Chiapas: Pilgrimages and marches against violence against women, and other demands

December 15, 2014

Peregrinación de Pueblo Creyente en San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

Pilgrimage of the Believing People in San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

On 25 November, in observance of the International Day against Violence and Exploitation of Women, thousands of Catholics pertaining to the Believing People from the San Cristóbal diocese engaged in simultaneous pilgrimages in 12 municipalities of Chiapas to demonstrate their opposition to the planned highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque; to demand justice for the disappeared of Ayotzinapa; to oppose violence against women, alcoholism, energy reform, and corruption, among other issues.  Approximately 3500 engaged in the action in San Cristóbal, with 7000 in Ocosingo, 10,000 in Chilón, 1000 in Oxchuc, and 800 in Tenejapa.  Participants indicated that they engaged in the pilgrimage “in a peaceful manner, requesting respect for our constitutional right to protest, be heard, and have our complaints addressed by municipal, state, and federal authorities” and to “express solidarity with the more than 100,000 victims of organized crime and especially the families of the murdered youth and the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, in Iguala, Guerrero, as well as with the victims of Acteal who, nearly 20 years since the massacre, still plead for justice from the government, thus strengthening the impunity that has led 73 of the 75 imprisoned for this crime against humanity to be released.”

Marcha en San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

Beyond this, after the end of the “Forum for Women, Peoples, and Organizations in Defense of the Land and Territory” that was held from 23-24 November, close to 250 women and men marched on 25 November in San Cristóbal, given that they see “with great alarm that big capital is at war with all the peoples of the world because it wants to plunder our lands to make way for investments for mining firms, airports, hotels, highways, seaports, transgenic seeds, monocultures, dams, etc.”  They added in the communique that “another strategy has been to generate conflicts among the people to divide the struggle and so control land.  But the most dangerous thing is to allow the drug-traffickers free reign to convert out land into a crossfire zone, leaving a hundred thousand dead and disappeared.  For this reason we affirm that the firms, the bad government, and the drug-traffickers all seek the same thing: To gain control of our communities, our ancestral resources, our bodies, our lives, and even our future.”

Beyond this, some 500 persons from the Light and Power of the Highlands Region organization, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, marched with banners listing various historical massacres in Mexico.  As one of the banners read, “in the future, the next massacre could involve you or your children.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alto a las distintas formas de corrupción del gobierno y violencia al pueblo Queremos Justicia y Paz (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

Comunicado del Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas (25 de noviembre de 2014)

Marchan en Chiapas contra autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque (La Jornada, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

Miles marchan en San Cristobal contra los megaproyectos y violencia contra las mujeres (Espoir Chiapas, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (June 13, 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People holds pilgrimage in Simojovel to denounce the increase in violence in the municipality (26 October 2013)


Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Father Tomás González

November 13, 2014

© Amnestía Internacional

Fray Tomás González © Amnesty International

In a communique published on 7 November, Father Tomás, founder of the migrant home “La 72″ in Tenosique, Tabasco, denounced the persecution and criminalization carried out by the National Migration Institute (INM) against him.

An INM agent notes that “upon cordially greeting Fray Tomás González, who was in his car, the priest grabbed his hand and started the engine, thus dragging him for more than 100 meters,” with this being the reason that he demands prosecution of Fray Tómas.

The communique from the migrant home categorically denied the INM’s claim: “This false denunciation is part of the alarming increase in the persecution and violent criminalization of the INM toward migrants and those who assist them in humanitarian terms at the ’72’ migrant home.  The attacks began in 2011, when the home was founded, and today they reach the extreme of using the penal system against the director of this center, thus criminalizing our work in defense of human rights.

For ten years, the systematic participation of INM agents in criminal enterprises has been documented, including extortion, robbery, assault, and other crimes against migrants committed by the very officials themselves in actions that have greatly threatened the life and integrity of those who cross through this country.  These actions have worsened following the implementation of the Southern Border Plan by the federal government.”

Dozens of national and international civil organization have expressed their solidarity with Fray Tómas and  warned that “just in 2014, there have been no fewer than five attacks on ‘La 72.'”

For more information (in Spanish):

Agente del INM demanda al defensor de migrantes Fray Tomás González, Proceso,  5 de noviembre de 2014

Comunicado de solidaridad con Fray Tomás y el albergue de La 72 frente al intento de criminalizar su labor de defensa de derechos humanos, Voces MesoAmericanos,  6 de noviembre de 2014

OSC se solidarizan con Fray Tomas; exigen cese de hostigamiento y ataques contra la 72 (Sididh, 11 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):


Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace

November 12, 2014

Peregrinación en Simojovel, octubre de 2014 (@Koman Ilel)

Pilgrimage in Simojovel, October 2014 (@Koman Ilel)

In a communique published on 29 October, members of the Believing People from the parish of San Antonio de Padua in Simojovel denounced that after the pilgrimage they held on 18 October to demand greater security in the region, they repeatedly warned with death-threats and threats of kidnapping on the part of the authorities and arms- and drug-traffickers who operate in the city.  The threats are directed at Father Marcelo Peréz Peréz, as well as at other members of the parish council.

