Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz

October 1, 2014

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press conference held on 23 September, federal legislators called on the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to stop the looming incarceration of Oaxacan rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez, who presently free faces accusations of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.

It bears mentioning that on 22 February 2012, the defender was detained and incarcerated, accused of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and the national wealth, though she only participated in a protest a year previous opposing high electricity prices in Oaxaca.  On 24 February 2012 she posted bail and was released, but the legal process against her continues.

The legislators in question affirm that they “consider that the moves and process against Bettina represent acts of criminalization of social protest, illustrating the risky situations faced by persons who work to defend human rights.  Through this process, it has become clear that the justice system has deviated greatly against them, particularly those who work in defense of the land amidst the imposition of megaprojects.”

Beyond this, in a communique published on 25 September, Amnesty International (AI) warned that, if the judiciary power decided to imprison the rights-defender, it would “consider nominating her as a prisoner of conscience.”  AI stressed that the obligation of the Mexican authorities “is to guarantee that the justice system does not work in favor of the persecution of those who defend human rights, as revenge against their legitimate actions.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden legisladores a PGR evitar encarcelamiento de activista (Cimac Noticias, 23 de septiembre de 2014)

Carta completa de los legisladores (23 de septiembre de 2014)

No a la persecución judicial de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Amnistía Internacional, 25 de septiembre de 2014)

Campaña en twitter: etiqueta #JusticiaparaBettina

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Various denunciations in the Tehuantepec Isthmus from community assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories (6 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (March 7, 2012)

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)


Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol

September 2, 2014

índiceIn a new Urgent Action published on 15 August, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the persistence of attacks against support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in communities of Ocosingo, as prosecuted by members of the Regional Organization of Coffee-Cultivators of Ocosingo (ORCAO). The events began in “recuperated” lands that are collectively worked in the San Manuel autonomous rebel Zapatista municipality (MAREZ), which pertains to the La Garrucha caracol: on 13 August, nine Zapatista families founded the Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto on said lands, which adjoin the Egipto and El Rosario communities.

The bulletin noted that on 14 August, an armed group of 18 ORCAO members for the Pojcol community (Chilón municipality) surrounded the land and began to shoot into the air for 40 minutes and warning the BAEZLN that they had 6 hours to withdraw definitively. The 9 families (40 persons in total) and the 250 BAEZLN who were supporting them “decided to withdraw to a different place.” After this, the ORCAO members destroyed the houses, robbed store merchandise and cash from the homes, among other crimes.

The bulletin details that on 14 August, the women and children of the El Rosario community who belong to ORCAO abandoned the community, leaving only the men, while witnesses claim that these men were threatening the BAEZLN with immediate displacement. The female and children BAEZLN, for their part, also decided to leave amidst the risk of a possible confrontation. The CDHFBC reported that the threats of the ORCAO against BAEZLN in El Rosario “were intensifying to the point of indicating a possible forcible displacement” in the late hours.

For this reason, the CDHFBC expressed its “concern for the imminent risk to life, security, and physical integrity to which the BAEZLN” of the El Rosario, Kexil, Egipto, and Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto communities face. The Center held the Chiapas state government responsible “for being absent during the initial denunciations, thus allowing the perpetration of increasingly flagrant violations of human rights.” It called on State and federal authorities to cease the death-threats and attacks that have served as the basis for the displacement of BAEZLN from three communities, in addition to the adoption of measures to protect the life, integrity,a nd security of the BAEZLN from the San Manuel autonomous municipality.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC, 15 de agosto de 2014)

Denuncia Centro Frayba agresiones contra bases de apoyo zapatistas en Ocosingo (La Jornada, 16 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)


Chiapas/National: Lawyers for Patishtán and communal police of Michoacán denounce death-threats and harassment

March 28, 2014

Leonel Rivero (@SIPAZ archivo)

Leonel Rivero (@SIPAZ archive)

In an Urgent Action published on 14 March, Amnesty International (AI) denounced the death-threats and harassment suffered by the lawyers of the Strategic Defense for Human Rights, Leonel Rivero Rodríguez and Augusto César Sandino Rivero Espinoza.  These lawyers are known for their interventions in cases such as that of now ex-prisoner Alberto Patishtán, those arrested from the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land from San Salvador Atenco, and communal police from Michoacán.

