Mexico: National Meeting of members of The Other Campaign in Atenco

November 29, 2010

@FTDP

Between the 12th and 14th of November 2010, a National Meeting of Organizations and Struggles of the Other Campaign took place in San Salvador Atenco (Mexico State), convoked by the Movement for Justice en El Barrio, United States and the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land of Atenco, the latter being the host organization.

The invitation to the meeting noted: “While in the Other Campaign we have strengthened ourselves, we have extended more and have gone deeper in the way we work, the reaction from the capitalist system and from the ‘bad government’ has been to try and crush us where our roots are deep and our resistance is fierce. From the other side of the border, in New York, the movement for Justice in El Barrio strongly felt the chill first and then the anger that emerged from the repression that swept the country during the first phase of the Other Campaign. “ They argue: ” We hope to raise all our differences as flags and walk together to defend our lands, our cultures, our identities, our loves, our autonomy. “

According to press reports, the event was attended by over 70 organizations and groups. During the three days of the meeting there were different workshops, addressing issues such as repression, political prisoners, the defense of land and autonomy, among others, as well as an open forum on “The worthy struggles of Women , Indigenous Peoples, Lesbian, Gay and Transgender. ” In addition, there were screenings of documentaries on different actors and stages of the Other Campaign, as well as on the Zapatista struggle in Chiapas.

For more information (in Sanish):


Chiapas: Death Threats Made Against Margarita Martinez and Members of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center

November 27, 2010

On November 24, 2010, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) denounced recent acts in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, that put the lives and safety of human rights defender Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez at risk along with other members of the Center’s team.

Margarita Martínez’ testimony concerns the following: “today, after having obtained an interview with an official at the Mexican Office of the United Nations High Commission, I went to a café located in the city center to get something to drink. Upon leaving the café I looked for the person assigned to me (Margarita has been granted cautionary measures recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) but I did not find him. So I walked down the block and it was there that two people intercepted me, one was in a white Ranger truck without license plates and the other was on foot. The latter told me to walk two blocks where I would find a person who would give me further instructions.”

Margarita goes on to say, “I walked to the place indicated, they had threatened to kill me if I did not follow through with the instructions, and when I arrived there an individual gave me a piece of paper withe letters cut out of a newspaper that said: ‘Diego the life/ of this family/ is in your hands/ you will face charges/ Fucking [human rights] defenders.” Afterwards he told me to take it to Frayba because they are fucking shitty assholes. They just go around destabilizing the State, justifying their work as supposedly in favor of those most in need, in favor of justice. What justice? Justice my ass.”

After demanding that I deliver further threats to other members of Frayba, he told me to walk a few blocks away and take a taxi to the municipal cemetery “so that you can chat with your dead because you will be meeting them soon.” Then he told me to take a taxi toward the market “without making any stupid moves because you’re a dead person.”

Margarita was followed by the white truck to be sure that she complied with the instructions given to her; however, upon arriving at the city center she was able to lose her aggressors in the traffic. She then continued on to the Frayba offices. The police officers who were responsible for her security stated that they never left the café where Margarita had stopped. They claimed they had been standing guard at the doors of the café and that they never saw her leave.

It is important to point out that the very next day, the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), publicly presented their report on the current situation facing human rights defenders in Mexico which points out that the states of Chihuahua, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero head the list in aggressions. From September 2009 to October 2010, 37 human rights defenders have been threatened, beaten and arbitrarily detained; seven have been disappeared and five have died at the hands of authorities and organized crime.

Javier Hernández, representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, stated that the seriousness of the situation is that the very same municipal authorities, military personnel or those charged with imparting justice are those that threaten the security of the human rights defenders. He added that in the current climate of “insecurity and violence, it is indispensible that the Mexican State provide adequate guarantees for [human rights] defenders” since it is their obligation to investigate and punish those responsible, in addition to providing reparations for the damages suffered by those affected. However, the government has not complied with its responsibility as illustrated by the impunity which is a factor that “increases the risk” to human rights defenders and places them in an “indefensible and unprotected” situation.

On the same day, November 25, the OHCHR also published a public pronouncement in which it condemned the aggression against human rights defender Margarita Martínez. “It is disturbing and alarming that this type of aggression has occurred despite her having a police escort, after meeting with us, two days after having visited with the ACAT delegates and at almost the exact moment that the Office, in unison with the National Human Rights Commission and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, made public our concern for the critical situation faced by human rights defenders in Mexico,” said Javier Hernández Valencia.

Para más información:

In English:

- Mexico – Death threats against human rights defender Ms Margarita Martínez Martínez and members of Frayba (Front Line, 26/11/2010)

In Spanish:

- Acción Urgente: Amenazas de muerte, hostigamiento a Defensora de Derechos Humanos, a integrantes y director del Frayba (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 25 de noviembre)

- OACNUDH condena la agresión en contra de la defensora de derechos humanos Margarita Martínez en Chiapas (Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos , 25 de noviembre)

- Nota informativa urgente (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 24 de noviembre)

- En aumento, número de agresiones a defensores de derechos humanos en México: OACDH(La Jornada, 25 de noviembre)

- ONU: un año, 37 ataques a defensores de derechos (Milenio, 25 de noviembre)

- Actualización 2010: informe sobre la situación de las y los defensores de derechos humanos en México (OACNUDH, noviembre de 2010)

More Information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: a year of impunity in the case of aggression against human-rights defenders (11/11/2010)

- Chiapas: Lack of commitment on the part of the Mexican State inhibited human-rights defender from attending UN conference (18/10/2010)

- Chiapas: 7 months after the beginning of harassment directed at members of Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación of Comitán(23/06/2010)


Chiapas: Sixth Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation

November 26, 2010

Between the 16th and 19th of November 2010, the Sixth “Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation” took place in the community of San Salvador, autonomous municipality of Francisco Villa. The event was organized and facilitated by brothers and sisters from the area of Zapata, in the Estrella region of Ocosingo, with the support of the the Commission of Support for Unity and Community Reconciliation (CORECO). It brought together 268 people (220 men and 48 women) arriving from 74 communities and 17 municipalities in Chiapas, such as Tenejapa, Ocosingo, Bachajón, Chamula and the autonomous municipalities of Francisco Villa and San Manuel. The participants belonged to 26 different civil and social organizations, including Pueblo Creyente (Community of Faith), the Other Campaign, the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo, the Rural Association of Collective Interest – Independent and Democratic (ARIC-ID) and the Rural Association of Collective Interest – Historical (ARIC-Historical).

The event served as a forum for reflection for women and men that are engaged in conflict mediation and peacebuilding activities in their communities. The participants valued as a key result of the previous meetings the exchange of knowledges and stories that they are able to share in their communities afterwards. To know that ‘they are not alone in the struggle for a fairer world and that, on the contrary there are many people organized in different regions of Chiapas” helped to cheer them up to go on with this struggle. As mentioned by Jose Alfredo Gordillo Martínez from Comitan: “I participate in this meeting for the first time and I came alone from my community, but arriving here I do not feel alone at all.” “Learning from other’s work helps us to organize ourselves better”, said Joan Santiz Hernández, president of the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo: “The meeting helps to open up the thinking, because we are still a bit lost [... ] it teaches us many ideas. ” Another important result is the increased participation of women in the meetings. In the first event of this kind 6 years ago only men participated. Now women and men participated not only in the preparation of the event, but also in its realisation.

The cultural values of their ancestors was a recurring theme in the working groups and plenary sessions. Many people expressed concern about the loss of these values and the desire to recover them. During a plenary session, the group from the Highlands of Chiapas shared: “Just as our ancestors built the peace by peaceful means, the builders of reconciliation now build the bridge that leads to peace, a place where problems can be solved peacefully.” The recovery of local varieties of maize, traditional medicine and respect for Mother Earth in the same way as their ancestors did were also valued as necessary.

To draw attention to the situation in prisons, a member of the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo, on the second day, shared the contents of a letter sent on September 30 to the State Government stating their concern about the problems within the prison of Ocosingo. The organization calls for a respectful manner to treat visiting relatives and fair legal proceedings for the prisoners.

During a pleany session, Jorge Santiago, president of the CORECO, suggested five steps to follow to move forward in building peace. He emphasized that in Chiapas the core of the conflicts are government programs. He also mentionned that we need to analyze what are the interests of the different parties in the conflict, including our own: “Sometimes we can be clear about what the others want, but we do not know what we want. Taken into account our own position, it is important to ask ourselves what are our interests? ” Similarly, he stressed the richness that comes from the diversity of peoples, languages, cultures and religions: “The difference between us is an asset. The challenge is to see how we join together our differences to make a single force. “

Aside from the working groups and plenary sessions that took place, there were also spaces for community activities. To cheer us up in times of fatigue, several creative dynamics, songs and short exercises were proposed. Every day the meeting began with a prayer before the Mayan Maya which was assembled during the welcoming ceremony the first day. Meal times were opportunities for people to talk and exchange experiences, and at night, the bodies and souls could relax dancing with live music. Matthew Mendoza Díaz, a member of the organizing committee was happy with the way the event developed: “I am pleased with the participation of people, all were very active. The difference from 2007 when the event was in this same region Estrella is that there is now much more participation of women, and young men and women. We leave here with the heart stronger”.

For more information:

Realización del Sexto Encuentro de Constructoras y Constructores de Paz y Reconciliación

More information from SIPAZ:

Fifth Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation – Beyond stressing the need for peace,let us construct it!(SIPAZ Report, March 2010)

Chiapas: Meeting of Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo (OFPO) (October 6, 2010)


Chiapas: “Las Abejas” and Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center celebrate admission of the Acteal case in the IACHR

November 26, 2010

On November 22, in observation of the monthly commemoration of the 1997 massacre, the organization “Sociedad Civil Las Abejas” expressed their satisfaction for the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to take the Acteal case, nearly six years after the petition was submitted. They stressed: “This decision means that the Commission found elements to consider that the Mexican State violated rights recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights during the events of December 22, 1997 in the refugees’ camp of Acteal, municipality of Chenalho, Chiapas. “ They added: “Despite the fact that the bad Mexican government denied that the massacre of Acteal is a state crime, it won’t be able to keep its lies alive against the force of truth and conscience of the people. We will keep on walking in the search and in the building of a worthy and true justice for the 45 persons, plus 4 unborn children who were killed, our brothers, sisters and little brothers. The political and economic strategy of the bad government to wear down the Abejas and the process we maintain looking for justice in the Acteal case won’t work out in an organized people like ours. “ Finally, they reiterated: “Mexico and the world knows that the massacre of Acteal was the result of a counterinsurgency war designed by the Mexican government against organized peoples of Chiapas.”

In previous days, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, legal advice to the families of the victims, had also considered that “the decision of the Commission is an important step to support the road towards truth, memory and repair for what happened in Acteal. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Confían Las Abejas en dictamen de la CIDH (La Jornada, 23 de noviembre de 2010)

Esperan que declaren un crimen de Estado y lesa humanidad (Cuarto Poder, 23 de noviembre de 2010)

Comunicado de Las Abejas del 22 de noviembre de 2010

Pronunciamiento de las Abejas y del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (16 de noviembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: Las Abejas indignant over the release of 15 of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (October 26, 2010)


Chiapas: Ejidatorios from Bachajón denounce governmental strategy and escalation of aggression by Opddic

November 25, 2010

On November 13, ejidatarios (communal landowners) of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, adherents to the Other Campaign, reported that in the past five months, they have observed a growing strategy of slanders, injustice and provocations carried out by authorities, as well as an escalation of attacks and harassment by members of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (Opddic).

These new threats were attributed to “the same interest of neoliberalism and transnational projects”. The ejidatarios claimed that those who share this vision in the area “have won the trust of the Secretary of Government, Noe Castanon, who received them on November 8, with open doors and the table set with a special menu including transnational projects and ideas of how to destroy our organization. “ They noted “the interest [of “the bad government”] to start a conflict in different communities of their ejido, organizing paramilitary groups to intimidate the society.”

Finally they announced: “We will defend our natural resources to the limit, we will show the government that we are not alone. (…) From this date there will be no dialogue and rapprochement with any official authority, since we do not negociate or do any agreement with the bad governement, because they have clearly shown their interest in stripping us of our lands and take over our resources””

For more information (in Spanish):

Ejidatarios de Bachajón, Chiapas, denuncian recrudecimiento de agresiones de la Opddic (La Jornada, November 18, 2010)

Denuncia completa de las ejidatarios de Bachajón (November 13, 2010))

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce torture and illegal detention of ejidatario (November 8, 2010)


Guerrero – briefs: Attack against newspaper El Sur de Acapulco; Land conflict in Jicayán de Tovar; Demonstration against La Parota hydroelectric dam; Community Police release a communique against mining exploration; Eviction of 350 families in Puerto Marqués

November 22, 2010

On November 10 in the city of Acapulco, facilities of the newspaper El Sur de Acapulco were attacked by a group of armed individuals who entered the offices. The attackers fired their weapons several times while 12 people were working. Nobody was injured. The Mexican representative of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OACNUDH) condemned the attack and requested that Mexican authorities investigate what happened in order to capture, prosecute, and punish those responsible. The events happened amid a context in which El Sur has been covering violence in Guerrero – particularly a series of murders that occurred in recent weeks. In a November 11 announcement, civil society and social organizations, including the Workshop for Community Development (TADECO) and the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI) among others, condemned the attack and emphasized that it was not and isolated incident. Relating the attack to the coverage of the murder of Deputy Armando Chavarría last year: “we can’t forget what happened almost a year ago, [the] director [of El Sur] Juan Angulo was forced by police to appear before the State Attorney for an article he wrote about the murder of local deputy, Armando Chavarría.” The organizations demanded effective and committed investigations from the government.

For more information (in Spanish):

Condena la ONU ataque a El Sur; demanda garantizar la libertad de expresión en el país (La Jornada, 12 November)

Alerta LE: Ataque armado al periódico El Sur de Guerrero (CENCOS, 11 November)

ONU-DH deplora el ataque contra el periódico El Sur de Guerrero (CENCOS, 11 November)

Pronunciamiento de OSC sobre ataque contra periódico El Sur (11 November)

Land conflict in Jicayán de Tovar

Ejidal authorities of the Jicayán de Tovar agrarian community, in the municipality of Tlachistlahuaca, denounced violent acts of aggression committed by their neighbors from El Jicaral, in the municipality of Coicoyán de las Flores of the Oaxaca state, on November 1 and 8. At a press conference in the zócalo of Chilpancingo, the Secretary Commissariat of Communal Wellness for Jicayán, Alberto Tenorio Velázquez said “On Sunday the Oaxacans crossed the point that divides the territories and reached the vicinity of the community. They were shooting firearms, but did not hit anyone because the people fled to their homes.” Members of TADECO explained: “Let’s remember that the base of this conflict has its origin in the territorial invasions suffered by Jicayán de Tovar at the hands of El Jicaral, Oaxaca, since 2006 with negligent complicity of state authorities in Oaxaca and Guerrero, who have lacked seriousness in working to solve the agrarian issues that generated this conflict.” Authorities and neighbors of Jicayán de Tovar and the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata, in a press release on November 9, called on the state and federal authorities with jurisdiction over land disputes to, “once and for all address the many conflicts between agrarian communities in the state of Guerrero as well as at the national level.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Irrumpen a balazos oaxaqueños en Jicayán por el conflicto agrario en Tlacoachistlahuaca, denuncian (El Sur de Acapulco, 15  November)

Boletín de prensa de autoridades y vecinos de Jicayán de Tovar (9 Noviember)

Demonstration against La Parota

On November 11 at the port of Acapulco, more than 500 campesinos opposed to the La Parota hydroelectric dam project demonstrated in front of the Federal Electrical Commission (CFE) to again voice their rejection of the imposition of the dam megaproject. The CFE revived the plan after they requested federal resources from Congress amounting to 4.200 million pesos for their 2011 proposal to construct the dam. A commission brought forward a document in which they demanded compliance with the para-statal suspension ordered by the United Agrarian Tribunal (TUA). The demonstrators stated “We have come to say to the CFE that CECOP [Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota] is alive and will continue the defense of the territory while this plan to impose La Parota persists.”

For more information:

Con presupuesto o sin él, La Parota no pasará (CENCOS, 12 November)

Viola CFE suspensión del proyecto La Parota: comuneros (La Jornada, 12 November)

Community Police denounce mining exploration

On November 5, presented in the House of Justice of San Luis Acatlan, representatives of Hochschild Mining-Mexico reported hat they have authorization from INEGI to conduct low-flying magnetometer recognition, “for their own benefit,” over community territory to search for minerals that can be exploited. The Community Police-Regional Coordinator of Communal Authorities (PC-CRAC) asked civil society to stay alert to what could be a new onslaught against their territory.

For more information:

Página Web de la PC-CRAC

Forced eviction of 350 families in Puerto Marqués

On November 10 at 9:00 a.m., 350 families were evicted from the upper and lower Colonia Ampliación Puerto Marqués in the municipality of Acapulco. The evictions were carried out by more than 500 warrantless state police officers with firefighters and ambulances as reinforcements.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa de Tadeco (10 Noveiember 2010)

Desalojo de Puerto Marqués fue ordenado por un juez: Soberanis (La Jornada de Guerrero, 12 November)

Presentan desalojados de Puerto Marqués queja en la Coddehum (La Jornada de Guerrero, 13 November)


Chiapas: Report of journalists’ persecution

November 17, 2010

Hector Bautista (elperiodismoenchiapas-blogspot-com)

On November 3, members of the PGJE (Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office) arrested the journalist and computer specialist Hector Bautista, accusing him for organized crime and for distributing child pornography. As it was reported, he was arrested at his work without a warrant and taken to an unknown destination with all his computer equipment, CDs, USB memories and his vehicle. He has been mantained in pre-detention from this date.

On November 8, the journalist Anthony Flores Merida expressed concerns about his integrity for his work as a communicator. He explained: “Bautista Flores is my web hosting provider for my news site “InfoChiapas” (http://www.infochiapas.com).” He added: “I feel that the detention of Baptist Flores is a retaliation for his work and for its link to mine, as well as for the friendship we share.” He recalled in the same denunciation that Infochiapas published an exclusive research that was critical of the government of Chiapas, on September 30, arguing that the state of Chiapas is Mexico’s most indebted. Merida Flores also said that he felt threatened by a possible arrest after “officers of the Institute of Social Communication of the Government of Chiapas called to ask the directors of the local newspaper where he works as an editor what his working relationship with [Bautista] was.”

On November 12 , in a letter to the governor of Chiapas, journalists and mediaworkers demanded the release of Hector Bautista Flores saying “The offense committed against Hector Bautista we felt it as our own because he has hosted web sites for his peers (such is the case of Anthony Flores, author of InfoChiapas) and he has also taught us how to use the advantages of technological tools to inform the population of Chiapas. We know that you are aware that any state that wants to really achieve democracy needs free and critical media, as well as people who help to create that kind of media. Hector Bautista is one of them and we consider that his imprisonment is an injustice. “

For more information (in Spanish)

- Teme periodista independiente en su seguridad e integridad física y patrimonial por hostigamiento del Gobierno de Chiapas (denuncia de Anthony Flores Merida, 8 de noviembre)

- El agravio contra Héctor Bautista es un agravio a comunicadores de Chiapas (carta de periodistas y comunicadores de Chiapas, 12 de noviembre)

- Blog de Héctor Bautista

- Nota informativa que se presume puede haber causado la persecución de Hector Bautista y Antony Flores:
Deuda pública de Chiapas, la más alta en 16 años

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