The members of the Believing People expressed however that they would continue demanding justice and security in the region.  “We cannot be indifferent in light of the situation experienced by the people of Simojovel.”  They noted: “We ask ourselves about what is happening in Simojovel, if this is the fifth pilgrimage of the Believing People involving more than 12,000 persons, why have no firm decisions been made by the state and federal governments to return peace to Simojovel.  What are they awaiting?  Another massacre?  That the priest be killed?  That ten members of the parish council and representatives of the Believing People be killed?  Are they hoping that the 2015 elections will take place with another wave of violence?”

For more information (in Spanish):

DESPUES DEL 18 DE OCTUBRE EN SIMOJOVEL, EL PUEBLO CREYENTE ESTÁ EN MAS PELIGRO (Pueblo Creyente, 29 de octubre de 2014)

Denuncian nuevas amenazas contra clérigos y religiosos de Simojovel en Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (June 13, 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People holds pilgrimage in Simojovel to denounce the increase in violence in the municipality (October 26, 2013)


International: Global Meeting of Popular Movements at the Vatican

November 12, 2014

Internacional: Encuentro Mundial de Movimientos Populares en el Vaticano (@Via Campesina)

International: Global Meeting of Popular Movements at the Vatican (@Via Campesina)

From 27 to 29 October, more than 150 leaders from different labor, migrant, campesino, and indigenous organizations and processes participated in the “International: Global Meeting of Popular Movements” that was held at the Vatican.  Among the participants present were the Landless Workers’ Movement of Brazil, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas de Chiapas Center for Human Rights, and the Mexican Electricians’ Union.

Pope Francis (an Argentinian) noted that “[t]his meeting responds to a very concrete desire […] that should be accessible to all, because today we see with sadness that land, shelter, and work is evermore out of grasp for the majority.  It is strange, but if I speak of this, for some it means that the Pope is a communist.”

The Pope recognized the struggle of grassroots movements that “do not rest content with illusory promises, excuses, or alibies.”  “The scandal of poverty cannot be addressed through the promotion of contention strategies that only tranquilize the poor, converting them into domesticated and neutral beings,” he warned.

He stressed that “the poor do not simply wait with their arms crossed for the solutions that never arrive; now, the poor seek to be protagonists to find their own solutions to their problems.”  The poor, in this sense, “are not resigned, but rather they protest,” and this protest “bothers” those in power.  He expressed in addition that he hopes that “the wind of protest becomes a gale of hope.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Discurso del Papa Francisco a los Participantes en el Encuentro Mundial de Movimientos Populares

Resumen del Encuentro Mundial de Movimientos Populares (Minga Informativa)

Impresiones de una jornada histórica (Ignacio Ramonet, Rebelión, 30 de octubre de 2014)

El papa Francisco rinde homenaje a los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos (La Jornada, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Papa pide “tierra, techo y trabajo ” para los pobres (Milenio, 28 de octubre de 2014)

Discuten en el Vaticano sobre marginación (El Universal, 28 de octubre de 2014)

Movimientos populares del mundo, con el Papa (La Jornada, 25 de octubre de 2014)


Chiapas/International: US Supreme Court rejects appeal in case against former president Zedillo over Acteal masascre

October 12, 2014

Acteal (@SIPAZ archivo)

Acteal (@SIPAZ archive)

On 6 October, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rejected an appeal that had been submitted by 10 individuals against the former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (1994-2000) for his responsibility in the Acteal massacre (December 1997), which left 45 dead in Chiapas state.  SCOTUS did not justify its decision; instead it simply upheld the decision made in February 2013 by a federal judge in Connecticut, holding that Zedillo has political immunity as a former head of state.

The initial demand had been presented in 2011 in Hartford, Connecticut, accusing Ernesto Zedillo of having covered up the events of the massacre.  The case was submitted in Connecticut because that is where he resides, being a professor at Yale University.  Plaintiffs had demanded compensation of $50 million for relatives of the victims of the massacre.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tribunal Supremo de EU rechaza oír la apelación contra Zedillo por Acteal (CNN México, 6 de octubre de 2014)

Desechan en EU demanda contra Zedillo por masacre de Acteal (Proceso, 6 de octubre de 2014)

Corte Suprema en EU desecha demanda contra Zedillo por masacre de Acteal (Animal Político, 6 de octubre de 2014)

