Armed Group Breaks in on the Election of Authorities in Oxchuc

By Ángeles Máriscal

After declaring Enrique Gómez López the winner, an armed group fired shots at those who remained in the central plaza of Oxchuc.

Chiapas -The election of municipal authorities of Oxchuc, an indigenous town in the Highlands of Chiapas, was breached when an armed group broke into the central plaza, leaving one dead, Pedro Santíz López, and several injured. Residents identify the attackers as members of the organization “Sentiments of the Nation.”

Since 2018, the election of authorities in Oxchuc, is carried out within the normative indigenous system, in order to prevent political parties from manipulating the process and imposing as governors the family members that have acquired power over more than a decade.  

This past Tuesday, more than 14 thousand indigenous people from 142 communities and the various neighborhoods of Oxchuc participated in the election that was celebrated in the plaza of the municipal capital. 

There were five women and five men introduced as candidates, who the attendees went about eliminating until only two remained. Between those, Enrique Gómez Lopez was declared the winner.

The Community Electoral Body of the municipality of Oxchuc (OECMO) gave official recognition to the winner. Moments later, shouts of rejection were heard, and then some people started throwing rocks, bottles, chairs, rockets and other artifacts. 

At that moment, an armed group of twelve men entered the plaza, shooting with rifels at those who were still there. Pedro Santiz López, from the community of Tsúnunilja, died as a consequence of the gunfire.

The supporters of the mayor elect, Enrique Gómez López, allege that those who were shooting are from an organization called “Sentiments of the Nation,” which started in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas. 

Members of the Election and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC), and personnel from the State Attorney General’s and Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection took part in the election as observers.

In a press release., the IEPC demanded that competent authorities investigate and punish the deeds. 

It stated that during the process, prior to the act of aggression, “the citizens of Oxchuc, turned out en masse to participate in this democratic exercise, in peace and in order.” 

This article was published in Aristegui Noticias on December 15th, 2021. English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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