Chiapas: The Oventik JBG demands the immediate release of Francisco Sántiz López, Zapatista support-base, as of Don Lorenzo López Girón

March 25, 2012

On 16 March, the Good-Government Council (JGB) of Oventic denounced the unjust incarceration of Francisco Sántiz López, EZLN support base, as well as of Lorenzo López Girón, who lacks any political affiliations.  Both are from the Tenejapa official municipality and are unjustly accused of a crime that occurred in December 2011.  They were arrested on 4 December 2011.  Sántiz López was “falsely accused of directing a provocation in which died Pedro Méndez López, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Banavil ejido.”  Francisco was held for 2 hours in the municipal headquarters and later handed over to the Ministerial Police of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  They were both offered their liberty if they would pay 32,000 pesos for the murder and 40,000 for carrying arms, but they refused to pay, “because their incarceration is unjust.”

The JBG denounced as “unsupportable, unacceptable, and inhumane the attitudes of the judges, ministry, and bad state and federal governments, which are so corrupt and accustomed to inventing crimes and condemning innocent peoples.”  The JBG considers these attacks to be attacks on the autonomy of Zapatista communities, toward the end of impeding “the exercise of our rights to autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian prisión injusta de una base de apoyo del EZLN, La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2012

La JBG de Oventik exige la libertad inmediata de Francisco Sántiz López, base de apoyo zapatista y de Don Lorenzo López Girón, injustamente detenidos por el mal gobierno desde el 4 de diciembre de 2011, 16 de marzo de 2012

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: CDHFBC publishes more information on the Banavil case (9 February 2012)

Chiapas: Urgent Action in in case of aggressions against families who sympathize with EZLN by PRI group from the Banavil ejido and arbitrary detention of Zapatista support-base (8 February 2012)


Chiapas: Denunciation of residents of Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza regarding the “El Desengaño” territory

March 25, 2012

Venustiano Carranza municipality (http://www.e-local.gob.mx)

In a 19 March 2012 communiqué, residents of the community of Candelaria el Alto, Venustiano Carranza municipality, who are adherents to the Other Campaign denounced that on 15 March members of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) from the San José La Grandeza neighborhood began to burn the crops and trees located on their lands.  They recalled that since 6 April 2011 the OCEZ-RC had invaded the “El Desengaño” territory.

After informing the state government, they report that on the next day “arrived a PEP [Preventive State Police] truck, asking about the Candelaria el Alto case, wanting to enter the territory, adding that if we gave permission they would start patrolling and reach the place where the invaders came, beyond promising to protect those of the OCEZ-RC [...].  Upon hearing this we told them to leave our community, because we have told the government several times now that we do not have more land to sell.  So why did they arrive and deceive us in this way, knowing that we will not sell the little we have left.  We will not permit more looting, after the 98 hectares of land that the state bought for the benefit of [OCEZ-RC].”

They demanded a solution as well as respect: “we are now in the season close to the time to sow our crops (corn and beans), so it is urgent the state resolve our problems.  If it does not, we will be exposed for another year without our basic crops, thus putting at risk the lives of the children, women, and elderly of the community.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia completa de habitantes de la comunidad de Candelaria el Alto municipio de Venustiano Carranza adherentes a la Otra Campaña(19 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: new public denunciation from the Candelaria El Alto community (16 January 2012)

Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza (28 September 2011)


Chiapas: Urgent action for youth unjustly arrested

March 25, 2012

The social organizations Casa de la Mujer Ixim Antsetic and the Chiapas Center for Women’s Rights denounced that the Mexican minor Ana Laura Sánchez García, 16 years of age, was detained on Wednesday 22 February and taken to the National System for the Wholesome Development of the Family (DIF) in the Palenque municipality.  The next day, her mother arrived, but as she lacked a birth certificate, she presented documents pertaining to her birth and a vaccination card.  Regardless, the DIF officials told her that she needed to bring documents that confirm her as the parent, and that they would hold her daughter for a week.  In any case, on Saturday when the mother returned to bring clothes to her daughter, she learned that the girl had been transferred to the Prosecutorial Office for Migrants in Tapachula.

For more information (in Spanish):

¡MENOR CONFUNDIDA Con centroamericana! (Diario de Chiapas, 19 de marzo)

Acción urgente caso Ana Laura Sánchez García


Chiapas: Assembly is held in El Bosque to demand the release of Alberto Patishtán

March 25, 2012

Comrades, friends, relatives, and neighbors of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who has been imprisoned since 19 June 2000, succeeded in bringing together on 17 March more than a thousand people in the community of El Bosque to demand Patishtán’s return to Chiapas and his unconditional release.  All believe him to be innocent and a political prisoner.

