Clashes between Military and Residents of Chicomuselo, Chiapas; Opposition to Entry of Armed Forces

Residents of the Nueva América community in Chicomuselo claimed that the military pulled down the fences with which they protect themselves from organized crime and that they fired tear gas at them. Photo: Screenshot from video.

January 16th, 2024 Residents of the Nueva América community in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, clashed with elements of the Army and the National Guard, as they reject their entry into the area. They ask the authorities to act against the perpetrators of violence and not against the population.

Chicomuselo is threatened by the Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) and Sinaloa (CDS) cartels, who have caused clashes despite the fact that the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office assures that there is calm in the area.

This Tuesday the armed forces entered the communities of Chegel, Socoltenango, Puerto Rico, Nueva América, among others, which have resisted forced recruitment and displacement caused by criminal groups.

Residents of Nueva América in Chicomuselo Demand Halt to Attacks

In a statement signed by the civil society of the town of Chicomuselo, they called to address the violence in the communities, not only caused by organized crime but “now by the attack of the armed forces who are violating the civil society that has “decided to protect their towns from the growing violence.”

They explained that hundreds of people are fleeing the communities after the entry of the armed forces, as the authorities are accusing them of being part of a criminal group.

“They broke into the Nueva América ejido, removed the fences with which it had been secured to prevent the entry of the cartels, they fired tear gas and threatened the population, pointing out that they had identified some of them.”

In videos released, a group of farmers can be seen avoiding the passage of the military and trying to talk. Given this, a commander threatened the inhabitants.

“The problem is you cowards. Because they you afraid of two or three armed people. For that you must unite. And there are two or three, like you, like you bastard, who has the muzzle on your face. You are the one who pressures them or what? Take off the bandana. Don’t hide.”

“You who was also shouting Don’t you dare do it again, I know who you are, I know who you are bastard. I am going to enter the town and the others,” said the soldier.

In the statement, the residents of Nueva América in Chicomuselo criticized that the authorities are not protecting the places where criminal groups are or freeing blocked roads “but they are entering the communities where people are organized to take care of their ejidos.”

They also denounced forced migration due to violence in at least 27 communities.

For its part, the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office stated that “thanks to the coordination with the authorities of the three levels of government, calm prevails and the safety is guaranteed” of the inhabitants of Chicomuselo.

Residents Denounce Violence in Chicomuselo; Prosecutor’s Office Claims There Is Calm

Although residents of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, reported that on January 4th, a confrontation between organized crime groups left more than 20 dead, the State Prosecutor’s Office indicated that in the municipality “calm prevails.

In a statement released by the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, the inhabitants of Chicomuselo indicated that in the Nueva Morelia ejido, alleged members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel (CS) clashed for seven hours.

Due to these events, they report, there were more than 20 deaths, including two civilians whose bodies could not be recovered by their families, in addition to the fact that a day later, on January 5th, they had to leave the community.

Residents pointed out that on December 26th, the CJNG evicted the community of Limonar and that they hold the municipal seat with checkpoints, blockades and checks on citizens.

Increase in Violence in Chiapas: Clashes, Murders and Displacement

Violence in Chiapas has increased in the state in recent years, despite the fact that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador maintains that it is one of the least violent states and with the greatest benefits from his government.

Data from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System show an increase in intentional homicides in Chiapas since 2020, where it registered 419; in 2021 there were 429; and a drop in 2022 with 377.

However, as of November 2023, at least 457 intentional homicides had occurred in Chiapas, an increase of 17% compared to 2022, without the murders of last December still being considered.

On September 29th, more than 200 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) issued a statement in which they condemned the violence in the state and accused authorities of permissiveness and complicity with organized crime groups such as the CS and CJNG.

Meanwhile, on October 9th, hundreds of people came out to demand security and attention from the authorities due to the violence in the border area with Guatemala, in Frontera Comalapa, Chicomuselo, Siltepec, Mazapa de Madero, Amatenango de la Frontera, Bellavista, La Grandeza , El Porvenir, among other municipalities.

Original text and photo published on January 16th by Animal Politico.
Translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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