Chiapas: Visit by Oliver De Shutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food

June 21, 2011

Oliver De Shutter @ Oaxaca Libre

During the week of official visit to Mexico by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Oliver De Shutter met in Chiapas with campesino groups and NGOs that denounced that in the state there operate economic policies that favor the free market with regard to rural development, as stipulated by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  They affirmed that this has contributed to the fact that the state is no longer the principal producer of maize in the country, instead becoming a state of transit for producing and importing firms, which amounts to a loss of food sovereignty that affects hundreds of thousands of indigenous and campesino families.

The Rapporteur, who also visited the El Pinar Sustainable Rural City, encountered in vivo the denunciations and proposals of the organizations (among them those of maize producers) that accused the State of facilitating the experimental cultivation of transgenic maize in the north of Mexico and the welcoming of the Monsanto corporation via an agreement recently signed between the state government and the foundation Fundar, related to the multinational in Chiapas.  Coffee-workers also declared that the firm AMSA, associated with Nestlé, is promoting a variety of transgenic coffee.

Juan Velasco, from the cooperative Chol Xumulhá, indicated that “the production of maize is basic for self-development and alimentation, but in any case the tendency among the people is commercial agricultural production–coffee, for example–which can constitute an important source of income for campesinos, but does not resolve problems of sustenance.”

Dr. Marcos Arana, from the National Institute on Nutrition and the Center for Training for Campesinos (CCESC), noted that “it would be necessary to undertake an evaluation of the impact of Rural Cities that be external and independent which would investigate the consequences for the people affected.  Chiapas has become a state that expels populations.  It is estimated that in recent years, between 8 and 10% of the population of Chiapas has migrated to the United States, Cancún, and Ciudad Juárez.  This is a symptom of the abandonment in which rural populations find themselves.”  He also announced that more than 80% of the children of Chiapas suffer from nutritional problems such as obesity and malnutrition.

The organizations agreed that food culture is in a process of erosion.  They indicated that in indigenous communities soda and assorted items are cheapter than water and milk, resulting in massive increases in the consumption of such among the indigenous, particularly those who have limited access to the waters of rivers.

Among the proposals that the civil-society organizations presented to the Rapporteur was the importance of prohibiting the cultivation of transgenic maize and instead promoting indigenous, familial, small-scale agriculture, based in traditional knowledge of the management of agrosystems and the incorporation of natural and organic materials.

The efficacy of subsidy programs such as Oportunidades and Procampo was also questioned, given that they do not reach the most remote communities: “It is clear that these programs and others should be designed with human rights as a base, and this is not only an argument: these programs cannot be based in charity but are rather the rights of persons,” concluded the UN functionary.  De Shutter observed that it is clear that the Rural Cities program attends to the consequences of populational dispersal, but not to the causes, such as distribution of land and lack of employment, as indicated by the organizations.  The Special Rapporteur warned that, if present public policies be continued, Mexico will need to import 80% of its food, with campesinos continuing to abandon their lands.

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: Organizaciones se reúnen con relator de la ONU para el derecho a la alimentación, Oaxaca Libre, 16 June 2011

En 30 años, México importará 80% de los alimentos: ONU, Otros Mundos Chiapas, 15 June 2011

Avala relator de la ONU disminución de desnutrición en Chiapas, SDP Noticias, 16 June 2011

Relator de ONU sobre alimentación visita México, El Universal, 12 June 2011

Visitará relator sobre el derecho a alimentación, Cuarto Poder, 13 June 2011


Guerrero: Briefs – failure of Mexican State in the Radilla case; reopening of the Tlachinollan Center in Ayutla; disappearance of a journalist in Acapulco; state government on mineral exploitation

