Chiapas: Resurgence of conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in Mitzitón

Tala de árboles en los Altos de Chiapas(@cgt)

Photo @ CGT Chiapas

On 29 June, inhabitants of the community of Mitzitón, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle announced that the community assembly of this town has taken “the decision to act against the criminals who operate in Mitzitón and who will be subjected to the sanctions agreed by our assembly, which are that from this moment they lose any land or community rights and therefore they should leave our area immediately.”

They explained: “Our community is divided by external economic interests, which have been harming our forests through the excessive logging of pine trees. And even though we have filed many complaints with the General Prosecutor of Justice of the state, they have not arrested anyone for the crime.”

After a community trial, eight people were detained.  Inhabitants of Mitzitón destroyed and burned about 25 homes of evangelicals belonging to a group that is known as “The Shrimps,” who they identify as logging trees illegally. Afterwards, the group whose houses were destroyed blocked the road from San Cristóbal to Comitán to seek the intervention of the authorities.

On June 30, the police unblocked this road, displacing nearly 100 indigenous evangelicals who were demanding the release of their arrested compañeros, after the Catholics handed them over to the State Police.

It should be remembered that since October 2013, the authorities in Mitzitón who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle have not recognised the land rights of 23 families allegedly engaged in illegal logging.

The evangelical pastor Esdras Alonso González, leader of the grouping Wings of the Eagle, said in an interview with La Jornada that the families whose homes were destroyed have received more than three million pesos from the previous government since 2011 to relocate to another location, but their leaders “kept the money.”

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General of Justice of the State reported that it “issued an arrest warrant against seven” people from Mitzitón accused of kidnapping, for events that occurred on September 11, 2013 in the same area. One of the detainees was released.

For more information (In Spanish):

Denuncia del pueblo de Mitzitón, Chiapas (Enlace zapatista, 29 de junio de 2014)

Católicos retienen a 8 evangélicos en Mitzitón, Chiapas (El Universal, 29 de junio de 2014)

Desbloquean la carretera Panamericana, tomada por indígenas evangélicos de Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de junio de 2014)

Acusa pastor a líderes evangélicos de quedarse con el dinero para la reubicación de 25 familias (la Jornada, 1ero de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Chiapas: people of Mitzitón recognize errors and name new authorities (April 3, 2012)

Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released (November 26, 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats and aggression in Mitzitón (May 31, 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (February 10, 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (October 25, 2010)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: