June 30, 2007
Nuevo Paraíso (Municipality of Pantelhó): treaths to the ex displaced people of of San Clemente.
SIPAZ visited the village and enterviewed with one of its members.
Translation of the interview (watch the video above, in Spanish) :
Before, I was living in a village called San Clemente from which we were displaced on 10 November 1999 by the paramilitary . They were forcing people to pay money so they could buy weapons and ammunitions. From there we moved to Fracción Guadalupe [Pantelhó], where we then lived for 7 years and 6 months and we started looking for a small piece of land until we moved here to this new village called “El Nuevo Paraíso” [the New Heaven]. But now they’re threatening us again, and they’re shooting near the village. The government is not doing justice to us and the paramilitary roam free…
When we left the community we were 18 families, but now we’ve been only 15 families since we moved in the month of April because there’s fear of the paramilitary and some remained there at the camp, in Fracción Guadalupe. There’s a lot of fear so when the international observers are here we feel safe, but when they’re not we feel very sad…
We collected bullet shells, I think it was the 15 June. When we found them near the village we were really scared. When we heard the shots we couldn’t sleep for three nights because we were scared, all of those who were here including women and children…
The shots came from near our land and they even passed above one of our brother’s head. [Question: the shots were directed at you?] Yes. It was like 9 o’clock at night.
June 30, 2007
Acteal: The Festival of Saint Peter
On 22 December 1997, 45 tzotziles indigenous people (members of an organization called Las Abejas, “The Bees”) were murdered while they were praying in the church of the small village of Acteal, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Among the victims were 16 children and teenagers, 20 women and 9 men. Seven of the women were pregnant. The direct responsibles of the massacre were paramilitary groups.
Of the 124 people who were initially accused, 41 were acquitted and 83 were charged with murder. Of them, 6 were declared innocent, 25 were condemned to 36 years of prison, and the rest is still awaiting judgement. Nevertheless, the intellectual authors of the massacre are still free.
Almost 10 years after the massacre, injustice and sorrow have not taken away the dignity and the ability to smile of these people.
SIPAZ went to their festival: the Fiesta de San Pedro, patron Saint of Acteal.
(Video in Spanish)
June 23, 2007
The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca declared a “maximum alert” yesterday, due to the risk of an attack from the state government. APPO denounces that there could be more arbitrary detentions in the following days, and therefore asks the civil society to take “safety measures and to denounce any action against fundamental rights“.
• Article in La Jornada (Spanish).
• APPO’s official website (Spanish).
June 22, 2007
Yesterday, 20 June 2007, SIPAZ assisted as an observer to the March against the high electricity tariffs and against the imposition of the Puebla-Panama plan, organized by the State Network for the Civil Resistance “The Voice of Our Heart” (Red Estatal de la Resistencia Civil “La Voz de Nuestro Corazón“), affiliated to the Other Campaign, tht took place in Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas. Above you can see the short video we shot (in Spanish, 3 mins).
June 20, 2007
We are currently looking for long term team members willing to live and work in Chiapas, particularly in the areas of human rights observation and information.
- Commitment to the principles of SIPAZ.
- Fluency in Spanish
- Previous experience in international work
- Previous experience in working for peace, human rights and or conflict resolution.
- Good communications skills
- Good political analysis
- A minimum of a one year’s commitment
- Minimum age: 23 years
The volunteers usually work in one or more areas of work, depending on their abilities. The commitment to SIPAZ should be at least a year, in that the quality of work demands that the first three months are spent in orientation and training. We ask for complete dedication to SIPAZ, and that you not do other work while volunteering for SIPAZ. We offer a modest compensation, plus support for accommodation and food. SIPAZ pays for medical insurance (if necessary) and travel costs. The volunteers work under the supervision of the SIPAZ coordinator in Chiapas.
- To develop and maintain contact with a wide spectrum of actors involved in the conflict of Chiapas, searching for opportunities to support initiatives working for its peaceful resolution.
- To collaborate in the creation of reports and analyses about the process in Chiapas as well as the situation in Guerrero and Oaxaca, promoting international solidarity with the search for peaceful solution.
- To collaborate in the different activities of SIPAZ .
- To maintain relationships with the organizations that cooperate with SIPAZ.
- To share in the responsibilities in maintaining the SIPAZ office.
- To organize and attend local, regional and international forums.
