Chiapas: Thousands Support “El Machete” Self-defense Group in Pantelho as Militarization Increases


On July 18th in the San Jose Buenavista Tercero community, in Pantelho, around three thousand Tseltal and Tsotsil inhabitants of 86 communities in this municipality expressed their support for “El Machete” Self-Defense Forces and demanded the annulment of the municipal elections of June 6th.

At the meeting they indicated that what they consider a “narco government” (pointing to both the current mayor Delia Janeth Velasco Flores and the elected mayor, Raquel Trujillo Morales) they decided that on October 1st they will elect their new authorities through the uses and customs system, and that the self-defense groups will continue until the harassment and presence of criminal groups ends.

They recalled that their fight is not against the Mexican government, that it is not political, but “for life.” For this reason, the invitation to the meeting was directed not only to the media but also to authorities. Josefina Bravo, head of the Commission for Dialogue with the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico of the Ministry of the Interior, was present.

It should be remembered that violence between armed groups has left more than 3,000 people, mostly women and children, displaced in the last two weeks.

Faced with this, there has been a significant increase in the presence of the armed forces, which has provoked different reactions. For example, on July 16th, Las Abejas de Acteal published a statement in which they asked the three levels of government not to allow soldiers to enter the camps of the displaced, since it was supposedly to carry out operations to search for weapons. They said that regarding “the actions of the soldiers we are not satisfied because we see that many of our members of Las Abejas are worried and many of them fall ill due to sadness. These actions of the soldiers, the survivors, remember how they suffered in 1997, that the paramilitaries were accompanied by the public security of the state.”

For more information in Spanish:

Chiapas: autodefensas desconocen a autoridades y elegirán a las propias (El Mileno, 19 de julio de 2021)

Autodefensas de Chiapas piden anular elección municipal de Pantelhó (La Jornada. 18 de julio de 2021)

Miles de indígenas mostraron respaldo a autodefensas de Pantelhó, Chiapas (ChiapasParalelo, 18 de julio de 2021)

Le pedimos a los tres niveles de gobierno a que no permita a que los soldados entren en los campamentos de los desplazados (Las Abejas de Acteal, 16 de julio de 2021)

Alerta urgente. Riesgo a la libertad e integridad personal, garantías judiciales y libre tránsito Los Altos de Chiapas (Comunicado Frayba, 16 de julio de 2021)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/National: HR Observation Mission for Forced Displacement of 3,205 People from Pantelho y Chenalho (July 16, 2021)

Chiapas: Conflict in Pantelho Continues (July 15, 2021)

Chiapas: HR Defender Simon Pedro Perez Lopez Murdered (July  6, 2021)

Chiapas: Violence with Grave Consequences for Pantelho and Surrounding Communities (July 12, 2021)

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