In the Tila ejido, this Friday, January 12, at 7:15 pm, members of a narco-paramilitary group known as Autodefensas KARMA assassinated Carmen López Lugo, former president of the vigilance council (2018-2021) and member of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).
This murder is just one more violent act in a long list of crimes committed by this criminal group, which according to the ejidatarios has ties to the city council, the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia, and other organized crime groups.
This group is led by the plurinaminal 1 councilwoman of the municipal council, Adelaida Martínez Parcero, and her brother José Rodrigo Martínez Parcero, in coordination with the supposed comissioner Eduardo Gutiérrez Martínez, who were illegally appointed with falsified signatures, including those of deceased ejidatarios, as the ejidatarios have repeatedly denounced.
So, in December 2015, tired of the outrages of justice, the ejidatarios decided to expel the municipality from their lands on their own, thus initiating a process of autonomy in practice. Self-government was established according to usos y costumbres, vehicles were acquired for garbage collection, autonomous justice and other areas of autonomy were put into practice. That same month, the ejdiatarios denounced the reactivation of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia by the municipal president Édgar Leopóldo Gómez Gutiérrez.
Despite the fact that in September 2018 the Supreme Court ruled for the restitution of the lands, the government of Chiapas has refused to execute the sentence, resorting to a strategy that combines imposition of spurious ejido authorities through falsification of signatures, direct violence by narco-paramilitary groups and a disinformation campaign, hand in hand with the Digna Ochoa Committee, which blames the autonomous authorities for the very violence committed by said groups, even accusing them of belonging to the EZLN. It is important to highlight that the Digna Ochoa Committee has been linked to the paramilitary group Peace and Justice as well as to the Santa Marta paramilitaries in Chenalhó, who for years terrorized the communities of Aldama.
For several years now, the criminal group linked to the Martínez Parcero family and the supposed ejidal commissioner Eduardo Gutierrez Martínez has carried out innumerable aggressions, murders, kidnappings and destruction of property, as denounced in a communiqué dated October 23, 2023, among others. In November of that year, the KARMA self-defense group attacked the houses of the president of the vigilance council and the former ejidal commissioner with high caliber weapons, setting fire to the latter, and later attacked the ejidal house. In the center of the village, very much in the style of organized crime, they placed a banner warning the ejidatarios to leave the village within 12 hours.
The Tila ejido has a long history of struggle for land, in particular to recover 130 hectares, which were illegally taken in the 1980s, where the town of Tila is located and where the municipal town hall was unconstitutionally established. It was from this town hall that, in the 1990s, the paramilitary activities of the extremely violent Paz y Justicia group were coordinated as part of the State’s counterinsurgency strategy in response to the Zapatista uprising. This is one of the reasons why the ejidatarios have fought so hard to recover these 130 hectares and expel the municipality. In 2008, the first court ruled in favor of the ejidatarios and ordered the restitution of the land. However, the state government resorted to all kinds of tricks to not comply with the ruling.
All of these aggressions have been denounced to the State Prosecutor’s Office and the three levels of government, without any result.
The violence continues. Yesterday, while a mass was being held for the death of Carmen López Lugo, three people were shot at in a butcher’s shop, killing at least one of them. As usual, in the social networks, the autonomous ejidatarios were blamed, in line with the disinformation campaign. The situation of violence in the Tila ejido reaches alarming levels at the beginning of this electoral year, in which the different organized crime groups are fighting for a position in the various government structures. Meanwhile, the ejidatarios are resisting with everything against them. It is up to civil society not to fall into the games of disinformation and to defend an autonomy project that has been an example for the entire northern zone of the state of Chiapas, so hard hit for 30 years by paramilitary and, now, narco-paramilitary violence.
Original text published by Radio Zapatista on January 15th, 2023. https://radiozapatista.org/?p=47278
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.