Professor Martín Ramírez López initiated the reunion, remembering the acts that occurred 12 years ago and the implications that his incarceration has had for his relatives, students, and compatriots.  Painful memories from friends, work-colleagues, and the parents and friends who accompanied Patishtán on the day of the presumed ambush against police of which he is accused repeatedly stressed that he was not at the scene of the incident: “I spoke with him that day, at the very hour; he could not have been where the violence occurred.”  But their testimony was never taken into account: “We went to San Cristóbal and Tuxtla to declare the same thing we say now, but no one listened.”

Expressing strong emotions mixed with dignified rage, participants made clear their opposition to his unjust incarceration.  Later, women and men considered the words of the professor to reflect on the new types of actions they could undertake after the assembly to demand the immediate return and release of Patishtán Gómez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Asamblea en el bosque (Blog de Alberto Patishtan Preso Politico de Chiapas, 18 de marzo 2012)

Alberto Patishtán – Asamblea por la Libertad de Alberto Patishtán(Koman Ilel, 17 de marzo 2012)

Exigen en Chiapas liberar a Patishtán (La Jornada, 19 de marzo 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Demand for release and return of Alberto Patishtan (22 March 2012)

Mexico: Denunciation by Alberto Patishtán from prison in Sinaloa (7 March 2012)

Chiapas: new denunciation by prisoners Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (6 January 2012)


Oaxaca: Murder of the spokesperson of the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley

March 25, 2012

Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

At 8pm on 15 March, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson for the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (COPUVO), was ambushed and murdered on federal highway 175, after having been at a meeting with state government officials to analyze the conflict that exists in the San José del Progreso municipality due to the presence there of the Cuzcatlán mine.  During the attack his brother, Andrés Vásquez Sánchez, and Rosalinda Dionisio Sánchez, member of COPUVO, were injured by gunshot wounds.

Bernardo Vásquez Sánches was one of the leaders of COPUVO who had since 2008 rejected the mining project of the Cuzcatlán firm, which is associated with the Canadian company Fortuna Silver INC.

In a joint communiqué, Oaxacan civil organizations rejected these new violent acts in the municipality, denouncing that “Vásquez Sánchez and the CPUVO had warned state and federal authorities since 2008 of the possible confrontations in the San José del Progreso community resulting from the entrance of the Cuzcatlán S.A. de C.V. mining company, which is associated with the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines firm, given that it initiated its operations without the consent of the community.  On repeated occasions members of CPUVO have denounced that the mining firm has been financing armed groups in the community with the support of the mayor of San José del Progreso (Alberto Mauro Sánchez).  The state authorities ignored these denunciations, instead affirming that the dissident group sought only to destabilize the community, when reality is quite distinct.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Matan a opositor de minera canadiense en Oaxaca (El Universal, 16 de marzo de 2012)

Asesinan al vocero de la Coordinadora de los Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán (Proceso, 16 de marzo)

Ligan a munícipe en muerte de líder agrario (La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2012)

Piden justicia ante el asesinato del defensor Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez opositor al proyecto minero en San José del Progreso Comunicado de la Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (15 de marzo de 2012)

Boletín de OSC de Oaxaca ante el asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (16 de marzo de 2012).

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Two opponents of mining in San José del Progreso are fired on (8 February 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley close entrance to silver mine in San José del Progreso (14 March 2011)

Oaxaca: Civil Mission of Observation “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” (8 September 2010)


Mexico: legislators and NGOs present initiative for the protection of rights-defenders and journalists

March 24, 2012

(@cuidadanía-expres)

On 13 March, legislators and civil organizations presented a legal initiative to protect human-rights defenders and journalists that would establish measures of prevention, public policies, and programs to reduce the risk-factors that favor aggressions against them.  The initiative also mentions that it would seek the cooperation among the federal and state governments with civil society to create an effective Mechanism of Protection, carry out investigations, and develop strategies.

From July 2011 to March 2012, civil organizations, legislators, representatives of the Secretary of Governance, Amnesty International, and the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights carried out meetings to develop this initiative.

On 15 March, the proposal was presented before the plenary of the Senate and then handed over to the United Commissions on Governance and Legislative Study. NGOs called on legislators to approve the initiative in both chambers of Congress during this period, stressing that this would be in accordance with the recommendations that international organizations have made for Mexico.  To date, at least 75 members of the Senate from the PRI, PAN, PRD, and PVEM parties have expressed their support for the law.

