Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again

March 20, 2011

Nataniel Hernández Núñez (

On 15 March, Nataniel Hernández Núñez, director of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights (Tonalá), was detained while he found himself in the city of Tapachula investigating the situation of 4 individuals who had been arrested that day.  According to the denunciation of the Autonomous Council of the Coast, organization to which the arrested pertain, at 8pm was emitted a federal arrest-order for the crime of attacking communication media, one that had been suspended since 2010.  The Council indicates that this order “was executed with the rapidity that only the government has when it deals with social activists or rights-defenders.”  Nataniel Hernández had already been detained together with 18 members of the Council and 2 lawyers associated with the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights on 22 February, until all were released.

According to another communiqué released by the Council on 16 March, “Thanks to the work of another comrade from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, today [March 16] at 2am was had the release of the 4 comrades who had been detained at 2pm yesterday [ie, 15 March].  It was a repetition of that which happened on 22 February: it was against the rights-defending comrade that they went.  It is known as well that other rights-defenders arrested last month by the state-government of Chiapas are being sought.” The communiqué authors also warn that “If during the course of this day 16 March our comrade is not released, we will take the measures we deem necessary to secure his release without charges.”

At 7pm on 16 March, Hernández was released with a fine of $11,000 pesos.  The Council denounced in a second communiqué this day “that the state continues to accuse and harass us juridically.  That which transpired yesterday is yet more evidence of their harassment of us, their violation of our human rights and individual guarantees.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a director del centro de DH ‘Digna Ochoa’ en Chiapas (La Jornada, 16 March)

Comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (15 March 2011)

Comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (16 March 2011)

2ndo comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (16 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of human-rights defender (21 June 2010)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde

March 20, 2011

On 13 and 14 March was held in Pinotepa Nacional a cultural day and mobilization in defense of the Río Verde and against the multi-use hydroelectric-dam project Paso de la Reyna, organized by the Council of Peoples in Defense of the Río Verde (COPUDEVER).  The activities were had in observation of the International Day of Action against Dams, which has been celebrated globally now for various years every 14 March.

The cultural events held in the Zócalo of the Oaxacan city began on 13 March at 4pm, with informational sessions regarding the Paso de la Reyna project, its potential impacts on the region, as well as murals created by students from affected communities that express their rejection of the project and present information regarding the generation of electricity.  The cultural activities ended with the projection of documentaries on dams and the defense of land and territory on the part of communities, sharing, among other things, the case of COPUDEVER and the experiences had at the Third Global Meeting of the Movement of those Affected by Dams, which was had in Temacapulínm, Jalisco, in October 2010, a location in which is planned the construction of the Zapotillo dam, against the wishes of local populations.

On 14 March was had a protest march in which participated representatives of the affected communities organized by COPUDEVER, teachers from Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE), and groups from several parishes of the Puerto Escondido diocese.  The march began from two distinct points in Pinotepa Nacional and met to concentrate forces in the Zócalo of the city.  In the march participated some 6000 people who thus expressed their rejection of the Paso de la Reyna hydroelectric-dam project.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Marchan contra la presa Paso de la Reina en Pinotepa Nacional (EDUCA, 14 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar obras hidroeléctricas (Proceso, 14 March)

Página Web sobre Paso de la Reina y represas

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (20 March 2011)


Oaxaca: Assembly cancels the authorization given to the CFE in project “Paso de la Reina” (31 July 2009)

Chiapas: National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER)

March 20, 2011

From 10 to 13 March was held the 8th National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) in the municipality of Huitiupán, in northern Chiapas.  Attending the meeting were 441 indigenous delegates from a dozen Mexican states as well as representatives of organizations from Guatemala that also struggle against the construction of dams in their country.  The meeting concluded with a march of more than 500 people in the settlement of Simojovel, a municipality that neighbors Huitiupán.

The meeting’s final declaration reports that the residents of more than 30 communities and of the town of Huitiupán have declared themselves to be in civil resistance until the project of constructing two hydroelectric dams  in the municipalities of Itzantún and Chinín be cancelled; these are projects that they claim the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) plans to re-initiate after 26 years.  They also denounced that, if these projects were to be permitted, some 11,800 hectares would be lost, with the residents of between 30 and 35 indigenous communities subsequently losing their lands.  The plan would also affect dozens of communities from six neighboring municipalities that benefit from the Santa Catarina River.

