Oaxaca: indigenous organizations and peoples challenge federal reforms, considering them to be “a legalized land grab”

July 27, 2014

(@Otros Mundos Chiapas)

(@Other Worlds Chiapas)

On 14 July, upon the close of the “Water and Energy” seminar held in Oaxaca de Juárez, civil organizations and communities pertaining to the Mixteco, Chatino, Zapotec, and Mixe peoples of the state of Oaxaca as well as organizations from Chiapas and Mexico City issued a communique denouncing the reforms being implemented in the country.  They indicated that said reforms betray a lack of respect for humanity rights and represent “a legalized land grab,” given that they were approved to favor national and international firms.

The authors of the communique explained that the laws on Hydrocarbons, National Waters, Mining, Public Service of Electricity, Geothermal Energy, Housing, Foreign Investment, Expropriation, National Goods, Labor, Regulation of Energy, Public and Private Associations, the National Agency on Industrial Security, Protection of the Environment, Education, and Telecommunications “have been presented and approved without the participation of the communities and citizenry in general who live in the country.”

They denounced that “they have found the three levels of government to lie, trick, threaten with death, repress, arbitrarily arrest, forcibly disappear, and even execute communal human-rights defenders,” and they affirmed that they will continue defending their lands and territories amidst this new attempt at looting.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de organizaciones y pueblos indígenas (14 de julio de 2014)

Pueblos de Oaxaca repudian despojo de Peña Nieto con Ley Energética(Ciudadanía Expres, 17 de julio de 2014)

Rechazan comunidades las reformas de EPN (Noticias.net, 18 de julio de 2014)

Reforma Energética legaliza el despojo territorial a pueblos indígenas: ONG´s (Página3.mx, 18 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English): 

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society against the “Proposed Hydrocarbon Law” (28 June 2014)


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)


National: Secondary laws on telecommunications approved, despite protests

July 19, 2014


Monterrey, abril 2014 Foto @ Gabriela Pérez Montiel / Cuartoscuro.com

Monterrey, April 2014 Photo @ Gabriela Pérez Montiel / Cuartoscuro.com

On 9 July, the Mexican Congress approved the secondary laws contained within the telecommunications reform.  Some of the main points of these laws are to allow firms to be declared preponderant by sector rather than by given services, thus ensuring the predominance of the TV duopoly (Televisa and TV Azteca) in the telecommunications market, and that providers are required to retain histories of the communications engaged in by users so that these can be consulted for security reasons.  Furthermore, other controversial points included the possibility that authorities could plant a listening device whenever and wherever they choose in the supposed investigation of a crime or for “security reasons”; also, the State would be allowed the right to block telecommunications traffic in a predetermined geographical area.

The corresponding legal process was marked by numerous irregularities, beginning with the participation of legislators who have labor, capital, or family ties with media corporations (“telebancada”) who had to excuse themselves from the congressional debates due to a possible conflict of interests.  The PRD Secretary General said that “this is not a PRD vote,” making reference to the three PRD senators from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Morelos who voted in favor of the bill; these elements belong to the New Left current and are better known as the “Chuchos,” a group led by Jesús Ortega Martínez that counts as its member the national president of political power, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva.  This law, in accordance with those who oppose it, is qualified as a “Televisa-Peña Law” and a “gift” to the television corporations to thank them for their support during the presidential campaign, as the PAN Senator Javier Corral Jurado argued.  “It is a true disgrace; those who have voted for this article are giving money to Enrique Peña Nieto to allow him to pay back past campaign favors, or even to finance future ones (2015 and 2018),” noted Jurado, who is secretary of the Commission on Radio, Television, and Film.

In other news, due to the limitations imposed on communal and indigenous radios in the new law, the International Agency for Indigenous Press (AIPIN) has been studying the possibility of requesting a juridical motion to arrest the approval of this law, considering it to amount to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples to engage in communication.  Besides, the law has not been consulted with indigenous communities, as is required by the Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

For more information (in Spanish):

Telecomunicaciones: legislativo claudicante (La Jornada, 4 de julio de 2014)

Frente por la Comunicación Democrática Capítulo Oaxaca Pronunciamiento ante la Ley Telecom (Educa, 2 de julio de 2014)

La Ley de Telecomunicaciones debe proteger plenamente los derechos humanos: AI (Amnistía Internacional, 3 de julio de 2014)

Audio:

Consejo Consultivo de Pueblos Indígenas y Afromexicanos de Oaxaca(Colectivo Buen Vivir, 2 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Protests on the rise against Law on Telecommunications (3 May 2014)


Chiapas: 13 days of fastng and praying by Alejandro Díaz Santis to demand his release

July 14, 2014

Imagen (@CGT Chiapas)

Image (@CGT Chiapas)

On 3 July, Alejandro Díaz Santis, a prisoner in solidarity with “La Voz del Amate” and an adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration who is being held in Cereso no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, has announced that he will hold a 13-day fast and prayer “to call on God to give me the strength to continue demanding true justice,” given that a year ago, Chiapas state governor Manuel Velasco Coello “committed himself to finding means or ties with the authorities of Veracruz” to help with his release.  “Once again, I ask the governor to observe his word.”

