Photo: Peasants from Santa Rita Invernadero punish the local mayor, Jorge Luis Escandón Hernández, by tying him to the back of a truck and dragging him throughout town
By Nélida Tello
On October 8, peasants from Santa Rita Invernadero confronted the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) Mayor Jorge Luis Escandón Hernández in Las Margaritas, Chiapas. Armed with bats and stones peasants forced Escandón out of City Hall, tying him to a pickup truck and dragging him throughout Las Margaritas as a consequence for failing to fulfill his campaign promises.
The peasants demanded that Escandón begin the construction of a road to Santa Rita Invernadero, which was a campaign promise he used to win the position of mayor of Las Margaritas. Among their demands was access to potable water and electricity.
The police stopped the truck shortly after Escandón was tied and dragged, and made eleven arrests. The attorney general’s office charged the eleven peasants with abduction and attempted murder. In a press conference Escandón stated “we aren’t going to give into blackmail, pressure […]” making no comment about demands of the peasants.
Confrontation is not foreign to Santa Rita Invernadero. In July, peasants attempted to confront Escandón over his failed campaign promises. Finding that he was absent from City Hall they broke furniture and property inside. Earlier this year peasants also held city officials against their will for a week demanding that metal galvanized sheets be provided to the community for roof reinforcement.
Santa Rita Invernadero is surrounded by the Montes Azules reserve, which is under constant threat of timber mining projects. Having witnessed the alliance between the government and developers, Santa Rita Invernadero peasants have taken action into their own hands, wielding revolutionary violence against class enemies.