The assembled also rejected the construction of the Tenosique dam (Boca del Cerro) in Tabasco, all those planned to be constructed on the Usumacinta River, in addition to La Parota in Guerrero, Paso de la Reina in Oaxaca, and Las Cruces in Nayarit.  They also requested reparations for those affected by projects in Jalisco, Nayarit, Oaxaca, and Sinaloa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Anuncian ONG resistencia civil contra embalses, (La Jornada, 14 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar proyecto a CFE (Cuarto-Poder, 14 March 2011)

14 de marzo, Guadalajara se suma a día internacional contra represas, (Milenio, 14 March 2011)

No más presas hidroeléctricas en Chiapas: Comunidades de la zona Norte, (Chacatorex, 12 March 2011)

Seguirán rechazando a la represa Itzantún, (Cuarto-Poder, 1 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar obras hidroeléctricas (Proceso, 14 March)

DECLARACIÓN DE HUITIUPÁN: Aprobada en el VIII Encuentro del Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (MAPDER) (14 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón

March 20, 2011

In a press-conference held at the office of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights on 9 March, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón adherents to the Other Campaign found the state-government responsible for the violent eviction of 2 February committed by a group of PRI militants who they say were organized by the Secretary of Government with authorities from the Chilón City Hall.  They claim that the operation to deny them access to the Agua Azul waterfalls “was financed by the three levels of government by putting together an agreement with the authorities from the  municipality of Tumbalá and the officialists from San Sebastián Bachajón to hand the eco-tourist center over to the government: it finds itself under the administration of the Secretary of Housing of the state, in accordance with the agreements signed among [these groups].”

They also made reference to the  declarations to the press of the State Council on Human Rights (CEDH) on 8 March that stated that the problem was due to “the absence of the Other Campaign” in the negotiation-tables set up by the government and that for this reason the conflict had yet to be resolved. They stated that “it is shameful that a human-rights organization has served as a mask for the bad government that seeks to hide the true intention of violently displacing with cruelty, hatred, and presumption those who defend their dignity, the territory, and their autonomy.” They affirmed that they would continue to struggle for the release of their 5 comrades who are still incarcerated.

The CEDH, represented by its advisor Pedro Raúl López Hernández, denied that the organization demonstrated partiality in the case and affirmed that the goal of the institution was to serve as mediator in the conflict that continues among residents, since they fear that the conflict could expand and end fatally: “With this intervention we offer impartiality and our services so that the parties can sit down and attempt to resolve this affair among themselves […]. The Council has requested that the state government revise the cases of the persons who are detained, to release them if their human rights had been violated.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de ejidatarios/as sobre sus acciones en Bachajón (7 March 2011)

Denuncia de Hostigamiento e intimidación por parte de Policía y funcionarios del Gobierno a Ejidatarios Bachajón (8 March)

El CEDH de Chiapas exhorta a adherentes a la otra campaña a privilegiar el diálogo (La Jornada, 8 march)

Comunicado Conferencia de prensa de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (9 March)

Ejidatarios de Bachajón denuncian amenazas policiacas en un plantón (La Jornada, 9 March)

Acusan a Castañón León de utilizar la violencia para despojar de Agua Azul a ejidatarios (La Jornada, 10 March 2011)

Niegan parcialidad en el caso de Bachajón (Cuarto Poder, 12 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts

(8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Tlachinollan requests support in the case of Radio Ñomndaa; Invitation to a workshop against mining in the Montaña and Coasta Chica regions

March 18, 2011

On February 21, a hearing was held to observe the case of Genaro Cruz Apóstal, Silverio Matías Dominguez and David Valtierra Arango, members of the community radio station Radio Ñomndaa of Xochistlahuaca, following a petition for review, which was filed in 2010, after the three were issued a sentence of 3 years and 2 months in jail, and to pay a fine of $1.753,000 (pesos) for the crime of deprivation of liberty. Days later, 70 human rights advocacy organizations and members of the National Network of Civil Society Organizations for Human Rights “All human rights for all ” in Mexico, sent a letter to the president of the High Court of Justice of the State to resolve the case impartially and in accordance with the law. The organizations expressed their interest in the review of this criminal case considering that there have been many irregularities and the fact that the judge has not assessed that the alleged victim, Narciso García Valtierra, claims to not know the defendants and was not deprived of his liberty. The Center for Human Rights Tlachinollan, which bears the legal defense of the case, is seeking the support of civil society, spreading a postcard on the event web sites and sending letters to the President of the High Court of Justice.

