An official in Chiapas said yesterday that peace had returned to the municipality of Chenalhó following the resignation of its mayor. But things took a turn for the worse just a few hours later when a 14-year-old died from a gunshot wound.
The young girl was shot in the community of Puebla during a confrontation between followers of Rosa Pérez Pérez, who was forced to resign as mayor on Wednesday, and the new mayor, who was sworn in yesterday morning.
For the last two months a faction had been trying to force the mayor, elected last year, out of office. After they kidnapped two state Congressmen on Wednesday, Pérez Pérez relented and handed in her resignation.
Chiapas Government Secretary Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda said yesterday that with her resignation all was calm in Chenalhó, most of whose inhabitants are Tzotzil Maya, and the conflict was over.
But citizens are of a different mind.
The family of the shooting victim are supporters of the former mayor; the two men charged with homicide in her death are supporters of her substitute, Miguel Santíz. According to one report, the latter faction arrived in Puebla, a stronghold of Pérez supporters, firing rifles in the air and mocking residents over the former mayor’s departure.
Later, the Pérez faction set fire to houses belonging to several Santíz supporters.
At least half a dozen people were wounded during the confrontation.
The National Women’s Institute, a federal agency, yesterday called on electoral institutions and authorities in Chiapas to protect the rights of women to participate in the political process.
In a statement it said that of the 34 women elected as mayors last year, four have since resigned and their place taken by men. In at least two of those cases the women had been put forward as candidates at the last minute in order for political parties to meet gender balance requirements.