Chiapas: further controversy surrounding the EZLN in Mexican newspapers

April 2, 2010

“Masked to unmask the power that humiliates them” states a mural at the zapatista Caracol of La Garrucha.

On 27 March, the daily newspaper Reforma ran a story in which a putative ex-member of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) who claims to have held a high position in the Zapatista organization “revealed” that there exists a relationship between the EZLN and the Basque separatist group ETA.  In the anonymously written article, the Mexican newspaper claims to have received a “lengthy document” comprised of 83 pages that include several photos that reportedly detail the structure of the EZLN, its finances, armaments, and international support.

According to the text supposedly received by Reforma, “foreign visitors from Italy or the Basque Country [...] presented 150,000 Euros to the the Autonomous Councils” of the EZLN; the date of this reported act goes unmentioned.  The article also mentions that “Some say that in recent days [the Italian/Basque visitors] presented 750,000 and later an additional 350,000 Euros to the Good-Government Council (JBG) of La Garrucha, where the most important EZLN military settlement is found.”

The article went on to claim that military training takes place in La Garrucha; it features photographs of weapons cache said to pertain to the EZLN that includes AK-47s, AR-15s, FALs, SKSs, G-3s, M2s, M16s, M1s and Mark1s, as well as pistols of 45 caliber, 9 mm y .38, among others.

The supposed EZLN ex-militant also “revealed” several cellular numbers and photos of an unmasked Subcomandante Marcos in addition to EZLN members and foreigners said to be from ETA.

Responding to the question “What is the goal sought in publishing in Reforma an article based on information that comes from a presumed deserter of the EZLN?” the PRD federal representative José Narro Céspedes, coordinator of the COCOPA (Commission for Agreement and Pacification) claimed:  “To begin with, to grant the eight columns of the front-page and an entire page of dubious origin, [which] lies and misrepresents in speaking of political intention–or to have a pretext for some repressive action.”

In a 31 March article in La Jornada, Magda Gómez for her part asks “What can we say lies behind the linking of zapatismo with an organization such as ETA?  Why is it not mentioned that Subcomandate Marcos has rejected all forms of terrorism, whatever be their origin, in a series of controversial letters written to ETA itself?”

“In addition, this accusation also criminalizes the European non-governmental organizations that have given economic support to the Good Government Councils and puts them in the sights of the Spanish government.”

This is not a minor happening, as it is reminiscent of 9 February 1995; the difference this time is that we don’t know if the attack will be only from the media, or if it in some ways previews major actions to be taken by the Mexican state–a possibility that we cannot rule out.”

Yesterday, April 1, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) shared the reply of Leuccio Rizzo, whose face was shown on the front-page of Reforma as being that of Subcomandante Marcos.  In its communiqué, the CDHFBC states that “this Human-Rights Center knows Leuccio Rizzo to be a person in solidarity with the people, and so it concerns us that the daily newspaper Reforma [...] would publish information devoid of substance that violates articles 11 and 14 of the American Convention on Human Rights and serves as a counter-insurgency measure used by the Mexican State to identify and criminalize human-rights defenders.”

To read Leuccio Rizzo’s response to the Reforma newspaper (in Spanish):

Clarification and reply by Leuccio Rizzo

For more information (in Spanish):

Counter-insurgency:  I don’t know for sure…  I assume it is so (La Jornada, 30 March)

Ex-Zapatista reveals supposed links between the EZLN and ETA, according to daily Mexican newspaper

Ex-militant reveals that the EZLN will receive financial assistance from ETA (Univisión, 27 March)

This is the supposed ‘subcomandante Marcos’ (El Mundo.es, 27 March)

Subcomandante Marcos is stripped (Tabasco Hoy, 27 March)

Other articles available on Indymedia


Chiapas: Las Abejas announce the release of a paramilitary linked to the massacre of Acteal

July 13, 2009

In its monthly report, on the 22nd June, the Civil Society of Las Abejas announced that on the 6th June of this year, Lorenzo Perez Vasquez, a paramilitary from the community of La Esperanza, was released. Within their report, Las Abejas stated that all of the institutions linked to the administration of justice in Mexico, as well as all political agents, governors and the Mexican president will be held accountable for any act of crime committed against their lives. “Because instead of creating the necessary conditions for peace, they are causing situations that lead to massacre and violence in our region”, said the report.

Ahead of the awaited response of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice regarding the possible freedom of 14 members of the armed group, Red Mask, which operated in the area of Chenalho in 1997 (includes various members who been sentenced, accused of violent acts in the massacre of Acteal) members of Las Abejas took part in a Day of Hunger Strikes and Denouncement to demonstrate their indignation and inconformity.  They walked to the City of Mexico on the 10th June, with the aim of demanding that justice be granted, as well as to place pressure on governors not to liberate these individuals.