June 21, 2011

 The Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) has chastised the Mexican State for its failure to observe the sentence it released a year and a half ago regarding the forced disappearance of Rosendo Radilla, which occurred in 1974 at the hands of the Army in Atoyac de Álvarez, Costa Grande of Guerrero, in the context of the “dirty war.”  It demanded a greater commitment to observe its task of investigating the whereabouts of the activist, conduct efficient investigations aimed at judging and sanctioning the civilian and military authorities responsible for the disappearance, restricting the use of military courts, as well as organizing a public event in which the government offers a public apology for the damage caused and to pay compensation to the victim’s relatives.  The Court reiterated that the initiative of the federal government to reform Article 27 of the Code of Military Justice has been insufficient, given that under no circumstances should military jurisdiction be had when it comes to the investigation of human-rights violations.  The Court determined that the State should release a new report on the state of observation of the sentence for 29 August 2011.

In other news, during the act of the reopening of the office of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights in Ayutla de Los Libres, different organizations from the state Guerrero, national and international human-rights organizations, as well as representatives of different embassies demonstrated their support for the work of the defense and promotion of human rights that the Center will continue to carry out in the region of the Costa Chica of Guerrero.  The Tlachinollan Center stated that it had decided to reopen its office so as to continue defending and promoting human rights in the region “despite the fact that the situation of risk has not been overcome and that the security of rights-workers in Guerrero has not been guaranteed, in light of the need to continue accompanying the communities and persons of this region who seek to make real their rights.”
Since 13 June, journalists of different media have been protesting in different parts of Acapulco to demand that the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) accelerate its investigation into the disappearance of journalist Marco Antonio López Ortiz, from Novedades de Acapulco, who was taken on 7 June.  It should be remembered that Guerrero has become one of the most dangerous states for the exercise of freedom of experssion.  In 2009 were registered the murders of two journalists, with three more in 2010.  In 2010 also occurred the attack against offices of the newspaper El Sur de Guerrero, whose personnel continues receiving death-threats to this day.  All these cases continue to be in impunity.

Finally, on 15 June, Enrique José Castro Soto, secretary for Economic Development, assured that the state government supports the investment in the mining sector of Guerrero and even reported that it had met with interested firms.  He affirmed also that the government would prioritize the interests of landowners in the regions of Costa Chica and La Montaña, where many have expressed their opposition to said investment due to the damages to human health and the environment caused by such.  He confirmed that the federal government has awarded 24 mining concessions to Canadian and British firms to exploit gold, copper, and zinc resources in the state, as has been denounced by the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC).

For more information (in Spanish)

- México incumple sentencia: CoIDH (El Universal, 13 June 2011)

Busca Calderón que la desaparición prescriba a los 35 años; no cumple sentencia de la Coidh (El Sur de Acapulco, 3 June 2011)

- Respaldan OSC nacionales e internacionales la labor del CDHM Tlachinollan durante la reapertura en Ayutla (boletín de prensa de OSC nacionales e internacionales, 17 June 2011)

- Comunicado de prensa de la Unión Europea en el marco de la reapertura de la oficina de Tlachinollan en Ayutla (16 June 2011)

- En Acapulco piden localizar a periodista (La Jornada, 16 June 2011)

El estado apoya la inversión minera, pero dará prioridad a los ejidatarios: Sedeco (La Jornada de Guerrero, 16 June 2011)

Empresas mineras, una amenaza para pueblos indígenas: CRAC (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 June 2011)

Avala el gobierno de Aguirre a las mineras (El Sur de Acapulco, 17 June 2011)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Call for the reopening of the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights in Ayutla de Los Libres (21 June 2011)


Guerrero: Call for the reopening of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights in Ayutla de Los Libres

