as the one in charge of the municipal council, after a three-year-term as municipal president nominated by the PRD. But in those July 2021 elections, the candidate of the Social Encounter Party (PES, Partido Encuentro Social), Bladimir Hernández Álvarez, won.

They open an investigation

After the events, the State’s Attorney General (FGE, its initials in Spanish) through the Office of the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor, opened a record of attention against the person or persons who are responsible for homicide, injuries and damages committed to the detriment of a person or persons offended, as a result of the altercation between social organizations.

According to preliminary data, two people lost their life and eight were injured by firearms, after members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC) and the Alliance of Social Organizations and Left Unions (ASSI) had a confrontation.

Dozens of different caliber shell casings were found at the scene. There were material damages to six vehicles at the facilities of the Municipal Presidency and surrounding businesses. Members of the Las Margaritas police took control of the place and are guarding the area.

Notes

[1] It’s important to remember that the CIOAC-H is the “social organization” that murdered the EZLN’s Compañero Galeano in La Realidad in 2014! AND, the Zapatista Caracol of La Realidad is just down the road from the town of Las Margaritas.

[2] The ASSI is the “social organization” that kidnapped 53 people and continues to hold 34 people hostages in Altamirano. The ASSI has also been accused of involvement with organized crime.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, February 24, 2022: https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/02/rescate-de-alcalde-termina-en-dos-muertos-y-ocho-heridos-de-bala-en-las-margaritas/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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