Chiapas: The CDHFBC presents Don Raúl Vera as new president

January 31, 2011

On 28 January, the “Fray Bartolomé de las Casas” Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) held a press-conference in which it presented Don Raúl Vera López as new president of the organization.  On 21 June 2010, the CDHFBC noted in a press-release that Don Raúl had assumed the position of co-president of the Center alongside Don Samuel Ruiz García, founder of the organization and bishop emeritus of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, who died on 24 January.

Don Raúl had been co.bishop with Don Samuel from 1995 to 2000, year in which Ruiz García left this charge at the age of 75, defined by the Vatican as retirement-age for bishops.  The Vatican then assigned Don Raúl the diocese of Saltillo, where he remains bishop.  Following the teachings of Don Samuel, he has sided with organized and oppressed peoples, giving voice to their claims and demands, pronoucing himself against the criminalization of social movements and rights-defenders.  He stresses his support to the cause of of migrants and miners of the Pasta de Conchos; in September 2010 he received the Rafto Prize 2010, awarded by the Norwegian foundation Rafto.

For more information (in Spanish):

Information note from CDHFBC (28 January 2011)

Raúl Vera will lead the Fray Bartolomé Center for Human Rights (CNN México, 28 January 2011)

Raúl Vera, new president of Frayba (El Universal, 29 January 2011)

Raúl Vera López, new president of Frayba (La Jornada, 29 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Bishop José Raúl López Vera receives the Rafto Prize 2010 (28 September 2010)

Chiapas: Burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Mexico: Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies (26 January 2011)

Oaxaca: Former APPO political prisoner is killed along with his escort

January 31, 2011

During the night of 25 January were killed Renato Cruz Morales, state leader of the Cardenist-Democratic Campesino Center (CCCD), and Santos Lagunas, his escort.  The armed attack was carried out near the Bethania ejido, 20 kilometers to the east of Tuxtepec, near Veracruz, to where they were headed.

Cruz Morales had been detained on 16 August 2006 for his participation in the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).  The social leader organized a group of approximately 80 people who took Alfredo Elías Yanjo Enríquez from his home to the central park of Tuxtepec, where they held him in retaliation for his participation with a group of PRI members in an attempt to take the Municipal Palace which had been occupied by the APPO in July of that year. Catarino Torres Pereda was also detained and later transferred to the Altiplano maximum-security prison in the state of Mexico, where he was imprisoned for six months.  Torres Pereda, general secretary of the Committee of Citizen Defense (CODECI), was killed in the offices of the same organization in Tuxtepec on 22 October 2010.  To date no progress has been made in the investigation of this crime.

For more information:

Campesino leader is killed in Tuxtepec (El Universal, 26 January)

Oaxaca founders because of violence (El Universal, 26 January)

A PRD social leader is killed in Oaxaca (Excelsior, 26 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: post-electoral conflicts and violence (18 January 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Chiapas: The EZLN laments the death of Don Samuel

January 31, 2011

The Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee-General Command (CCRI-CG) of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) issued a public statement on 26 January after nearly 2 years of total silence regarding the death of the bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casa, Don Samuel Ruiz García, which occurred on 24 January.

Signed by Insurgent Lieutenant Colonel Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos in the name of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN, the Zapatista command expressed its condolences regarding the death of Don Samuel, who for 40 years had served as bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal, which also corresponds to the Lacandon jungle in which was founded and developed the EZLN, which appeared on the public stage on 1 January 1994.  “Although our differences, disagreements, and distances were neither few nor superficial, we would today like to emphasize the commitment and trajectory not only of an individual but of an entire current within the Catholic Church.”  The authors of the communiqué recognize Ruiz García’s work in favor of peace in Chiapas following the Zapatista uprising and remember the harassment and death-threats against the bishop on the part of politicians in the 1990′s, in addition to the assassination-attempt carried out against the bishop in 1997 at the hands of the paramilitary group “Paz y Justicia.”

They denounce that “today these attacks have not ceased.  The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights receives continuous death-threats and harassment.  Besides having been founded by Don Samuel Ruiz García and having a Christian inspiration, ‘Frayba’ has the ‘aggravated crime’ of believing in the indivisibility of human rights, respect for cultural diversity and the right to self-determination, wholesome justice as a precondition for peace,and the development of a culture of dialogue, tolerance, and reconciliation, with respect to cultural and religious plurality.”

