Guerrero: Communal Police prisoners are “political prisoners,” declares General Gallardo

July 20, 2014

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Photo @Desinformémonos

The six communal police from the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC) incarcerated in the Las Cruces jail are political prisoners, noted the retired Army General Francisco Gallardo, who himself is considered a former prisoner of conscience due to his past struggles for human rights within the armed forces.  He declared that “they were imprisoned for defending a cause; a political prisoner should not break under the circumstances, nor should those who are fighting for his or her liberation.  I hope to see them released very soon.”  Within the context of a visit from the general to the prisoners, the Network Decade against Impunity (led by Bishop Raúl Vera) announced the beginning of its international campaign for the liberation of the communal police members.

Nestora Salgado, a commander of the Commuanl Police in Olinalá who was arrested together with other communal police yet transferred to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, declared in a telephone interview that “The government is bothered that we exist; we only request security for our people.  We have debts to no one but our people.”  In the Mountain and Little Coast regions of Guerrero, criminalization, incarceration, and the buying off of social activists has been on the rise since different groups organized themselves to impede the entrance of mining firms to the area.

As part of the repressive climate experienced in Guerrero, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, member of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP) and of the communal police which adheres to the CRAC-PC, has been arrested. He was detained and tortured on 17 June by the Ministerial Police, accused of attempted murder.  He has been incarcerated in the same location as Nestora Salgado.

For more information (in Spanish)

Gobierno de Guerrero, fabricador de delitos: Nestora Salgado(Desinformémonos, julio de 2014)

Anuncian campaña por la libertad de los comunitarios (La Joranda de Guerrero, 16 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Several injured after atttack on communal police of CECOP near Acapulco (23 April 2014)

Guerrero: CRAC accepts 48 new communities from Acapulco (16 March 2014)


Guerrero: 14 organizations march in favor of release of CECOP’s Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz

July 20, 2014

On 13 July, to mark the eleventh anniversary of the founding of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), members of this group and at least 14 other social organizations from Guerrero held a march on the Acapulco-Pinotepa national highway to demand the release of the CECOP spokesperson, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, who has been incarcerated since mid-June.  Another reason for the protest was to reject the La Parota hydroelectric dam project, which is to be constructed near Acapulco.  Lastly, protestors expressed their support for the release of all political prisoners in the state.  At least a thousand persons participated in the event.

At the beginning of the march, protestors faced Navy personnel, but there were no confrontations or attacks; some protestors expressed their desire that the soldiers abandon the zone.  In the community of Las Chanecas, there was a patrol of the Ministerial Police with five agents who withdrew upon arrival of the protest.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, noted that the march demonstrated the capacity of response from CECOP and other organizations to prevent the construction of the La Parota dam.

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan al menos 14 organizaciones con el Cecop por la liberación de Suástegui (La Jornada de Guerrero, 14 de julio de 2014)

Marchan el Cecop y organizaciones para exigir la libertad de Suástegui y de líderes sociales (El Sur de Acapulco,

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Several injured after atttack on communal police of CECOP near Acapulco (23 April 2014)

Guerrero: CRAC accepts 48 new communities from Acapulco (16 March 2014)

Guerrero: Sympathizers of the La Parota dam injure two CECOP members with machetes (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: CECOP on red alert after invasion by Army (5 March 2013)

Guerrero: Governor Aguirre Rivero will not support construction of La Parota (27 August 2012)

Guerrero: Federal tribunal confirms end to La Parota dam project (20 July 2012)


Chiapas: Invitation to the TPP preaudience, “With justice and peace, we will find truth”

