Quechua are a powerful and influential community in the province of Guerrero, a state with a history of anti-immigrant violence.
Last year, they were instrumental in an anti-government protest that saw hundreds of police deployed in the city, as the region faced a wave of killings.
But the community is now at the centre of a delicate balance as tensions continue to simmer in the region.
This week, the Quechuas won a big victory in their battle against the local government in their struggle to hold the state of Guerrero responsible for crimes committed by local residents, including the disappearance of at least 25,000 children in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a symbolic win, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a local law that the Guerrero state government had put in place in response to the killings of the Quanches.
The ruling was welcomed by the Guerrero State Congress, which had called for the repeal of the law in November.
“Today the Supreme Courts decision proves that the law is a threat to the Quetzas, and that its constitutionality must be confirmed in the courts,” Guerrero State President Carlos Ruiz told local media.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that the state cannot use state funds to pay for the restoration of the missing children.
“We must find out who paid for the mass killings, and how they will be compensated,” said Attorney General Jorge Paez, who said the government must prove the victims were kidnapped, kidnapped without a valid warrant and were forced to work in forced labour.
More than a decade ago, the Guerrero Congress was formed with the backing of the state’s then-President Francisco Hidalgo, who is now a senator.
The party won two state legislative elections in 2002, but the violence in Guerrero began as the result of Hidalgos attempts to expand his presidency.
In 2015, the state began to move away from a political and economic model that relied on indigenous peoples.
Guerrero is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse areas in the country, but its history is marked by violence against indigenous peoples, and some of the largest drug gangs operating in Mexico are from Quechuta.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 50,000 people are missing from Guerrero, and more than 400,000 are displaced within the state.
The IOM has also documented cases of disappearances in the state, including two women who were kidnapped in 2013 and reported missing for four years.
A few weeks ago, hundreds of Quechuzas gathered outside the state capital to protest the state government’s plans to demolish their village.
They were met by local police, who responded with tear gas and water cannon, which led to one protester being injured.
On Wednesday, Guerrero state President Carlos Fuentes signed a bill that would allow Queches to sue the state for the damages they have suffered.
In the past, Quechutas have filed claims against state authorities for damage to their homes, but Fuentas said the new bill would “end the criminal and civil actions by the government against the Queches and the communities in which they live”.
“This law is aimed at establishing the legal right of the people of Quecucha and the rest of Guerrero to bring civil actions against the state authorities,” Fuente said.
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