For more information:


Chiapas: Frayba: Annual Assessment of Human Rights 2008

June 1, 2009
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Don Samuel Ruiz, obispo emérito y presidente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, C. González Rosas y M.T. Ramirez Vázquez, del FPDT de San Salvador Atenco

On Thursday, May 28th, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) presented their “Annual Assessment of the situation of Human Rights in Chiapas for 2008” at CIDESI-University of the Land in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Their assessment of the Human Rights situation from March 2008 to March of this year explored the themes of Land and Territory, Criminalization of Social Protest, Armed Internal Conflict, and Historical Memory. During a slide show that evidenced concrete projects in support of Human Rights, Frayba invited representatives from different Mexican movements and organizations to speak and give testimony to the defense of Human Rights and communities. More than 100 people attended the Assessment, including various representatives from indigenous communities in Chiapas.

Catalina González Rosas and María Trinidad Ramirez Vázquez of the Front for Communities for the Defense of the Land (FPDT) from San Salvador Atenco in the State of Mexico described the repression they experienced at the hands of the state in 2002 and again in 2006. They spoke of their resistance and the fear and repression that they experienced, but more importantly, of their process of organization and the message of hope. Alejandro Cerezo Contreras of the Cerezo Committee spoke of the growing criminalization of social protest as a serious violation of Human Rights. As evidence of this, three representatives of the Regional Independent Campesino Movement-The Ayala Plan-National Movement (MOCRI-CNPA-MN) talked about their organization’s fight and the repression that they suffered in November 2008 in the neighborhood of Emiliano Zapata, in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. After this presentation, the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center presented a comparison between the Human Rights situation in Chiapas and Guerrero—a comparison which revealed similar strategies of repression by both the federal and state governments in both states. The presentation portion of the meeting was wrapped up by Estela Barco from DESMI who used the forced disappearances in the North Zone of Chiapas in the 1990s (that remain unsolved) to remind those present of the importance of historical memory “when one cannot expect justice from official authorities.”

Final comments were given by Don Samuel Ruiz, the founder and current president of Frayba. In his comments, he painted a frightening picture: even though the defenders of human rights wish that there would not be a shortage of human rights workers in Chiapas, the truth of the matter is that Frayba has more work every day. Nevertheless, he emphasized that in the 20 years of its existence, Frayba has become the Human Rights center of the indigenous communities that defend their rights.

For more information, please visit:

Balance 2008 del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas

La Jornada: Reportan 675 abusos de autoridades en Chiapas (29/05/09)


Guerrero: International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest

May 4, 2009

On April 20 and 21 of 2009, the “International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest” took place in the Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero. It was organized by various human rights organizations from Guerrero and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF, based in the US), with the goal of dealing with the serious situation which confronts human rights defenders in Mexico and in Guerrero in particular, as well as discussing possible responses to this situation. The long title of the forum is a result of the wide definition of human rights defenders (from the UN), a concept which is wider than just legal defense and involves many social movements as well.

Katya Salazar, the director of the DPLF, and Abel Barrera, the director of the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) began the forum by denouncing the general tendency to criminalize human rights defenders, which has worsened in the last few months, especially in the Guerrero with the cases of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who were abducted, tortured, and executed in February, the closing of the offices of the CDHM Tlachinollan in Ayutla for security issues, and the threats and violence that the members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM) have suffered. Emilie Joly, of the DPLF, stressed that in Guerrero there existed a three-step pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders: the closing of channels of dialogue and negotiation, the repression of civil, peaceful protests, and the use of judicial processes against human rights defenders (disproportionate or fabricated crimes against them, and the lack of investigation into threats and violence against human rights defenders).

The next day, the tables of discussion analyzed the reality of the situation and evaluated plans of action. They concluded with a final declaration including various denunciations and demands.

To Read the Final Declaration of the Forum (In English and Spanish)

For More Information (In Spanish):

artículo de prensa: Asesinato de Lucas y Ponce agrava situación de derechos en Guerrero, La Jornada Guerrero (21/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Criminalización de la protesta, patrón incesante en Guerrero, concluyen en Foro Internacional, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Señalan desprecio a ONG humanitarias en Guerrero, La Jornada (20/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Rinden homenaje a viudas de Raúl Lucas y Manuel Ponce; les entregan retratos de los líderes, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

Comunicado: ONG denuncian las tendencias de desprestigio al trabajo de los defensores en AL, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos \”Todos los derechos para todas y todos\” (20/04/09)

boletín de prensa: En América Latina hay una tendencia a desprestigiar el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (20/04/09)


