On August 3rd, the first round of dialogue was held between representatives of the 86 indigenous communities and 18 neighborhoods of Pantelho and state and federal authorities. Religious representatives and human rights organizations were present to try to find a solution to the violent situation in the municipality.
The dialogue, which took place in the municipal center, was carried out with the mediation of a commission of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, in which the representatives of the 86 indigenous communities and 18 neighborhoods made six requests in the presence of the authorities: first, that they recognize that there is a problem in the municipality, that is, the existence of organized crime in the town hall; second, they asked for justice for the victims of organized crime and punishment for the guilty; third, to be recognized as an indigenous people and to respect the appointment of the uses and customs authorities; fourth, that an audit be carried out on the municipalities of Pantelho headed by Santos Lopez Hernandez and Velazco Flores; fifth, prohibit bars and drug sales in the municipality; and finally, the sixth request, that the current president, Delia Yanet Velazco Flores, resign and that the newly elected, Raquel Trujillo Morales, not take office.
Faced with the residents’ proposals, government officials promised to return to the municipality on August 6th with concrete responses.
It is worth mentioning that representatives of the El Machete People’s Self-defense Group did not participate in the dialogue, but only authorities from the communities and neighborhoods in Pantelho. However, Machete support bases warned that they will not leave the municipal seat until a municipal government democratically elected by the authorities of the 86 communities is in place in the town hall.
For more information in Spanish:
Pobladores y autodefensas de Pantelhó declaran a su municipio libre de alcohol y drogas (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de agosto)
Indígenas no se irán de Pantelhó hasta que tome posesión el gobierno electo democráticamente ( El Proceso, 3 de agosto)
Exigen gobierno de usos y costumbres en Pantelhó (La Jornada, 4 de agosto)
Pantelhó acuerda nuevas elecciones (El Universal, 4 de agosto)
For more information from SIPAZ: