Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó

Iglesia de Chenalhó (@acteal.blogspot.com)

On 20 July, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) released an Urgent Action in light of the increase in violence against Catholics in the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, where two persons, Mariano Méndez Méndez and Luciano Méndez Hernández, were arrested by Evangelicals, “using the pretext of their having poisoned the community water.”  Both are support-bases for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).  A third person, Juan López Méndez, a Baptist, was also arrested for having expressed his disagreement with these kidnappings.  Witnesses cited by the CDHFBC declared that the three were beaten before being transferred to the offices of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Indigenous Justice in San Cristóbal de las Casas on 21 July.

In an update to its initial Urgent Action, the CDHFBC denounced the Special Office for “obstruction of the work of human-rights defense,” given that “it did not allow for the verification of the physical and psychological situation of the detained, given that several witnesses confirmed that they had been attacked.”

Beyond this, tensions continued in the Puebla ejido, with death-threats directed against Macario Arias Gómez and Francisco López Santis, while the Ejidal Commissioner of Puebla, Agustín Cruz, “has accused the Las Abejas Civil Society of having led and provoked a situation of instability experienced in the ejido over the construction of a new church.”

Furthermore, according to reports made by the CDHFBC, the people of the Puebla ejido lack water, “given that the authorities have decided to empty out the tanks that supply the community, leading to vulnerability among residents” in their totality.

It should be recalled that beyond being a conflict over religious difference, tensions in the Puebla ejido have been based in the use of a territory in this same community: from April to the present, the Catholic families decided to rebuild their church.  On 18 July, a group of people led by ejidal authorities of Evangelical persuasion destroyed what had already been built.

For more information (in Spanish):
Acción Urgente del CDHFBC (CDHFBC, 20 de julio de 2013)
Actualización de la Acción Urgente del CDHFBC (CDHFBC, 21 de julio de 2013)
Denuncia Frayba detención de tres indígenas católicos (La Jornada, 21 de julio de 2013)
Documentan golpiza a 3 indígenas de Chenalhó detenidos por evangélicos (La Jornada, 22 de julio de 2013)
Indagan supuesto envenenamiento de indígenas tsotsiles (El Universal, 21 de julio de 2013)
Acusan a evangélicos de destruir templo en Chiapas (El Universal, 19 de julio de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Las Abejas of Acteal on 22 May 2013 (7 June 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas lament release of yet another of those charged for Acteal massacre (27 March 2013)

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