In Chiapas, a new armed group emerges in Pantelhó; They say they will confront Los Machetes

In a video, a masked man with a rifle slung over his shoulder reads a communiqué. Photo taken from Twitter.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas (apro)

A new armed group emerged in the Chiapas Highlands and says its members have all of Pantelhó surrounded. They say that if the government doesn’t intervene to stop “the criminal actions” of Los Machetes, they will take justice into their own hands with weapons.

In a video, a masked man with a rifle slung over his shoulder reads a communiqué with some 200 people behind him, some armed men and also women are seen in the civilian contingent.

In their message, they pointed out that “the people of Pantelhó are suffering absurd attacks from El Machete, running over innocent people, decent people, children of God people, who are being run over, women and girls who have been imprisoned for more than 48 hours.”

“We are deciding to confront different groups. We are going to tell the government to act in defense of those people who are bathed in broken blood, beaten, women raped, if the government doesn’t act, we’ll give it a little time, otherwise we will take action under the circumstances that El Machete, a bloodthirsty group, forces on us. A really criminal group that is kidnapping and disappearing innocent people,” says the group’s spokesman, who did not give his name.

They accused Daniel López, alias Comandante Machete, of “collecting fees and charging for protection” in the municipality of Pantelhó. That is why they warned: “The strong hand of the government is required or we will act accordingly to rescue our beloved innocent countrymen.”

And that if there is no reason and way to solve the problem as soon as possible, the guns will speak for them.

In July 2021, El Machete (above) emerged as a self-defense group in Pantelhó, Chiapas.

“If the government does not act severely against this murderous criminal group that has killed more than 21, 30 people or more, they have also grabbed campesinos and disappeared them,” they said.

They said that El Machete passed from being a political group to now being a criminal group that walks around disputing the place between them.

“They are killers,” the video says at 3 minutes 31 seconds.

El Machete emerged on June 7, 2021 to rebel against an armed political group that controlled the municipality from the municipal seat and the City Hall, which for more than a decade kept the population devastated.

Now they are accused of disappearing 21 people directly and of maintaining terror in the municipality.

Two days ago, last Thursday, an armed group antagonistic to Los Machetes, [1] perpetrated an ambush and left four people dead instantly, a woman who turned out to be the wife of Comandante Machete Daniel López, and also three municipal police who belong to that same armed group.

[1] We, the Chiapas Support Committee, don’t know who the members of this new and unnamed self-defense group might be. Nor do we know how much support this new group has among the people of Pantelhó. What we have learned from folks in Chiapas is that El Machete is now a criminal group that has lost the support of the population.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Saturday, March 4, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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