On January 25th, more than 5,000 Catholics from the different municipalities of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas made a pilgrimage to the city 12 years after the passing of Jtatik Samuel Ruiz Garcia, “who was a prophet and pastor, who accompanied the people. He is still alive in the memory of these people, who are pilgrims, who strengthen us on our journey. We also unite to manifest all the abuses and injustices, violence and insecurity that we are experiencing and to boost our hope”, they declared.
At 8 o’clock in the morning, the Believing People began their pilgrimage from two points: one group left from the eastern exit and the other from the southern exit of San Cristobal de Las Casas. Most of the people were Tzotziles, Tzeltales, Tojolabales, and Choles, who were formed into contingents according to their different municipalities, accompanied by the priests of the respective parishes. With songs for peace and the life of Mother Earth, flowers and banners, they demonstrated against the presence of organized crime. The two groups met after walking several kilometers at the intersection of the bus terminal bound for the city’s central park to end with a ceremony and mass.
In the main square of San Cristobal, several parents and the chancellor of the diocese shared their words, and Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez read the statement of the Believing People, pointing out the presence of organized crime “in a context of dispute and control of the territory, leading us to a climate of generalized violence, threats, confrontations, disappearances and murders (…) as well as the recruitment of young people.” In addition, he highlighted the permissiveness of the three levels of government generating impunity and injustice, apart from “alliances of certain politicians with power groups, organized crime, some social organizations and caciques.”
“We live in a permanent dispossession of our goods, of our lands, waters, forests. These are other causes of migration and the destruction of families in the countryside and in the city. (…) As Original People we can continue to exist building peace and justice, if we seek our roots and strengthen our culture, our languages and the recognition of our rights. (…) We demand an end to the destruction of families with violence, displacement, kidnapping, the dispossession of the territory and the insecurity that is growing with the increase in weapons and the presence of organized crime. We demand respect for women in all areas of society; that their right to decide freely is not impeded. We demand that the fight for the defense of the self-determination of our peoples and the defense of the territory in which we live be stopped from being criminalized”, the statement of the Believing People expressed and indicated as an alternative the search for peace and reconciliation in the communities, according to Chiapas Paralelo.
For more information in Spanish:
Pueblo Creyente rememora a jTatic Samuel a 12 años de su partida y denuncian violencia y crisis en sus comunidades (Chiapas Paralelo, 26 de enero de 2023)
Se agrava presencia del crimen organizado en Chiapas (La Jornada, 25 de enero de 2023)
For more information from SIPAZ: