Due to conflict, residents of the Yashtinín ejido destroyed 17 homes in the El Bosque community.
New armed attacks from paramilitary groups in Aldama were denounced by the authorities of the Communal Property of Manuel Utrilla Santa Martha, municipality of Chenalhó.
Community members of Chenalhó denounced that after the signing of the agreements with the federal and state governments, provocations have intensified with large-caliber firearm shooting.
Yesterday there were detonations of firearms from the municipality of Aldama, without any victims being reported, a situation that has occurred since last December 23.
The inhabitants stated that there has been no presence of the State Police or the National Guard since their pulled out, on October 11.
Despite the signing and ratification of non-aggression agreements, the residents of this municipality who live on the border with Chenalhó denounce that alleged paramilitary groups are keeping them under attack.
Luis Aguilar / courtesy Frayba
On Friday, September 4, at 10:24 in the morning, the brothers Mario and Juan Pérez Gutiérrez were working on their plot, in the community of San Pedro Cotzilnam, in the municipality of Aldama, Chiapas, when they heard gunshots behind them.
The shots came from the bank of the river that forms the border between the municipality of Aldama and that of Chenalhó, just from the point known as T’elemax. One bullet hit Mario and another hit Juan. They were both wounded in the back.
This is how the people of the communities on the banks of the river in Aldama live, always with the risk of a bullet fired from their neighbors in Chenalhó, with whom they have a dispute that began over 60 hectares of territory.
The land problems between the two areas date back to the 1970s when the Agrarian Reform took place in the country.
The residents of Aldama and organizations such as the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and the Ku’untik Human Rights Center accuse that the violence worsened when the former municipal president of Chenalhó, Rosa Pérez, reactivated, in 2015, the paramilitary groups, heirs of those who perpetrated the Acteal massacre in 1998.
The firearms attacks in the border area of both municipalities caused the displacement, in 2016, of 90 families from Cocó, 145 from Tabak and other areas of Aldama, who after a year returned to their communities, despite still being under attack by your neighbors.
Laura says that in addition to the counterinsurgency, the paramilitary groups want to keep the territory of Aldama. “They have told us, that these lands are already theirs and they will make us flee.”
The villager says that there are times that they shoot all night, there are times that they do it during the day. “If they see that there are people on the roads or working on the plots, they shoot us. We cannot cultivate. We cannot lead a normal life. All the time we are afraid of being shot. ”
Laura reports that the wounded from Friday’s attack, Mario and Juan, are fine. The injuries to his back were not serious. “The whole family was on the plot. It is time to go clean the coffee plantations. They were working and they were shot. We have already lost many crops to the attacks. We do not know how much we have lost but a lot. If we are going to work on the plots that is the risk, ending up injured or killed ”.
There are times, when they don’t shoot at someone who is on the plot or walking on the roads, that the bullets go towards the houses. “People have to run. We ran to hide in the mountains, when the bullets finished, we returned ”.
That is why, says Azalia Hernández, spokeswoman for Frayba, is that the Chiapas government assures that there are no longer displaced by this conflict, that people are at home, but they are always at risk of having to run to the mountains and return until the shooting stops. ”
The Frayba also points out that the State’s efforts to try to solve this conflict have not been effective because they are not comprehensive.
“They sit down with the municipal presidents of the two municipalities, but not with the representatives of the communities and sign peace agreements that are not fulfilled, the next day the Chenalhó groups are already attacking Aldama, it seems that instead of bringing the calm down, they activate the attacks ”, says Hernández.
The first of those peace agreements – with which the government of Rutilio Escandón planned to lay the foundations to resolve the conflict between the two sides – was signed on June 4, 2019 and was effective only for hours.
The undersecretary of Human Rights and Population of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, was present at the signing of the pact, which he considered the beginning of a new stage of peace and reconciliation.
The next day, June 5, around 10:22 p.m., Animal Político received a report from the residents of Aldama. “Around 7 at night there were firearms shots towards our communities, coming from Tojtik, Santa Martha, near the secondary school. Where is the Chenalhó peace pact? “
From then on the attacks, the wounded and the dead continued to accumulate.
To date, the town of Aldama has received more than 300 armed attacks from the Chenalhó groups, in which seven people have lost their lives and another 18 have been injured.
On July 17, the attacks on the residents of Aldama made the news again in the media when the bullets hit the 13-year-old girl, María Luciana Monday Pérez, while she was working at the loom at her home.
On Thursday, July 30, the municipal authorities of Aldama and Chenalhó ratified the non-aggression pact between both municipalities.
At the event, in the government palace, in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas was again, to witness the signing of the document.
“We have advanced and there are signs of will, but there are still attacks that cause damage to the physical integrity of the inhabitants of that area,” he said.
The scenario already experienced was repeated, after the ratification of the pact, the attacks continued, according to the reports of the Frayba and the residents.
From August 1 to 17, there was a peak in the number and intensity of firearms attacks on the Aldama communities, from Chenalhó. Later the National Guard arrived in the area and a dozen journalists made a tour. The thing calmed down. But last Friday the bullets hit Mario and Juan.
During Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the residents have been reporting to this portal attacks with weapons of different calibers.
“Most of the time they shoot into the air, just to scare us, to remind us that they are there, that we cannot go out to work, to walk, that we cannot continue life alone. And now there is also a campaign by those from Chenalhó to say that we attack them first, that we are the ones who shoot, when they publish videos carrying weapons that they have stolen from the police themselves, whom they have made flee the area ” says Laura.
Azalia Hernández points out that this conflict will not be resolved as long as the State, with the three branches of government included, does not propose and operate a comprehensive solution.
“They offer to give the communities social programs and sign peace agreements. In fact we know that they signed a third agreement, but now only with those of Chenalhó. We know that they made promises to give them programs and infrastructure. But they don’t investigate the facts. They say there are dead on both sides, because Aldama also attacks, and why don’t they investigate, why don’t they disarm the Chenalhó groups? ”
Animal Político requested an interview with the Chiapas government to discuss why the conflict between the two municipalities has not been resolved and why there is no investigation into the violent events, but until the end of this edition there was no response.