On 17 January, Rivero Rodríguez received a threatening telephone call and then presented a denunciation before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), though the perpetrator of the action has not yet been identified.  Indeed, the PGR has now informed her that it plans to place the affair in the archive.

On 4 March, “three unknown persons invaded a hotel in which Leonel Rivero Rodríguez was meeting with members of communities from Michoacán state to address delicate issues,” regarding a case that she was covering together with Sandino Rivero Espinosa.  On 10 March, the office that Leonel Rivero Rodríguez has in her home in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas was harassed.

AI has called on the authorities to guarantee the security of the lawyers of Strategic Defense for Human Rights, to undertake an impartial investigationi into the telephone threats made on 17 January, and the harassment of 10 March, as well as to guarantee that “the lawyers who work on potentially delicate affairs be allowed to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of suffering repression.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente de Amnistía Internacional, 14 de marzo de 2014

Amnistía Internacional denuncia amenazas contra abogados de Patishtán(Proceso, 17 de marzo de 2014)

Denuncia Amnistía Internacional hostigamiento contra abogado de Patishtán (La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2014)

 Los abogados de Alberto Patisthán denuncian amenazas y hostigamientos(CNN México, 18 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Rejection of recognition of Patishtán’s innocence. “There is a look of denigration toward the indigenous sector,” says lawyer (4 October 2013)


Oaxaca: Harassment and death-threats directed against members of the Democratic Civic Union of Neighborhoods Colonies and Communities (UCIDEBACC)

March 1, 2014

Denuncia púbica sobre las agresiones a integrantes de Ucidebacc. Foto (@Kaos en la Red)

On 15 February, Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz, a human-rights defender and spokesperson for the Democratic Civic Union of Neighborhoods Colonies and Communities (UCIDEBACC), received two death-threats to her cell phone after having participated in a meeting with Oaxaca state officials.

The previous day, other members of UCIDEBACC, María Dolores Merino Ortiz, Reina Clavel Tapia, Cinthia Narciso Bernal, and a minor, were injured as a result of beatings received by the State Preventive Police during a peaceful protest they were carrying out in Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca.

According to the urgent action released by Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca A.C., “These acts take place within a context of constant and systematic attacks against the rights-defender Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz and her organization,” which since June 2013 has suffered multiple acts of intimidation, death threats, defamation, harassment, and arbitrary arrest.

Though the case has been presented before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Defense Institute for the Human Rights of the Oaxacan People (DDHPO), the security of neither the defender nor the other members of the organization has been maintained.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian ataque de la Secretaría de Seguridad a organización UCIDEBACC (NSS Oaxaca, 16 de febrero de 2014)

Policía Estatal agrede a manifestantes de la Ucidebacc en Pinotepa Nacional (Diario Oaxaca, 17 de febrero de 2014)

Denuncia pública de la represión policial contra Ucidebacc (Kaos en la Red, 17 de febrero de 2014)

Preocupación por la vida e integridad física de Defensoras de DH integrantes de la UCIDEBACC (Consorcio Oaxaca, 18 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Communique by Consorcio in light of multiple attacks by the State (2 July 2012)


Guerrero: Beginning of Civil Observation Mission “A light against impunity”

February 14, 2014

Raúl Vera López (@Desde abajo; archivo)

Raúl Vera López (@Desde abajo; archivo)

On 9 February there began the Civil Observation Mission “A light against impunity” in Guerrero, which is slated to visit several municipalities to document violations of the human rights of social activists in the state.  Led by Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the mission includes among other civil and social organizations (local, national, and international) the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity, the Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, the Guerrerense Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations (REDGROAC), the Front of Democratic Organizations of Guerrero State (FODEG), the Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Guerrero, and SIPAZ.

