Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
By changing the use of axes to cut wood, villagers on the slopes of Pico de Orizaba mustered up the courage to defend themselves against the growing insecurity in the region. More than 40 communities of Soledad Atzompa make up this movement, as autodefensas.
Fortín, Veracruz— The mayor of Soledad Atzompa, Bonifacio Aguilar Linda, recognized that the people of his municipality organized themselves as autodefensas after they were victims of organized crime, “I’m reminding the governor of the state, and to put a name, whatever it may be, autodefensas, community police, or night surveillance, but it’s true.”
In an interview in Fortín de las Flores, they warned that the “degenerates” that harm the people of his municipality are located in the neighboring municipality of Acultzingo, so he warned that anyone who intends to travel to Soledad Atzompa, to visit, or do good, will be well received, but those who go with other intentions, “will not leave free”.
“They keep killing innocent people from Soledad Atzompa, they keep on disappearing and kidnapping our people, this first message is for the governor; the next one is for the Secretary of Public Security in the state, Arturo Bermúdez”.
The citizen gave the interview right there, in front of all his people, using the microphone and speakers so that everyone can hear the questions and answers, “We are going to propose that the State Academy allow us to send 50 youths so that they can train them, and after graduating, they will come back and work in order to ensure a small peace of mind to the families of the municipality.”
He added that they should be youths who can live from the fees or bonuses that the state government gives them for their work, “but those who are once again creating the autodefensas in Soledad Atzompa, that is, is the entire municipality.”
He further explained that 20 days ago, they met with representatives from the Mexican Navy, Civil Force, Federal Police, State Police, and Ministerial Police, who were asked to set up camps along the stretch of road Mendoza-Acultzinapa, where there is an entrance to Atzompa to Tecamalucan, but they refused to do so.
In response to this, “the citizens will remain vigilant”, so they committed themselves to make rounds along the stretch of road of Ciudad Mendoza, Porfiadas, Tecamalucan, Aguaxinola, Puente de Guadalupe, Acultzingo, and Puerto del Aire, but they are not going to set up camps.
He reiterated the concern of the people of his town to the facts that they won’t allow them to “continue kidnapping or killing our people of Soledad Atzompa”.
When asked if the autodefensas are armed, he said: “Sometimes it doesn’t suit the state government to hear where they are created or where they were created, such as in Guerrero or Michoacán, where the autodefensas were created. They defend themselves with what they have, with shovels, picks, machetes, handguns, rifles, but Soledad Atzompa is going to do it again.”
He said that to date, they (organized crime) killed a citizen of Atzompa, “an innocent who came from Puebla, by Puerto del Aire, they stole his truck. In recent days, criminals have chased people from Soledad Atzompa, but we are organizing with strength, and we are certain we will not allow criminals in Atzompa”.
He recalls that his municipality has more than 29,000 inhabitants, of which only men participate in the autodefensas. He also points out that they will make plans to see if they can make an incursion in operations by the Mexican Navy and Federals, those who are willing to guide in their tours throughout the municipality, so that they can do their surveillance work.
“The degenerates are in the municipality of Acultzingo, not in Soledad Atzompa and we are not going to allow them,” “Watch out for those people who want to cause harm to Atzompa, they will not leave free.”
Atzompa is an peaceful town open to anyone who wants to visit to work, to stroll, but peacefully, without doing anything bad. “The people receive visitors with open arms,” he said, but he acknowledges that it is necessary to identify yourself first, before entering.
After this interview, the mayor went to talk to the governor, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, in the Municipal Palace of Fortín.
Mayor of Soledad Atzompa Warned Of Being Denounced
The mayor of Soledad Atzompa, Bonifacio Aguilar Linda, can be denounced and legally tried for having caused the blocking of highways and creating autodefensa groups in the state, revealed Alfonso Neri, a representative of the Veracruz State Government.