In this way, the prisoner also called on Enrique Peña Nieto to pressure the governor of Veracruz, the state in which he was judged, given that he has sent more than 15 years imprisoned “for a crime I never committed,” as he claims in the communique.

Para más información:

Alejandro Díaz, preso indígena, inicia ayuno de 13 días por su libertad(Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 3 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Alejandro Díaz Santis from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail (30 March 2014)


Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror”

July 3, 2014
Presentación Informe, 25 de junio 2014 @ SIPAZ

Press Conference, June 25, 2014 @ SIPAZ

On June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was commemorated. In this context, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (CDHFBC) presented the Special Report on Torture in Chiapas: Torture, mechanism of Terror.

Relatives of victims, psychologists, and specialised experts in the investigation of torture took part in the presentation, along with members of CDHFBC. Gabriel García Salyano noted that torture is a systematic and systemic event, since it has been naturalized in everyday life. He said that he sought a testimony from someone; he asked whether they had been tortured and they replied, “no, they just beat me a little,” making reference to the normalisation of violence.

Jorge Hernández, member of CDHFBC, said that “there is no justification for the practice of torture.” And he added that “torture occurs frequently in Mexico; it is a method of police investigation, of control, of terror: a product of the violence engendered by the political system, exerted by those from the government who represent power.”

The Special Report has recorded 17 events where at least one act of torture was performed. The towns where these acts were recorded are: Tuxtla Gutiérrez (6), Tapachula (2), Chenalhó (2) and one case each in Simojovel, Maravilla Tenejapa, Arriaga, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Sabanilla, and Acala.

For more information (In Spanish):

Report: La tortura, mecanismo de terror Informe Especial sobre Tortura en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 25 de junio de 2014)

Presentación Informe Especial La tortura, mecanismo de terror (CDHFBC, 25 de junio de 2014)

Frayba: Presentación de Informe Especial sobre la Tortura en Chiapas (Radio Zapatista, 25 de junio de 2014)

Presentación Informe Especial La tortura, mecanismo de terror (Colectivo Pozol, 26 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (April 29, 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (March 18, 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (January 1, 2014)


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: 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)


Oaxaca: Relatives of Loxicha prisoner denounce psychological torture and isolation

May 18, 2014

Familiares del preso loxicha. Foto (CML-México)

Relatives of Loxicha prisoner. Photo (CML-México)

On 7 May, relatives of Loxicha prisoner Zacarías Pascual García López denounced the inhumane treatment, psychological torture, and isolation that Zacarías has suffered for 11 months in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation (CEFERESO) located in Mengolí de Morelos, Miahuatlán, Oaxaca.  “We are only allowed a four-hour visit once a month; we cannot touch him because they threaten to cancel all our visits for a year,” noted María del Carmen García Luna, the prisoner’s daughter.

In this way, the relatives demanded that the prisoner be released, given that he has already served two-thirds of his sentence.  However, according to the prisoner’s daughter, the authorities have denied this rqeuest: “if they don’t release him, they can transfer him to the Etla prison, because for us it is difficult and tiring to continue in this way.”  She added that on 17 April, despite the fact that the State transferred six of the Loxicha prisoners to the Santa María Ixcotel prison, his father continues to be held in the CEFERESO of Mengolí de Morelos, without any apparent reason.

In 1996, 150 individuals were arrested on the charge of pertaining to the Revolutionary Popular Army (EPR), 7 of whom were imprisoned in the Mengolí de Morelos CEFERESO.  The prisoners have been repeatedly denouncing torture and human-rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Continúa el aislamiento para Zacarías Pascual García López, preso político y de consciencia de la región Loxicha (Centro de Medios Libres-México, 07 de mayo de 2014)

Piden familiares beneficio de preliberación para preso loxicha(Quadratín, 07 de mayo de 2014)

Denuncian aislamiento y tortura psicológica contra presos de Loxicha(Libertad-Oaxaca, 07 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Loxicha prisoners transferred to the Central Prison of the state (29 April 2014)

Oaxaca: Loxicha prisoner is released after 15 years’ imprisonment (24 de junio de 2011)

Oaxaca: Liberation of 4 Loxicha prisoners (31 July 2009)


Nationa: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico

May 16, 2014


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Upon completing his visit of 12 days to the country, Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments, affirmed that torture is a “generalized phenomenon” in Mexico.  He recognized that the statistics on the prevalence of torture are on the decline, but he doubted that this in fact means that torture as practiced has similarly declined.  He located impunity and the regular use of torture as a “means of criminal investigation” as great problems in this sense.

