Another “Self Defense” group of armed civilians appears in Chiapas

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This is the fourth group to rise up in Chiapas: two months ago, the group “El Machete” came to light in Pantelhó; as well as “Los de la Selva” and “Fuerzas Armadas de Simojovel (Simojovel Armed Forces)”.

And now, a new group of armed civilians – called self-defense groups – made up of indigenous people and farmers, emerged in the Mexican state of Chiapas, southeast of the country, to demand the rights of indigenous Tzeltales and Tojolabales in conflicts after the elections of June 6, according to this report. Thursday (07.10.2021).

The armed group appeared in the municipality of Altamirano and announced that they will not allow Mayor Gabriela Roque Tipacamu, wife of former Mayor Roberto Pinto Kanter, to take office. They also indicated that they will join the group that has held Pinto Kanter since September 30, when they also installed a blockade at the entrances and exits of the municipality.

At least a dozen people with rifles and shotguns stormed Altamirano to join the protests against the couple, whom they accused of a “chiefdom” of just over nine years that they want to extend. The group of residents pointed out that the couple “has plunged the municipality into poverty and caused a lack of development.” Roque Tipacamu won the elections on June 6 to succeed her husband in the municipal presidency, but eight days ago, a hundred people “fed up with the failure to comply with social work during 9 years of government” detained Pinto Kanter against his will.

In a statement, the armed group accused the wealthy politicians “of protecting each other, they want to deceive us, believing that because they changed their color (political party) they are already new, what never changes is their indifference towards us, the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Indigenous people.

They added that the indifference of the governments has united them and forced them to arm themselves to remove the couple from power and accused them of taking advantage of their position to enrich themselves, as well as leaving the people abandoned, in need. In addition, they affirmed that in the municipality of Altamirano, as in all of Chiapas, “democracy and justice have a price” for which they endorsed their support for the peoples who have taken up arms. 

“We tell them that they have our support, we will help them defend this territory at the cost of whatever it takes so that there are no more criminals and thieves, so that corrupt governments end,” they said.

This is the fourth group of armed civilians, of indigenous origin, to rise up in Chiapas. Two months ago, the group El Machete came to light in Pantelhó; as well as Los de la Selva and the Simojovel Armed Forces. All have said that their objective is to put an end to organized crime groups and “bad governments” in the jungle area and the mountains of Chiapas.

For just over a week the municipality of Altamirano has been in protest, and for this reason, they have closed the communication channels to demand the installation of a municipal council and the installation of a dialogue table chaired by the State Government. 

The so-called “self-defense groups” also exist in the states of Michoacán and Guerrero, where they were born in 2013 as a result of the threat of organized crime.

Self Defense groups exist as well as in the central state of Morelos.

Source: DW

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