Armed Attacks Intensify in Aldama, Chiapas

By Ángeles Máriscal

At least 47 armed aggressions were experienced in 72 hours by inhabitants of the indigenous municipality of Aldama, Chiapas in a simultaneous attack against 10 communities by an armed group that shot at them from the hamlet of Santa Marta, Chenalhó during the first days of November. 

They live amidst gunfire, attacks with high-caliber weapons, and bombs due to the apparent dispute over 60 hectares of land, which has made them the target of the aggressions that come from the town of Santa Marta, Chenalhó, a land dedicated to coffee cultivation and products of subsistence.

“Since 2016 the armed group has been mobilized and the government itself knows because it began due to a  dispute over lands where seven families lived who were attacked and threatened at gunpoint,” explains Apolonia, one of the inhabitants of the community of Ch’ivit, of Aldama.

Not even the patrols of the National Guard carried out since 2019 manage to stop the armed group that demands control of the territory. “The  patrols that the National Guard (and the state police of Chiapas) do,  couldn’t even get to where the shots are coming from because they themselves get shot at,” Nícolas explained, from the community of Coco´.

Family of indigenous affected by the violence of armed groups. Aldama, Chiapas.
Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

The attacks have become simultaneous in all of the communities of the strip that divides the municipality of Aldama with Chenalhó, where 115 community members and their families live, some in cement houses and others in temporary dwellings of wood. 

At least 3 thousand people have placed barricades in the roads with rocks that manage to stop the gunfire. Some must temporarily abandon their homes, when the detonations intensify. They are intermittently displaced. 

“Unfortunately, we have spoken with government officials, we demind that it investigates the armed groups, but there are no responses, unfortunately this situation continues,” Nícolas adds.  

Women, boys, girls, and men barely have enough food to survive because they cannot go to the coffee fields to pick their crop. They suffer permanent stress, María from Ch’ivit acknowledges, who has been away from her home for 3 days.

Displaced by the armed violence in Aldama. Chiapas. Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

“Sometimes I don’t eat, sometimes when I eat, the shots come (…) there is a lot of sadness, I am sick with sadness,” says one of the women while breastfeeding her baby. Along with five other families, they are now sheltered with neighbors who have homes far from the attack zone.

Traveling on the roads is also a risk. The people of Aldama must avoid the roads, crouching in the bushes. There are abandoned schools because the gunfire reaches the classrooms.

In Aldama, the villagers keep a detailed account of the aggressions, writing them in notebooks and reporting them to the authorities. On the part of the state and federal governments there are pacification agreements that are not respected; the villagers confirm that there is negligence by the authorities. 

To live in Aldama is to live amidst gunfire, trying to not get hit. On November 3, a group of reporters went to Aldama to talk to displaced people. The armed group fired towards the Ch’ivit community, where we were conducting interviews.

Entrance to Aldama. Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

This article was published on November 5, in Chiapas Paralelo. https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/11/se-intensifican-ataques-armados-en-aldama-chiapas/
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.