Chiapas: Meeting for Historical Memory and Alternatives to State Violence

On 28 and 29 February 2012, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights organized a “Meeting for Historical Memory: Alternatives in light of State violence,” carried out at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

After the opening with a Mayan altar, the morning of the first work-day was dedicated to a series of addresses revolving around 5 subjects.  The first was about “Violence and State of impunity,” which saw the participation of Rafael Landerreche (pastor from Chenalhó) and Mercedes Olivera (founder and assessor of the Chiapas Center for the Rights of Women as well as member of the Center for Higher Studies of Mexico and Central America, CESMECA).  The second was entitled “Exercise of rights within contexts of State violence,” in which participated representatives from the P’uerhepecha of Cherán, Michoacán, and the organization United Familes for the Disappeared of Coahuila (FUNDEC), who shared their experiences and difficulties.  A third subject, “Experience in the Inter-American system and other actions for the defense and exercise of rights,” was discussed by Ana Lorena Delgadillo, who talked about her thoughts on the Campo Algodonero case in Ciudad Juárez.  The others included expositions by female members of the organization Female Actors for Change from Guatemala, who spoke of their experiences with the positive transformation of conflict in cases of State violence from the context of armed conflict in Guatemala.  Finally, Fray Tomas (Human Rights Center from Usumacinta, Tabasco) and Camilo Pérez Bustillos from the Permanent Tribunal of the Peoples discussed the struggle for the rights of migrants.

Panel during the Meeting for Historical Memory, CIDECI-Unitierra, February 2012 (@SIPAZ)

During the afternoon of 28 February, there were held worktables allowing participants to deepen their knowledge and share reflections and experiences.  On the 29th, a synthesis of the discussions from the previous day was presented, including these closing words: “Yesterday we said and we heard that we have reasons for hope.  Today we know.

We know that no one will save us if we do not do so.

We know also that we have each other.

And that our words are commitments to life and for life.

Today we learned of many organizations and persons who constantly struggle.

And we learned that in light of the fear and the divisions that the State seeks to instill within our hearts, each day there are more and more of us who find each other.  We take their value to heart, because we know that we had each other before, now, and into the future […].  Today the richness of our meeting in this space confirms that in light of violence, only organization, articulation, and the sum of our indignations will construct and amount to hope for all.”

After sharing the work that was performed in the plenary worktables, a final pronunciation was elaborated that expressed comments of analysis as well as solidarity, in addition to proposals for joint actions.

In the close of the Meeting, it was noted that “in this short period of time, a sea of words refreshed our memory, the same that goes on building the history of our peoples and organizations struggling against the faces of impunity.  Our words were of many colors, and it was many who were present, not to  mention the others we could not see, for we could only imagine them in our minds; it is great the pain that we have shared, but greater yet is our conviction to continue sowing dignity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Memoria y pronunciamiento final del Encuentro (CDHFBC, 29 February, including photo and audio)

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