On 1 August Álvaro López’s farmland was vandalised and farming tools were stolen by a “traditionalist” living in the same area. (The term “traditionalist” is used by those who have combined their ancestors’ pagan Mayan rituals with Catholicism.) While the police intervened, their relatively minor scolding of the perpetrators was little to comfort Álvaro and his fellow evangelical Christians who live in constant uncertainty regarding their personal safety.
Evangelicals in the southern states of Mexico face regular opposition including harassment, expulsion from their villages, attacks against their churches and private property, threats of sexual assault, imprisonment, torture and murder.
While the state of Chiapas officially guarantees the protection of vulnerable groups such as evangelical Christians, governing authorities have not been effective in the enforcement of applicable laws. In a recent commission to raise awareness of religious persecution, the state’s Secretary General encouraged minority groups suffering discrimination with the promise of necessary action. Yet the recent attack on Álvaro and the continued harassment of other evangelicals within the state prove that no substantial progress has been made.
Under the guise of protecting their syncretistic rituals and customs, traditionalists have purposely cut off supplies of water and electricity from various evangelical Christian communities in Chiapas and also prevented many families from cultivating crops on their own farmlands. As the state government has ignored or blatantly supported such hostilities, these believers have begun urgently calling on the country’s federal government to mediate on their behalf and uphold agreed upon protection.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs Mexico, The Voice of the Martyrs USA