Additionally, in the previous months, the Regional Coordinator of Communal Authorities – Community Police (CRAC-PC) and communities of Guerrero’s Montaña and Costa Chica regions, have been organizing against mining exploration, by the Hochschild and CAMSIM corporations, which is underway in the region. They claim that communal territories and the CRAC are threatened by transnational mining interests. Communities are now struggling back and organizing through community radio La Voz de La Costa Chica. At the risk of entering the mining areas of the Mountain and Costa Chica, the CRAC-PC, Radio Ñomndaa, the Zezontle Collective, the Zapateando Collective, the Free Media Network and the Center for Human Rights Tlachinollan, held a meeting and workshop for community radio and independent media interested in supporting the informative and organizational processes of the peoples inhabiting the region. This event, to be held on March 18 and 19 in San Luis Acatlan, is to broaden the strategy of defending the territory, culture and environment.

For more information:

Piden 70 ONG al Tribunal apego a derecho en la revisión de sentenciados de radio Ñomndaa (Sur Acapulco)

Envían ONG carta al TSJ por caso Ñomndaa (La Jornada, 01 de marzo)

Entrevista con David Valtierra, miembro de Radio Ñomndaa (6 de marzo)

Carta modelo para caso Radio Ñomndaa-marzo2011

Video que forma parte de la campaña en contra de la mineria en guerrero: “Tenemos todo y nos falta todo” (9 de marzo)

Encuentro de radios comunitarios: Por la defensa de nuestros territorios, nuestra cultura y el medio ambiente

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero – breves: Falta de voluntad del Estado mexicano para cumplir con sentencia en caso de Valentina e Inés; Comunidades indígenas contra la explotación minera en La Montaña; CECOP pide resolución acerca de petición de nulidad de asamblea de 28 de abril (17 de febero)

Guerrero – breves: Piden apoyo para caso Radio Ñomndaa; SCJN atrae amparo pedido por familiares de Rosendo Radilla; 4 meses de desaparición de activista Victor Ayala; Debate entre candidatos a la gobernatura estatal: 18 de enero (17 de enero)

Guerrero – breves: Desalojan el Módulo de TADECO y espacios de artesanos en la Plaza Cívica de Chilpancingo; Asesinan al líder del ERPI (1 de marzo)

Oaxaca: Army and federal police search CODECI offices

March 14, 2011

On 8 March, the Committee for Citizens’ Defense (CODECI) denounced that the Mexican Army and the federal police invaded its offices located in Tuxtepec and destroying much under the pretext of responding to a “citizen’s complaint.”  CODECI claimed that “around 8pm, a group of heavily armed soldiers, two trucks of state police, and two federal police patrols arrived at the offices of the Agro-Fishing Consultation of the Papaloapan Basin (CACPA) and of the Mixto Fund for Regional Development (FOMIXDER) that form part of CODECI, being located on Nayarit Street number 2, colony 5 de Mayo in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca.”

CODECI denounced furthermore that “it is extremely alarming that the state government continues to employ the discourse of Peace and Progress that is in no way thusly represented,” reason for which it warned that “if state-government actors do not send a clear response [to the acts], our organization will initiate a series of actions that are normally reserved for times in which we help contribute to peace among our Oaxacan people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ejército y Policía Federal sabotean instalaciones del Codeci (Proceso, 9 March 2011)

Pronunciamiento del CODECI (9 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Former APPO political prisoner is killed along with his escort (31 January 2011)

Oaxaca: Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley close entrance to silver mine in San José del Progreso

March 14, 2011

Members of the Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley, sympathizers of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), closed the entrance to the silver and gold mine located in the municipality of San José del Progeso, which is exploited by the Cuzcatlán company from Canada.

The protestors demand that the exploration work carried out in the mine be suspended for environmental reasons, with considerations for the drinking-water of at least 15 municipalities of the region of the Central Valleys above all.  They called on Oaxacan governor Gabino Cué to “observe that which he promised during his campaign and to be congruent with his present rhetoric, because we have heard him say that he would respect the decisions of the people.  He doesn’t respect us: we here don’t want this mine, because it pollutes our water-tables and hurts our land.”

