Chiapas: press conference regarding the events in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón

April 30, 2009

Interview with the comisionado of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón (In Spanish)

On April 24 a press conference took place in the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (CDHFBC) with members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, who are adherents to the Other Campaign. The members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón denounced the detention in arraigo (pre-charge detention) of 8 men, detained and held incommunicado between April 13 and 18. They also denounced the actions of members of the Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Indigenous and Campesinos (OPDDIC) who collaborated with the Federal and State police during the repression of a roadblock in protest, and the destruction of the tollbooth at the entrance to Agua Azul on April 17.

The CDHFBC expressed concern regarding the militarization which the state has carried out and of the use of public security forces and laws to “discourage the population from organizing in defense of their human rights”. The Center also denounced that “in the last few months we have seen that the Mexican Government, on Federal, State, and municipal levels, has begun a policy of persecution and criminalization of movements and organizations of social dissidents”.

“The inhabitants of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, are part of an indigenous movement, which has opposed neoliberal plans involving the use of their land and exploitation of natural resources. For many years the region of Agua Azul has been a tourist zone whose many attractions have been administered and used by the tzeltal peoples of Bachajón. As an important part of the ecotourism project and the part of the Rivera Maya, it has been a focal point of the State Government for international investment.”

The case of the tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón is an example of what is happening all over Latin America with native peoples who “reclaim their rights to the land and to auto-determination”.

“The context of these events shows a clear picture of the counterinsurgency, implemented by the Mexican Government and carried out by the Mexican Army and the Federal and State Public Security Forces”. The CDHFBC stressed that “the police operation was carried out with the help of military intelligence, which was revealed to CDHFBC by members of the State Government”.

Finally, it is important to mention that the eight detained under arraigo (pre-charge detention) continue in the house of arraigo “Quinta Pitiquito” in Chiapa de Corzo. The Center denounced that the system of arraigo, which since the judicial reform of June 2008 is constitutional in Mexico, continues being a “systematic violation of human rights” and that the house of arraigo is “a place of coercion and torture”.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Política de represión implementada por el Gobierno Mexicano contra indígenas del pueblo tseltal de la región de Agua Azul, Chiapas, CDHFBC (24/04/2009)

Palabras de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón adherentes de La Otra Campaña EZLN (24/04/2009)

Boletín, Detención arbitraria de indígneas tseltales de Bachajón, Chilón, CDHFBC (16/04/2009)

Boletín, Operativo policíaco en contra de indígenas manifestantes de Bachajón, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Noticia, Solicitud de medidas cautelares ante detención arbitraria, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Oaxaca: military incursion in San Miguel Panixtlahuaca

April 30, 2009

On April 23, two different sources published information about a military incursion in the indigenous community Chatina de San Miguel Panixtlahuaca, district of Juquilia on the coast of Oaxaca. Oaxacan Voices Building Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL) denounced that “at nine in the morning, 15 trucks full of armed and hooded soldiers of the Federal Army arrived” surrounding the community “with roadblocks (… ) not allowing anyone to enter or leave, and in addition they began to search houses looking for weapons”.

On the website “Punto y Aparte” the operation was also mentioned as part of a “national campaign of disarmament”. Nevertheless, members of Section XXII stated that more than a routine campaign, the presence of 300 members of the military “with their faces covered” was actually related to the fact that they brought photos of “three people who they were searching for, in relation to a supposed guerrilla camp operating in the zone since 2000”. They fear that the state is being turned into a “laboratory for the Mexican Army, which has been ordered by Felipe Calderón to find and kill members of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR)”.

