Community leaders in a village in Hidalgo state are threatening to expel two Protestant families if they do not fully pay a fine levied against them because of their religious beliefs.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (www.csw.org) reports the two families belong to a group of Protestant families in La Mesa Limantitla, located in the Huasteca region of Hidalgo, who were pressured to sign an agreement renouncing their faith in January 2019.
CSW said that while eight families signed the agreement, Nemesio Cruz Hernández, Eligio Santiago Hernández and their wives, Maria Francisca Martínez Hernández and Angelina Martínez Hernández, refused to do so. As a result, their access to water, drainage, government benefit programs and the community mill were blocked for over a year.
The families were forced to sign an illegal agreement on January 15, 2020 in which they renounced their right to hold religious services in order to have their access to water and other essential services reinstated. The state authorities paid part of a fine of $57,700 Mexican pesos (approximately £2136) that was levied against each family as part of the agreement. However, after several follow-up meetings, including on August 22 and most recently on November 7, the families have been told that they face being cut off from essential services again or expelled from the community as they cannot afford to pay the rest of the fine.
Nemesio Cruz Hernández told CSW: “[The community leaders] have called a meeting to decide on our future this Saturday, 14 November. We are afraid that not only will they suspend our access to services but that we will be expelled from the community.”
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SOURCE: Assist News