This weekend, before the general population, the official presentation of the Tzotzil and Tzeltzil Indians of Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico, who formed self-defense groups.
The newly formed and named “Self-defense groups of the El Machete people”, met at the football stadium of the small community of San José Tercero, in the municipality of Pantelho, where they were observed by the residents from the stands.
One of the spokesmen said in a speech that they decided to arm themselves before “Injustice, to defend his life and against the hitmen of the drug trade” and accused local authorities of colluding with criminals.
A crowd of self-defense groups, mostly men and with their faces covered, paraded on the field carrying weapons, ranging from machetes even automatic rifles.
The leaders of the groups denounced alleged attacks by the mayor’s office, demanded that public resources be audited and warned that on October 1 they will not allow the elected mayor, husband of the current local leader, Delia Janet Velasco Flores, to take office.
On July 7, “El Machete” violently broke into the municipal seat of Pantelho facing bullets with a rival group, which left thousands displaced from rural communities.
It was through a video on social networks that four individuals with long weapons they awarded said irruption, also by way of presentation as a group of self-defense groups.
The same day dozens of soldiers and policemen entered the town to maintain order, but they were ambushed on July 8, leaving six policemen and three soldiers wounded.
According to Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, AC (Frayba), about 2,000 people have been displaced due to the generalized violence of organized crime and the failure of the Mexican State to address the situation.
This association has obtained documents that indicate the presence of a criminal group in the municipality of Pantelhó, which acts in complicity with the town hall to form part of the structures of municipal power, currently linked to the Party of the Democratic Revolution (FART).
Some of the issues that the residents of this region have suffered have been checkpoints, blockades and incursions by the criminal group, in the company of elements of the municipal and state police.
So far there have been operations of the Sinaloa Cartel, which has full control of the border with Guatemala; of Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which extends to the southwestern coast; and from Gulf Cartel, with a small strip of power that extends from the Pacific to the border with Oaxaca and the southern part of Veracruz.
This struggle to obtain the square of Chiapas It would be the trigger for the violence and forced displacement of the inhabitants of Pantelhó, since they would seek to eliminate their enemies without measuring the force of fire or if there is an innocent person involved.
Self-defense movements have proliferated since the 1990s in Mexico, mainly in the southern state of Guerrero and more recently in neighboring Michoacán.
Although the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejects these groups, it is estimated that they reach fifty.
Perhaps one of the most widely recognized examples in Mexico is the one born on January 1, 1994, in the community of San Cristóbal, in the mountains of Chiapas, better known as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
* With AFP information.