The operation seemed to have ended without anyone detained, but it left the population alarmed. VOCAL denounced in their communiqué that the military incursion is part of “the repression which the State and Federal Government continues carrying out against the communities, people, and organizations which rose up against the government of Ulises Ruiz in 2006, especially because in this community there was participation in 2006, when the uprising of the peoples of Oaxaca began”. In addition, they stated in the communiqué that the events are also related to the resistance the people have shown to the hydroelectric dam project “Paso de la Reina” and also to 3 other dam projects which are being built in the land of indigenous peoples of Oaxaca.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Ejército federal sitia la comunidad de San Miguel Panixtlahuaca, VOCAL (23/04/2009)

Militares ponen en estado de sitio a la población de San Miguel Panixtlahuaca, Punto y Aparte (24/04/2009)

Denuncian sitio militar en Panixtlahuaca; versiones de que buscarían eperristas, Centro Prodh (24/04/2009)

México: Informe sobre la militarización en Oaxaca, Red de información para organizaciones indígenas de México

Chiapas: Urgent Action: Concern for the lives and judicial situation of detainees. Criminalization of social protest and of the work of human rights defenders.

April 28, 2009

The International Service for Peace has expressed major concerns regarding a series of events beginning with the detention of 6 indigenous Tzeltales, inhabitants of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. The detainees suffered, among other things: torture and mistreatment; lack of access to fair judicial process, such as a translator who spoke their language; being held incommunicado; and misrepresentation by media sources.

In response, members of the Other Campaign of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón organized a roadblock to demand the liberation of the detainees. A few days later, two people, who were reported to have disappeared for a number of days, were detained as well. In addition, a number of cases of repression and criminalization of social protest and of human rights defenders who were working on the cases were denounced.

Read the Urgent Action online

For More Information (In Spanish):

Boletín, Detención arbitraria de indígneas tseltales de Bachajón, Chilón, CDHFBC (16/04/2009)

Boletín, Operativo policíaco en contra de indígenas manifestantes de Bachajón, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Noticia, Solicitud de medidas cautelares ante detención arbitraria, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Denuncia local – Solidaridad de MOCRI-CNPA con ejidatarios de Bachajón (17/04/2009)

Acción Urgente: Privación arbitraria de la libertad, tortura, tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos y degradantes a adherentes de La Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón, municipio de Chilón, CDHFBC (19/04/2009)

Acción Urgente: 11 hombres recluidos sin cargos en un centro de detención conocido como “Quinta Pitiquito”, Amnistía Internacional (21/04/2009)

Oaxaca: David Venegas is absolved of all crimes on April 20

April 28, 2009

On Monday, April 20 David Venegas Reyes “Alebrije” was cleared off all charges regarding supposed possession of cocaine and heroine, which ended the two year long criminal process in which he was jailed for 11 months. David Venegas was freed on March 5, 2008 “completely exonerated of the crime of burning buildings on November 25, but still charged with the crime of possession of cocaine and heroine with intent to sell”. He has been out of jail for more than a year under conditional freedom, which means that he had to appear before a judge once every 15 days.

Oaxacan Voices Building Liberty and Autonomy (VOCAL) stated in their press release on April 21 that the sentence, “far from being a sign of that the Mexican judicial system is functioning, was a result of the strength of the popular movement and the solidarity of people from all over Mexico and the world. The judicial system in Mexico is sick to its guts and it is an instrument of the government used to repress those who fight for justice and liberty”.

It is important to remember that since his liberation in March of 2008, David Venegas has worked for the liberation of other “political prisoners” in Oaxaca and in Chiapas, where he showed his solidarity with the protest in front of the Government palace in Tuxtla in March of 2008, which was protesting for freedom for the prisoners in hunger strike. On April 12, a Cultural Political Week was organized by the family and friends of political prisoners, as well as members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in support of the liberation of the prisoners of the APPO: Víctor Hugo Martínez, Miguel Angel García, Pedro Castillo Aragón, and Juan Manuel Martínez.

For More Information:

Judge Declares APPO Adviser David Venegas Innocent of Drug Charges, Kristin Bricker, Narconews, (4/21).

