Mexico: Historic record of number of feminicides in 2010

January 18, 2011

On 6 January, the organization Justice for Our Daughters released a bulletin regarding the high number of feminicides experienced in the state of Chihuahua in 2010.  The bulletin discussed the “historic record” of 446 feminicides in said state, noting that a woman was killed every 20 hours last year.  “2010 has been the most violent year for the women of Chihuahua,” declared Norma Ledezma, coordinator of Justice for Our Daughters.  The municipality of Ciudad Juárez continues to suffer the highest levels of violence: 306 of the 446 feminicides that were committed originated from this city, thus representing 69% of the total.  The organization demands justice for each case of intentional homicide committed against the women of the state of Chihuahua.  Julia Monárrez Fragosa, sociologist and investigator at the School of the Northern Border, declared in an interview with feminicidio.net that “feminicide is practically a pandemic in Ciudad Juárez but also in other parts of Mexico, such as Oaxaca, the state of Mexico, and Central America.”  The magazine Contralinea indicates that the concept of “feminicide” is absent from Mexican law.  “Specialists recognize that the term is only just now becoming a political category, product of feminist theory, that different organizations have employed to denounce the murders against women inspired by a ‘discriminatory and misogynist’ culture,” claims the article regarding the rise in feminicides from said magazine.

In other news, with 20 votes in favor, 11 against, and 2 abstentions, the National System to Prevent, Attend, Sanction, and Eradicate Violence against Women (SNPASEVM) refused to declare an alert regarding gender violence in the state of Mexico regarding cases of feminicide.  The Citizens’ Observatory of the Rights of Women, in a communiqué from 12 January, declare that “this determination was realized while ignoring all the international agreements on the human rights of women and the conventions that Mexico has signed regarding this question [...].” The request to publish a gender alert was made by the Citizens’ National Observatory on Feminicide and the Mexican Commission on Defense and Promotion of Women’s Human Rights.  The petition contains data from the Attorney General’s Office in the state of Mexico which report 4773 denunciations of rape during a period of one and a half years as well as 922 intentional homicides against women committed between January 2005 and August 2010.  Additionally the data show a high percentage of impunity in the cases of feminicide.

In light of the negative response made by SNPASEVM, human-rights organizations declared that they would launch an appeal.  In a press-conference, Maria de la Luz Estrada Mendoza, executive coordinator of the Citizens’ National Observatory on Feminicide, denounced that the system of prevention has trivialized feminicide in the state of Mexico, which according to the Citizens’ Observatory and the Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of Human Rights have risen to 922 between 2005 and 2010.  She rejected the idea that the petition regarding gender-alert is meant to impugn governor Peña Nieto. “We do this because the state of Mexico represents a red alert regarding feminicide in the country,” she said.  According to NGOs, Chihuahua and the state of Mexico are the regions in which most feminicides take place.  In the same press-conference, specialists Lourdes Enríquez, fromt he Coordination of Sexual and Reproductive Rights from the University Program of Gender Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, former prosecutor of crimes against women from the Federal Attorney General’s Office, lamented the lack of implementation of national and international norms to eradicate violence against women in the case when the Inter-American Court on Human Rights sentenced Mexico with regard to the case of Campo Algodonero in Ciudad Juárez and in that of the two indigenous women sexually abused by soldiers in Guerrero.  For his part, Enrique Peña Nieto assured that the state of Mexico is not the entity in which is registered the highest number of feminicides in the country, so that, as he said, there are no grounds to declare a gender alert, as demanded by civil organizations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gender alert is denied for feminicides in the state of México (Observatorio Ciudadano de los Derechos de las Mujeres, 12 January)

Historic record of 446 feminicides in the state of Chihuahua (press-bulletin from Justice for Our Daughters) (6 January)

Feminicide on the rise in Mexico (Contralinea, 4 April 2010)

Ciudad Juárez is a modern necropolis (22 December 2010)

NGOs will launch appeal in light of refusal to declare gender alert (La Jornada, 14 January)

Peña Nieto scorns suggestion to release alert against feminicide; political interests in shadows (La Jornada, 14 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs – Tierra Caliente is second-highest national location in number of feminicides; SCJN will analyze recommendations of the Inter-American Court in the case of Radilla (14 September 2010)


Chiapas: ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón distance themselves from land-appropriation

