On July 10th, 69 municipal agents from the 85 communities of Pantelho, four ejido commissariats, representatives of different religious denominations and between three and four thousand inhabitants, met in San Jose Tercero and declared their position on the situation in the municipality and demanded the resignation of the interim mayor, Delia Yaneth Flores Velasco, and the elected municipal president, Raquel Trujillo Morales, ex-partner of the former, both from the PRD.
They agreed to elect their authorities through the system of uses and customs and demanded that the federal and state governments recognize them through Congress. Furthermore, they stated that “the emergence of self-defense groups in Pantelho due to the presence of organized crime, the total absence of the federal and state governments, and the threats and murders, is true.”
The statement also denies what was stated in a video released on July 8th in which the elected municipal president, Raquel Trujillo Morales, affirms that there are paramilitary groups headed by Father Marcelo Perez, the parish priest of Simojovel.
They emphasize that the situation of violence has existed for more than 20 years, and despite having been denounced, it has persisted with an alarming increase in violence in recent months.
Regarding the self-defense groups, the same day a video was circulated in which the group of “Self-defense of the People of Pantelho” was presented, which reiterated that for 20 years, abuses by municipal authorities as well as murders have multiplied. In addition, it notes that “We entered because we do not want more deaths for the poor Tzeltal and Tsotsil campesinos, our patience is over, because in the federal and state governments we do not see any hope and because of our pain in the face of so much blood spilled we take the path of our history.”
It warned that once Pantelho is free from organized crime, they, as self-defense groups, will withdraw. They also warned President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Governor Rutilio Escandon not to send the National Guard, the Mexican Army or the state police to arrest them because they say “time is up.”
El Universal documented the presence of two burned cars and dozens of cartridges, linked to the July 8th confrontation between the self-defense group and members of the National Guard.
The violence that occurred in Pantelho has caused the displacement of hundreds of residents from that town and of Chenalho communities. These circumstances have been particularly painful and frightening for the families who survived the Acteal massacre, for whom the wave of violence began in the same way.
The Las Abejas Civil Society Organization reported that 225 people are sheltering in Acteal from the towns of Quextic Centro and Quextic Poblado, Chenalho, near Pantelho. It added that about 400 more residents, most of them from Pantelho, are in Yabteclum, Chenalho.
Finally, the bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, made a call to support the displaced from Pantelho and Chenalho. In order to serve them and provide humanitarian aid, the different parishes are mainly collecting food and clothing. There has been talk of 2,000 displaced persons, although the figures could be higher since they are scattered in several municipalities in Los Altos.
For more information in Spanish:
Exigen en Pantelhó la renuncia del alcalde electo y la interina (La Jornada, 12 de julio de 2021)
Exhorta obispo a apoyar a desplazados de Pantelhó por los conflictos (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 12 de julio de 2021)
Nace autodefensa en Pantelhó para combatir a grupos criminales | Video(Aristegui Noticias, 12 de julio de 2021)
Exigen renuncia de alcaldesa y presidente electo de Pantelhó (El Informador, 12 de julio de 2021)
Catean casas en Pantelhó y exigen la renuncia de la alcaldesa (Chiapas Paralelo, 12 de julio de 2021)
FOTOS: “El Machete”, grupo de autodefensas de Pantelhó, Chiapas, muestra su fuerza (Sin Embargo, 12 de julio de 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: