Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre

On December 16, as a part of the activities in observance of the 13th anniversary of the Acteal massacre in which 45 Indians were killed on December 22, 1997, the chorus of Acteal and Sak Tzebul, an indigenous rock group, gave a joint concert called “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, in order to raise funds for the choir to record an album.

On December 20, 21 and 22, the civil organization “Las Abejas” held a Meeting named “Weaving the Resistance in favor of Autonomy and against Dependence and Counterinsurgency” in Acteal, Chenalho. Participants came from various regions of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Atenco and they explained in their final statement: “We understand autonomy as the right to live as we want, without asking permission and without others imposing on us to live as they want us to; as freedom for every people to make decisions about land, resources, organization and education; and to think for ourselves. Autonomy begins in the heart of every person, it is not just a goal, but the path in which we are already. ” They affirmed their commitment to “forge alliances as we want and to globalize our struggle from below, keeping with our own work, without relying on government aid and programs.” They reported: “Others are upset because we want to live free and they want to end our autonomy, to impose projects, to make us dependent on their programs. When that does not work out, they apply to you counterinsurgency strategies. But we keep up with the resistance. (…) [T] he government has changed color and discourse, but in reality it remains the same: it has changed its lead bullets with “bullets of sugar”, but without leaving the use of lead bullets. It has co-opted leaders, and sought to change the mind and heart of people. (…) We do not accept that because we have dignity. “


On day 22, a Mass was celebrated by the bishop of San Cristobal in the presence of hundreds of participants and many priests from different places of Chiapas. Moreover, young people and children from Acteal had prepared a play whose message was that holding memory may be something lively and promising: “Death will not have the last word but Life”, they said, and “we sing because despite the pain, joy is our strength. “

A few days before the anniversary of the massacre, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a report on the admissibility of the Acteal case and found that 13 years is a long enough period to apply the exception to the criteria of “exhaustion of domestic remedies”.

Since March 2005, the Commission had received a complaint submitted by the civil organization “Las Abejas”, to which the victims belonged, and by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center. It alleged the international responsibility of the Mexican State in the massacre. Considering the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, it was until earlier this year that the IACHR admitted the case.

The CDHFBC stated that the Commission report confirms the value and proof of the testimony of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the Acteal massacre. He added that the documentation published by the IACHR confirms the responsibility, by act and omission, of the Mexican State in the Acteal massacre, as well as the subsequent denial of justice, leaving unpunished this crime against humanity.

For more information (in Spanish):

- Masacres como la de Acteal suceden ahora todos los días, denuncian Las Abejas (La Jornada, 24 de diciembre de 2010)

- Conmemora Las Abejas 13 años de Acteal con acto sobre autonomía (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre de 2010)

- “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- Homilía del obispo de San Cristóbal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel en la misa en Acteal el 22 de diciembre de 2010

- Recuerdan con misa masacre en Acteal (el Universal, 22 de diciembre)

- “El gobierno apuesta al olvido en Acteal” (El Universal, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- ONG: Acteal, 13 años de impunidad (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- Pronunciamiento del Encuentro tejiendo Resistencia y Autonomia frente a la Contrainsurgencia y la Dependencia (Acteal, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

- Acteal bajo el signo de la impunidad (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

- CIDH: aún no se ha identificado a todos los responsables de la masacre de Acteal (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre)

- Boletín: CIDH presenta informe sobre la admisibilidad de la Masacre de Acteal (CDHFBC, 20 de diciembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

- Chiapas: “Las Abejas” present the event “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” (December 14, 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)

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

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