Referring to differences between the Catholic hierarchy and believers, the authors say that “now would be a good time to look below to find those, like Don Samuel before them, defied and continue to defy Power.  Because those Christians believe strongly that justice should reign also in this world, and they also live that out, in word, thought, and action.  Because if there are indeed Marciales and Onésimos in the Catholic Church, there have also been and continue to be Roncos, Ernestos, Samueles, Arturos, Raúles, Sergios, Bartolomés, Joeles, Heribertos, Raymundos, Salvadores, Santiagos, Diegos, Estelas, Victorias, and thousands of believers and non-believers who, being on the side of justice and liberty, are on the side of life.  In the EZLN, Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers, not only today honor the memory of Don Samuel Ruiz García.”  The communiqué ends thusly: “Don Samuel leaves, but many others remain, many others who for faith in Catholicism work for an Earthly world that is more just, freer, more democratic–that is, for a better world.  Health to them, because from their nightly efforts will be born the morning.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: celebration and presentation of the 2011 jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award

January 31, 2011

On 26 February, different organizations inspired and influenced by the work of Don Samuel Ruiz García, the bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas who died on 24 January in Mexico City, presented the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum 2011 Award to six organizations and social processes that according to the findings of the awarding committee merited this recognition for their work and commitment to the defense of human rights and reconciliation.

Within a context marked by the recent death of Don Samuel, who was buried in the cathedral of San Cristóbal on 26 January, the Canan Lum organizing committee and the awarded honored the one that tseltal communities refer to as Jtatic (“our father”) Samuel, who in 1999 was given the charge of Jcanan Lum by tsotsil, tseltal, ch’ol, and tojolabal communities (among others).  The award was meant to signify Ruiz García as caretaker of the land and the people.  Don Raúl Vera, auxiliary bishop of Don Samuel in his final years in the San Cristóbal diocese and current bishop of Saltillo (Coahuila), told those present at the award ceremony that this award and charge was one of the few that held special value for Ruiz. In observation of the event was celebrated a prayer before a Mayan altar as performed by jtatic Vicente, from a tseltal community in the Lacandon jungle.

The award was presented to the Oralia Morales Committee of Human Rights, from the Comalapa Border; Junax Ayotic ta Atel-Chich Center, from the municipality of Chilón; the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organization XI’NICH, with headquarters in Palenque; Doña Regina López Sánchez, coordinator of women and rights-defender from Ocosingo; the community of San Salvador, municipality of Ocosingo; and the coordination of the Believing Community.  The awards committee this year was comprised of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Commission of Support for Community Unity and Reconciliation (CORECO), the Diocene Coordination of Women, Economic-Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI), the Institute of Intercultural Study and Investigation (INESIN), Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, the International Christian Service of Solidarity with the People of Latin America (SICSAL), the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), Services and Assessment for Peace (SERAPAZ), the Las Abejas Civil Society, and Mayan Indian Ecumenical Theology.

For more information (in Spanish):

The Frayba Center presents the Tatic Samuel Award to collectives and peoples (La Jornada, 28 January 2010)

Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum 2011 Award, including photos, videos, and audio (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 26 January 2011)

The jTatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award is presented to rights-defending organizations: the other burial of Tatic Samuel (El Expreso de Chiapas, 28 January 2011)

The “J´Tatic Samuel J´Canan Lum” Award (Cuarto Poder, 26 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Call announced for the 2011 “ jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor (2 August 2010)

Chiapas: Presentation of the “JTatic Samuel JCanan Lum” Honor (26 January 2010)

Chiapas: burial of Samuel Ruiz in the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas

January 31, 2011

On 26 January was buried Don Samuel Ruiz, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas who died in a hospital in Mexico City on 24 January; he was laid to rest in the altar of the cathedral of San Cristóbal.  Following the arrival of his body to the city in the early morning of the 25th, the same day on which was to be celebrated his fifty-first year of service, thousands of people of all ages, social classes, and skin color bid farewell to their jtatic or jtotic (“Father” in the indigenous languages of tseltal and tsotsil, respectively).

To the celebration of his burial came thousands of ecclesiastical and political authorities, indigenous individuals, rights-defenders, social and political activists, and members of society in general who nearly filled the “peace” plaza in front of the cathedral.

From various parts of Mexico and the world came expressions of condolences and recognition of Ruiz Garcia’s contributions as regards human rights and peace in local, national, and international settings.

In the cathedral plaza, the Las Abejas Civil Society read a communiqué that perhaps expressed the feelings of many of those present: “Thank you Jtotik Samuel, who was granted by our Father-Mother God 86 years of life.  God gave you a large soul and heart.  You were never afraid of struggling against the powerful.  You were never afraid of arms.  You overcame all the obstacles emplaced by the powerful.  You go to the place that Father-Mother God calls you to, but your spirit and the work you taught us and shared with us here will remain here in our communities and in our thought and heart [...].  Jtotik Samuel, you go, but you remain in our hearts.  You go, but the fruit of your labor continues here, where it will bear more fruit still.  The organization Las Abejas is an example of the fruits of your work.  Thanks to you Jtotik Samuel, we no longer walk hunched-over.  We no longer bow our head to ‘the powerful,’ thanks to you.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ruiz receives the best homage: that of the Indians (La Jornada, 26 January)

