Indigenous people from the state of Chiapas, in southern Mexico, have just formed self-defense groups to protect themselves from armed gangs.
Criticized by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who sees it as a facade camouflaging the actions of criminal groups, self-defense movements have multiplied in Mexico since the 1990s, mainly in the southern state of Guerrero and more recently in the state. neighbor of Michoacán. There are around 50, according to an official count.
Grouped under the evocative term
El Machete (
the Machete), members of the Tzotzil and Tzeltzal nations gathered with hooded faces in the soccer stadium of the small community of San José Tercero, in the municipality of Pantelhó.
In a staging in the form of a warning to these criminal organizations linked to the drug cartels, they marched on Sunday showing the arsenal they have.
In front of the villagers gathered in the stands, these militiamen, for the most part men, brandished machetes and automatic assault rifles.
One of the spokespersons of these self-defense groups
People justified the decision to arm for
face injustice, defend their lives against drug traffickers, while accusing the local authorities of collusion with these criminals.
These militias demand that an audit be launched by the authorities on the management of public resources. They threatened to prevent the entry into office scheduled for October 1 of the elected mayor who will succeed his wife.
El Machete stormed into the town of Pantelhó, confronting a rival group with handguns, causing thousands of people to flee to rural communities.
On the same day, dozens of soldiers and police entered the city to restore order, but were ambushed the next day, which left six police officers dead and three wounded soldiers.
Since December 2006, when the government of Felipe Calderon launched a military anti-drug offensive, 300,000 murders have been perpetrated in Mexico.
During this period, the main cartels have atomized to the point that around 200 groups are now active in the country, according to the NGO.Insight Crime.
In May, 2,963 assassinations were recorded in Mexico, and since January there have been 14,243, according to the government.