Chiapas: Public Denunciation by the United Peoples in Defense of Electric Energy

December 3, 2008

The organization United Peoples in Defense of Electric Energy (Pueblos Unidos en Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica, PUDEE), an organization which is in resistance to the high energy prices in the Northern Zone of the state, has denounced for years the unjust policy of high energy prices. As stated in their recent communiqué, the new program implemented by the government of Chiapas of Juan Sabines Guerrero, known as ‘Luz Solidaria’ (Solidarity for Light) is being closely scrutinized by PUDEE. The program consists of a subsidy, a ‘tarifa preferencial,’ for certain communities that will result in lower electricity bills. However, according to the communiqué it continues to maintain the high prices intact and is being used as a means of keeping communities divided, in addition to attempting to control and subue the resistance.

Below is the public denunciation of the PUDEE from November 23, 2008


Oaxaca: The Movement of Political Prisoners Worries their Families and Social Organizations

December 3, 2008

According to information distributed by a number of social organizations in Oaxaca including the Committee of Political Prisonsers of Santa María Ixcotel, the Committee of Citizen Defense (CODECI), and Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), 11 prisoners have been transferred “from the central penitentiary of Santa María Ixcotel, Oaxaca to an unknown location on November 27, 2008.” The identities of 9 of the prisoners are unknown, but the announcement that was circulated stated that among the prisoners were Pedro Castillo Aragón, member of several organizations including the Committee of Citizen Defense (CODECI), the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), the Other Campaign, as well as the organization Committee of Political Prisoners of Santa María Ixcotel. Also imprisoned was Victor Hugo Martinez Toledo, member of the APPO. Family and friends denounced that: “At the moment (…) we do not know where they were taken to, the true motive for their movement, or their physical and emotional conditions.” Their has not yet been a public declaration by the authorities as to the reason for their transfer.

For More Information (In Spanish)

Comunicado de las organizaciones sociales Comité de Presos Políticos de Santa María Ixcotel, Comité de Defensa Ciudadana (CODECI) y Voces Oaxaqueños Autonomía y Libertad (VOCAL) (27/11/2008)


Oaxaca: Members of the APPO accused in the Brad Will case

October 29, 2008

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Reporter Brad Will, of Indymedia New York, was killed on October 27, 2006 [Source: Indymedia New York]

On October 16, 2008, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno was detained by the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigación) along with Octavio Pérez Pérez and Hugo Jarid Colmenares Leyva. They were accused of the killing of New York Indymedia reporter Brad Will, from the United States, who was killed during a confrontation which occurred in Oaxaca City on October 27, 2006. Interestingly, the three detained men are all members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO, Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca). In addition, the Federal Attorney General’s office (PGR, Procuraduría General de la República) issued arrest warrants for six other individuals who were associated with the opposition. On October 22, 2008, the judge responsible for the case, Luis Salvador Cordero, stated that Juan Manuel Martínez was to be indicted and held in custody pending trial as the prime suspect in the killing of Will. His lawyer stated that he would appeal the judge’s decision at the federal level. The other two detainees, who were accused of harboring a criminal, were released on bail on October 18.

Amnesty International stated that these detentions “apparently contradicted the conclusions and recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos), as well as the independent forensic experts from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).” They added that “Both the CNDH as well and the PHR have demonstrated major concerns regarding inadequacies in the investigation. These include a lack of adequate evaluation of the forensic tests and a lack of investigation into all possible suspects, including state agents”.

The forensic experts from Physicians for Human Rights (an international organization which has contributed to cases at the International Criminal Court in the Hague) presented evidence which refuted the conclusions of the PGR which stated that Will died as a result of a close-range shot, implicating members of the APPO.

In general, the CNDH has questioned the management of the case on the part of the PGR. The president of the CNDH, José Luis Soberanes Fernández, stated that, “they [the PGR] wasted two years before starting the investigation. We sent them our recommendation and then they began to hurry; in 15 days they solved the case, but they ignored the evidence that we had sent them”. According to Soberanes, the PGR’s actions were the result of pressure exerted on the Mexican government by the United States: “They stated that they would not activate the resources [promised in] the Merida Initiative unless this case was solved, a case that should have been resolved regardless, and now we see the results”.

More Information:

Brad Will: Still Dead – and Kicking (Friends of Brad Will, 29/10/08)

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission Blames Plan Mexico for APPO Arrests (Friends of Brad Will, 25/10/08)

Ignoring Evidence Mexican Authorities Charge Activists with 2006 Murder of Independent Journalist Brad Will (Democracy Now, 20/10/08)

Urgent Action Mexico: Fear for Torture or Ill-treatment/Legal Concern: Juan Manuel Martinez (Amnesty International, 20/10/08)

Forensic Evaluation by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR, 03/10/08)


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