San Cristóbal under Police and Military Siege
After Monday’s violent events that left three people riddled with bullets and three houses burned, the municipal and state police forces, as well as the Mexican Army and the National Guard (GN) took control of the northern suburban area where armed groups mobilized yesterday, causing panic shooting their firearms.
With the execution of the indigenous leader Jerónimo Ruiz, various armed groups mobilized in the northern area of the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, shooting their weapons, heading towards El Pinar neighborhood where they burned at least three houses, one of them of the activist and human rights defender Pascuala López.
Jerónimo Ruiz was assassinated in one of the streets of the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood, in front of the house of a friend whom he had gone to visit, although he actually lived in the nearby Buena Esperanza neighborhood.
Jerónimo Ruiz’s supporters took over the main road, the Northern Peripheral, and blocked it with sticks and stones, burned tires, and murdered at least two people, presumably from El Pinar neighborhood.
Two important leaders of a moped gang or “Motonetos” from El Pinar, Pablo “N” and Cecilio “N”, who were adversaries of Jerónimo Ruiz, were recently arrested and taken to El Amate prison.
In San Cristóbal de Las Casas, “Motonetos” is the generic name for various gangs that have been created in this city since 2015, during the municipal government of Marco Cancino, a politician from the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM).
Los Jerónimos, was one of the groups of young people led by Jerónimo Ruiz, who gave security and protection more than personally to his businesses, squares and markets where he maintained a political leadership among vendors, merchants, artisans and other street vendors of thecity.
More than 24 hours after the violent events, the state and municipal police forces, the National Guard and the Mexican Army set up checkpoints at various points in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Mainly in the Northern Peripheral, where today there were only bullet holes in several houses, shell casings on the ground and evidence of burned tires in several sections.
In that peripheral there are some 50 colonies, most of them are inhabited by the indigenous Tsotsil people of the Chiapas Highlands, many who arrived in the eighties displaced by conflicts derived from religious intolerance and others displaced following the armed uprising of the EZLN in 1994.
In an interview, the mayor of San Cristóbal de Las Casas says that he hopes that with Pablo “N” and Cecilio “N” from El Pinar in prison and Jerónimo Ruiz assassinated, this will bring peace and tranquility to the municipality.
He recognizes that other illegal businesses go on in public markets and other centers of indigenous merchants, but that is already the task of the State Attorney General’s Office and the Republic Attorney General’s Office (FGR), that what goes on there is outside the scope of the municipal government and its police forces.
That is why Díaz Ochoa today asked the FGR and the FGE to intervene so that they are the ones to investigate what is happening in the region of the northern zone and the markets and squares because “there could be many surprises.”
He pointed out that the situation will calm down again and that tourism will be reactivated in the city.
Alba María Guadalupe Moguel, a hotel businesswoman and a leader of some 80 businesspeople in the same sector, points out that this wave of violence has already brought about a crisis in this sector, as hundreds or thousands of tourists and travel agencies have begun to cancel their visits to this city.
She points out that “the federal and local government’s policy of hugs, not bullets, has not yielded positive results and that, on the contrary, they have allowed crime to grow and leave those who create jobs and development in Chiapas helpless.”
Eduardo Villatoro Ramos, businessman and leader of the National Chamber of Commerce in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, points out that the situation is critical for businessmen in this city.
Villatoro poses that security has been a debt to the citizens of San Cristóbal de Las Casas by the state and municipal governments for many years.
He says that for many years conditions have not existed for companies to carry out their activities with guaranteed security.
He explains that the gangs have challenged and surpassed the local authorities, so the intervention of the Federation is urgent.
Translated by Schools for Chiapas.