June 21, 2011

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights has reported that, with the support of several local, national, and international human-rights organizations, it will reopen its office in Ayutla de Los Libres on 16 June, following a series of death-threats against its members that had persisted for 2 years.  They said: “The reinitiation of the activities will be formalized via this reopening event which will denounce the persistence of obstacles that make difficult the defense of human rights in the region, and it will be demanded that the Mexican State observe the provisional measures called for the Inter-American Court.”  They stressed as well that “for the Tlachinollan Center and other organizations joining us, the reopening of the office in Ayutla does not imply in any sense that the risk situation has been overcome or that the Mexican State has carried out the necessary actions to observe the provisional measures.  For this reason, the reopening that is being called for will contribute to sending a unified message regarding the necessity of the State’s observance of guaranteeing adequate measures for the work of rights-workers in our country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Reabrirá el Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan su oficina en Ayutla de los Libres, (Cencos 13 de junio de 2011)

Reabre Tlachinollan sus oficinas en Ayutla, cerradas por amenazas en 2009, (El Sur, 14 de junio de 2011)


Mexico: The Citizens’ Pact is signed in Juárez

June 21, 2011

Sicilia with the Citizens’ Pact @ El Universal

More than 500 persons traveled nearly 3000 kilometers in the seven days of the Caravan of Consolation that traversed 12 Mexican states and carried out public events in 9 such states.  Hundreds of women, wives, and children testified to their suffering.  Javier Sicilia sustains that President Felipe Calderón sees no more than the gardens of Los Pinos and that he continues to be deaf to the cries of thousands of people who demand justice and peace, while the political parties and actors such as Enrique Peña Nieto, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Marcelo Ebrard have demonstrated their lack of capacity for attending to the demands of relatives of those victimized by the war against drug-trafficking.  “What we see is a country of victims, and for this reason I said that I hoped that the president would listen.  We are bringing him a CD so that he can listen to the testimonies, that he see the impunity in the country, that he sees that crime is also found in the State, so that we can reach his heart to show him that his strategy is excessively puritan and aggressive, that it is not a good strategy for remaking the country,” expressed the poet.

The National Pact for Peace with Justice and Dignity was signed in Ciudad Juárez on 10 June.  The central point of the pact is the demilitarization of the country, but it also calls for a change in strategy with regard to combating organized crime, the struggle against governmental corruption, the restructuring of institutions, and a new social policy especially oriented toward offering more opportunities to the youth.  Six points define the manifesto: the clarification of the murder and disappearances of victims, an end to the strategy of war, that the authorities assume a focus on citizens’ security, against corruption and impunity as well as dealing with the economic roots and profits of crime.  Another of the points it demands is an end to the Mérida Initiative that has been supported since 2008 by the US government to give economic resources and training to the Mexican government in its struggle against narco-trafficking.  The signatories to the Pact demand that the deaths resulting from the war be clarified, that the human rights of the victims’ relatives be protected, and that the money set aside for x be transferred to the affected.  It also calls for efficient and ethical policies regarding media work.  The citizens’ agreement is still changeable, and it is hoped that the number of signatories increase following a national consultation.

During the caravan’s trip, Sicilia had warned the federal government that, if Calderón does not take seriously the points established by the Pact for Peace, there would be organized a peaceful civil-resistance movement led in various regions by a specific public representative, tax-evasion, and a boycott of the 2012 elections.

The document has been signed by Sicilia, Raúl Vera, Miguel Concha, Julián LeBarón, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, the 500 victims who traveled in the caravan, as well as representatives from social and citizens’ organizations that attended the public events.  The document can be signed in public plazas throughout the country and on the internet at redporlapaz.org.

For more information (in Spanish):

Resumen Pacto Nacional Ciudadano, Milenio, 10 June 2011

La Caravana por la Paz aguarda la respuesta de las autoridades mexicanas, CNN México, 14 June 2011

‘Aún se puede evitar el estallido’, El Diario de Coahuila, 12 June 2011

“Pacto Ciudadano por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad”, Milenio, 14 June 2011

La Caravana del Consuelo, La Jornada, 14 June 2011

Qué hacer, de nuevo, La Jornada, 13 June 2011

Respaldan iglesias el pacto ciudadano, La Jornada, 11 June 2011
Celebra Reginaldo Sandoval pacto nacional ciudadano contra la violencia en México
, La Jornada Michoacán, 11 June 2011

