Oxchuc: From a postelectoral conflict to a social one

by Chiapas Support Committee

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Protesters paint: “Maria Gloria Out” on Oxchuc municipal building.

By: Isaín Mandujano

The Oxchuc Rebellion…

Many weeks ago Oxchuc went from being a post-electoral conflict to being a social conflict.

The post-electoral protest that the ex-candidates for mayor of the Nueva Alianza and the Chiapas Unido started after the July 19, 2015 elections was rebuffed in the beginning by state authorities, but with the passing of months spread like foam.

Little by little more and more of the 115 communities that make up the Tzeltal Indigenous municipio (county) of Oxchuc added themselves to the protest.

The entire town rose up to put an end to the political bossism (cacicazgo) that the husband and wife Norberto Sántiz López [1] and María Gloria Sánchez Gómez have maintained for more than a decade, all with the support of the PRI and now of the PVEM.

According to the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation Ciudadana (IEPC, its initials in Spanish), María Gloria Sánchez Gómez won at the ballot box in accordance with the local and federal tribunals. But the residents are convinced that if she won, it was not cleanly and transparently. She did everything in the purest style that characterizes the PRI and the PVEM, bullying and conditioning delivery of government aid, buying votes, bussing in voters, stuffing ballot boxes, cloning ballots, etcetera.

From the Secretary General of Government, all of the PRI structure encrusted in important positions moves and covers up for Norberto Sántiz López and María Gloria Sánchez Gómez, who started a political boss system in that municipio dating from the time of ex-governor Roberto Albores Guillén. [2]

They support and defend her insistently from the Government Palace. They don’t leave María Gloria and her husband alone. They defend their interests, the political interests, the economic interests and those of her party.

For the time being, those in the General Ministry of Government are looking for someone to blame in order to hide their inefficiency. They accuse the PVEM’s local deputy, Cecilia López Sánchez, of being behind it and she has firmly denied that accusation. Nevertheless, they now want to take away immunity.

State authorities believed that it was going to be easy to sway and negotiate with Oxchuc’s residents. They thought that it would be the same as with the Chamulas, that offering them municipal government posts and public works would silence them.

In Oxchuc they are decided to not let them govern more. The entire population said: “Ya basta!”

And as the days pass the movement doesn’t diminish, it gets stronger. The most recent support is from the parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa disappeared. And, many other local social groups locales now start to come and give them backing.

That’s because what was started here was a fight against political bosses [caciques)
that proliferate in the majority of the 122 municipios de Chiapas just
like they do in Oxchuc. Oxchuc is just the tip of the iceberg of all the
conflicts that are there and haven’t yet broken out.

The State Congress del Estado resists letting her fall and installing a municipal council as residents demand.

We’ll see how much more time passes and how it continues to grow.

“It’s
no longer post-electoral, but rather social as many people lead it,
since the communities of this municipio have expressed their opposition
in a single voice and demand the immediate dismissal of Sánchez Gómez
and her town council,” says Oscar Gómez López of the Permanente
Commission of Justice and Dignity of Oxchuc.

—*—

Translator’s Notes:

[1] Norberto Sántiz López was a former mayor of Oxchuc. Agents of Mexico’s Attorney General arrested him as he was trying to leave the country in 2005. The charges against him were related to misappropriating municipal funds for his personal enrichment. He was also alleged to be the leader of a paramilitary group known as the “Anti-Zapatista Revolutionary Indigenous Movement” (Movimiento Indígena Revolucionaria Antizapatista, MIRA). Before going to prison, Santiz López arranged for his wife to replace him as mayor. Her installation was widely publicized as the election of Mexico’s first Indigenous woman mayor.

33c76f6d-150c-4d50-97eb-de3fba75d4b6[2] Roberto Albores Guillén was appointed substitute governor of Chiapas on January 7, 1998. His predecessor had been forced out following the Acteal Massacre. He remained interim governor until December 2000 when his successor took office. Albores Guillén did a lot of anti-Zapatista stuff and is the ex-governor the Zapatistas call “Croquetas” (Dog Biscuits).

See also: http://compamanuel.com/2016/01/13/66-police-injured-in-oxchuc-chiapas-confrontation/

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, January 18, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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