Displaced citizens in a Chiapas camp. Displaced citizens in one of several camps in Chiapas.

Two-year-old child dies in Chiapas camp

Catholic priest worries that court ruling will produce bloodshed

A two-year-old Tzotzil girl has become the first fatality among citizens displaced by the Chalchihuitlán-Chenalhó territorial conflict in Chiapas.

It’s been almost two months since the people of Tzotzil villages in the Chalchihuitlán area fled to the mountains in the latest escalation of a decades-long territorial dispute, just as an agrarian court is about to announce a ruling on the issue.

A Catholic Church official in Chiapas reported the death to the newspaper El Universal, adding that the child had been living in a camp installed near the village of Pom. She had fallen ill with a cough and fever.

Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez explained that it was the first death among some 5,000 people who fled the villages of Ch’en Mut, Pom, Tzomoltón, C’analumtic, Bejeltom, Tulantic, Vololch’ojon, Cruz C’ac’alnam and Cruzton.

Pérez said the health of a second child is delicate after she was bitten by a wild animal.

The priest expressed concerned for what’s in store once the agrarian court issues its ruling. Citizens of the municipality of Chenalhó, identified as the aggressors who have forced residents of the neighboring municipality of Chalchihuitlán off their land, have threatened to take “drastic measures” if the decision is not favorable to them.

“It’s very alarming, the threat is strong,” said Pérez, predicting that bloodshed would follow.

“Neither a legal nor an ancestral solution will be enough. A harmonious agreement must be reached, one that fulfills the wishes of both sides. Otherwise, the government will have to find mechanisms that do not lead to bloodshed,” said the prelate.

“The lives of the people of Chalchihuitlán are in danger,” he warned.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.