Conflict between Parties Unleashes Violence in Chenalho
Families displaced due to violence in Chenalho Photo@:Quorum Informativo
In March, faced with the context of violence stemming from the post-electoral conflict in the municipality of Chenalho, several organizations and the Coordination of the Parish of San Pedro Apostol of this municipality issued statements to express their concerns, demand that the State to disarm armed groups and ensure the integrity and personal safety and life of the villagers of the municipality.
The parish of San Pedro Apostol recalled in its pronouncement how the Massacre of Acteal came about almost twenty years ago and declared with great concern “how history seems to repeat itself: acts of violence, threats, dead and wounded, displaced people, burnt houses, actions by armed groups, arms trafficking.” What most distresses the parish is that “the authorities do nothing to solve the problem (…) they abandon their responsibility to enforce justice and the law, which is the only reason for their existence as authorities.” It points out that the two sides of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) are armed with weapons considered “for exclusive use by the army.” So far, the conflict has resulted in over 200 displaced persons and four deaths: “It is public and notorious that in the municipality the armed groups have bee reactivated and are acting with total freedom and impunity.” The parish called on the inhabitants of Chenalho so that “as Christians they refrain from engaging in acts of violence against their own brothers.”
In a joint statement, civil organizations blamed the State for “action and omission, in a context of violence that could continue to escalate.” They also alleged that they had been insisting on the disarmament of the paramilitary groups that perpetrated the Acteal Massacre in 1997 and that “not only have they not listened to us in terms of disarmament, but also the armed groups have been reactivated under the current administration of Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.” They stated that, “the authorities cannot continue to evade their responsibility in the face of the evident and obvious consequences of the unpunished actions of armed groups and arms trafficking in the region.”
They asked if “this mode of action is a prolongation of the counterinsurgency in which the paramilitaries are the material executors of the plan drawn up by the Army? Is it connivance and active complicity of the authorities with criminal groups? Or is it simple and crass inability to govern? Or perhaps it is a question of creating a sense of ungovernability to justify the Internal Security Law that seeks to institutionalize the action of the Mexican Army in tasks that correspond by their nature to civil authority?”