“Sol Prendido” and “HEARST” for Borderland Beat

After years of living in fear due to the presence and violence generated by drug cartels, the inhabitants of the community of Santa Anita, in the municipality of Guachochi, in the Sierra Tarahumara, tumultuously abandoned their homes yesterday, after their church was shot at by drug traffickers.

The Catholic church of Santa Anita was attacked with more than 700 shots of high caliber firearms, fired in an act of intimidation and a sign of the power of the Sinaloa Cartel that governs this region, and which launched this message against their adversaries of the Juarez Cartel, against the authorities and for the community.

The Catholic priest, Enrique Urzúa, deacon of this parish, issued a message on Facebook, calling on the criminals not to harm the inhabitants, and also on the state and federal authorities to impose law and peace.

The church of Santa Anita was attacked with hundreds of gunshots, on more than 700 occasions, by several armed men, who also shot inside the church, and finally killed a man, decapitated him and left him in front of the parish church.

The Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua, César Jáuregui, pointed to Melquiades Díaz Meza aka El Chapo Calin, who had already been arrested in 2021, but was released last year, as the perpetrator of the attack.

Video translation is as follows:

We are in the community of Santa Anita today, June 6. We found these unfortunate events where the church has been shot at. They have left outside a decapitated person, a burned truck. They have shot up the temple, the temple is completely shot up inside and outside. Evidently it wasn’t just one person who did this. It’s very clear there were others involved. I ask you, I beg you dear brothers and sisters, that in spite of everything we must rebuke those who provoke suffering and death in the midst of our communities.

I ask you, I pray to you in the name of God and in the name of this wounded and desolate people. That we do not know where the culprits have gone. The animals are in their homes, the houses are alone. I beg you, I implore you in the name of God, in the name of this suffering people, I implore you to lay down your arms. Stop hurting our community, stop hurting our societies. We are brothers of the same townspeople, we are brothers of this same homeland. This is not fair. This is not right. 

They have hurt the most sacred thing of a community, its temple. I also ask the state and federal authorities to take charge of this matter. That they assume their role. That they help us and guide us. I ask the authorities to do their job. And I pray that God will grant them the wisdom to do their job. To defend our communities. Our sister-brother communities are hurting. We feel attacked. This aggression to this temple is an aggression to a community. Beyond attacking the church, it is an attack against the community.

Image by HEARST

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