More than 3,000 Mayan descendants joined in a dance that seeks the intercession of the Virgin of Mercy to put an end to the violence caused by organized crime in Chiapas, a state that has experienced an increase in homicides, disappearances, and forced displacements this year.
“The message is to live in harmony, we know that San Cristobal is going through difficult times like the rest of our Dioceses, but we also want this sign to be a sign of peace, a sign of unity,” explained José Bartolomé Gómez, a member of the church of La Merced, in an interview with OEM.
This pilgrimage occurred in the face of the violence in the municipality of Reforma and the drug trafficking blockades on roads in La Trinitaria, Frontera Comalapa, Chicomuselo, Mazapa de Madero, and Motozintla, near the border with Guatemala, where the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS) and the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) are disputing territory.
The contingent was made up of entire families who joined in colorful costumes and masks and danced more than 4 kilometers under the sun in honor of the festival of La Merced, patron saint of the San Cristobalenses.
Incense and wind music made way for the Virgin, carried by men personified as slaves.
Behind them, thousands of men danced for more than four hours and the villagers honored her with applause and rose petals.
This year the streets overflowed with dancers dressed as dinosaurs, clowns, monsters, prisoners, and superheroes.
“The command we have with the Blessed Virgin of La Merced is what helps us to move forward, to calm the violence a little, in the family, in the streets, so that our rulers think a little better,” Julio Mazariegos, who has been dancing for more than 40 years, told EFE.
The tradition has been passed down through generations, explained Germán García Santiago.
“We’ve been going out here in costume since we were kids, this is from generation to generation. As always, so that we have peace, health, and tranquility,” he said.
The pilgrimage ended peacefully at the same starting point.
There will be four days of festivities, in which the Mercedarians will perform Catholic rituals, as they have done for more than 85 years.
Chiapas is experiencing violent episodes in which thousands of inhabitants are prey to the terror that these criminal groups are generating with forced disappearances, kidnappings, and murders, for not belonging to one of the two criminal groups.