For more information or to request the application form, please contact:
Committee on Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers –
Avenida Chilón #8
Barrio El Cerrillo
San Cristóbal de las Casas
29220 Chiapas, México
Tel/Fax: (+52.967) 63-160-55
June 20, 2007
The Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (CIEPAC) and the Community Human Rights Defenders Network make an invitation to En Voz Alta, an initiative for reflection, analysis and social debate. The topic tomorrow, June 20, will be:
* Blanca Olivia Velásquez Torres, Feminist Collective Mercedes Olivera
* Dra. Laura Miranda Arteaga, Director of Marie Stopes in San Cristóbal
* Pbro. Bernardo Rangel Moreno, San Cristóbal Diocese
* Susana Solís Esquinca, journalist
* PAN’s municipal commitee
* PRI‘s municipal commitee
* PRD‘s municipal commitee
• Day and time: Wednesday, June 20 2007, 6 PM
• Place: Café Museo Café, Calle María Adelina Flores No. 10
June 20, 2007
From June 13 to 20, 2007, Mexican organizations linked to the Other Campaign are holding the National Mobilization Campaign against the Federal Commission of Electricity. The campaign, focused on the opposition against the privatization of the energy sector, has 4 main demands:
- The CFE must be at the service of the people again.
- All imposed mega projects must be cancelled. Consultations must be held in the future for any project.
- Fair rates for electricity. All debts for bills not paid by the resistance movements must be cancelled.
- Social programs like Oportunidades and Procampo must not be granted under the condition of paying the electricity bills.
Part of the national campaign, the Chiapas Civil Resistance Network “Voice of Our Heart” has called for a demonstration tomorrow, June 20: “Demonstration against the high electricity rates and in solidarity with the other fights against the CFE“.
Place: Comitán de Domínguez, close to the Niños Héroes statue in the Miguel Alemán district (in front of Ford).
Time: 9 AM (normal time), Wednesday, 20th of June.
Being a relevant political event, SIPAZ will attend as observers.
• CFE’s website.
• SIPAZ article: Refusing to pay for the light: a local struggle against privatization. Available online on the December 2004 quarterly report.
• Public denouncement by indigenous organizations against the CFE’s poor service in Chiapas (Spanish).
June 19, 2007
More than one year after the events of Atenco, where serious human rights violations occured, several Mexican organizations from The Other Campaign have initiated actions to liberate people imprisoned linked to those events. These actions include a petition campaign that will try to collect one million signatures.
The Center of Political Analysis and Social and Economic Research C.A. (CAPISE) is coordinating the campaign in Chiapas, so you can contact them if you wish to sign the petition. (However, it is only open for Mexican citizens for the moment. It will be possible for people from other countries to sign it soon)
Real de Guadalupe # 24, Zona Centro
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. C.P. 29200
Dentro de “Centro Cultural Tierradentro Café”
Tel-fax: (52)(967) 678-9738
• Actions by the Other Campaign (Spanish).
• Public declaration by Amnesty International, one year after the events (Spanish).
• Indymedia’s website about Atenco (Spanish).
• Wikipedia article: 2006 civil unrest in San Salvador Atenco.
• Small Farming Community Successfully Struggles to Preserve its Way of Life Against the Forces of Neo-Liberalism, by Andrew C. Kennis, New York City Independent Media Center.
June 16, 2007
The government of Chiapas took account of the damage caused by the Tropical Storm Barbara, that hit the coast of Chiapas in the beginning of June:
- 7,158 farmers, belonging to 8 municipalities, were affected.
- 4,674 hectares farmland were damaged to a different degree: mainly banana, cacao, coffee, cane, chili pepper, coconut, rubber, timber, corn, mammee apple, mango, nance, papaya, tamarind and black sapote crops.
The Fray Matías de Córdova Human Rights Centre informed that the damage caused by Tropical Storm Barbara may increase the high level of migration that is affecting the Coast, Soconusco and Sierra regions of Chiapas. This area was severely affected by Hurricane Stan, which devastated Central America in 2005. The Human Rights Centre denounces that the economical situation in Chiapas is “extremely worrying, a time bomb that causes a population detachment every second from Chiapas towards the North” and describes an alarming situation: “natural disasters are constantly happening, and they have become a factor of expulsion of migrants in the Soconusco region. The three levels of government are not doing much to protect the population against the economical effects of hurricanes and storms in the coast of Chiapas. Every time a phenomenon of this kind occurs, it causes a situation of uncertainty, uneasiness and anxiety among the population, who lack of opportunities to secure their livelihood, to find a job in order to feed their families, and find no reason to keep on fighting“.
•On our last report (March 2007) there is an article about migration in Chiapas.
•Article (Spanish) in La Jornada.
•Article (Spanish) in Cuarto Poder.
•Website of the Human Rights Centre Fray Matías de Córdova.