Italian citizen murdered in San Cristóbal de las Casas

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The murderers attacked Michele Colosio, 42, when he was walking to a nearby store to do some shopping.

An Italian volunteer from the Yi ‘bel ik’Raiz (Root of the Wind) community house, Michele Colosio, 42, was killed last night in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas, according to the organization and the family of the deceased.

“Michele Colosio has been assassinated last night. His well-known and wide smile faded, he was killed in an assault, one block away from his house, returning from the festivities for the European Championship [that Italy won on Sunday] “, reported Yi ‘bel ik’Raiz through a message that was spread on social media.

After knowing the news, the mother of the victim, Daniela Stanga, has also expressed her grief through a brief statement. “He did not deserve such a death, he was just a boy who had gone to Mexico to help others,” said the woman, speaking to the Rai 24 News channel.

RIP Michele Colosio

The aggression takes place in a context of growing violence in the area, hit in recent years increasingly hard by drug trafficking and organized crime, which has already led to several murders of civilians, as the local diocese has insistently denounced.

In the case of Colosio, according to a first reconstruction, he was killed in the street by shots from a motorcyclist, although the reasons are not yet clear.

Specifically, the murderers attacked Colosio when he was walking to a nearby store to do some shopping, according to his mother. “It happened at ten o’clock last night when it was early morning here [in Italy],” added the woman who is evaluating the possibility of traveling to Mexico in the next few hours.

Colosio, originally from a town in northern Italy, Borgosatollo, and who in the past had worked as a radiologist, owned a small farm with animals where he carried out education projects for the rural communities of San Cristóbal and nearby towns, the Italian press has reported.

The young Italian lived in Mexico full time, and only occasionally returned to Italy. The last time was in September of last year when he came to spend some time with his mother again,” said Borgosatollo Mayor Giacomo Marniga, adding that his father had recently died and his brother also lives outside of Italy.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reported that it is in contact with the Mexican authorities and with the victim’s family, whose mortal remains will probably be repatriated in the coming days.

“The Italian embassy is in contact with the Mexican authorities and police to follow up on the case, and is providing maximum assistance to the victim’s relatives,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, July 13th.

Likewise, the case has also elicited cross-sectional reactions from the Italian political arc.

This death “plunges the country into mourning. Colosio for years was dedicated to helping the poorest populations of Mexico. A humanitarian task with enormous value, which describes the enormous human quality of someone who was a citizen of the world.” said Lia Quartapelle, from the Foreign Department of the Progressive Democratic Party (PD).

“The news of the murder in Mexico of an Italian volunteer from the province of Brescia is very sad. […] I hope that now the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are activated so that the Mexican authorities shed light on this savage homicide, ”said Fabrizio Cecchetti, a deputy for the ultra-nationalist League.

Fabrizio Cechetti

A ceremony in memory of the volunteer has been organized this Tuesday in the cathedral of Brescia, and another, in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

In the note in which it communicated Colosio’s death, the Yi ‘bel ik’Raiz organization also highlighted that San Cristóbal de las Casas is “already at the mercy of so many armed groups (common criminality, organized crime, drug traffickers, criminal groups and paramilitaries, hitmen in uniform, etc.) who act with impunity thanks to the blind eye of all governments and the corruption of all police forces ”, the Yi ‘bel ik’Raiz organization stated.

Just a few days ago, on July 6, the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas issued a statement denouncing the murder of Simón Pérez López, a Tzotzil indigenous and catechist of the parish of Santa Catarina, in Pantelhó, and former president of the NGO the Civil Organization Abejas de Acteal.

According to this statement, “several inhabitants of the municipality of Pantelhó” have denounced for several years “threats from people from the municipal authority in collusion with organized crime”, as well as “murders of people which are unsolved”, wrote the diocese, in a document signed by Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez and his auxiliary Luis Manuel Alfaro López.

“After the June 6 elections, violence and murders have increased in this municipality,” they explained. “We see again in Chiapas the reactivation of forces that mutated from paramilitaries to organized crime,” they added. 

2021 is being a particularly sad year for Italian volunteers abroad.

In April the lay missionary Nadia De Munari was assassinated in Peru and, always in the same month, Christian Carlassare, a bishop in South Sudan, was also attacked, who was finally saved thanks to the quick intervention of other volunteers.

San Cristobal Post

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