10 Guatemalans have been missing for 7 weeks in Chiapas

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Frontera Comalapa, the “Bermuda Triangle” that swallowed 10 Guatemalans. Violence has worsened in several municipalities of Chiapas; even, businesses have run out of merchandise, as access to the territory is controlled by criminal groups

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ.-] Several years ago, Dan Josué began working with his father-in-law in the sale of backyard chicks; however, he looked for a way to become independent and start his own business, but in the same “line”. After achieving it, he gathered men from his town Cuyotenango, Suchitepéquez, in Guatemala, and offered them work.

At first, his delivery route only included towns and cities in his native country, but seeing that he was not doing as well as he expected, he decided to travel to Chiapas and “extend” his business in municipalities such as Frontera Comalapa, Siltepec, Motozintla and Chicomuselo. In these places, the sales were good and the 3,000 or 4,000 animals that he carried in a rented truck, ran out.

However, on November 16, the trip became strange: Dan Josué Rosales Tzunún and 9 employees who accompanied him disappeared. According to the version of Déborah Rosales, his sister, they would pass by two other workers who were waiting at a gas station before returning to Frontera Comalapa, where they also rented a house to spend the night the days they were working in Mexican territory.

“In total, 12 people traveled, including my little brother; in fact, they left Guatemala on Monday, November 13 and he said they would return on Thursday, that is, they would only be there for about four days, at most,” recalls the woman interviewed by La Silla Rota, who adds that she has always been close to Dan Josué, one of her 12 brothers.

According to her, Dan Josué, 30 years old, graduated as a professional in Electricity in Panama (where he even worked for 6 years), but found in the sale of birds a better option to live and support his two children, one of them newborn.

She warns that her brother has always looked after others and, therefore, treated his collaborators well, to whom, after each workday, he asked how many days they wanted to rest before starting the trip again.

In the last 3 years, the situation in Frontera Comalapa and other neighboring municipalities has been complicated by the dispute over the territory between the Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and Sinaloa cartels; even, one from Guatemala that operates on that border line, “Los Huistas”, also makes itself present.

In this region, clashes, disappearances, exoduses of thousands of people, murders, femicides and other high-impact crimes, such as “floor collection”, have increased and intensified.

In fact, the same population circulates videos to show the shortage of customers in various businesses, as happened recently to the only “Aurrerá” that Frontera Comalapa has.

According to the National Registry of Disappeared and Unlocated Persons (RNPDNO), as of December 30, 2023, there are 113,048 disappeared persons in Mexico, of which 1,043 are from Chiapas.

The situation of violence in the country worries authorities and society. Based on data from the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (Inegi), during last year 31,532 homicides were registered throughout the national territory. Chiapas, in this list, appears in position number 20 with 486 cases, that is, more than one per day; in fact, it is between Tamaulipas (433) and Sinaloa (572). The first place is Guanajuato, with 4,041.

Of all the cases counted in the Chiapas entity, the municipalities where there are more murders are: Tapachula (56), Tuxtla Gutiérrez (38), Suchiate (32), San Cristóbal de Las Casas (19), Tonalá (16), Palenque (16) and Frontera Comalapa (15).

Déborah Rosales remembers that Dan Josué made trips of 8 or up to 10 days to Chiapas and returned to his town. He rested for about 72 hours and set out on his sales trip again.

According to her, on no occasion did her brother mention any problem on the border of the Chiapas entity. “And if something happened to him, he never said anything; we don’t know if they were already charging him floor, as they say, although he was somewhat aware of the situation there, that it was a bit ugly, but he looked for routes where to sell”.

Josué and his workers had an itinerary, although sometimes they had to “extend” the agenda because their thousands of chickens were not sold so quickly, so they visited more towns.

“After each day in those municipalities, Josué and his team rested in the house they rented in Frontera Comalapa. In fact, on Thursday 16, the young Guatemalan told his wife, through a WhatsApp message, that he would return that same day, but later.

In addition, he warned her that, in the area where he would enter, the signal was bad, so, until he was in another place, he would call her. But that call never came.

So far, she says, the Chiapas State Prosecutor’s Office has only issued three missing persons files, including that of her brother, so the others are still missing.

“We trust in God that he will return, we are Christians and we put everything in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ,” says Déborah, who recalls that the complaint was filed by her father and another brother since last November 20, in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Later, they gathered all the families of the 10 disappeared to explain to them the way they should file the complaints, but the procedure was complicated because not everyone has documents to enter Mexico, so they only hope that the Guatemalan Consulate in Tapachula will support them.

Despite this scenario, and after warning that they have already been called to extort them (they even sent them images of the disappeared supposedly beaten), Déborah Rosales has the hope that everything will turn out well. “We have been through worse things in my family and we have seen miracles.”

Lilian Sarat, mother of the minor Luis Alberto, does not tire of counting the hours to see her son again who, for the first time, traveled with the group of Dan Josué. “But it was at the invitation of my nephew Julio César Vásquez”, who had been working in that line for a long time.

According to her, Luis decided to leave his village in the town of San Francisco Zapotitlán Suchitepéquez, in Guatemalan land, to earn money and continue his studies, the second level of Basic; in fact, he took advantage of the fact that he is currently on vacation.

The young man, he says, is already used to working to support himself, and did not miss the opportunity to travel to Chiapas, although he never imagined that he would disappear.

Like Déborah, she says that they have already gone to the Guatemalan Consulate because they do not have permission to enter Mexico; there, they gave a statement, which would be presented to the Mexican authorities. Days later they returned to Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, to file their formal complaint.

According to her story, since the last week of November she was able to contact her nephew and son, but from there she lost communication. However, she says that she did not stop insisting and last Thursday she managed to see that “someone was online” on Luis’s cell phone number.

Therefore, Lilian took the opportunity to ask him to answer, because she was desperate. But from there, the phone “died”. According to her, if she had known that that route was very dangerous, she would have told her son not to travel. “Until now I realize that.”

Luis’s dream, he says, was to finish the third of Basic and look for another job, such as in a mechanical workshop, and thus not stop learning, as his intention is to join the Army.

“I am very distressed, I am very sad not to know anything about him, but I beg God to do the miracle for me, I have all my faith in Him … that those who have my son and nephew, that they touch their hearts and let them go free,” says Lilian who, to date, has not received an extortion call.

Despite the situation of violence in Chiapas, and especially in Frontera Comalapa, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to minimize the problem, when he has the opportunity, in his morning press conferences. However, reality surpasses his speeches.

In an interview, Santiago Santana, president of the Association of Electromechanical Builders of the state, asserts that one of the issues that concerns them is insecurity and, above all, what happens in the area of Frontera Comalapa, Chicomuselo and Motozintla, among others.

“In those places there is ungovernability, there are many cases of problems with personnel of ours and of the Federal Electricity Commission, that is why we already avoid entering those areas, it is impossible to work there”, he warns.

Despite the fact that they have held meetings with authorities at all levels, he warns that nothing positive has happened. “The state was contaminated by us with everything that happens with the country, we do not have a statistic of disappearances, but we do have that they try to extort them

Source: La Silla Rota