Chiapas: Confrontation in Guaquitepec; 4 injured and a school is destroyed

September 28, 2011

Photo: Installation of Bilingual Intercultural School of Guaquitepec

On 24 September 2011, in the community of Guaquitepec, municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, a group of 100 campesinos led by four caciques violently entered the installations pertaining to the project of the Communal Development of the Patron for Mexican Education A.C.  According to its press-release the group entered “the Emiliano Zapata bilingual high school, the intercultural school Bartolomé de Las casas, the laboratory for clinical analysis and the communal computer center, there generating a confrontation between the people of the project and the group, with the result that 4 were injured, including 2 of our comrades and 2 on their part.  Bey0nd this the schools were partially destroyed, as were the laboratory and nearly the entire computing center.

Subsequently the group directed itself to the home of Don Antonio Jiménez Álvarez and the home of Don Juan Pérez Hernández, principals of the community and promoters of the educational and developmental projects in the region since their founding; they were removed from their homes by force, beaten, and detained coercively until 1am by the invading group, tied up to a post in the central plaza of the community.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia sobre la situación en Guaquitepec‏ Chiapas, Radio Pozol, 25 September 2011


Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza

September 28, 2011

On 21 September, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, indigenous individuals of the Emiliano Zapata Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) and members of the community Candelaria El Alto who are adherents to the Other Campaign had a confrontation regarding possession of 185 hectares of land.  Both groups blamed the other for having begun the violence.

OCEZ-RC denounced that eight of its members were injured during the confrontation.  It affirms that the conflict began when a group of men armed with machetes reached the stretch of land in question and began to insult members of OCEZ-RC and throw rocks at them.  In light of this, the organization installed an indefinite plantation in front of the municipal palace to demand that the municipal government of Venustiano Carranza punish the aggressors.

The communiqué of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights writes this on the question: “We indicate that the aggression committed today by a paramilitary shock-group that hides behind the label of the Other Campaign in Chiapas shows the contradiction between its word and coherence, given that today it launched an action to denounce the aggressions taken by paramilitary groups such as Paz y Justicia against communities that pertain to the EZLN, as in the case of the community of San Patricio in the municipality of Sabanilla; this at the same time that groups of adherents in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza carry out paramilitary-type aggressions against members of the OCEZ-RC.  Not to support the practice of these groups that say they are part of the Other Campaign in Chiapas means that it is an opportune time to put distance between the two and to clarify one’s position.”

The adherents of the Other Campaign in Candelaria El Alto have blamed campesinos of the community Nuevo San José la Grandeza who pertain to the OCEZ-RC for the aggression.  In a communiqué, they reported that on 21 September they were meeting where they do guard-shifts, given the situation in the community following the land-occupation by OCEZ-RC  of Nuevo San José la Grandeza, who took the land El Desengaño in April of this year.  There was had an accord of not allowing three persons who come to work it.  Soon, they affirmed that 10 persons arrived “provoking and insulting.”  They denounce that “after the confrontation the members of the OCEZ-RC communicate with persons who are positioned in our lands and who pertain to the colony San José la Grandeza, who are from the same organization.  60 persons arrive, dressed in black with their faces hidden, armed and firing their high-caliber weapons.  The firefight lasted some two hours, and subsequently they returned to their camp.  We would also like to mention that this same day at about 9:30am they cut the electricity to the community so that we could not have communication.  Since yesterday we have been receiving threats regarding their desire to enter our homes to attack us.  We also understand that this form of threatening and attacking us is done so that we abandon our lands, so that they can have them.”  They ended their communiqué by expressing that “we would like to say to the OCEZ-RC that it is not possible that you take from us our bread, as we are campesinos who are conscious that it is the bad government that benefits [from this].  We demand that the state-government immediately take responsibility on the matter, given the situation of danger that our families are experiencing.”

For more information (in Spanish):
Organizaciones de nuevo en conflicto (Cuarto Poder, 24 September)

Miembros de la OCEZ y zapatistas chocan por control de un predio de 185 hectáreas (Proceso, 23 September)

Un enfrentamiento deja a ochos heridos (Cuarto Poder, 23 September)

Agresión paramilitar en contra de la OCEZ-RC, 8 heridos con machetes y palos (Comité de Derechos Humanos de Base Digna Ochoa, 22 September)

Denuncia pública de los adherentes a la Otra Campaña de Candelaria(Comunidad organizada Candelaria el Alto adherentes a la Otra Campaña, 22 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: OCEZ-Carranza Region carries out day of actions to demand observation of their demands (15 April 2011)


Mexico: Caravan for Peace concludes after journeying to Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla

September 28, 2011

Villahermosa (@Movement for Peace)

On 17 September, upon leaving the state of Chiapas, the Caravan to the South associated with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity continued its path through the states of Tabasco, Veracruz, and Puebla before returning to Mexico City on 19 September.  In Villahermosa, Tabasco, the Caravan engaged in a march and several protests in which relatives of victims, those affected by flooding, oil workers, and ambulant merchants exposed their problems.  Symbolically the Municipal Palace was closed and there was held another event in front of the local Congress, a moment in which Sicilia affirmed that “the politicians should listen to us, given that we have now passed over them.  If they do not straighten out the path taken by the country, if they do not begin to build security with the citizenry, this will sadly be the last pacifist movement.”

Several security incidents occurred during the journey between Villahermosa and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, led to a restrengthening of the security that accompanied the Caravan before its arrival to Mexico City.  Alvarez Icaza noted three such incidents: the detention of Father Tomás González, defender of migrants in Tenosique, Tabasco; the activation of a security protocol on the part of Sicilia’s bodyguards on a highway; and the presence of men who traveled in three taxis and attempted to enter the house of the capital’s ex-ombudsman.

Veracruz (@Movement for Peace)

The members of the Caravan arrived in Xalapa where awaiting them was one of the most numerous receptions that the Caravan has experienced, given the participation of more than 5000 Xalapeños.  In a public act, Sicilia called for the unity of all citizens so as to detain the “absurd and imbecile” war and the horror and violence it generates.  “Together we are the moral reserve that the country needs,” he affirmed.

In Puebla, human-rights NGOs welcomed the arrival of the Caravan, noting “Welcome to Puebla, a state in which death wears make-up while violence is promoted, in which no authority is responsible for its actions, in which impunity is official policy.”

The Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity concluded its journey in the evening of 19 September with a protest in the Zócalo of Mexico City, following a campaign of more than 4000 kilometers that saw visits to eight states, with the objective of giving a voice to victims of organized crime, as well as victims of the political-economic system of the country.  “Guerrero and Veracruz are now a replica of Ciudad Juárez and Tamaulipas,” declared Sicilia.  He demanded that organized crime halt violence: “To the criminals we ask: What happiness do you seek if its foundations base themselves on death?  To the politicians, how will you care for the house named Mexico if its foundations are based on indifference, in legalized violence?”  After a minute of silence, he warned “the men of death and corrupt governments” that “we are many, and we carry alive the country that you want to destroy.”

For more information (in Spanish):

TABASCO

Marcha Caravana por la Paz en Villahermosa (Tabasco Hoy, 17 September)

Caravana al Sur denuncia detención de activista (El Universal, 17 September)

Si no escuchan, será el último movimiento pacifista: Sicilia (El Universal, 17 September)

VERACRUZ

Veracruz atiende queja de Sicilia y da más seguridad (El Universal, 18 September)

Ninguna amenaza parará caravana por la paz: Sicilia (El Universal, 18 September)

Refuerzan seguridad de Caravana; denuncian intimidación (Proceso, 18 September)

Caravana llega a Xalapa fuertemente custodiada (El Universal, 18 September)

Caravana: al unísono, cinco mil personas en Xalapa claman por justicia(Proceso, 18 September)

Jalapeños se sacuden el miedo y ganan la calle para recibir a la Caravana al Sur (La Jornada, 19 September)

Policías federales apoyarán la expedición (La Jornada, 19 September)

PUEBLA

La inseguridad no es culpa de Calderón: Sicilia (El Universal, 19 de septiembre)

Sicilia critica discursos ‘rebasados’ de las ONG (El Universal, 19 de septiembre)

ONG poblanas presentan casos de violaciones de derechos humanos ante la Caravana por la Paz (La Jornada, 19 de septiembre)

CIUDAD DE MEXICO

Sicilia pide a políticos escuchar a víctimas (El Universal, 19 September)

Freno a la violencia en el país, exige Sicilia en el Zócalo (Proceso, 19 September)

Guerrero y Veracruz, una réplica de Cd. Juárez y Tamaulipas: Sicilia(Milenio, 19 September)

La Caravana por la Paz llega a la Ciudad de México tras recorrer el sur(CNN México, 19 September)

Palabras de Javier Sicilia para finalizar la Caravana de Paz (19 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Caravan to the South Day 2 (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Day 1 of the Caravan to the South (26 September 2011)

Oaxaca receives Caravan to the South (23 September 2011)

Chiapas: Annunciation of the Caravan to the South in Chiapas (23 September 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)


Chiapas: Support for the Digna Ochoa CDH and the Autonomous Council of the Coast

September 27, 2011

Forty artists and intellectuals and more than a hundred organizations from 16 countries have pronounced themselves in support of the members of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights and the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas and have called on the government of the state and the State Attorney General’s Office to suspend the arrest-orders against these members.  Among supporters of the document are Eduardo Galeano, Manu Chao, José Emilio Pacheco, Bishop Raúl Vera, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Alfredo López Austin, Raúl Zibechi, and Marcos Roitman.