Corte Suprema de EU bloquea demanda contra Zedillo por Acteal (La Jornada, 6 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Case against Zedillo for Acteal massacre is dismissed (21 July 2013)

Chiapas: Commemoration of 20th anniversary of Las Abejas and coming 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre (21 December 2012)

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)

Chiapas: the Las Abejas Civil Society denounces reactivation of paramilitaries in its community (12 October 2012)

National-International: Zedillo obtains immunity for the Acteal case(19 September 2012)


Chiapas: Communique from Las Abejas in commemoration of the Acteal massacre

October 1, 2014

Capilla de Acteal (@acteal.blogspot.com)

Acteal chapel (@acteal.blogspot.com)

On 22 September 2014, in commemoration of the anniversary of the Acteal massacre (1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society released a new communique entitled “For neoliberal capitalism to die, this depends on us organized peoples.”  In the essay, Las Abejas assure that “for this monstrous beast neoliberal capitalism to die, it does not depend on the bad governments, the rich, or the powerful, but instead on us the people.  We only need to say to them, ‘your hour has come!'”

Las Abejas denounced that “the death-projects that have been imposed by Manuel Velasco, Enríque Peña Nieto, and others in our lands are developments and rackets for the powerful countries and a few [individuals] who are ill with ambition and greed […].  Manuel Velasco Cuello [sic] y Enríque Peña Nieto, the respective lackeys of neoliberal capital, have deepended their policies of persecution, criminalization, and killing of social protest.”  Las Abejas cited as examples the incarceration of their comrade Mario Luna Romero, secretary of the traditional authority of the Yaqui people.  They stressed however that people resist, such as “our brothers and sisters” in the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land (FPDT), the Otomí San Francisco Xochicuautla community, and all those who oppose the construction of the highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque.  They also acknowledged similar processes of struggle in other countries, such as in Testet, Tarn, France.

Las Abejas called in the end for “the unification of our struggles, and never to give up, regardless of where we find ourselves, from whichever corner of the planet Earth.  We must not be afraid to denounce and protest.  Though the police, the military, the judges, the murderers of neoliberal capital would like to sow terror among us and create psychological fear, we know that we are an overwhelming majority.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Para que se muera el capitalismo-neoliberal; depende de nosotros los pueblos organizados (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas. 22 de septiembre de 2014)

“A pesar de la persecusión y la muerte, está claro y decidido que hay que resistir y defender la Madre Tierra”, mensaje de las Abejas de Acteal(Pozol Colectivo, 22 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: nuevo comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal (25 de julio de 2014)

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

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (9 June 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (May 2, 2014)


Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre

September 2, 2014

Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (@acteal.blogspot.com)Las Abejas Civil Society (@acteal.blogspot.com)

On 22 August, at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), the Las Abejas Civil Society published a new communiqué to commemorate the five years since the beginning of the release of the formerly imprisoned persons who had been considered responsible for the Acteal massacre of December 1997. Since August 2009, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) has allowed 54 of the 70 who were sentenced to be released in this sense. Some of those who have been released were allowed to go freely without warning the public about this, as in the case of Roberto Méndez Gutiérrez, a “paramilitary commander and confessed patricipant in the Acteal massacre.” Amidst this tendency, members of Los Abejas declared that “our memory tells us that this Supreme Court has been converted for us into the ‘Supreme Court for the rich and criminals of the Nation'; this court is the expression of the justice system in Mexico, which is rotten.”

The Acteal massacre and the impunity that prevails in the case to date, stressed Las Abejas, form part of the low-intensity warfare being promoted in the region by the “bad government.” Las Abejas indicated furthermore that the repression, murders, and massacres are a consequence fo the “commercial traties” which Mexico has signed with rich countries, toward the end of “exterminating the Zapatista people and other organized peoples,” given that “if the indigenous peoples had control of their land, NAFTA would not be able to function in Mexico, the U.S., or Canada, for this way they could not extract and steal all the wealth possessed by our Mother Earth.”

In light of this “death culture,” Las Abejas declare that “We are aware that justice will not come from above,” and for this reason “our search for justice for the Acteal massacre we call the construction of ‘Another Justice,’ one that is conceptualized and constructed from the organized peoples, women and men of Mexico who also seek a dignified and true justice, as we do. This other justice, this dignified and true justice, is now being built in the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (TPP), in meetings and fora of organized peoples and communities in Mexico […]. We in the Las Abejas Civil Society will not resign ourselves but will instead continue building our ties with brothers and sisters who struggle each and every day against this oppressive capitalist system.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 5 años de la excarcelación de los paramilitares (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de agosto de 2014)

Libres, 54 paramilitares sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (La Jornada, 23 de agosto de 2014)

La “Suprema Corte de ricos y criminales de la Nación” ha liberado a 54 paramilitares sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (La Jornada de Oriente, 24 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (May 2, 2014)


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