“Calm” returns to San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Members of the National Guard, the Army and Chiapas state police carried out vigilance operations in San Cristóbal de las Casas municipality, after armed groups confronted each other on Tuesday on public streets in a dispute over the administration of a market.

By: Angeles Mariscal

The booths in the Northern Market opened, children attended school, a market with typical sweets was installed on the central plaza and dozens of soldiers and police maintain searches and patrols. 24 hours after armed men hombres took control of the northern zone of San Cristóbal de Las Casas for several hours, the population tries to recuperate its daily life.

Señoras María Eugenia and Morelia spent Wednesday morning setting up a stall selling typical sweets in the corridor of what used to be the Municipal Presidency of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, next to the Cathedral of Peace.

The Corpus Christi celebrations will begin in the evening, and for more than sixty years, this has been an important festivity in the principal tourist city of Chiapas.

The lady vendors say that the violent events of the previous day did indeed rob the tranquility, but -they assure- the need to work is greater than fear, “they (the criminal groups) in their world and we in our world,” María Eugenia explains.

In the city’s central streets, and especially in the tourist corridors, people stroll through non-stop, Mayor Mariano Díaz Ochoa, took time to tour this zone.

In an interview, the mayor assured that what happened on Tuesday was a “focused” event in a single region of the city, with actors related to the dispute of a single place, the Northern Market; and that the hundred armed men who showed their power, are “paid assassins” (“sicarios pagados”) who for 500 pesos work for the highest bidder, in this case, a group that wants control of the sales center.

Peace Plaza in front of the Cathedral in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Some of the writing reads “Stop the repression against the FNLS.”

He denies that what happened in San Cristóbal de Las Casas is part of the increase in the presence and actions of organized crime groups, which have caused deaths, disappearances and regions controlled by them in other municipalities of the state of Chiapas, as civil society organizations and religious groups have documented.

Mariano Díaz says that in the city that he governs the Attorney General of the Republic must intervene, learn who is guilty and be careful that San Cristóbal de Las Casas continues to be “the tourist jewel of the state.”

In the streets of the northern zone, identified as the center of action of the criminal groups that demonstrated, schools opened on Tuesday morning and the stalls were set up at the market in dispute.

At 8 o’clock in the morning, children in uniform were walking through the streets to the education centers, the only difference in the zone are the municipal police patrols on some corners.

On the avenue that connects to San Juan Chamula municipality, yesterday the center of action of armed people, today soldiers and members of the National Guard set up a checkpoint to search every auto that passes.

One of the officials in charge said that in today’s searches they have not found weapons, drugs, or any illicit merchandise, and that everything was “tranquil.”

A tense “calm” exists in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a restauranteur explains, who prays that tourism doesn’t stop because, he says, that would cause more poverty “and that pulls young people into crime.”

Today, the State Attorney General’s Office announced that it initiated an investigation for the crimes of Attacks Against the Peace, Damages and those that may result; and a second investigation for the crime of Homicide against young Salvador “N,” who died in the Northern Market as a result of a shot.

The agency maintained that the young man’s body “was removed from the hospital by members of his family who, with the argument of being governed by uses and customs, prevented the corresponding procedures from being carried out.”


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, June 16, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/06/la-calma-vuelve-a-san-cristobal-de-las-casas/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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