On 23 May, some 2000 people, including residents of the La Pimienta community and members of the Believing People, an organizational process that pertains to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, carried out a pilgrimage from Simojovel to said community where two children died recently, with another 29 hospitalized, after the application of immunizations. The objective was to protest against the public-health institutions, and to denounce the offer of compensation of 5,000 pesos from the state government to the families of the 31 affected children.
Upon the march’s arrival to La Pimienta, a communique was read that asserts that “we will not exchange our children for 5000 pesos, as is offered by Manuel Velasco’s government. That proposal is to us more than insulting. We do not have the words to describe our outrage. Life is not worth 5,000 pesos.”
Protestors challenged the official version presented by the Mexican Institute for Social Welfare (IMSS) and the Federal Commission for the Prevention of Health Risks (COFEPRIS) that indicates that 2 children died and 29 became ill not due to the immunizations that they had, but rather because of the way in which medical personnel applied them. Protestors claimed not to believe this story, “because there is no transparency.”
They also warned that “whoever tries to guarantee us that these 29 infants will turn out all right: what will happen if in 5 years they contract cancer, or some other incurable disease? If that happens, the government will say that it was due to lack of food and proper care. We are all concerned by this, that they may not turn out well, and that later we will have to leave our communities to access hospitals, thus spending what little money we have. For this reason, the government is responsible for everything, and it is not just this government, but also the ones to come.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Padres de niños vacunados en Chiapas rechazan compensación de 5,000 pesos (CNN México, 24 de mayo de 2015)
“Los bebés no los vamos a cambiar por cinco mil pesos, como ofrece el gobierno de Manuel Velasco”, habitantes de Simojovel, Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 23 de mayo de 2015)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):