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The dream come true of a Mexican preschool turned into a nightmare after winning a state-sponsored lottery and provoking violence from a local gang.

José María Morelos y Pavón Kindergarten in El Nacimiento, Chiapas, won an estimated $ 940,000 in a lottery themed on President Lopez Obrador’s quest to sell his plane. Families first celebrated the victory, planning repairs for the school and donations to their community.

Then a gang called Los Petules heard about the money. Instead of reparations, the criminals demanded that families use their earnings to buy them guns for an upcoming attack they were planning on a rival gang. The families refused.

“We made 20 million pesos but the paramilitary gang, the Petules, said the money was for them to buy weapons and we didn’t agree,” said one of the parents, Melesio López. Gómez. El Imparcial.

Soon after, Los Petules issued death threats against four members of the community. A fifth member, Marcelo Santiz López, says the gang shot him in the stomach and stole him, stealing the credit card used to access the cash prize.

After months of such violence, the entire community – around 28 families – was forced to leave the city, seeking refuge in the nearby town of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

“They threw us out of our homes,” Gómez said Mexico Daily News.

By abandoning their land, the families of El Nacimiento have lost not only all their possessions, but also the crops and livestock they depend on for a living.

In San Cristóbal, dispossessed families protested, demanding that the government disarm Los Petules and allow them to return home safely.

They also say they petitioned the Chiapas attorney general’s office and other officials, but no one responded, according to Insightful crime.

Crime is rampant in Mexico, where gangs and drug cartels control many areas. In some cases, the Mexican military has given up on law enforcement and instead strives to keep the peace between rival criminal organizations.

The Independent Gt

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