July 19, 2014


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On 18 July will be held the pre-audience of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP) “With justice and peace, we will find truth” in the El Limonar community, Ocosingo municipality.  The invitation made to “all popular, social, political, and human-rights organizations, as well as all families, friends, and persons in solidarity with the victims of the counterinsurgent war in the state of Chiapas” was made within the Dirty War, impunity, and lack of access to justice track covered by the TPP’s Mexico Chapter.  The idea is to address the case of Poblado Viejo Velasco which on 13 November 2006 experienced a massacre that left four executed, another four forcibly disappeared, and thirty-six displaced.
The invitation indicates that “this massacre took place within the context of counter-insurgent war as designed and implemented by the Mexican State by means of the Chiapas Campaign Plan ’94, which had the result that the paramilitary group Peace and Justice engaged in the following crimes: 85 executions, 37 forcible disappearances, and more than 12000 people forcibly displaced in the northern Zone, and the Acteal massacre in the highlands, when PRI paramilitaries murdered 45 persons, the majority of whom were women and infants–4 of them yet to be born–as well as provoking the forced displacement of more than 6000 persons.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Con tu firma, súmate a la Preaudiencia “Con Justicia y Paz encontramos la Verdad” (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 2 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)


National: Activists denounce increase in violence against women

July 19, 2014


Foto (@SiPaz)

Photo (@Sipaz)

Between 9 and 10 July, there was held a meeting in Mexico City among civil-society organizations seeking to relieve the situation of violence and discrimination experienced by women in Mexico, analyze the work that these organizations have carried out in recent years, and above all examine the challenges faced by the State still in advancing toward the guarantee of the full recognition and exercise of women’s rights.

Participants in the event included the UN Expert of the Work Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice, Alda Facio, and Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women, the latter operating in a non-official capacity.  Eight years since the publication of their report “Integration of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Perspectives: Violence against Women, Mexico Mission,” the representatives of the Associates for Justice (JASS) stressed that, “If some reforms have been adopted in law, these have not resulted in structural changes, both in terms of prevention through investigation and sanctioning as well as access to a life free of violence.”  In effect, on this occasion it was recalled that Mexico has ratified the “Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women” (CEDAW), an international instrument to recognize the human rights of women, while there remain “many practices and policies that in effect favor and even deepen discrimination,” noted the JASS activists.

Finally, those at the event denounced the increase in violence against women in all their manifestations: impunity, the gravity of forced disappearance, sexual crimes, attacks against female human-rights defenders and journalists, the generalized increase in gender discrimination and inequality, particularly for poor, indigenous, and migrant women.  In this way, conference-goers called on the Mexican State forthrightly to adopt comprehensive policies to arrest the structural violence experienced by women.

In light of this context, the Special Rapporteur declared that gender violence is “the most generalized violation of human rights that we confront today,” explaining that “the lack of comprehension of gender violence is a barrier to the exercise of all human rights by women themselves.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 8 años de publicado informe sobre derechos humanos de las mujeres en México, regresa Relatora Especial sobre la Violencia contra la Mujer de la ONU (PRODESC, 8 de julio de 2014)

Responsabilidad del Estado Mexicano ante la CEDAW (JASS, 7 de julio de 2014)

La violencia hacia las mujeres “es la violación a DH más generalizada”: Relatora ONU (Sididh, 10 de julio de 2014)

Integración de los Derechos Humanos de la Mujer y la Perspectiva de Género: la violencia contra la mujer. Misión a México (CINU, 13 de enero de 2006)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: the Mexican government does not comply with the recommendations of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (23 June 2014)

Oaxaca: Every other day a woman is killed in the state (12 June 2014)

Oaxaca: the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists (10 June 2014)

Guerrero: Harassment and attacks on individuals and organizations in favor of the decriminalization of abortion and the right to decide (12 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Civil organizations denounce attack on female human-rights defender

July 14, 2014

Foto (@EDUCA)

Photo (@EDUCA)

During the early morning of 4 July 2014, a female activist and human-rights defender was sexually assaulted by a soldier in the Mexican Army.  The defender, member of the organization Union of Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and the Network of Female Defenders, whose name has not been disclosed for security reasons, was en route to Oaxaca City from Matías Romero to attend the “Communication in Defense of Land” conference in the School for Communal Human-Rights Defenders.  The assault took place on an ADO bus in which she was traveling.

The victim attempted to denounce the abuse, firstly to the bus driver and then at a military checkpoint that halted the bus in San Pedro Totolapan, but on both occasions she was ignored.  On the contrary, since the case involved a high-level military man, she was told that nothing could be done.