January 18, 2011

Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón (municipality of Chilón), adherents to the Other Campaign, distanced themselves from the violent occupation of the El Vergel ranch which occurred on 31 December in the neighboring municipality of Sitalá.  They found Carmen Aguilar Gómez and his son to be responsible for the acts, saying they “at times present themselves as adherents to the Other Campaign, an organizational process from which they were expelled in April 2010 for ‘various crimes.’”  They also denounced that “the same public servants are also involved in this looting.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Public denunciation of ejidatarios, members of the Other Campaign of San Sebastián Bachajón (12 January 2011)

Bachajón ejido distances itself from invasion (La Jornada, 14 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of Bachajón denounce governmental strategy and escalation of aggression by Opddic (25 November 2010)

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


Chiapas: Creation of State Council on Human Rights

January 18, 2011

At the beginning of 2011 began the work of the State Council on Human Rights in Chiapas, which is comprised of five advisers.  Since the previous year, Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, had proposed that the state congress replace the State Commission on Human Rights with the State Council on Human Rights, which would function as a public autonomous organization with juridical presence and proper power.

The council will hear cases of human-rights violations that have to do with acts or omissions of administrative nature that originate from whichever authority or public servant, municipal or state, with the exception of those from the state judiciary.  The council will also have commissions for the protection of human rights as regards migrants, respect for the culture, customs, and traditions of indigenous communities, and gender equality, and will have the capacity to initiate laws regarding human rights before the state congress.

A  new aspect of this all is that the naming of the council must pass through a process of popular consultation as regulated by the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation, with the goal of having proposals be made by the state congress, universities, NGOs, authorities of use and custom, and the citizenry in general.

Since 6 January 2011 Lorenzo López Méndez took the position of presidency; Pedro Raúl López Hernández in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Jesús Ernesto Molina Ramos in the Commission of General Affairs of Human Rights; Mauricio Mendoza Castañeda in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Migrants; and Marina Patricia Jiménez Ramírez in the Commission of Attention to Rights related to Gender Equality.

Critical voices were heard from Miguel Angel de los Santos, lawyer and professor in the law department of the National Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), published a letter which denounced “the total disregard that has been shown for the law annuls the institution’s moral authority to endorse the law when rights are violated,” thus stressing that the establishment of the new institution did not follow several criteria defined by the state constitution of Chiapas, as in the following:

“I. To be a Chiapan citizen by birth, in full enjoyment of civil and political rights.

III. Have experience in human rights or activities recognized by Mexican law and international law.

VI. Have studied law with a minimum of 5 years of professional experience.

VII. Not to have occupied a charge in municipal, state, or federal public administration at least six months before the moment of designation.  Not to have been subject of responsibility derived by recommendation emitted by whichever public organization of human rights as a consequence of the charges taken up as a public servant.’”

Noted: “It is lamentable that an organization by nature questionable for its inefficiency be reborn weak and illegitimate.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Human rights council of Chiapas underway (El Universal, 6 January 2011)

CEDH begins work as organization to protect human rights (Chiapas Hoy, 7 January 2011)

Recently created State Council on Human Rights begins work in Chiapas (La Jornada, 8 January 2011)

Chiapas: establishment of State Council on Human Rights is questioned (Revista Proceso, 13 January 2011)


Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

January 18, 2011

The erection of new wind-energy plants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec could cause more conflicts in the region, Oaxacan activists and academics have warned.  According to information made available by journalists, this year is planned the construction of six wind-energy parks and additional ones in the coming years.  The goal is to have 18 such parks functioning by 2014.  The parks are to be managed by Spanish and French firms that would sell the produced energy to the parastatal Federal Commission of Electricity.

Carlos Beas Torres, fromt he Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, has emphasized the  “right of peoples to be consulted,” given that the planned projects would affect the lands they hold.  He mentioned Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), ratified by the Mexican State, which grants indigenous peoples the right to be listened to and consulted regarding projects that affect them.  Víctor Leonel Juan Martínez, from the Autonomous University Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, pronounced himself similarly in recommending that the state government of Gabino Cué Monteagdo (Convergencia/PRD/PT/PAN) facilitate a reconciliation between investors and affected communities.  For his part, Óscar Cruz López, subsecretary of government, assured that the position of the new state government is to respect communities, while the coordinator of Strategic Projects of the state government warned that all the projects of mass-investment will be subjected to exhaustive analysis.