For More Information (In Spanish):

“Obtenemos la libertad de absoluta de David Venegas  “alebrije”, VOCAL (21/04/2009)

Chiapas: Concern about the coming Supreme Court decision in the case of Acteal

April 28, 2009

On April 20, the Organization “Civil Society of Las Abejas” protested the possibility that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) would grant appeals to 12 “paramilitaries” who were convicted after the massacre of Acteal, which occurred on December 22, 1997*. If they were given appeals, they would be released. In a press conference which took place in the offices of the Human Rights Center “Fray Bartolomé de las Casas” (Frayba) in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, representatives of the civil organization and witnesses of the massacre insisted that the 12 jailed men were among those who carried out the killing, which has been questioned by the legal defense of the jailed men.

Las Abejas denounced that the 12 prisoners accused 9 other men, among them Antonio López Hernández, who is a member of Las Abejas and a main witness because of his information about “how the arms were distributed among the paramilitaries, and because of this he was accused of being responsible”. According to the organization of the victims of the massacre, the legal defense has tried to involve the survivors, accusing them of having arms, and has made various contradictions, such as identifying members of Las Abejas as Zapatistas and accusing them of having planned and participated in the massacre of their own family members. Las Abejas reject the version proposed by the Mexican State and by various media sources that the massacre was the result of a religious conflict. In their press release, the stressed that the responsibility for the crime lies with those who occupied high public positions during the time of the massacre, such as the Mexican President, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León; the Secretary of Government, Emilio Chauyffet Chemor; the Secretary of National Defense, General Enrique Cervantes; Commander of the VII Military Region (located in Chiapas) and Commander of Special Force Rainbow, Mario Renán Castillo; as well as various state and municipal level authorities.

In addition, Frayba, the legal representative of the survivors of the massacre, released an Urgent Action stating the risks involved if the 12 men are liberated. For human rights defenders, “the violent actions which took place as part of the massacre constitute a crime against humanity, which was part of a counterinsurgency strategy planned and carried out by the Mexican State”. They state that within the context of the counterinsurgency carried out by the Mexican Government, “the State created, financed, trained, and harbored paramilitary groups which carried out systematic attacks against the civil society”. Frayba asked that the civil society declare itself against the continuing counterinsurgency strategy and against paramilitary groups, because “there is now a risk that their violent actions will continue”. If the appeal were given to the 12 paramilitaries, they would be freed immediately without the possibility of challenging the decision. The SCJN is the highest institution in the Mexican judicial system, and according to the law no one can be judged twice for the same crime.

*It is important to remember that during the massacre in Acteal, in the municipality of Chenalhó, on December 22, 1997, 45 people were killed, the majority women and children, and that 4 of the women were pregnant. To date, Las Abejas continue calling for justice, because according to them, all of those involved in the crime have not been prosecuted, especially the intellectual authors of the crime.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Denuncia de Las Abejas (20/04/2009)

Acción Urgente: Riesgo de que liberen a paramilitares responsables de la Masacre de Acteal, Frayba (20/04/2009)

Impunidad y responsabilidad de las autoridades públicas en el caso Acteal, SIPAZ, Boletín de febrero de 2008

Audios de la conferencia de prensa (20/04/2009)

“ Pretenden liberar a 12 asesinos de Acteal: Frayba”, La Jornada (21/04/2009)

Oaxaca: Forum Building Resistence in Defense of Our Territory

April 27, 2009

On April 17 and 18 the “Forum Building Resistance in Defense of Our Territory” took place in the municipality of San Pedro Apóstol, Ocotlán, Oaxaca, which convoked more than 400 people. Indigenous communities in Oaxaca and from other states, as well as state, national, and international organizations (including SIPAZ) met together to discuss and reflect on “the government attempts to promote megaprojects involving “development”, inversions, and politics which try to exploit our territory and natural resources”. From Chiapas, members of the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, as well as members of the communities of Cruztón, Comalapas, and San Cristóbal attended.

In the Political Declaration from the Forum, the communities and organizations stated that “in the face of this threat, organizing processes on a local and regional level must be improved to defend our territory. In this National Forum, we declare ourselves against these government actions as well as against private companies which try to exploit our wealth.”