On the front lines of the protest, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez also demanded a resolution to the post-electoral conflict in which the mayorship, with PRI majority, has refused to accept the inclusion of an oppositional official.  They denounced that on 6 March “the members of the new council met us with gun-shots from high-caliber weapons used only by the Army.   Within seconds the state police appeared, ignoring the petitions of the people calling on them to arrest the aggressors.  The police did nothing, instead ignoring the requests of the people.”

For more information (in Spanish):


Conato de enfrentamiento (NoticiasNet, 6 March)

Simpatizantes de APPO toman mina de oro y plata (El Universal, 10 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Update on the case of Padre Martín (19 July)
Oaxaca: arrest of cleric following killings of PRI functionaries in San José el Progreso (30 June)

Chiapas: Forum of dialogue on Cultures of Peace, Local Development, and Internal Displacement

March 14, 2011

On 9 and 10 March was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas the Forum of dialogue on Cultures of Peace, Local Development, and Internal Displacement, financed by the resources set aside for the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN Development Program, and the Chiapas state-government.

National and international specialists, officials, and some representatives of groups of displaced persons in Chiapas met toward the end of sharing knowledge as well as visibilizing, quantifying, and attending to the problem of the internally displaced with the goal of creating a juridical mark or public policies based on UN principles regarding these questions.

At the forum’s opening, Oscar Torrens, coordinator of the Joint Program for the Prevention of Conflicts and director of the UN Development Program in Chiapas, stressed that it was very important that the internally displaced be recognized in law “so as to begin to grant them focused attention with an articulated institutional plan of action, which exist but are negated by the courts.”  He added that “it is unknown when another social, political, or environmental emergency will hit, creating more internally displaced.  The question has to do with a social phenomenon that has existed in our society for some time.  For this reason, society itself, together with the State, must have factual alternatives of attention and solution.”

In the case of Chiapas, the perhaps more alarming statistics indicated that in the state exist approximately 29,000 internally displaced due to the armed conflict of 1994, land disputes, and religious conflicts, among other unresolved problems that cause displacement and makes-difficult possible return.  It was noted from the beginning of the forum that this is a difficult theme to deal with as long as officials are untrustworthy and only one form of understanding the phenomenon prevails.

A proposal for the definition of the phenomenon is the following: “they are people or group of people who have been forced or obligated to escape or flee their homes or residences, in particular as a result or to avoid the effects of an armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, rights-violations, natural catastrophes, or ones induced by humans, who have not crossed internationally recognized borders.”

At the end of the Forum, the participants called on governor Juan Sabines Guerrero to present before the state Congress the legal proposal being drawn up by the technical group of the United Nations “toward a legal system that is inclusive and effective for the characteristics of Chiapas, that observes minimal international standards, and that deals with the phenomenon of displacement, not only administering it.”

In the conclusion of the work-groups, Oscar Torrens made clear that “With regard to the identification of the specific problem of internal displacement it is believed that it would be fundamental to deal with this problem from a holistic perspective, focusing on rights, in three strategic questions: legal status, public policies, and identity and culture.”  He added that these three questions should be considered the different relative phases lived by those who have been displaced: prevention, humanitarian assistance, basic life-conditions, and resettlement (whether return or elsewhere) as well as socioeconomic stabilization.

For more information (in Spanish):

Propone PNUD en Foro reconocer la figura de desplazados internos (Expreso de Chiapas, 10 March 2011)

Celebran foro sobre diálogo cultura de paz (Cuarto Poder, 10 March 2011)

ONU pide reconocer a desplazados internos (El Universal, 10 March 2011)

Proponen presentar ley de grupo técnico de ONU (Cuarto Poder, 11 March 2011)

Declaración de los organismos civiles ante la posible creación de una ley estatal sobre desplazamiento forzado para el Estado de Chiapas.(9 March 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: TADECO module and space for artisans in Plaza Cívica of Chilpancingo forcibly evicted; ERPI leader is assassinated

