(Christian Solidarity Worldwide) — Christian families in Chiapas, Mexico are being forced to participate in an upcoming syncretic Roman Catholic festival or face illegal fines for the fourth consecutive year.
The sixteen families, comprising 32 adults, attend the Alpha and Omega Presbyterian Church in Nueva las Tacitas, Ocosingo Municipality, Chiapas State and belong to the Tzeltal indigenous group. They are being forced to pay an illegal fine as a consequence of their refusal to participate in the Santa Cruz Festival, referred to locally as “Convivio de Agua,” which is held every year on May 3.
The first fine was issued in 2016, and since 2019 they have been issued annually to those who do not participate. Six of the families in the community who declined to participate in the festival have been forced to pay an illegal fine of MXN 300 (approximately GBP £12) or have their water supply cut off until they were able to pay it.