Chiapas residents seek refuge in Guatemala due to violence

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Residents of at least five municipalities are considering the possibility of requesting asylum in that country.

BELLA VISTA, Chiapas. Merchants and families from the municipalities of Bella Vista, Frontera Comalapa, Villaflores, Chicomuselo and Motozintla seek shelter in Guatemala in the face of the wave of violence that the region is experiencing; Some even consider formally requesting asylum.

A woman from the municipality of Bella Vista, whose name she asked to be omitted for safety reasons, mentions that the recent armed conflicts in the municipalities of the Sierra Madre Chiapaneca cause precariousness, food shortages and lack of services, so, together with her husband and children , seeks to request asylum in Guatemala.

El Sol de México published last week that Guatemala deployed a military operation with more than two thousand military elements, including special forces, to protect the border with Mexico due to fear of incursions by organized crime groups into its territory.

“I have four children and my husband, we are six people; we are also seven brothers who are here, each with their families, about four or five people in each family. For my part, I want to protect my children,” she said in an interview with El Heraldo de Chiapas.

Her parents are originally from Guatemala and her family fled to Mexico during the conflicts that country faced in 1981, when a military government was established, and counterinsurgency groups emerged.

“We settled here, we made a life, we have a life made. This year we began to suffer from the armed conflicts of the criminal groups that are in dispute over the Frontera Comalapa plaza,” she added.

The woman said that she would be reunited with her seven siblings, but indicated that whatever decision they make, she is determined to protect the lives of her children, which is why she is already seeking to request asylum from the government of Guatemala, the country where she plans to settle.

“In Bella Vista, Chiapas we don’t feel safe,” she said.

She is afraid, like many, that her husband and children will be recruited by criminal groups to participate in her activities.

“We are afraid that they will force us to serve these conflictive, criminal groups,” said the woman, who requests the support of someone who can guide her to carry out the process before the Guatemalan government.

Between her family and those of her seven siblings, there are 40 to 45 people who could request asylum in the neighboring country.

Authorities from both countries have not commented on the matter and secrecy permeates the administrations of the municipalities of the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, where for months there have been blockades, burning of houses, schools, clashes between armed civilians and the presence of criminal groups.

The territorial dispute by two organized crime groups in the Sierra de Chiapas has caused entire families to close their businesses and put their houses up for sale at a bargain price through social networks, with the sole purpose of escaping the zone of conflict.

On websites they offer their properties at prices below what they are worth. From land and one-piece houses to two-story buildings with all services.

The so-called “Chiapas Narco Route” began to have conflicts since mid-2021 with clashes on the borders between Frontera Comalapa and La Trinitaria. That same year, the disappearance of two young people was recorded, one 17 years old and the other 13 years old, originally from Comitán.?? Both traveled to Frontera Comalapa to buy a motorcycle, however, they did not return.

In April 2022, the Electoral District Council 08 of the National Electoral Institute (INE), based in Comitán de Domínguez, reported that the 89 polling stations scheduled for the extraordinary local electoral day would not be installed and members of the city council – on Sunday, April 3 — in the municipality of Frontera Comalapa, due to the disturbances registered in that area by organized crime.

In May of this year, blockades were recorded in the communities of Tres Maravillas, in the stretch from New Mexico to Jocote; Tapitzala, in Amatenango de la Frontera; and from Motozintla to Comitán.

On the outskirts of Mazapa de Madero, on the road that connects with Amatenango de la Frontera, two taxis were burned; They also reported the presence of armed groups in the border area, leaving dozens of families displaced in Frontera Comalapa.

In September the violence intensified again with the entry of a new cartel. Transporters were forced to block different points on highways in the Sierra, from Motozintla to La Trinitaria, causing a shortage of fuel and food in the region, until a convoy with armed people entered Frontera Comalapa and liberated the area. The next day, Mexican federal authorities deployed 800 troops to patrol the region.

Source: El Sol de Mexico