In a press conference held on 2 May, Méndez presented the preliminary conclusions of his visit, stressing the numerous denunciations he received.  He also recognized progress on the question, for example on the use of military tribunals and a handful of the sentences handed down by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).  He expressed his worry for the continued militarization of various regions of the country, in addition to the persistent participation of military commanders in civilian security forces.

As part of his preliminary recommendations, Méndez proposed a decrease in the resort to the use of “community control,” comprehensive reparations by those affected by torture, expeditious investigations into presumed human-rights violations, the standardization of torture at the national level with international standards, and the regulation of the use of legitimate public force.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura está “generalizada” en México: ONU (entrevista CNN México, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Generalizada en México, la tortura como medio de investigación: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2014)

Para erradicar la tortura hay que suprimir la idea de que es normal: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de organizaciones chiapanecas por visita del Relator Especial sobre la Tortura de la ONU (2 de mayo de 2014)

Presentarán a relator de la ONU 18 casos de tortura en Chiapas(Proceso, 28 de abril de 2014)

Informe sobre Tortura en Guerrero (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan)

Tortura, “práctica terriblemente cotidiana en México”, acusan ONG ante relator de la ONU (Proceso, 22 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Special rapporteur on torture begins visit to Mexico (29 April 2014)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico (10 June 2013)

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)


National: After 8 years of impunity in Atenco, threat to build airport continues

May 16, 2014

Foto @ Regeneración Radio

Photo @ Regeneración Radio

8 years ago, on 3 and 4 May 2006, residents of San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco suffered a strong repression when Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president of Mexico, was governor of the state of Mexico.  As a result of this, 47 women were sexually assaulted by police, two youth were killed, and 207 were arrested.

On 5 May, the Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights presented the campaign “Breaking the silence: all together against sexual violence.”  The objective of the campaign is to make visible the torture–principally sexual–exercised systematically against women by security forces after these were arrested for protesting; the campaign also seeks to accompany these women and to continue denouncing the government’s strategy to see these women as “war booty.”  Norma Jiménez noted that nothing has been easy since they undertook this struggle to denounce the acts which took place 8 years ago, given that they were sexually tortured, but she observed that people in solidarity have given them the strength to carry on, though now they think that it is is important to express solidarity with other women, because “it seems that all of us are in a similar situation, as though they had arrested us all–that is because this is all a conscious strategy.”  For this reason, other women who have joined the campaign include Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, Me’phaa indigenous women from Guerrero who in 2002 began another struggle to denounce the rights-violations and sexual torture to which they were subjected by soldiers in the Mexican Army.

Beyond this, the Front for Peoples in Defense of the Land (FPDT) recently accused the municipal government of San Salvador Atenco of organizing assemblies in which representatives of federal authorities have attempted to convince ejidatarios from Atenco and Texcoco to sell their lands for the construction of a new international airport for Mexico City.  Jesús Adán Espinoza noted that the federal government would face serious opposition if it attempted to carry out its urbanization plans for “Future City” and “Rescue of the Former Texcoco Lake,” as such works would only reactivate the project to build the new airport.  “These projects will only bring the further degradation of our traditions, customs, and our lands if we allow them to pass,” he declared.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Rompiendo el silencio:Todas juntas contra la tortura sexual”(Regeneración Radio, 6 de mayo de 2014)

Acusan a autoridades de Atenco de convencer a ejidatarios para aceptar construcción de aeropuerto (La Jornada, 28 de marzo de 2014)

A 8 años. Atenco no olvidamos: una mirada desde La Sexta (Coordinador Valle de Chalko, 8 de mayo de 2014)

“No insistan, no vamos a desistir en abandonar nuestras tierras y viviendas” (Reporteros en Movimiento, 5 de mayo de 2014)

Carta de Solidaridad con Atenco: ¡No olvidamos lo que pasó los 3 y 4 de mayo, tampoco la lucha en contra del aeropuerto! (Enlace Zapatista, 8 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Atenco five years on, raped women continue demanding justice (6 May 2011)

Atenco: repression in San Salvador Atenco, 4 years on (11 May 2010)


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