From San Carlos Hospital
Altamirano, Chiapas, January 30th, 2014
At approximately 7:30 a.m we received a call to go and help persons wounded from a problem which happened in the community 10 de Abril.
The ambulance left with the driver, a doctor, and a sister whose names are, respectively: Filomeno Hernández García, Dr. Edgar Ulises Torres Rodríguez and Sister Edith Garrido Lozada. A pickup truck also left in case more was needed upon knowing the number of those possibly wounded.
At the San Miguel crossroads we ran into a large number of people from the community 20 de Noviembre, with sticks and machetes. The let us through without any problem, but further on another group stopped us.
The ambulance went forward.
Sister Martha Rangel Martínez and I, Sister Patricia Moysén Márquez went in the pickup behind the ambulance. They told us that we could not go through.
We identified ourselves as San Carlos Hospital and that we were going because of a call for help due to the fact that there were wounded. Their reaction was then they were going to burn the truck because we are from the government and like this the problem will be solved more quickly. We said that we are not from the government, but rather the church.
They said that then, we were Zapatistas who are going to help our group. We said that that’s not how it is. That we were going to see wounded from whichever religion or party. The problem that they had was not our affair nor were we going to solve that, only wounded. We took a long time trying to get them to understand that we are going to help whichever group and that we are from the church.
They took the driver from the ambulance and some said that then we could pass but we had to take out wounded from both sides, if it was not so than they were going to take the driver to 20 de Noviembre. I told them that it was much better for the ambulance to go in, and in any case better for us to stay. But another group arrived which said that no one is going to pass, that the government has to solve it and that the ambulance as well as the truck are going to be burned right there, others said that they are going to take both vehicles to the community 20 de Noviembre.
Since I did not want to give them the key nor get out, they said that they were going to tip over the truck. We insisted a great deal about the urgency of saving the life of whoever was injured, that life is worth more than anything, etc., etc., that’s whey we were there, because God wants life.
A while later, I saw that the ambulance was turning around to go back. I do not know where the driver was because someone from 20 de Noviembre was driving.
They began to beat the truck with sticks, to try to open the doors. I do not know what they did to open the copilot’s door and drag Sister Martha outside. So I had to turn around, as they wanted, Sister Martha got in along with many of them, they told me to go to the crossroads and there we got out, but I did not want to give them the keys, I stuck them in the pocket of my habit, well also I saw that they went off with the ambulance toward 20 de Noviembre. I did not want them to take us there that’s why I preferred that they take us out of the truck.
So they called the women and they began to insult us, trying to take the keys from me. Since I resisted they began to take both our clothes off. They stuck their hands wherever they wanted and in the end they fastened each of our arms together. They injured us, they tore my jacket, they took the keys and my purse where I have all my documents: IFE, driver’s license, INAPAN, and various cards.
I asked many times for them to give back the documents but they flatly refused.
A little later they took off with the truck and all the vehicles, which were many, full of people the majority men from the community 20 de Noviembre.
Sister Martha and I got a ride back toward Altamirano to provide warning to the leadership and to our authorities.
While I was reporting, two men arrived at the hospital who identified themselves as politicians from the State government working in Altamirano. Their names are: Juan Baldemar Navarro Guillen, subdelegate, and Jorge Alfredo Jiménez, political operator.
At 11:40 the driver, doctor, and sister arrived at the hospital, but the ambulance and truck remained in 20 de Noviembre. They had just got done calling the municipal president telling him to ask for the liberation of the vehicles.
Testimony given by: Sister Patricia Moysén Márquez and Sister Martha Rangel
Translated from Spanish by Henry Gales
Originally published on Feb 1st, 2014