In the discussion tables, the participants discussed and reflected on the conditions in communities and in various states; they agreed “not only to deal with one issue, but with all”. The recognized problems included the privatization of land and natural resources, environmental contamination, the construction of dams, the contamination of the corn, and privatization of water. They emphasized that “the water is sacred, one should not have to ask to have it, it belongs to everyone, and we cannot privatize it”.

Finally, the Political Declaration declared itself “against all megaprojects and government politics which attack our territories, community institutions, and natural resources” and in particular in favor of the permanent suspension of the Mining Exploitation Project of San José Progreso, Ocotlán; the Hydroelectric Dam Project Paso de la Reina in the coast of Oaxaca, the Dam El Zapotillo, and the Hydroelectric Dam of La Parota, Guerrero.

For More Information:

Forum of People in Resistance, Nancy Davis, Narconews, 4/19.

In Spanish:

Declaración Política del Foro Tejiendo Resistencias (19/04/2009)

Exigen comunidades indígenas cancelar tres hidroeléctricas, La Jornada (20/04/2009)

Oaxaca: event against feminicide

April 27, 2009

On April 17, in Oaxaca City, more than 20 organizations protested the killing of women and called for an investigation into the ongoing feminicide in Oaxaca. During a press conference, the attending organizations demanded justice for the murdered women. According to the press release, during this year there have been “13 killings in Oaxaca” and “impunity continues in Oaxaca”. They demanded that “the attorney general’s office immediately begin an investigation into the killing of women” as well as put a stop to “the machismo (sexism) which permeates the government and continues claiming the lives of women”.

They denounced that “according to the report on Violence Against Women in Oaxaca by the Federal House of Deputies, Oaxaca is second place in the number of killings of women and children. 549 women were killed in the last 10 years. According to the official statistics, on average almost 5 women (4.8) are killed each month in Oaxaca.”

Finally, the organizations signed a declaration which “urges the implementation of a law dealing with violence against women”.

Interview with Laura Jiménez García of Consorcio (In Spanish):

For More Information (In Spanish):

Boletín de prensa, Consorcio (17/04/2009)

“En Oaxaca asesinan a 1 mujer cada 8 días, consignan los medios”, El Sur (17/04/2009)

Chiapas: Urgent action involving the detainees of the MOCRI-CNPA-MN

April 13, 2009

In an urgent action on April 8, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) expressed serious concerns about the “detention incommunicado of Pedro López Gómez, Genaro Gómez Gómez, Ramiro Hernández Gómez, and Marcelino Ruiz Gómez, all of whom are family members of persons incarcerated in the prison CERRS 14 also known as ‘El Amate`, and Eric Bautista Gómez; all of whom were detained in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in the State of Chiapas.”

According to the denunciations of the Regional Independent Campesino Movement – National Coordination Plan de Ayala- National Movement (MOCRI- CNPA- MN) and from the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (Limeddh) at dawn on April 7 members of the State Preventative Police forcibly removed a “peaceful demonstration in front of the Government Palace in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez”. For 15 days, this demonstration had been protesting in solidarity with eight prisoners who are members of the MOCRI-CNPA-MN, who had sewed their lips shut and begun a hunger strike on March 23 because they had been unjustly jailed. During the removal of the protest, according to information from the OMCT, four people were detained “and to date we do not know where they were taken to after being detained”. The encampment of the prisoners who were on a hunger strike inside El Amate was also dismantled by the guards.

The OMCT also denounced that “at the same time that these detentions were taking place at the protest, another group of four patrols of the Preventative Police violently evicted the offices of the MOCRI-CNPA-MN and various residents of the neighborhood, Colonia “Emiliano Zapata”, and during this operation Eric Bautista Gómez, the spokesman of the MOCRI, was detained.