For more information (in Spanish):


Oaxaca: new intimidation directed at Alba Cruz

January 18, 2011

On 11 January, Alba Cruz, lawyer and human-rights defender in Oaxaca, received an intimidating text-message to her cellular phone.  The message was sent from the same number from which death-threats were sent in 2010 both against her and Marcelino Coache Verano, one of her clients.  This new incident can be taken as one in a series of death-threats and episodes of harassment to which she has been subjected.  It has the end of forcing her to leave behind the defense of victims of torture and unfounded incarceration in cases related to general demonstrations and police brutality that occurred in the state of Oaxaca in 2006.  Since 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered Mexico to take on measures to protect Alba Cruz.  Despite the adoption of said measures, no protection of note has been received, and those responsible for the death-threats and acts of intimidation continue to act with impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: attack on union leader Marcelino Coache (29 May 2010)

- Oaxaca: New threats in the case of Marcelino Coache (27 de abril de 2009)


Oaxaca: post-electoral conflicts and violence

January 18, 2011

In the last few days were denounced several violent acts in Oaxaca related to the post-electoral context.

On one hand, in the case of the municipaloity of Santiago Yaveo, the State Electoral Institute (IEE) had invalidated the municipal elections governed by the system of uses and customs, because the residents of the agencies (small neighboring villages) had not participated, only those of the city-center.  For this reason, the local congress designated Gerardo Hernández Flores as head of municipal administration for 90 days, while new elections were held.  On 1 January, Flores arrived to Santiago with two aides, and they were all taken prisoner by local residents who demanded that the results of the elections be respected.

On 10 January, the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Ucizoni) demanded that the state government peacefully resolve the political conflict in Santiago Yaveo and that it not send in police to rescue the kidnapped functionaries.  At the same time the organization signed on to the petition from the Erendida Cruzvillegas Commission for Human Rights which calls for the construction of an accord that would allow a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

In  other news, on 13 January the municipal president of Santiago Amoltepec (a Mixteco indigenous village which is one of the poorest towns of Mexico, located in the region of the Southern Sierra), Luis Jiménez Mata, was killed by unknown assailants after having been shot at least five times.  He had found himself in Oaxaca de Juárez where he had come for his credential as municipal authority before the state government.  Jiménez Mata took up his position on 1 January and claimed to promote a “process of reconciliation” in a zone in which conflicts over land have taken the lives of dozens of people in the last few years.

For more information (in Spanish):

Mayor of Santiago Amoltepec, Oaxaca, is fired on (La Jornada, 13 January)

Murdered mayor had proposed peace accords: Oscar Cruz (Quadratín, 13 January)

Officials continue to be held in Oaxaca (El Universal, 11 January)

Police asked not to be sent to rescue five officials in Santiago Yaveo (La Jornada, 11 January)

UCIZONI demands peaceful resolution to conflict in Yaveo (Oaxaca Libre, 10 January)


Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota

January 13, 2011

Plantón CECOP. Foto @Willy Baldo Hernández Rojas

In the municipalities of San Luis Acatlán, Metlatónoc, Tlacoapa, Atlamajalcingo del Monte, Malinaltepec, Acatepec and Zapotitlán Tablas – in the zones of the Montaña and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero – the transnational corporations Hochschild Mining México, Camsim Mines and Zalamera Mining discovered deposits of gold, silver, zinc and other metals within an area of 500 square kilometers. In the communities of these regions there are at least 27 ongoing agrarian conflicts amidst high levels of poverty, illiteracy, poor health, unemployment, and staggering trends in migration – as well as a presence of paramilitary and insurgent groups. Valentín Hernández, judicial advisor of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC), stated that the British and Canadian corporations explored the region without the permission of the indigenous Mixteco and Tlapaneco people who live there. He added that the federal government has already authorized 17 sites of mineral exploration and exploitation in the municipalities mentioned. The CRAC has already denounced that, in the first days of November, the corporation Hochschild conducted aerial surveys, by helicopter, over the hills of the region at no higher than 35 meters in the air.