El Pacto de Sicilia…. Y la posibilidad de la radicalización, El Universal, 14 June 2011

Firmarán hoy en Juárez pacto ciudadano por la paz, El Universal, 10 June 2011

Signan pacto ciudadano en Ciudad Juárez, El Universal, 11 June 2011

Firman Pacto Ciudadano y anuncian resistencia, El Universal, 11 June 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Beginning of the caravan for peace from Cuernavaca to Ciudad Juárez (9 June 2011)

Mexico: Marches for Peace and Justice with Dignity (12 May 2011)


Chiapas: Denunciation of relatives and friends of José Hidalgo Pérez (murdered in June 1999)

June 20, 2011

On 10 June, relatives and friends of José Hidalgo Pérez, who was disappeared and presumably murdered by a soldier in June 1999, published a denunciation on the 12-year anniversary of the events which have remained in impunity.

They remembered that “the special targeting of the Hidalgo Pérez family is due to the fact that since the first days of 1994 several of the family’s members had joined citizens’ initiatives to demand a peaceful and political solution to the Zapatista movement and the promotion of social participation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  For this reason, given that no other reasonable explanation can be found for [his] disappearance , and above all due to the circumstances in which the events took place–in light of the death-threats and harassment of which he was a target previously, during, and after these events, WE ASSUME THAT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF JOSÉ HIDALGO IS A WARNING TO ALL CITIZENS WHO WOULD PARTICIPATE IN INDEPENDENT CITIZENS’ INSTITUTIONS APART FROM THE STATE.”

They furthermore denounced that “the 12 years of impunity in this case constitutes a serious failure on the part of the authorities with regard to their responsibility to provide justice, and it is a worrying sign regarding the lack of will among the governors to strive toward peaceful co-existence through official channels in Chiapas.  The lack of results carries the grave message of impunity and danger that acts like this one could repeat themselves, above all in the present moments when tensions return to the region.”

Finally, they demanded that the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas reactivate the investigation of the case and that Hidalgo Pérez’s remains be handed over to his relatives for burial.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia completa de familiares y amigos de José Hidalgo Perez , 10 June 2011

Desaparición de José Hidalgo, 10 años de impunidad. Un caso de la versión urbana de la “Guerra de baja intensidad en Chiapas”, 20 and 21 June 2009; Primer Encuentro Americano Contra la Impunidad, Caracol IV , Morelia, Municipio Autónomo Zapatista, Chiapas

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Beginning of the caravan for peace from Cuernavaca to Ciudad Juárez (9 June 2011)

Mexico: Marches for Peace and Justice with Dignity (12 May 2011)


Chiapas: NGO denounces that INM makes difficult the defense of migrants

June 20, 2011

On 10 June the Fray Matías de Cordova, AC Center for Human Rights (headquarters in the border-town of Tapachula) published a press-release denouncing that the National Institute on Migration (INM) has been impeding the work of organizations that defend the human rights of migrant peoples.  The Center indicated that following 11 days of having been held in the Migratory Station of Acayucan, Veracruz, the whereabouts of Wilmar García Pérez, Daniel Espinoza Guzmán, Idalberto Pérez Bermúdez, Diego Juvera Miranda, and Junior Michel Castillo Reyes–all Cubans–and the Dominican Santiago Apóstol Díaz Dauhajr are unknown.  The Fray Matías de Córdova Center details that “It is presumed that they have been deported, but regardless no informationis known regarding their whereabouts after the 5 Cubans were transferred by the [INM] last night (8 June) toward an unknown destinatio.  The Dominican suffered the same fate yesterday.  No prior notice [was given], as stipulated by Article 39 of the Federal Law on Administrative Proceedings.  These measures on the part of INM not only violate recommendations 26 and 42 of the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Relatives (Committee of 90), released during the second periodical exam of the Mexican State on migration, but it also makes difficult the work that [this center] had been carrying out in the accompaniment and denunciation of the discretional behavior of the INM regarding due process and access to information.”

