The United States issues a travel alert to San Cristóbal de las Casas due to the increase in violence

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Elementos de la Guardia Nacional y del ejército mexicano realizan un operativo de vigilancia en San Cristóbal de las Casas, Estado de Chiapas, un par de días después del enfrentamiento armado que se suscitó en el lugar debido a una pugna por el control del mercado norte de la ciudad, el 16 de junio de 2022. San Cristóbal de las Casas es el principal destino turístico de Chiapas, sin embargo, en su territorio han surgido diversos grupos de choque relacionados con la delincuencia organizada.

The embassy asks its citizens to “extreme precautions.” This week, the murder of a businessman unleashed chaos with shots, movement of military convoys and armed people in the tourist heart of the State of Chiapas

The Embassy of the United States in Mexico has launched a travel alert on Tuesday for San Cristóbal de las Casas —the tourist heart of the State of Chiapas— due to the violence unleashed last Monday by the shooting of the artisan Jerónimo Ruiz, leader the Association of Traditional Market Tenants of Chiapas (Almetrach). The notice from the US office has come after “reports of violence” and local media notes received at its facilities in Mexico City. Communications from the US embassy alerting its citizens to the dangers of hot states like Tamaulipas or Michoacán are common. But such a warning is an anomaly in relation to what not long ago was a quiet tourist refuge in the south of the country. One more sign of the increase during the last long year of violence in Chiapas

The media reported that two armed men aboard a motorcycle shot the craftsman when he was about to get into his vehicle, a red Volkswagen Golf, in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood. Ruiz’s murder has unleashed a wave of violence overnight in the tourist city: reports of shots, movement of military convoys in the area and the presence of a large number of armed people in Ojo de Agua, a neighborhood adjacent to Nueva Esperanza.

“US citizens should exercise extreme caution if traveling in or around San Cristóbal,” the Embassy said in the statement. The US Department of State has a list in which it exposes the recommendations to its citizens through a four-level classification, in which it classifies the 32 territories depending on the recommended precautions: from one, where they must be exercised the usual precautions; until four, where it recommends not to travel. The State of Chiapas is at level 2, in which the office asks to “exercise greater caution due to crime.”

El Heraldo de Chiapas, one of the local newspapers, spoke last Monday of “shootings between two armed groups” and vehicles set on fire as they passed. “The city is in a panic situation due to the large number of bullets that have been fired,” the media note stated.

Violence has knocked on the door of San Cristóbal de las Casas on other occasions. Last June, when in broad daylight, dozens of hooded men, armed with assault rifles and dressed in bulletproof vests, sowed panic in the city, leading to the image of the tourist spot being led by blockades, shootings and residents sheltered in supermarkets, waiting for the fighting to end. The violence, which ended with the death of a merchant, broke the oasis of calm that the municipality seemed to have.

In other towns in the state, violence has caused thousands of people to flee their homes. An example of this occurs in the municipality of Frontera Comalapa. El Pais newspaper spoke with one of the families displaced from the small town in Chiapas, who denounced the insecurity in the territory, especially in the last year. The relatives, who prefer to remain anonymous, affirm that the violence in the border territory comes through the fights between cartels and the abuses they exert on the population of the area: threats, extortion of merchants and violence. “They cover entrances [to the territories], they search you… If you don’t listen to them, they’ll kill you,” pointed out one of the family members calmly, used to recounting this type of event.

Source: El Pais