Agrarian authorities urged the members of several communities and the CRAC to file a formal complaint against the unauthorized research and the aforementioned companies in order to safeguard their rights. “We cannot act if there is no petition”, said the agricultural attorney, Rosendo González Patiño. In response to the mining exploration, the CRAC, the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan and the Regional Coordinator of the Indigenous People of the Montaña have planned community assemblies which will begin on January 23 in the community of Jonotichán; municipality of San Luis Acatlán, and in Zitlaltepec; municipality of Metlatónoc, to determine how to proceed. “The important thing is to make decisions collectively and with the support of the communities because if the mining installations affect all of us, we all must think and make decisions”, said CRAC leader, Pablo Guzmán.

Additionally, on Sunday, January 9, members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), representing some 20 communities, reinstalled the blockade that for nearly five years existed in the community of Parotillas, to prevent the access of the Federal Electrical Commission (CFE) to the land where the dam project is supposed to be constructed. At the same time, they demanded that the candidate of the coalition Better Times for Guerrero, Manuel Añorve Baños, remove the promotional spot on television about the dam because, they said, it is inciting the confrontation which they blamed for “what may happen.” On one side of the road that goes from Parotillas to the area where the dam is being planned, the community members set up signs with slogans aimed at the three candidates stating “don’t get excited” if you believe there will be a dam here. In the afternoon, the campesinos installed the blockade on one side of the road. The president of the ejido, Nemesio Valeriano Moreno, expressed that the intent is not to block the passage of vehicles in general, but rather only those of the CFE. He added that the blockade would remain for an indefinite period of time.

For more information:

Mineras amenazan en Guerrero las tierras de comuneros (La Jornada, 10 January)

Apuntan mineras extranjeras a zonas depauperadas de Guerrero (La Jornada, 4 January)

Organizan oposición a proyectos (La Jornada, 4 January)

El 23, la primera asamblea indígena para tomar acuerdos sobre proyectos mineros (El Sur Acapulco, 10 January)

Buscan mineras británicas y canadienses explotar plata, plomo, zinc y hierro de tierras indígenas de Guerrero (El Sur Acapulco, 10 January)

La Parota no va, advierte el Cecop a candidatos al reinstalar retén en Parotillas (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 January)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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 Ñonmdaa se celebrará a pesar de la persecución (15 December)

Guerrero – breves: Atentado contra periódico El Sur de Acapulco; Conflicto agrario en Jicayán de Tovar; Manifestación contra el proyecto hidroeléctrico de La Parota; Desalojo forzado de 350 familias en Puerto Marqués; Policía Comunitaria emite comunicado (17 December)


Chiapas: Fifth anniversary of the “Voz del Amate”

January 8, 2011

Voice of Amate (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

On 6 January was celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Voz del Amate in the CERSS no. 5 of San Cristóbal de las Casas, with the joint presence of 50 representatives of local and international civil society.

Following a celebration held in the prison’s chapel, Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez recalled the creation of the Voz del Amate on 5 January 2006, which was adopted as a response to the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.  This organization of unjustly imprisoned prisoners founded to defend and promote human rights as well as principally the right to justice gained a first victory with the release of nearly 50 of its members following a hunger-strike undertaken in 2008.  Professor Patishtán is the sole member of the Voice of Amate that continues to be held prisoner, given that his penal charges are federal.  He is no longer held in the Amate prison but rather is now found in the CERSS no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where the organization “In Solidarity with the Voice of Amate” was founded in 2009.

This anniversary of struggle was a joyous occasion, thanks to the choir and musicians who, together with all the messages of encouragement and strength, stirred joy in the hearts of all.  It was also a moment for political denunciation, in light of the injustices and human-rights violations suffered by the prisoners on a daily basis.

Andrés Nuñez Hernández, member of In Solidarity with the Voice of Amate, denounced the unjustified movement of prisoners who struggle for their rights to facilities far-removed from their families, as well as the conditions under which Professor Patishtán was hospitalized some months ago.  Alfredo Lopez Jimenez, from the same organization, expressed his gratitude for the solidarity shown him during the 32 days that he engaged in a hunger strike in November 2010 in the Tonalá prison.  He suggested that one never silence oneself before the “injustice of the bad government.”

