Some of our partners of the Maya Vinic cooperative in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico have once again been displaced by insecurity and violence in their communities. Between 4000 and 5000 people in the area have had to leave their homes since October because of threats by paramilitaries. This all comes at the 20th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre and it involves some of the same illegal armed groups threatening families of survivors of that infamous event. Many families are living exposed in the mountains with very little food or shelter.
The root of the conflict is a disputed 900 hectare border between two municipalities– Chenalho and Chalchihuitán. The border was redrawn by the government in 1973 and has been contested ever since. Complicating the situation are factors of religious differences, rival political parties and factions, unsettled disagreements related to the Zapatista struggle, competition over access to land to grow coffee and food crops, and an overall lack of infrastructure and resources to satisfy basic needs. Some of the aggressors are said to be paramilitaries implicated in the Acteal massacre who have never given up their arms.
In the past two weeks many families have attempted to begin returning to their homes after a “peace agreement” was reached, however a recent kidnapping linked to the dispute has people in the area on edge. We are in close touch with members of Maya Vinic and their civil society group Las Abejas and we will keep you updated on developments. Our partner organization On The Ground is currently hosting a delegation of people from the US and is providing us with some insight in the situation.
Want to support the farmers? Purchase a Just Coffee roast with beans from the Maya Vinic cooperative.
Photos of past trips to Chiapas: