Chablekal disturbance spotlights issues in ‘Maya belt’ around Merida
It’s been more than a month since state police officers of the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) faced the inhabitants of the community of Chablekal. The wound is still open. People still remember what happened. Meanwhile, the human rights organization Outrage (Indignación) has opened four cases for investigation with the authorities.
On May 3, an attempted eviction ended with violence. The police fired tear gas to disperse citizens, who threw stones to defend Salvador Chi, 94, and his family, whom the police tried to evict from his home due to a complaint from Antonio Euan Chale, nephew of Salvador.
According to neighbors, the police stole several thousand pesos and bicycles and pilfered a neighboring store. However, the inhabitants ransacked the greengrocer San Román, owned by Antonio Euán.
The SSP arrested five people, all of Chablekal, who were conditionally released days later, pending rearrest if new evidence appears.
After the incident, the alderman of the City of Merida, Rudy Pacheco Aguilar, offered on behalf of the Governor Rolando Zapata Bello, a new house to don Salvador and his family. However on Friday, during the ceremony to mark the month of the incident, Maria Magdalena Euán Guardia -who lives with Salvador- declared: “the government and everything they said were all lies; we were not given anything and we do not want anything.”
She reiterated -at the verge of tears- that they won’t leave their home because “it’s the work of my grandfather, who has never stolen anything.” She expressed her sadness at not recieving the support of the authorities.
About the allegedly stolen things by police elements, such as bicycles, she said that “some things were taken by them. I hope they enjoy them because I think they don’t have enough to buy them.”
Outrage lawyers, Ricardo Tut Soberanis and Lourdes Euan Chin revealed that four investigations on the Chablekal case are currently open.
One, they said, are the complaints against the police authorities for theft, assault, and abuse of authority. They considered that the police being part of the Attorney General party and judge, it is likely the inquiry would be conducted by federal authorities.
They said that the General Attorney’s Office has confirmed the torture injuries which the five detainees were victim of. However, they offered no documents to confirm this.
Also underway is the collection of data on the actual situation of the six properties mentioned. They noted that since 2002 the eviction process against Salvador Euan began, but it was only until 2016 that this took place. The family, however, was poorly advised by their lawyers.
As evidence to dismiss the eviction and the situation of the lots, unfounded inheritances and cheating papers dating to decades ago were used, they added.
Another is the complaint to prevent Outrage to carry out their work as human rights body, as well as the open case of the five detainees, they mentioned.
Maya belt in Merida
Cristina Muñoz Menendez, a member of Outrage, said areas around Merida live in a different situation to the one in the city: they are “a Maya belt; they want to set them as neighbourhoods, but they are actually Maya people”.
This reality, she continued, means local authorities -like comissioners- have been “wiped out” and became administrative assistants in the ciry of Merida, so there is not real representative of the people of those areas for resolving problems, she said.
She noted Chablekal “is a town overwhelmed by the city and is a Maya village with fundamental criteria such as self determination” so the cry is “nobody comes to tell us what we will be”.
About the confrontation, Cristina Muñoz reiterated: “the authorities have not made an anouncement; the governor, not a single world; and CODHEY is absolutely silent”. She considered that the “invisibility seems symptomatic of the case” and is an admission of clumsiness, but also shows that “silence gives consent”.
She said that the three branches are related to the process, from the legislature that “doesn’t counterweight to the executive in the use of force; no accountability despite a budget is approved”.
The Executive, because “he hasn’t said a word, but has been endorsed by the Federation saying the Yucatan Shield will be replicated throughout the country, but it is because there is a contempt for citizens,”, she said.
Lastly, “we don’t know whether the use of force is to create a deterrent effect, criminalizing protests or generating the prosecution of cases”, she finished.