Campesino from Tabak wounded in Aldama, Chiapas

Overlooking a protective wall toward Santa Martha Chenalhó from Aldama.

By Hermann Bellinghausen

In the midst of incessant gunfire attacks on the Tzotsiles communities of Aldama, Chiapas, 25-year-old Artemio Pérez Pérez was wounded in the chest this morning in the community of Tabak, where he is originally from. The shooting from T’elemax, in Santa Martha, municipality of Chenalhó, began at nine o’clock in the morning and lasted until after midday on Wednesday.

According to the Permanent Commission of the 115 community members and displaced persons of Aldama, the wounded were first attended to in the basic hospital of the municipality, and later transferred to the Hospital de las Culturas, located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Last night his condition was reported as critical due to gastric bleeding and lung perforation.

The shooting began in the early hours of Wednesday, when bullets rained down from Tok’oy Saclum (Chenalhó) in the direction of Coco’ Aldama shortly after midnight.

The permanent commission of 115 community members and displaced persons reports every day on the paramilitary aggressions they suffer without the authorities intervening to stop the violence, under the false argument that it is a case of crossfire.

Last Monday, shots from large caliber weapons came from El Templo, Chalontik, Puente, Tijera Caridad, in Santa Martha, against Juxton, community of Aldama.

Every day it is the same and the displaced people wonder how long these armed groups in Chenalhó will continue to attack us with impunity.

As part of this unresolved territorial conflict between the municipalities of Aldama and Chenalhó, in the Chiapas highlands, the indigenous people who have been attacked also demand the liberation of their compañero Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez, a social fighter and prisoner of the Chiapas state government. His only crime is to denounce the injustices that his people of Magdalena Aldama are experiencing from the paramilitary groups of Santa Martha.

For its part, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) demanded that the Secretary General of Government immediately address the serious situation of human rights violations, and fulfill his duty to safeguard the rights of the inhabitants of the communities of the municipality of Aldama.

To the Secretary of Health, Frayba requested that the rights to health of the young Artemio Pérez Pérez, who was injured on Wednesday while working, be respected. The organization highlights his vulnerability due to the health context in which Chiapas currently finds itself, where, despite being elevated to code yellow (which allows for activities with precautions outside the home), the risk of contagion of Covid-19 is still present.

The NGO demanded that the State Prosecutor’s Office initiate investigations against those responsible for the criminal acts and punish the material and intellectual authors.

This article was originally published in Spanish in La Jornada on October 1st, 2020. This English interpretation has been republished by Schools for Chiapas.

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