For more information (in Spanish):

La Jornada: Presentan hoy iniciativa para proteger activistas (La Jornada, 14 de marzo de 2012)

La Jornada: Fue presentada en el Senado la iniciativa para proteger a activistas y comunicadores (La Jornada, 16 de marzo de 2012)

Organizaciones se congratulan por presentación de iniciativa de Ley de Protección a Personas Defensoras de DDHH y Periodistas (OSC de derechos humanos y periodistas, 15 de marzo de 2012)

Amnistía Internacional celebra la presentación de una iniciativa de ley para proteger defensores de DH y periodistas y urge al Senado su a pronta aprobación (Amnistía Internacional, 15 de marzo de 2012)

Campaña de Amnistía Internacional para apoyar el proyecto de ley:www.alzatuvoz.org/LeyDefensores

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: human-rights organizations affirm that “human rights are NOT an existing reality in the country” (3 March 2012)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapa (21 December 2011)

Mexico: “Neither security nor rights: executions and torture in the war on drug-trafficking in Mexico” (26 November 2011)

Mexico: Mexico undergoes the Universal Periodic Review (13 February 2009)


Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated

March 24, 2012

San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

On 14 March was celebrated the Internatinal Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, to reiterate the “total rejection of hydroelectric dams in the state of Chiapas and throughout the country,” as expressed the organizing groups MAPDER Chiapas, Otros Mundos Chiapas, and Friends of the Earth.  “It is now known that this type of infrastructure is not sustainable environmentally, economically, or socially, and that it generates grand profits for a handful of people, destroying rivers, harming the majority of us, and directly affecting indigenous and campesino communities who have their human rights violated with the imposition of these projects,” indicates MAPDER’s communiqué.

“In the present case of our state, we demand the definitive cancellation of the 5 dam projects that the Federal Electricity Commission has planned for the rivers Usumacinta, Boca del Cerro, Tenosique, Tabasco, and the other four on the Guatamela-Mexico border,” as was read during the day by MAPDER Chiapas, as supported by the organization Otros Mundos Chiapas.  Continuing, they noted that “We express at the same time our total rejection of the planned dam Chicoasén II that is planned for the Grijalva river.  This waterway is already an example of one that has been destroyed by large dams, so the new project will only bring with it more environmental degradation to the region, displacing people who were previously affected by Chicoasen I.”

Other organizations at the event read their communiqués, including some members of Las Abejas of Acteal, who expressed that “The Guardians of Mother Earth, who are we of Las Abejas say: the land, water, energy, rivers, the lakes that Western people know as natural resources, which we call Mother Earth, are not for sale, because these are not commodities.  For this reason they cannot be used as we would desire, as they are not objects or products for profit-making, though rich Western people see them in this way.  In the earth they see riches and for this reason they exploit it to make wealth.”

For more information (in Spanish):

14 de marzo en San Cristóbal de Las Casas: Día Mundial contra las Represas (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Comunicado Las Abejas 14 de marzo de 2012 (Blog Las Abejas de Acteal, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Exige el Mapder la cancelación de proyectos de presas (Cencos, 15 de marzo de 2012)

Página Web de MAPDER

Día Internacional de Acción Contra las Represas (Proyecto Ambulante, 10 de marzo de 2012)

Día internacional de lucha contra las presas, por los ríos, el agua y la vida (Pozol Colectivo, 13 de marzo de 2012)

Hoy: día de la lucha contra las presas, por los ríos, el agua y la vida(Centro ProDH, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Actividades del Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (Mapder) por el 14 de marzo, con motivo del Día internacional de lucha contra las presas, por los ríos, el agua y la vida(Zapateando, 12 de marzo de 2012)

Convocatoria a marcha – caminata Por la Libertad, la Justicia y el Desarrollo 140312-1 (Movimiento Campesino Regional Independiente-MOCRI CNPA MN)

Audio and video:

14 de marzo, el Mapder en lucha… (Koman Ilel, 14 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Testimony of COPUDEVER shared in Costa Rica (7 October 2011)

VI Mesoamerican Forum of the Latin America Network against dams in Pacuaré, Costa Rica, 27 September 2011

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde (20 March 2011)

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


Mexico: Report of the UN Work Group on Forced and Involuntary Disappearances

March 24, 2012

On 14 March, there was presented in Geneva the report of the UN Work Group on Forced and Involuntary Disappearances that visited Mexico between 18 and 31 March 2011.  The report notes that in Mexico “impunity is a chronic reality present in cases of forced disappearances.  Sufficient efforts are not being had to determine the whereabouts of disappeared persons, sanction those responsible, or guarantee the right to truth and reparations.  It would seem that Mexico does not have the will or is incapable of carrying out effective investigations in cases of forced disappearances.”