The work of the “bishop of the poor” could not be stopped even by the Vatican (La Jornada, 26 January)

The Vatican commemorates the “bishop of the poor” (El Universal, 26 January)

They come from the mountains to say farewell to “Tatic” (El Universal, 26 January)

Farewell to Samuel Ruiz in San Cristóbal de las Casas (Milenio, 26 January)

We will defend ourselves as you taught us, the indigenous tell the Tatic (La Jornada, 27 January)

The weight of the EZLN regarding the death of Don Samuel, a special Catholic (La Jornada, 27 January)

EPR: he never denied shelter to the unprotected (La Jornada, 27 January)

The indigenous sing to “Tatic” in his final resting-place (El Universal, 27 January)

“Don Samuel awakened solidarity with the oppressed” (El Universal, 27 January)

Jtotik Samuel, God gave you a grand heart and soul (Communiqué of Las Abejas, 25 January 2011)

Communiqué of San Cristóbal de las Casas regarding the death of Mons. Samuel Ruiz (Conference of Mexican Churches, 24 January)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Mexico: Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies (26 January 2011)

Chiapas: Call announced for the 2011 “ jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor (2 August 2010)

Chiapas: Presentation of the “JTatic Samuel JCanan Lum” Honor (26 January 2010)

Chiapas: burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award

January 31, 2011

On Wednesday 26 January, Don Samuel Ruiz, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, was buried.  Since the arrival of his body to the city on the 25th, this key actor in the peace-talks between the EZLN and the federal government following the armed insurrection of 1994, indigenous individuals, human-rights defenders, social and political activists, and members of society in general have rendering him homage.  His body will be buried behind the altar of the San Cristóbal cathedral.

In homage to Don Samuel, and in keeping with his will as previously expresssed, the presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award was not cancelled but rather changed in time to 4:30pm in the installations of the Diocesan Coordination of Women (CODIMUJ) in Avenue Yaxchilán No. 1, María Auxiliadora, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Rights-defenders recognize work of the bishop (La Jornada, 25 January)

Farewell to defender of the indigenous (El Universal, 25 January)

“Whom did you defend?”: the question at the end of life (La Jornada, 25 January)

Samuel Ruiz will be commemorated by his indigenous today (La Jornada, 25 January)

The “Tatic” dedicated his life to defend the indigenous (El Universal, 25 January)

Without Ruiz, Chiapas might well have been bathed in blood (La Jornada, 25 January)

“He was tormented by many things” (El Universal, 25 January)

Extolment and delay in farewell to Samuel Ruiz (Milenio, 25 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies (26 January 2011)

Chiapas: Call announced for the 2011 “ jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor (2 August 2010)

Chiapas: Presentation of the “JTatic Samuel JCanan Lum” Honor (26 January 2010)

Mexico: Bishop Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies

January 26, 2011

During the morning of 24 January, Don Samuel Ruiz García, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, died due to complications related to diabetes mellitus, a condition he had suffered for several years.  A mass is planned for Monday at 2:30pm in the installations of CUC in Mexico City, as well as mass in the cathedral of San Cristóbal at 7pm the same day.  Mass will also be celebrated at 12 and 7pm, and the burial will be carried out this Wednesday 26 January at 12pm.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bishop Samuel Ruiz dies (El Universal, 24 January)

UN-HR highlights Samuel Ruiz’s commitments (El Universal, 24 January)

Samuel Ruiz, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal, dies (La Jornada, 24 January)

Lamentable news: Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies (Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, 24 January)

Diocese announces funeral program for Samuel Ruiz (La Prensa, 24 January)

Chiapas government laments death of Don Samuel Ruiz (La Prensa OEM, 24 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Call announced for the 2011 “ jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor (2 August 2010)

Chiapas: Presentation of the “JTatic Samuel JCanan Lum” Honor (26 January 2010)

Chiapas: communiqué of Las Abejas in observation of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre

January 26, 2011

On 22 January 2011, in observation of the monthly commemoration of the 1997 Acteal massacre, the civil society Las Abejas released a new communiqué in which they denounce the impunity and violence that prevail not only in the municipality of Chenalhó but also in the entire country.  They asserted that “despite everything we will continue to struggle against injustice and impunity.  The intellectual authors of the Acteal massacre cannot live with their consciences.  Those who govern are also responsible for the crime of state committed in Acteal, not only by means of omission through their leaving the massacre’s intellectual authors free, but also by means of their complicity with the release of paramilitaries. Following this crime of state they have passed on to commit many others, as is seen in the violence that has gripped our country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué of Las Abejas in full (22 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre (27 December 2010)

Chiapas: Las Abejas and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights celebrate the admission of Acteal case in the IACHR (26 November 2010)