The next day, close to 20 civil organizations published a letter denouncing the aggression, stressing that “beyond constituting a crime stipulated in article 241 of the Penal Code of Oaxaca as well as a clear human-rights violation, this is a very serious act in terms of the security of users of the system maintained by the firm, and even graver still because it involves an assault perpetrated by a high-ranking military official.”  The organizations added that the lack of response “shows the abuse of power and discrimination engaged in by the members of the armed forces.”

Lastly, in the letter the organizations demanded that the ADO bus firm “immediately respond to the complaint made by the human-rights defender, that it provides the corresponding authorities with the details of the aggressor soldier, that it guarantee reparations, and that it provide a public response regarding security policies for their users.”

Sadly, the case of 4 July is no isolated case.  Between 2011 and 2013, according to the Network All Rights for All, there were 409 assaults committed against human-rights defenders in Mexico.  Included within these aggressions most commonly are harassment, surveillance, robbery, kidnapping, forced disappearance, arbitrary arrests, death-threats, and torture, as well as murders.  27 human-rights defenders have been killed between 2011 and 2013: 16 men and 11 women, the majority of them in Guerrero, Michoacán, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, and Puebla.

For more information (in Spanish):

Militar agrede sexualmente a defensora de derechos humanos en autobus de empresa ADO (EDUCA, 7 de julio de 2014)

Militar ebrio abusa sexualmente de una activista en Oaxaca (Proceso, 7 de julio de 2014)

ONG´s denuncian irresponsabilidad del ADO; activista fue agredida a bordo de autobús (Página3, 7 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: One of the most violent and dangerous states for the exercise of journalism (May 16, 2014)

National: “La 72″ migrant home denounces kidnapping, robbery, and threats against migrants by INM (30 March 2014)
Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo (2 May 2013)


National: UN report highlights impunity and high number of homicides in Mexico

June 23, 2014
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns (@Proceso)

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns (@Proceso)

Christof Heyns, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, has presented the report of his visit to Mexico in April and May 2013, where he collected information on violations of the right to life and individual integrity, as well as on torture and forced disappearances.

The report highlights the high number of homicides in Mexico (100,000 since 2006), 70 percent of which are drug-related. Among the social groups that have suffered most homicides are women, migrants, journalists, and human rights defenders. According to the rapporteur, “the numbers show that levels of violence levels are far worse compared to the ones that I have seen in the other countries I have visited in the four years of my term.”

According to Heyns, impunity in terms of homicides in Mexico is due, in many cases, to inadequate investigations, improper handling of the crime scenes, and lack of coordination in the forensic service, often leading people to be processed and accused erroneously.

The report also recommends a security system focused on human rights, rather than on militarism. It urges a halt to the military role in public security, since the preparation and mode of action of the armed forces is not adequate for civilian purposes.

An improvement in forensic and investigative services, greater powers for public bodies in defense of human rights, and more independence for the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) with respect to the federal government are also encouraged.

On violence against women, the rapporteur noted that this often results from the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors. He recommended that femicide should be classified in all relevant criminal codes and that specific protocols for investigations in those case should be created.

Finally, Heyns concluded that in Mexico, “what is required is a systematic, comprehensive and exhaustive strengthening of the rule of law.”

For more information (In Spanish):

Impera en México la impunidad en asesinatos de mujeres: ONU (Cimac, 12 de junio de 2014)

Violencia en México, mucho más grave que en otros países: ONU (La Jornada, 13 de junio de 2014)

Amenazado en México el derecho a vivir: ONU (La Prensa, 13 de junio de 2014)

México: Desaparición forzada a la orden del día (Argenpress, 13 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Mexico: Preliminary conclusions from the UN relator regarding extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the country (May 17, 2013)


Guerrero: Mexican State is denounced for failing to observe its obligations in the Rosendo Radilla Pacheco case

June 2, 2014

rosendo radilla

Nearly 40 years since the forced disappearance of Rosendo Radilla Pacheco and 5 years since the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) handed down its sentence in the case, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) and the Association of Relatives of the Detained, Disappeared, and Victims of Human-Rights Violations in Mexico (AFADEM) denounced that the federal government has failed to observe its obligation of providing the whereabouts of the disappeared and that it continues not to investigate those responsible for the disappearance: “the investigation has not been conducted with due diligence, such that it has not succeeded in identifying the responsible of the disappearance, much less process them.  It is also true that the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has similarly failed with its duty to provide the relatives of Mr. Radilla with a copy of the investigation in a form that would respect the rights of victims, as the IACHR has ordered.  Due to both omissions, the rights of Rosendo Radilla’s relatives have been repeatedly violated, as have those of society to know the truth of the acts, context, and circumstances in which the crime was committed.”