In teleconference, Airel Dulitzky, member of the Work Group, identified the principal obstacles that exist in Mexico in these terms, including the lack of harmonization between state and federal legislation on forced disappearances and the typical reality that crime continues to classified as limited (for example, he contemplates the participation of State agents and not “particulars who act in the name of the government or with its direct or indirect support, authorization, or acquiescence”).  He mentioned also the problem posed by the prevalence of military courts over civil ones, the absence of protocols for use of force both for soldiers as for police, and the stigmatization of the disappeared.

Among the 34 recommendations suggested by the Work Group are found the creation of a Program of Search for the Disappeared, the application of protocols on use of force, legislative modifications, reform of the military tribunal and the return of soldiers to their barracks, the revelation of the names of those responsible for forced disappearances during the “Dirty War” that were pursued by the now-extinct Specialized Prosecutorial Office for Past Social and Political Movements and the reparation of damages suffered by families of victims.  The report emphasizes the necessity of taking special measures to protect women, migrants, journalists, and human-rights defenders, all of whom are identified as the most vulnerable groups in terms of this kind of crime.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe completo del GTDFI sobre México (GTDFI, marzo de 2012)

Impunidad, patrón crónico en México ante desapariciones forzadas: ONU (Proceso, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Hay complicidad y hasta injerencia del gobierno en desapariciones forzadas: ONU (La Jornada, 15 de marzo de 2012)

ONU registra un aumento de denuncias por desapariciones forzadas en México (CNN México, 16 de marzo de 2012)

La Comed saluda el informe final del GT-ONU sobre desapariciones forzadas e involuntarias (Comed, 15 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: the International Week of the Disappeared and Detained ends (9 June 2011)

Mexico: National Day against Forgetting and Impunity by the FNLS (8 June 2011)


Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve

March 24, 2012

In a 13 March bulletin, the Rural Association of Collective Interest Union of Democratic and Independent Unions (ARIC UU ID) denounced that the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) had given a six-day warning to the residents of San Gregorio, Ranchería Corozal, and Salvador Allende, communities located in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, to accept payment and abandon their lands.  If they refused, they would be displaced by means of the public forces.  In light of these threats, the ARIC UU ID affirmed that “We will not allow one more displacement.  Our rights and reason help us as indigenous peoples and shows our rights-claims.  Furthermore, we remind our audience that we are descendants of the Mayan people, who lived on these lands since before colonization.”

ARIC UU ID notes that “following more than 35 years of agrarian conflict, the three communities that are located on the terrain of Communal Lands Lacandon Region (BCZL) have come to an agreement of conciliation that ended in agrarian conflict and the recognition among interested parties regarding the possession of these three places.”  It stressed regardless that this agreement “to date has been met only with omission and threats of displacement against the three communities.”  On 28 February, representatives of Conanp and Ricardo Frías, delegate of the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, reported that the agreement among the three communities had not been accepted.

Since the beginning of March, residents of the three threatened communities have stressed that they will not abandon the region in which they have resided for more than 30 years, noting that they will not accept the proposal, the relocation, or the reparation payment, because they do not consider these to be solutions, in accordance with the experience that other communities have had that have been displaced from Montes Azules.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín completo de la ARIC UU ID (12 de marzo de 2012)

Dan ultimátum a tres pueblos a salir de Montes Azules o “serán desalojados”(La Jornada, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Piden habitantes solidaridad… Se niegan a abandonar sus poblados en Montes Azules (Expreso de Chiapas, 4 de marzo de 2012)

Amenazan con desalojar tres poblados indígenas ubicados en la selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 2 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE

March 24, 2012

cartel del PUDEE @ SIPAZ

In a public denunciation released on 8 March, the organization People United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) warned of harassment and electricity cut-offs directed toward members of its organization in several communities.  With presence in the Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, Tila, and Yajalón municipalities, the adherents to Other Campaign reported that on 8 March, personnel from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), accompanied by the rural agent, cut off electricity to the 25 families organized with PUDEE in the Jol-Ako community, in the zone below the Tila municipality.  Furthermore, they threatened to install digital meters, which the communities in resistance reject, a situation that has been seen since the beginning of the year also in Nicolás Bravo, Belisario Domínguez, Jolnopa Guadalupe, and Cantioc, from the same municipality.  In the denunciation, they also reported that PUDEE members have been harassed by members of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), whom they indicate as being members of the “Paz y Justicia” paramilitary group.  It should be remembered that members of this organization have been investigated for their presumed responsibility for murders and forced disappearances during the years 1996-2011.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia del PUDEE del 8 de marzo (1a parte)

Denuncia del PUDEE del 8 de marzo (2a parte)

Denuncian chiapanecos agresiones de CFE y manipulación política en favor de PRI y PVEM (La Jornada, 11 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)


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