Guerrero: briefs – Support is requested in Radio Ñomndaa case; SCJN assumes responsability in the case of Rosendo Radilla; 4 months of disappearance for activist Victor Ayala

January 24, 2011

On Januray 12, the Guerrero Network of Civil Society Human Rights Organizations (Red Guerrerense) expressed support for Genaro Cruz Apóstal, Silvero Matías Domínguez and David Valtierra Arango, members of the Xochistlahuaca autonomous radio project, Radio Ñomndaa, against whom legal proceedings continue. Despite having presented sufficient evidence of their innocence, the men were sentenced to 3 years and 2 months in prison and are being forced to pay a fine of 753-thousand pesos on charges of illegal deprivation of liberty against Narisco García Valtierra. A communique from January 5 demands that the High Court of Justice for the state of Guerrero carry out an independent an impartial review of the appeal, to restore justice and pay compensation for damages and injuries to Silverio Matías Domínguez, who lost his sight after being beaten. Judgement on this specific case is expected to be delivered this week.

Additionally, the Mexican Commission for the Defense of Human Rights (CMDPDH) considered it important that the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) has assumed responsibility in the case of Rosendo Radilla so the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) will deliver copies of the preliminary investigation of the case. According to the CMDPDH, this decision will open the way for justice and abides by the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) of November 23, 2009. Rosendo Radilla was disappeared in 1974 at a military checkpoint in Atoyac, Guerrero. To date, his whereabouts are unknown. The sentence of the CIDH established the responsibility of the Mexican state in his disappearance.

Also, on January 14, the Commission Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), released a bulletin 4 months after the forced disappearance of activist Victor Tapia Ayala, leader of the Hermanegildo Galeana Freedom Front. The communique states that: “[...] so far, his whereabouts are unknown; the authorities do not report the progress of the investigation and his family, friends and colleagues continue carrying pain and rage in their pursuit of justice. Since he was alive when he was taken, we want him back alive”. Also expressing “we reaffirm our demand that the authorities conduct a thorough, independent, impartial and exhaustive investigation” of the case.

For more information:

Entrevista en la KPFK a David Valtierra Arango, The Committee of Radio Ñomndaa in Guerrero about the campaign “Justicia a la Palabra” (January 13)

Llama la Red a apoyar a tres integrantes de radio Ñomndaa ante el próximo fallo del Tribunal (El Sur de Acapulco, January 13)

Campaña “Justicia a la Palabra del agua” (January 13)

Ficha Radio Nomndaa – Actualización – final 2010 (Tlachinollan, end of 2010)

Atrae la SCJN amparo contra decisión de PGR de no entregar copia de averiguación (La Jornada, January 13)

Positivo, que la Corte atraiga demanda de los familiares de Rosendo Radilla(La Jornada, January 14)

A cuatro meses de la desaparición de Victor Tapia Ayala, exigimos su presentación con vida (January 14)

More information from SIPAZ:

México: Controvertida, la iniciativa de Calderón para reformar el fuero militar (October 22)

Guerrero: breves – ONGs presentan escrito a Corte Interamericana sobre caso de ambientalistas; Activista detenido (September22)

Guerrero: breves – Simpatizantes de La Parota se manifestaron frente al TUA; Académicos entregaron al TUA una carta en contra de La Parota; Aniversario de Radio Ñomndaa se celebrará a pesar de la persecución (December 15)

Oaxaca: Acts of intimidation against human-rights organizations by the military

January 24, 2011

According to public declarations, on 11 January 2011 at approximately 6:45pm more than 20 soldiers from the Mexican Army entered the building occupied by the human-rights organizations Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the People (CODEP), the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of Women (CODEM), and the Regional Indigenous Center of Human Rights (CRIDH) in the city 0f Oaxaca de Juárez.  In accordance with the same information, soldiers entered the residence using excessive force, destroying and tossing aside the entrance-door, without showing a search warrant; they were reported to have pointed their arms at those they found at the site, interrogating them regarding organized crime and narcotrafficking.  It was denounced that at no moment was a search-warrant or identification shown; this aggression was found to be a “strategy of State terrorism that follows from Plan Colombia that the federal government, prior ones as well as the present one, have undertaken with the objective of destroying several organizations.”

In an Urgent Action, the Observatory for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, which is associated with the Global Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH), “manifests its considerable concern for the use of violence on the part of the armed forces against human-rights defenders with the excuse of combating organzied crime,” and it requested “that the competent authorities carry out a complete, independent, exhaustive, and impartial investigation regarding the aforementioned acts, with the end of identifying those responsible, taking them to a competent, independent, just, and impartial tribunal, and applying against them the sanctions called for by law.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgent Action of the FIDH/OMCT, 18 January 2011

CODEP claims Army violation in Oaxaca (El Universal, 13 January 2011)

Denunciation of the Mexican Army (Public communiqué of CODEP, CODEM y CRIDH, 12 January 2011)


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