MONDAY, August 15
Took a guided tour with the company Alex & Raul to 2 local indigenous towns. At San Juan Chamula we were taken into the former Catholic church. A religious celebration was in progress. The church was filled with incense, and there were candles everywhere. A live chicken was about to meet his maker. No photos were permitted! The belief system of the nominally Catholic inhabitants is beyond bizarre – polygamy for example. The only Catholic ritual they permit is baptism. Catholic priests have been banished from the town since 1969.
Most of the inhabitants earn a living by raising corn and vegetables.
Our guide told us that a short time ago, the mayor and 5 other municipal employees were lynched because the mayor cancelled the annual M$7,000 (about $390) annual handout/election bribe. And during a peaceful protest the mayor’s bodyguard started shooting at the protestors.
The second town, Zinacantán, adheres to a more traditional form of Catholicism. The town specializes in growing cut flowers in hundreds of greenhouses. The women’s clothing is much more colorful than that of San Juan Chamula.