The document recognizes that “in social mobilization, represented in the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, one of the many and legitimate popular Mexican struggle in defense of human rights–civil, social, and political.”  It affirms that the accusations “against the members of hte Digna Ochoa CDH as of the Autonomous Council are used in Chiapas and throughout the country as a mechanism of control of social movements and criminalization of social activists and human-rights defenders.”  For this, the signers call on the government of Chiapas and the PGR “to reverse the judicial actions and guarantee civil and political liberties.”

For more information (in Spanish):

PRONUNCIAMIENTO EN APOYO AL CDH DIGNA OCHOA AC Y AL CONSEJO AUTONOMO REGIONAL DE LA COSTA DE CHIAPAS

Rechazan acoso al centro Digna Ochoa y a consejo autónomo, La Jornada, 21 September 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

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


Chiapas: in observation of International Peace Day

September 27, 2011

Peace is not a gift that will arrive because we want it

Peace is not an order that is imposed by force
Peace is not negotiation with the destroyed enemy
Peace is not a dream that is impossible
We build peace by creating spaces for peace.

On 21 September Coreco (Commission of Support for Communal Unity and Reconciliation, A.C.), a member of the Chiapas Peace Network, celebrated its XV anniversary.  In an event celebrated in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas was presented a book written by Felipe Toussaint Loera (1957-2011), Commission of Support for Communal unity and Reconciliation, Positive Transformation of Conflicts in communities and organizations in Chiapas and Peace work 1996-2005.  Felipe Toussaint was part of the founding group of Coreco and coordinated this organization from 2002 to 2011.  Members of the present team of Coreco also shared the trajectory fo the organization during these last 15 years in Chiapas.

In observation of International Day for Peace, another member of the Chiapas Peace Netowrk, Serapazs (Services and Assessment for Peace, a civil Mexican organization dedicated for the past 15 years to the positive mediation and transofmraiton of conflicts) published a document in which it shares its concern for the situation of increasing conflictivity that has gripped the country, highlighting the classification by the Global Index of Peace, shared in these days by the Institute for Economy and Peace, on which Mexico is listed as 121 among 153 countries.  Serapaz stresses this in a communiqué: “The results of the Global Index of Peace reinforce our vision that the Mexican government not only goes on a mistaken path by implementing a war strategy to combat organized crime.  It also demonstrates its incapacity to orient social conflict toward processes of dialogue and mediation that tend to evade repressive ends and to recognize the peoples, organizations, and communities as legitimate interlocutors.  The information recently reported that this government has approved 73 new mining projects this year is worrying, as it suggests an increase in conflictivity […].  Regardless, in this context, as SERAPAZ we would like to manifest that we find in the development of our work of facilitation, mediation, negotiation, formation, articulation, and strengthening of social actors a large and inspiring gamut of experiences and organizational collectivities that are building Peace by means of alternatives to the models and life conditions of their communities.  Amidst the darkness, we find enriching signs and true sources of hope.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Coreco

Pronunciamiento Serpaz, 21 September 2011

Día internacional de la paz, ONU, 21 September 2011


Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo

September 27, 2011

Regarding the legal demand recently presented before a court in the United States against ex-president Ernesto Zedillo for the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas note that they had nothing to do with it, as it “does not correspond to the form of acting among survivors and their organizations.”  Thus they put it in a communiqué made public during a monthly commemoration of the massacre on 22 September.

They affirmed that the only legal representative in the case is the Fray Bartolomé de Las Cas Center for Human Rights A.C.  “We have taken the Acteal case before the corresponding legal institutions in our country, and once these institutions failed to live out their obligation to do justice, we took the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).”  They noted that “in contrast to the demand presented by some unknown persons in a US court, our demand is centered not around money but rather around demanding justice and putting an end to impunity.  Furthermore, also in contrast to this demand, we Abejas have never acted anonymously.”

They detailed that “there exist strong elements to suppose that the memory of the Acteal martyrs is being manipulated toward electoral-political and also economic ends that are totally foreign to our organization […].  The team of lawyers of the US that according to the news is presenting this civil demand against Zedillo is not a human-rights organization but rather an office that is accustomed to defending bankers and large corporations (as can be seen in its Internet page).  It is evident that neither Las Abejas nor any other Tzotzil indigenous person has the money to pay the enormous costs that such legal defense would imply.”