March 9, 2011

On 25 February, officials from Chilpancingo City Hall, supported by some 20 police and one public notary, evicted the informational and cultural space organized by the Workshop of Communal Development (TADECO) in the Plaza Cívica of the city.  Similarly, on 27 February, municipal police, among other officials, attempted to evict the artisans who have for several years sold their goods in the Plaza.  One such artisan was arrested and released 7 hours later.  The leadership of the artisans has presented an affidavit to the Public Ministry for the crimes of injuries, robbery, abuse of authority, and death-threats.  The attempted eviction finds its basis in the intentions of City Hall to leave the Zócalo of the capital-city clear of ambulatory merchants.  The members of TADECO, like the merchants in the center of Chilpancingo, installed themselves in a sit-in to demand that their spaces be returned to them so that they can continue to sell.  TADECO and the Committee of the Disappeared invite those who support them to attend the manifestation planned for Thursday 3 March at 10am in La Alameda.  For his part, Juan Alarcón Hernández, president of the Commission of Defense of Human Rights (CODDEHUM), called on municipal authorities to behave in accordance with the law and to respect the culture of legality regarding the human rights of the artisans and merchants of the capital’s Zócalo.

In other news, on Wednesday 23 February, a group of armed men killed Rubén Santana Alonson, presumed to be the second-in-command of the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People (ERPI), in the community La Laguna in the Sierra de Coyuca de Catalán.  Javier Monroy, TADECO coordinator, noted that the comandante Ramiro was killed in a similar way to Santana Alonso, adding that such shows that the government seeks to dismantle the ERPI.  Omar Guerrero Solís, better known as comandante Ramiro, member of the ERPI, was killed on 4 November 2009 in the Sierra de Coyuca de Catalán.  Rubén Santana was associated with the latest attack on the state police that occurred in October 2010 when police climbed the sierra to rescue the kidnapped cattle-rancher Homero Montúfar; before arriving to La Laguna they were intercepted by an armed group.  According to the official report, armed subjects killed Rubén Santana Alonson; no other details are provided.

For more information (in Spanish):

Manifestación TADECO y Comité Desaparecidos

Golpes y amenazas en intento de desalojo de artesanos del Zócalo de Chilpancingo (Sur de Acapulco, 28 February)

Con policías, quitan a comerciantes reinstalados en el zócalo capitalino (La Jornada, 26 February)

Pide la Codehum al alcalde Astudillo “evitar cualquier acto de violencia” (Sur de Acapulco, 28 February)

Por exceso de confianza, el asesinato del lugarteniente de Ramiro: Javier Monroy (La Jornada, 28 February)

Matan a presunto líder guerrillero en la sierra de Coyuca de Catalán (Sur de Acapulco, 28 February)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Uncertainty over future of TADECO module at Chilpancingo Civic Square (24 February)

Guerrero: Reactivation of arrest-orders against members of CETEG; social organizations meet before the Inter-American Commission; Mexican State violating sentence, it is accused; homage to Comandante Ramiro (11 November 2010)

Chiapas: Regional Forum in Defense of the Land, the Territory and Natural Resources held in Ejido Costa Rica, frontier municipality of Comalapa

March 9, 2011

On Saturday 5 March, women and men from different communities and organizations of the mountain border region of Chiapas met at the Regional Forum in Defense of the Land, Territory, and Natural Resources, held in the “Costa Rica” ejido, municipality of Comalapa.  The objectives of the meeting had to do with “carrying out an exchange of experience and information with respect to the defend of the natural resources that we have undertaken from different places, as communities, organizations, and parishes that have committed themselves to the defense of life,” as well as to “strengthen the struggles both local and national, building networks and alliances that allow for solidarity before urgent situations.”

The meeting’s participants denounces to this end that “We who meet here today have seen that the life of our Mother Earth is threatened by particular interests who are uninterested in the life of the beings who on it reside; they see only economic interests [in Earth].  Within these projects of so-called development we find highways, hydroelectric dams, eco-tourist centers, mining projects, sowing of monocultures (pine, African palm, among others) that create divisions, confrontations, diseases, environmental pollution, death-threats, deaths, criminalization of social protest.”

In spite of the high costs that their struggle has suffered (they remembered in particular the murder of Mariano Abarca), they affirmed that “With this Forum we confirm that we will continue working, as we have done for many years, to promote and defend the human rights of those who have been born here, next to our people, given that we are and will be the ones who live here as long as we disallow the looting of the Earth and the land.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa emitido en el marco del Foro (Comalapa, 5 March)

Se aglutinan en Foro Regional por la Tierra (Cuarto Poder, 6 March)

Determinan amenaza hacia la Madre Tierra debido a intereses (Cuarto Poder, 7 March)

En Comalapa, inicia Foro de Defensa de la Tierra (Expreso de Chiapas, 6 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats directed against the Chicomuselo parish (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)


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