Mexico: Evangelicals driven from homes by RC mobs
Native mobs in Mexico’s Jalisco state have driven Christians from their homes and threatened to burn them to death.

One of the few refugees who was able to speak Spanish, Jesus Nunez Carrillo, told La Jornada newspaper on August 19, “Catholics of the town went through the community with machetes and clubs, shouting they were going to kill us and burn us alive.”

The town leaders have insisted that if the Huichol Christians wish to return to Agua Fria, they must renounce their faith and return to native traditions and rites such as drinking liquor and using hallucinatory peyote which are practised alongside Roman Catholic customs.

The first wave of 70 refugees, including at least 12 infants, fled on foot across the state border into Tepic, Nayarit, beginning August 14. Dozens of others have followed, and the total was expected to reach more than 300. Most arrived ill from the 20 hour walk.

The refugees are temporarily housed in the Seventh Apostolic Church of Tepic, whose pastor is Jesus Estrella Candelario.

The threat of being burned to death especially alarmed them as last February traditionalists set fire to the house of Agua Fria evan¬gelical Hermelinda Vazquez de la Cruz. Barely escaping with her children, she suffered se¬vere burns on her back, which now require her to use a walker.¬

In the trek to Tepic, the refugees took only one change of clothing per person. They left behind some 100 hectares (about 250 acres) of land, along with bean and corn crops, cattle, horses, burros, chickens, and houses, plus personal possessions.

More than 10 Huichol Christian leaders went to Agua Fria on August 16 to meet with town authorities. But upon arrival, they were driven away when townspeople shouted, “Get out, get out, get out!”

The state government of Nayarit has provided thin mattresses, blankets, and some nonperishable food items for the displaced Indians, but the local church was desperate for disposable nappies and bread, tortillas, milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
Town officials reportedly plan to discuss oficially expelling the Huichol evangelicals from Agua Fria.