On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants. They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.
These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built. In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months. White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.
Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision. The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Acción Urgente: “Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)
Blog de la Misión de Observación: http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/
Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)
Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)