For this reason it concluded its bulletin affirming that “from this Center for Human Rights we reiterate the denunciation of the right to due process on the part of the INM, the arbitrary transferring of migrant peoples, and the impediments to the work of human-rights workers, thus violating international law having to do with the respect for the human rights of migrants.

Following the release of 7 of 13 the migrants from the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 3 (CERESO No. 3) in Tapachula, Chiapas, on 28 May, where they had engaged in a hunger strike for 24 days, they were transferred in adverse conditions to the Migratory Station of Acayucan, Veracruz, with the argument that the Migratory Station Century XXI, the largest in Latin America, lacked the necessary conditions.

For more information (in Spanish):

INM OBSTACULIZA LABOR DE ORGANIZACIONES DEFENSORAS DE DERECHOS HUMANOS DE LAS PERSONAS MIGRANTES, (Observatorio ciudadano, 10 June 2011)


Chiapas: Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, ex-governor, is detained

June 20, 2011

Pablo Salazar detained in El Amate @ Milenio

Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, ex-governor of Chiapas (2000-2006), was detained by agents of the Federal Police (PF) on Tuesday 7 June in the international airport of Cancún, Quintana Roo, just as he was about to board a flight to Mexico City.  He was transferred to the El Amate prison (which he himself constructed in 2005) in the municipality of Cintalapa, Chiapas.

The State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas has declared that the capture of Pablo Salazar was the result of an arrest-order that followed investigations that have been ongoing for several years on the charges of x, inappropriate exercise of public authority, abuse of public function, abuse of authority, and criminal association.  In a communique, the Office stressed that “the Public Ministry presented evidence that shows that Pablo Salazar, together with several public servants in his administrations, deviated 104 million pesos from the state.”  Lastly, it emphasized that for these crimes the ex-governor could face a 20-year sentence.  Equally, several functionaries of the administration of Pablo Salazar find themselves imprisoned, accused of the deviation of resources destined for reconstruction after Hurricane Stan (2005).

Raciel López Salazar, a district attorney from Chiapas, denied that the arrest represented political revenge on the part of present governor Juan Sabines, given the evident differences between him and his predecessor.  Some days ago, Salazar Mendiguchía denounced the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), regarding the presumed robbery of various documents from his home in Chiapas.

Pablo Salazar began a hunger stirke on Wednesday 8 June to protest the charges, reported his lawyer, Ilan Katz, who found the detention an abuse of his client’s rights.  “Pablo is there for something that has nothing to do with Hurricane Stan or reconstruction,” said his lawyer, who attributed the situation to “political ends.”

On 14 June, he was sentenced to imprisonment.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pablo Salazar, detenido y encarcelado en El Amate, La Jornada, 8 June 2011

Detienen en Cancún al exgobernador Pablo Salazar, Proceso.com.mx, 9 June 2011

Preocupa a PRD detención de Pablo Salazar, EL Universal, 8 June 2011

Pablo Salazar no alcanza fianza; MP solicitará 20 años de prisión, Milenio, 9 June 2011

Sabines frena a Salazar, La Jornada, 8 June 2011

Detención de Pablo Salazar, golpe a la impunidad política, Cuarto Poder, 8 June 2011

Justicia contra Pablo Salazar no es un caso especial, Cuarto Poder, 8 June 2011

Celebran justicia divina vs. Salazar, Cuarto Poder, 9 June 2011

Preso, Pablo Salazar inicia huelga de hambre; rechaza acusaciones, Periódico Digital, 8 June 2011

Dictan auto de formal prisión a Pablo Salazar por desvío de 104 mdp, La Jornada, 14 June 2011

Múltiples reacciones en contra del exgobernador …, Expreso de Chiapas, 14 June 2011


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