Last April, CMDPDH and AFADEM presented observations for the eleventh report of the federal government regarding the observance of the sentence in the case, noting that the federal congress “similarly has failed to modify the Federal Penal Code to adequately classify this type of crime of forced disappearance of persons.”

Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, a social activist from the municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, was disappeared by Army units in 1974.  In 2009, the IACHR released a sentence in the case condemning the Mexican State for grave human-rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunidad y negación: respuestas del Estado mexicano sobre Caso Radilla (CMDPDH, 23 de abril de 2014)

Exige Afadem pesquisa seria sobre los desaparecidos de la guerra sucia(La Jornada de Guerrero, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Caso Rosendo Radilla Pacheco (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Homage to Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, disappeared by the Army (15 March 2014)

Guerrero: Soldiers harass Tita Radilla in Atoyac (7 December 2013)

Guerrero/National: SCJN affirms observance of IACHR sentences in Radilla and Cantú cases (28 September 2012)

Guerrero briefs: The PGR should report on the Radilla case (13 December 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: government announces installation of Commission of Truth and Tita Radilla receives recognition (28 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: State accepts responsibility in Radilla case in absence of relatives (27 November 2011)


Chiapas: Federal and state governments announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle

June 2, 2014

Población en la Selva Lacandona. Foto (@Sipaz)

Settlement in the Lacandona Jungle. Photo (@Sipaz)

The federal and Chiapas state governments have carried out an announcement expressing the priority need of proceeding with a territorial ordering of the Lacandona Jungle, the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (REBIMA), and protected natural areas: “The government of the Republic and the Chiapas state government express their conviction that it is priority for a TERRITORIAL ORDERING to provide the necessary conditions for the development of the Lacandona community and the neighboring ejidos to improve the quality of life of residents with an eye to the rule of law, privileging the consolidation of protected natural areas and sustainable development in these areas.  In conformity with the stipulations of the General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Protection of the Environment (Article 46), which states that ‘in protected natural areas, new population centers cannot be authorized’: the existing irregular communities located within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve cannot be regularized, nor can any future settlements so be rationalized in any other part of a natural protected area.  For this reason no process of compensation can be provided, as there are no programs or resources dedicated to this end, nor will there be.”

Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, General Secretary of Governance, indicated that the federal and state governments will seek a solution of resettlement for those living in irregular communities within REBIMA.

In 1972, a presidential decision provided 614,000 hectares of the jungle to 66 Lacandon families without taking into account the thousands of other indigenous ethnicities who also resided within this territory and who have since then faced the threat of displacement from their lands.

Recently in April, an agreement was made between the Lacandon Community Zone and ARIC UU-ID (the Rural Association of Collective Interests-Union of Democratic and Independent Unions) which allows for the recognition of three populations located within and around REBIMA; in August 2013, another two were also recognized.  This agreement was the fruit of a dialogue process initiated directly by the two interested parties, and did not count with governmental participation, given the perceived lack of will of the same group to resolve the conflict, as ARIC representatives discussed in a press-conference held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on 1 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone (3 May 2014)

Chiapas: Press-conference regarding communities threatened with displacement from Montes Azules (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Pronunciation by the Observation Mission to communities threatened with displacement form the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (18 May 2012)

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 March 2012)


Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force”

May 18, 2014

Congreso local (@Gobierno del estado de Chiapas)

Chiapas state congress (@Chiapas state government)

On 15 May, the state congress of Chiapas approved the initiative presented by governor Manuel Velasco regarding the Code for the legitimate use of public force with 26 votes in favor, four in favor, and one abstention.  It will regulate the responses that security forces can make against social protests and possible disturbances, as well as the use of less-lethal weapons to disperse violent protests.

