News
Travelers in one of the vans detained Tuesday evening filmed a bilingual video pleading for help from the government. Travelers in one of the vans detained Tuesday evening filmed a bilingual video pleading for help from the government. Screenshot

Tourists issue plea for help after being detained by Chiapas protesters

Travelers were stuck for more than seven hours after getting caught up in a local political dispute

Tourists traveling in at least four vans were detained by protesters in Chiapas for more than seven hours on Tuesday night.

Vans transporting foreign and national travelers to San Cristóbal de las Casas were stopped in the municipality of Oxchuc at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to media reports, those responsible for impeding the vehicles are supporters of Hugo Gómez Sántiz, a candidate in an election last month to elect a new mayor to head the Oxchuc municipal council.

Gómez claims he won, but the election was in fact suspended due to violence that left one person dead. One of his rivals was subsequently named mayor. Gómez’s supporters have been blocking an entrance to the municipal seat of Oxchuc in recent weeks to protest the appointment.

The occupants of one of the detained vans recorded a video to ask authorities for help. “We’re asking the government to intercede and reach an agreement with the people who have detained us here,” said one woman.

“We need help, we need to go to San Cristóbal,” one foreign tourist said in English. “Please can you send help for us so we can go to San Cristóbal,” said another foreign woman.

It was truck drivers rather than authorities who eventually came to the stranded tourists’ aid, the news website La Silla Rota reported. At approximately 4:00 a.m. Wednesday the tourists left the vans and were taken to accommodation in Oxchuc. They resumed their journey to San Cristóbal at midday Wednesday, according to local media.

The incident occurred a week after a Russian woman was attacked by protesters on the Ocosingo-San Cristóbal de las Casas highway in Oxchuc because she refused to pay them a toll. The Chiapas Attorney General’s Office is investigating the crime.

With reports from Reforma and La Silla Rota 

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.