They argued in any case that “despite the aforementioned it is positive that Ernesto Zedillo and his accomplices be judged in a tribunal for their crimes against humanity as committed in Acteal.  The truth and justice must come to light sooner or later, though it seems that the immediate motive is no the struggle of the oppressed but rather inter-communal conflicts of the poweful and their parties.  Regardless it is necessary not to confuse weeds with good seeds, nor partial and biased versions with the complete truth.”

They concluded by saying that “The Las Abeajs Civil Society will continue struggling as awlays for truth and justice, not just in the Acteal case but rather in the tottality of the struggle for indigenous rights and autonomy and for all just casues of the people of Mexico.  In our commitment to make known the truth we add the search for truth regarding what is behind this manipulation of th eActeal case.  We want Zedilo and his accomplices to be judged, but we will not be quiet in light of the usurpation of our memory for opportunistic politicians and businesspeople, nor will we allow that a partial truth serve to occult the whole truth.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo de Las Abejas, 22 September 2011

Sobrevivientes de Acteal se deslindan de la demanda contra Zedillo, El Proceso, 23 September 2011

Las Abejas se deslinda de una demanda en EU contra Zedillo, La Jornada, 23 September 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Day of Action for Justice and Truth of Las Abejas of Acteal (19 August)


Guerrero – briefs: PGR will investigate case of ecologist campesinos; communities in La Montaña and Costa Chica resist mineral exploitation; high electricity prices are denounced

September 27, 2011

Don Ramón y su recibo de la CFE (@Tlachinollan)

On 21 September, Jacqueline Sáenz, coordinator of wholesome defense of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights reported that the case of Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera was sent to the civil courts.  Eleven years after the ecologist campesinos were tortured by Army units and forced to declare themselves as guilty for a crime they did not commit, the cases have been sent to the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) as demanded byt he sentence of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).  Sienz noted that “in terms of justice, this is an important first step for Rodolfo and Teodoro, but it should not be forgotten that the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation has mandated that all cases in which soldiers have committed human-rights violations should be held in civil courts.”

In other news, on 21 September, the delegate of the Agrarian Office (PA), Fernando Jaimes Ferrer, reported that in La Montaña only in the agrarian nucleus of Paraje Montero, Malinaltepec, have ejidatarios allowed mineral firms to exploit their lands, and that in Costa Chica, where all peoples oppose mineral exploitation, there definitely can be no entrance for such firms.  He assured that the mineral firm Camsi which explores this part of La Montaña has met with ejidatarios of the alnd who agreed to allow the zone to be explored following a payment of 2 million pesos.  The Communal police organized operatives of information in Costa Chica and La Montaña to avoid that Canadian and English mining companies to which the federal government has awarded concessions exploit minerals in both zones due to the destruction this implies.  Inded, Jaimes Ferrer mentioned that those who oppose mineral explorations are misinformed regarding the development of the zones and he blamed certain organizations such as the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights in these terms.

Lastly, on 13 September, Tlachinollan released a press-release regarding the high electricity prices experienced in the region of La Montaña of Guerrero.  The communiqué mentions that from 2007 to date the Center has registered close to 400 complains, both individual and communal, related to excessive prices for the service of electrical energy, for which the Federal Commission on Electricity (CFE) is responsible in the region of La Montaña.  The communiqué gives the example of “Mr. Ramón Solano Soto, a Me’phaa indigenous man from the community Piedra Blanca in the municipality of  Atlamajalcingo del Monte, […who] received […] a receipt for light from the CFE for twenty-one thousand nine hundred seventy pesos [while he has] only one electricity bulb and a televisión.”  The communiqué continues emphasizing that “in accordance with the General Observation number 4 suggested by the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, signatory states such as Mexico should adopt measures to guarantee that the percentage of living costs be adjusted to income levels.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Investigará la PGR caso de campesinos torturados (La Jornada, 21 September)

PA: permiten en Malinaltepec la exploración minera de sus tierras(La Jornada, 22 September)

Acusa la Procuradoría Agraria a Tlachinollan de mal informar sobre daños de las mineras (Sur de Acapulco, 22 September)

Video: Don Ramon y su lucha por una vivienda digna

Comunicado de prensa (Tlachinollan, 13 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: Tlachinollan requests support in the case of Radio Ñomndaa; Invitation to a workshop against mining in the Montaña and Costa Chica regions (18 March)

Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota (January 13, 2011)


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