The visit began in Iguala where dozens of campesinos welcomed the observation mission with flower necklaces.  A contingent of workers from the Taxco mine similarly welcomed the delegates by taking off their helmets.  The mission was received by Sofía Lorena Mendoza Martínez, wife of the deceased Arturo Hernández Cardona, leader of Popular Unity in this municipality, who was kidnapped together with seven comrades on 30 May 2013.  Three of them were killed and all showed signed of torture.  Suspicions abound in terms of the involvement of councilmember José Luis Abarca.  The Taxco miners denounced for their part that despite their strike of 6.5 years against the Mexico Group, the federal government continues without attending to their demands. Before those present, Raúl Vera warned that “These politicians who now persecute and hurt you should know that they are now observed by society, that they are not fully removed [from their actions], and that justice will be done, however late it comes.”

The Mission then traveled to the capital, Chilpancingo, where bishop Vera offered a mass in front of the cathedral, noting that “there is a persecution of human-rights defenders, social activists, and all those who have the courage to defend human rights […].  Human-rights defenders become the enemies because they want to establish a regime that is different from the status quo–that is all.”

The bishop said that other paths must be taken to achieve peace: “it must be a peaceful path of reason, demanding that those who govern us establish the state of right and do not bear complicity with those who hire them, because there are strong feelings suggesting that these murders (of social activists) are performed by hired killers, in place of establishing true social justice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunes, el secuestro y asesinato de tres luchadores sociales en Iguala, Guerrero (La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Critica Raúl Vera que el Estado trate como enemigos a luchadores sociales(La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Pide Vera en Chilpancingo que cesen los crímenes contra los luchadores sociales (EL Sur de Acapulco, 10 de febrero)

Guerrero: crisis profunda (La Jornada, 7 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: Network Solidarity Decade against Impunity denounces intimidation against two members days before Observation Mission to Guerrero (5 February 2014)

Guerrero: 3 of 8 disappeared PRD Members found dead in Iguala (10 June 2013)


Chiapas: CDHFBC denounces violent and arbitrary displacement in the Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez ejido, Berriozábal municipality

February 5, 2014

Desalojo forzado en el ejido Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez (@CDHFBC)

Forced displacement in the Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez ejido (@CDHFBC)

In a press-release published on 29 January, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the violent and arbitrary displacement which took place in the Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez ejido, Berriozábal municipality, on 22 January.  The CDHFBC condemned the lack of observation of the “Protocol for displacements performed by police and State security forces in the Chiapas municipalities.”

The Center documented that “the operation culminated with the forced displacement of 75 Tsotsil families (members of the Independent Regional Campesino Movement-National Plan of Ayala Coordination-Emiliano Zapata) in addition to the destruction, robbery, and burning of houses and possessions, leading to the injury of an elderly woman, five other people hurt, and four arbitrary arrests.”

The CDHFBC related that the act took four hours to complete, with the presence of about 800 units from the State Preventive Police, the Ministerial Police, and the Berriozábal Municipal Police, who used tear gas, clubs, and cudgels, and who were carrying firearms.  The CDHFBC expressed its concern “for the situation of systematic violation of human rights as committed by the Chiapas state government through its functionaries and public servants, including aggression, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, and arbitrary arrest.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Desalojo forzado por policías estatales en el ejido Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez (Boletín de prensa, CDHFBC, 29 de enero de 2014)

Denuncian graves violaciones en desalojo de 75 familias tsotsiles en Berriozabal (Radio Fórmula, 29 de enero de 2014)


Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee

January 22, 2014

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants.  They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.

These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built.  In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months.  White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.

Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision.  The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)

Blog de la Misión de Observación: http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/

Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)


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