Julio Cesar Pérez Ruiz, one of the prisoners released in 2008 who is now a member of the Committee of Ex-Prisoners Innocent Voices, recommended that organization be adopted, that the struggle never be abandoned, while claiming that “justice does not fall from the sky; it is constructed.”  Also Rubén Moreno, member of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, insisted that “the work of human rights is the work of all.”  Beyond this, a member of the Collective Our Prisoners First stated that “the struggle for justice brings us together, and that is why we are here [...].  Outside, we don’t feel free if you are all still held prisoners.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué in observation of the 5th Anniversary of the Voz de Amate (Denuncia Pública, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, 7 January 2010)

For more information (in English):

- Chiapas: the case of Alberto Patishtán Gómez presented before the IACHR, and denunciation by la Voz de Amate (10 August 2010)

- Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 de julio de 2010)ç


Mexico: EZLN denies connection with Diego Fernandez de Cevallos’ kidnapping

January 7, 2011

Diego Fernandez de Cevallos (@esacademic.com)

A statement from an alleged member of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) attributed to this group the responsibility for the kidnapping of a PAN politician and former presidential candidate in 1994, Diego Fernandez de Cevallos. A copy of the statement was sent to the Spanish news agency EFE, who released it on January 1st, just 17 years after the Zapatista uprising. The document titled “The ex Mysterious Kidnappers. The truth comes to light ” is signed by “el Guerrero [warrior] Balam”, a “faithful member of the insurgent forces of the EZLN”, member of the Network for Global Transformation (RTG) and subordinated to “Subcomandante Marcos and the wise Mayan Zapatistas“. He stresses that Fernandez de Cevallos is “one of the main enemies of our project”, the autonomy of indigenous peoples.

It should be recalled that the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos occurred on May 14, 2010. The kidnappers, calling themselves “The Mysterious Kidnappers” and later the Network for Global Transformation issued press releases three times to ask for money in exchange for the release of the former senator. After seven months of capture, Fernández de Vecallos was released on 20 December.

The day after national and international media informed on that last statement, a communique posted in the Web-page of “Enlace Zapatista” strongly denied that the EZLN and “La Otra Campaña” (The Other Campaign) participated in the kidnapping of the politician. The statement signed by Javier Elorriaga and Sergio Rodríguez Lascano, directors of the “Rebellion” Magazine and members of the Other Campaign says that who made the statement which stated that the EZLN had kidnapped the former Mexican presidential candidate for seven months, “is only looking to be center stage, causing confusion and serving the interests of power. ” Moreover, they observed that in consequence of the attempt to link them with the kidnapping of the Mexican politician, the Zapatista indigenous communities may suffer a further escalation of aggression.

For his part, the Congressman José Narro Céspedes, president of the Concord and Pacification Commission (Cocopa), rejected any attempt to link the EZLN to the kidnapping of Senator Cevallos. Through a statement, he asked the Federal Executive to realize extensive research on the origins of what he called “infamous pamphlets” that, it seems, intended to be the start of an escalation of repression against the EZLN. He said: “We must ask ourselves what is the purpose of slowly staging campaigns of slander and provocation against the EZLN? Less than a year ago, as now, without counting with sources of serious information, the Zapatistas were accused of being funded by the ETA, and now, the EZLN is linked to the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos. For a start, to spread so profusely information of uncertain origin speaks of a policy or intention to seek a pretext to undertake repressive action. “

On another hand, the governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, said it was irresponsible to pretend to involve the EZLN with the kidnapping and that “if a message has been sent by the EZLN to the country in these times of violence, it has been one of caution, peace and political responsibility. ” He also said that one must recognize the contribution of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Good Government Committees in the political evolution and the fight against crime.

For more information (in Spanish):

- Presunto miembro del EZLN atribuye al grupo secuestro de Diego Fernández (CNN México, 1 de enero de 2011)

- Se desmiente vinculación del EZLN y La Otra Campaña con cualquier secuestro (Pronunciamiento publicado en Enlace zapatista, 2 de enero de 2011)

- Irresponsable involucrar a EZLN en plagio de Diego (El Universal, 2 de enero de 2011)

- Desmienten zapatistas presuntos nexos con el caso Diego (La Jornada, 2 de enero de 2011)

- México: Cocopa rechaza ligar a EZLN con plagio de Diego (El Universal, 2 de enero)

- EZLN no participó en secuestro del Jefe Diego señalan enlaces del grupo (CNN México, 3 de enero de 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: further controversy surrounding the EZLN in Mexican newspapers (April 2, 2010)


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