Unpunished, the 2006 massacre committed by paramilitaries in Viejo Velasco

The 2006 Viejo Velasco Massacre. Photo: Frayba.

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

The massacre committed 16 years ago in the Viejo Velasco community of Ocosingo municipality, where six people were executed, including a pregnant woman, “remains unpunished,” nine civilian organizations assured, among them the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

In a joint pronouncement, they remembered that on November 13, 2006, it also caused the forced displacement of 36 people, the disappearance of four individuals, as well as the illegal deprivation of freedom and torture of the disabled youth Petrona Núñez, who died in 2010 because of the physical and emotional suffering to which she was submitted.

The massacre occurred in the small Tseltal and Ch’ol indigenous community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo (in the Lacandón Jungle), when in a paramilitary operation, around 40 people coming from the towns of Nueva Palestina, Frontera Corozal and Lacanjá Chansayab armed with machetes, sticks, escopetas and rifles, some with military and police uniforms, entered violently,” they added.

Viejo Velasco survivors in Frayba. Photo: Frayba.

They said that, according to the Xi’nich group, “the aggressors were accompanied and protected by 300 members of the then Chiapas Sectorial Police, carrying high-powered weapons.” They added that “the presence of five Public Ministry prosecutors, two experts, the Jungle Zone Regional commander of the then State Agency of Investigation with seven members under his command, and a representative of the then Ministry of Social Development were also documented.”

The groups assured that “16 years after this massacre of our indigenous Tseltal and Ch’ol brothers, justice has not been found. [1] The survivors and relatives of the victims continue without guarantees for their return and without reparation of the damage.”

[1] Two years ago, Frayba reported that the Inter-American Committee on Human Rights (IACHR) admitted the case for investigation in September 2020.

Related: The Viejo Velasco massacre took place in the heat of paramilitary conflict against both the Zapatista communities and communities and organizations sympathetic to the Zapatistas. An article that describes the politics around the massacre is available here

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Monday, November 14, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/11/14/estados/033n3est and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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