According to an article in La Jornada on April 9, the government stated that the detainees had been placed under arraigo (pre-charge detention) in a secure house and would be freed soon.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Boletín y denuncia publica, MOCRI CNPA MN (08/04/09)

OMCT: Caso MEX 080409/Detenciones en incomunicación/Temor de desaparición forzada/Riesgo de torturas y/o malos tratos  (08/04/09)

AU-010-2009.MOCRI-CHIS: Denuncia publica: Uso excesivo de la fuerza pública, detenciones arbitrarias, riesgo de desaparición forzada de personas y de actos de tortura en contra de familiares e integrantes de MOCRI CNPA, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, LIMEDDH (07/04/09)

Presuntos policías intentan secuestrar a líder del MOCRI, El Proceso (06/04/09)

Desalojan plantón de labriegos dentro de la cárcel de El Amate, La Jornada (07/04/09)

Liberarían en Chiapas a seis detenidos, La Jornada (09/04/09)

More Information de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: New denunciation from El Amate, SIPAZ Blog, 2/4.

Oaxaca: David Venegas to be sentenced on April 6 – Urgent Action

April 2, 2009


On April 6, David Venegas “El Alebrije”, member of Oaxaca Voices Building Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), member of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), and adherent to the Other Campaign, will be sentenced for the crime of “possession with intent to sell of cocaine and heroine”, one of the crimes for which he was jailed on April 13, 2007. The other crime for which he was sentenced and eventually exonerated was the burning of buildings during the protests held by the APPO on November 15, 2006. According to VOCAL the sentence that will  be given, involves “purposeful delays by the government, serious omissions, lies, errors, and a series of contradictions between the police that arrested David, which should all be enough to guarantee his complete exoneration”.

The urgent action released by VOCAL calls for a protest on April 6 in front of the Federal judge in Mexico City so that “David will be completely freed”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Dictaran sentencia judicial a David Venegas Reyes “alebrije”, Acción Urgente, VOCAL

More Information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Adán Mejía López cleared of charges and released after a year in prison, (SIPAZ Blog, 23/7/2008)

Oaxaca: David Venegas Reyes, “El Alebrije”, released from prison (SIPAZ Blog, 6/3/2008)

Oaxaca: David Venegas still jailed, SIPAZ conducts interview (SIPAZ Blog, 31/1/2008)

Guerrero: Hostilities and aggressions continue against human rights defenders

April 2, 2009

The director of the CDHM Tlachinollan, Abel Barrera

On March 25, the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) denounced, in a letter signed by hundreds of national and international organizations, that in recent weeks aggressions and threats against human rights defenders have intensified. They denounced hostilities against the wives of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, the two murdered indigenous human rights defenders, and also hostilities against Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, the president of the Indigenous Me’phaa Peoples Organization (OPIM), who has received death threats for her work as a human rights defender.

The CDHM Tlachinollan also denounced aggressions and hostilities against its own members. According to a press release, some of its members were followed in a threatening manner while they were traveling in Ayutla de los Libres. The CDHM Tlachinollan stated: “The organizations of human rights defenders are living in an intolerable atmosphere for their work as human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero and in reality, the search for justice in the case of the disappearance and murder of the two human rights defender has generated a situation of high risk for those demanding a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible. In this respect we must declare that this situation is a consequence of the failure of the local authorities to carry out their obligations.”

On March 26, the CDHM Tlachinollan announced that it was temporarily closing its offices in Ayutla de los Libres because of a lack security related to the recent intensification of hostilities against human rights defenders. Abel Barrera Hernández, the director of the Center, stated that this was a “drastic decision” “brought on by the lack of conditions for human rights defenders in one of the poorest regions of the country, where the government has opted for militarization”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Se intensifican agresiones contra defensores de derechos humanos en Guerrero, CDHM Tlachinollan, 25/3.

Cierra centro de derechos humanos en Guerrero por amenazas, PROCESO, 25/3.

Por falta de garantías, Tlachinollan anuncia cierre de oficina en Ayutla, La Jornada Guerrero, 25/3.


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