This reform has been considered by human-rights defenders and legislators in opposition as “yet another regression in terms of human rights” in Chiapas.  The new Code considers a protest to be violent when a group of people is armed, if a threat is made to intimidate or obligate someone else to do something they desire, or if there is incitement to commit a crime or disturb the peace and citizens’ security.  In case of peaceful mobilizations the Code will allow preventive police operations to supposedly protect the rights of bystanders in case the protest becomes violent.

In the Congress, Hortensia Zúñiga (PRD) denounced that the reform would “silence the protests and limit the freedom of expression that citizens have to request that the authorities observe their commitments to generate better living conditions for the governed.  This seeks to criminalize social protest and regulate marches and mobilizations.  Hence, to vote in favor of its terms would be to give the State yet more reason to continue with impunity.”

Interviewed in the media, human-rights defender Miguel Ángel de los Santos Cruz said that “in reality, the Code initiative seeks to legalize the abuses already committed by police and to increase the legal grounds on which they can violate our rights within the context of public mobilizations.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Aprueban diputados ley que “criminaliza la protesta” en Chiapas(Proceso, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueba el Congreso de Chiapas el uso de la fuerza contra protestas (La Jornada, 16 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueban uso legítimo de la Fuerza Pública (Cuarto Poder, 16 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueba Congreso el Código de Uso Legítimo de la Fuerza Pública, uso de Armas y control de manifestaciones (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Creation of the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (26 April 2014)


Chiapas: EZLN announces homage to Zapatista murdered in La Realidad and announces primary results of investigation on the case

May 18, 2014

Galeano. Foto (@EZLN)

José Luis Solís López (Galeano). Photo @EZLN

In “Fragment of Reality I,” Subcomandante Moisés announces a planned homage to the EZLN support base José Luis Solís López (Galeano) who was murdered on 2 May by members of the Historical Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos in the La Realidad ejido.

“The idea is that we will arrive to La Realidad on Friday 23 May to render homage to comrade Galeano on Saturday 24 May, and then on 25 May everyone will return to their homes,” noted Subcomandante Moisés in the note.

The homage is open to all those who would like to attend, according to the message, particularly independent and alternative media that adhere to the Sixth Declaration, given that “the General Command of the EZLN might give a press-conference.”

On 24 May, there will be celebrated homages in all the Zapatista caracoles, and it is proposed that this be done in other locations “according to the desires and time of each and everyone.”

In the same communique, Subcomandante Moisés shares some of the primary findings of the investigation being carried out by the EZLN into the murder of Galeano: a young female Zapatista support-base in La Realidad relates the conversation she had with a CIOAC-H member on 10 May, when the Cioaquista recognizes having been Galeano’s executor: “I was the one who killed him.  I shot him in the head and he died.”  In the same way, the Cioaquista threatens that more Zapatistas will die: “Those who we will take into our hands are Raúl, el Jorge y el René.  We will take them into our hands and kill him the way we killed [Galeano].”  He warns that Caracol I, headquarters of the “Towards Hope” Good-Government Council, will be taken: “Enjoy your caracol.  Walk through all its parts, because we will take it very soon, and the Caracol will soon be for us.  Out of pleasure I will go there as my home when it is ours, because very soon we will take it.”

Subcomandante Moisés took this information with caution and doubts the truth of the claims made by the Cioaquista.  “We do not know if it is he who killed [Galeano] or whether he is only being macho and trying to intimidate a lady.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Fragmentos de La Realidad I (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de mayo de 2014)

Anuncia Subcomandante Marcos homenaje a maestro asesinado (Proceso, 13 de mayo de 2014)

EZLN rendirá homenaje a Galeano, zapatista asesinado en La Realidad(Chiapas Paralelo, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Caracoles zapatistas rendirán homenaje a ‘Galeano’ el 24 de mayo (La Jornada, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Denuncia EZLN amenazas y anuncia homenaje a zapatista asesinado en La Realidad (Grupo Fórmula, 14 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Chiapas Peace Network repudiates attack on EZLN support bases (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communique “Pain and Rage” (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: Attacks on EZLN support bases leave one dead and 15 injured among Zapatistas (16 May 2014)

National/International: End of solidarity week “If the Zapatistas are harmed, all are harmed” (3 March 2014)


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