The state of Oaxaca has patched up relations between two coastal municipalities — for the moment, at least — but an electoral conflict in another has cut off one of the access routes between the capital and the coast.
Three days after violence flared in the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido, Governor Alejandro Murat brokered an agreement that was signed Sunday by mayors Fredy Gil Pineda Gopar of San Pedro Mixtepec and Valentín Hernández Díaz of Santa María Colotepec.
Friday’s confrontation, the result of a long-simmering dispute over territory, resulted in gunfire that killed one person and wounded at least three others.
The state government issued a brief statement indicating that both mayors had agreed to maintain a climate of civility, stability and social peace, respecting the rights of citizens of both municipalities.
However, worries over security persist: local authorities have decided to postpone the annual carnival, which was scheduled for February 23-25.
Mayor Hernández said “there is nothing to celebrate” while his counterpart Mayor Gil said “we don’t have security,” warning there might be people who resort to violence.
On the other hand, unnamed local authorities say that conditions are favorable for tourists to continue to visit the city of Puerto Escondido, caught in the middle of the territorial dispute.
That city could see the creation of a special trust administered by a state-appointed board, a proposal that has been made by the state government, according to a local source close to the situation. Funds would flow directly to the city rather than through the municipality of Mixtepec.
But some residents suggest that much of that money would probably remain in the pockets of the board members themselves.
Meanwhile, residents of Ánimas Trujano, a municipality in the metropolitan area of Oaxaca city, yesterday blocked highway 175, which connects the city with the coast.
The situation in Ánimas Trujano is similar to that of nearly two dozen other Oaxaca municipalities where local elections were held in December: citizens have claimed irregularities in the process and the state electoral institute has declared the election invalid.
The institute has said it will appoint an administrator to manage local affairs but that has not gone down well with those citizens who saw no irregularities in the election.
They say they will not accept an administrator and claim the appointee will only seek to steal municipal resources.
Yesterday, they commandeered trucks to block the highway and vowed to remain until the electoral agency recognizes the validity of the election.