Yucatán police in Chablekal.
By: Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, Los de Abajo
La Jornada, 7th May, 2016
Behind the police onslaught on the town of Chablekal, Yucatán, can be seen the savage dispossession inflicted on this peninsular community by property developers and investors in tourism, and by the launch of the Yucatán Shield, a security strategy at the service of the owners of capital, according to an analysis by the team of human rights defenders Indignación A.C., whose members were also assaulted and arrested.
Chablekal is besieged territory, a paradise for speculators for two decades, because its privileged location, just some 20 kilometres from Merida, makes it perfect for wealthy families that don’t want to live in the city, but to be close to it.
On 3rd May, between 30 and 40 patrols saturated with members of the Yucatán police burst into this small community of barely 4,000 inhabitants, along with two fire trucks and ambulances, in order to execute an eviction order on a piece of land belonging to an old man facing a legal dispute with a relative who tried to sell his property.
Chablekal is a quiet town in which seemingly nothing happens. But the violent and disproportionate intrusion of the police woke up the population and made them confront them (the police), because they were as they were lashing out with everything, and firing tear gas against men, women, children and elders.
The arbitrariness and abuse, the detentions and violence, also convoked the solidarity and support of organizations throughout the country, including the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), who jointly denounced this act as: “an attempt to intimidate not only the Human Rights defenders but also the inhabitants of the community of Chablekal, who organized the Union of Inhabitants of Chablekal in Defence of land, territory, and natural resources in order to defend what remains of their territory from the theft and displacement they have suffered over the last few years on behalf of speculators and new landowners.”
The four arrested during the operation were released 48 hours later, but the Indignación Center states that multiple political, administrative and/or criminal responsibilities derived from the operation are pending. The team emphasises “this experience shows that a police state cannot be the basis for combatting the situation of insecurity and social conflict existing in Yucatán.”
The end result is a more united and organized community which has proved to itself that it can defend its people. And that they are not alone.