Oaxaca: Hunger strike over murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola concludes upon conclusion of agreement with authorities

May 18, 2014

betyyjyry2

Omar Esparza, former husband of Bety Cariño, together with other persons in solidarity who had engaged in a hunger strike in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in Mexico City have ended their protest after 16 days upon reaching an agreement with the Secretary of Governance (SEGOB), the PGR, and the Oaxacan State Attorney General’s Office in which the latter institutions agree to arrest the 12 presumed perpetrators of the murders of Betty and Jyri Jaakkola and to provide protection to witnesses of the murders.

“In essence, the agreement is a commitment to carry out actions to protect those who witnessed the murders and to arrest those responsible.  The authorities have never said that they would not do their work, but it all remained at the level of talk and good intentions; now we have it signed in writing, and this gives us much certainty and tranquility,” said Karla Michel Salas, president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Esparza noted that “This is a small victory, but not the final one.  Instead, it is a beginning and we are going to be attentive to seeing whether the authorities follow through with their commitments and perform their work.  It is a first step to make visible the impunity that prevailed in the case.”  He added that he would hold monthly meetings with the SEGOB to evaluate progress in the case.

Beyond this, the UN Office in Mexico of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has promised Esparza to continue following the case and to call on the governments of Enrique Peña Nieto and Gabino Cué to “promote pertinent actions to re-establish dialogue and reconstruct the social fabric in the community of San Juan de Copala toward the end of transcending the causes that have led to the present situation there.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Activistas levantarán huelga de hambre; acuerdan acciones para capturar a asesinos de Betty Cariño (SDP noticias, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Cumplen 15 días en huelga de hambre (Noticias, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Levantan familiares de Bety Cariño el plantón frente a instalaciones de la PGR (La Jornada, 15 de mayo de 2014)

ONU-DH toma nota de acciones de apoyo por huelga de hambre de Omar Esparza (Grupo Fórmula, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Insta ONU a Peña y Cué a solucionar el conflicto en Copala (Proceso, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Video: 13 dias en huelga de hambre exigiendo justicia para Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Serapaz, 14 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike

May 18, 2014

Omar Esparza con las madres de migrantes @ Brigada Solidaria

Omar Esparza with mothers of the disappeared @Brigada Solidaria

On 10 May, Mother’s Day, there was held the Third March for National Dignity in Mexico City on the part of mothers of victims of forced disappearances coming from more than a dozen Mexican states and even other countries to demand that their children be found.  A year and three months after the Secretary of Governance presented the National Registry for Disappeared Persons (Renped), and just days from the one-year anniversary of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) created its Special Office of Search for Disappeared Persons, hundreds of mothers and relatives of victims mobilized to denounce “that we do not know the total number of disappeared persons to date; we do not know how many persons the State has found; we do not understand why the federal government resorts to claiming that the task of resolving several disappearances belongs to local authorities, when the victims could be in any part of the republic or abroad.”

The latest formal report (February 2013) regarding the total number of the disappeared stressed that in the Renped there were registered 26,121 names.  However, “we do not know if the list released by the Secretary of Governance has been updated.”  It should be noted that, at the end of last year, 7166 names were excised from the Renped without any sort of explanation.

During the march, the mothers made a stop in support of the nearly 15 days of hunger strike taken by Omar Esparza, relatives, and members of civil society who installed themselves in front of the PGR starting on 29 April.  The hunger strike is a form of protest to demand the arrest of the 12 persons considered responsible for the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.  The accused do have arrest-orders released against their names, but these have not been carried out to date.

For more information (in Spanish): Firma la petición de Amnistía Internacional Entrevista a Omar Esparza (Subversiones, 10 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen justicia a cuatro años del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola(CENCOS, 6 de mayo de 2014)

“La violencia no tiene madre, las víctimas sí” (Animal Político, 11 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)
Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)
Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 2, 2014

Imagen @ Red Política

Image @ Red Política

On 27 April, four years passed since the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola when they were participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan destined for San Juan Copala.  Members of the European Parliament and relatives affirmed that the cases could have been resolved within two months, but that the authorities have not demonstrated the necessary political will to do so.  Barbara Lochbihler, president of the Subcommission on Human Rights from the European Parliament, commented that “we have been discussing the situation of human-rights defenders and social activists in Mexico for nearly two months.  And year by year we see that the situation continues to worsen.”  Relatives denounced that, despite the fact that 13 people have been identified as the presumed murderers, the federal and state governments refuse to release arrest-orders against them.  For her part, Karla Michel Salas, president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, stressed that “we know their names and that some of them even are public officials, but the arrest-orders are refused” using the argument that the government cannot itself enter the region of San Juan Copala.

It is for this reason that Omar Esparza, husband of Bety Cariño, and Eeva-Leena and Raimo Jaakkola, parents of the Finn Jyri, have initiated a day of national and international protest to obligate the Mexican State to observe its responsibility and to demand justice.  Esparza and two members of the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement (MAIZ) undertook a hunger strike in front o the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights on 29 April to denounce the failures of the Mexican State to respect human rights in this case.

For more information (in Spanish):

Al cumplirse 4 años, sigue impune el asesinato de la Defensora de Derechos Humanos Bety Cariño (Red de Mujeres Activistas y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca, 24 de abril de 2014)

Bety Cariño, puente de organizaciones y amistades (Desinformémonos, 28 de abril de 2014)

Con huelga de hambre y protestas en Europa recordaran asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Página3, 26 de abril de 2014)

Oaxaca: Es inaceptable la inacción de autoridades federales y estatales para detener a posibles responsables del asesinato de activistas(Amnistía Internacional México, 28 de abril de 2014)

Madre de activista finlandés asesinado en Oaxaca en 2010 acusa a México de negligencia y de ignorar su tragedia
Madre de activista finlandés asesinado en Oaxaca en 2010 acusa a México de negligencia y de ignorar su tragedia

Audio-video:

Familiares de Bety Cariño anuncian huelga de hambre (Cencos, 24 de abril de 2014)

Sembrando sueños, cosechando esperanzas: Bety Cariño (CodigoDH, abril de 2013)

Jyri Jaakola activista preocupado por los derechos humanos (Radio Camote, 19 de marzo 2012)

Message on the 4th anniversary of murders of Jyri Jaakkola & Bety Carino 27.4.2014 (Satu Hassi, 24 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 17, 2013

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On 27 April, three years passed since the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish origins, who were attacked by an armed group with presumed links to local and state authorities on this day in 2010, as they were traveling in a humanitarian and observation caravan to the Triqui community of San Juan Copala to document the conditions in which dozens of family had been living under conditions of siege.

Members of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), and teachers from Section 22 of the Huajuápan chapter of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), together with other social organizations, on 26 April carried out mobilizations and a march to protest the impunity experienced in the case of these murders.

Omar Esparza Zarate, leader of MAIZ in the Mixteco region and widower of Bety Cariño Trujillo, expressed that “These three years have been difficult, because I not only lost a comrade–the pain is there and will always be there–but also because of all the harassment, intimidation, illegal searches of the office, and sensing that one has to always be on edge due to lack of knowledge of when the aggressors will make good on their death-threats.”  Furthermore, he added that “for three years, we have spoken to the lack of interest on the government’s part to see justice done.  We have not perceived any sort of will to resolve these murders, nor for punishment of those responsible for them, in accordance with the law.”  Finally, Omar Esparza lamented that the state authorities have not observed their commitment, nor have they declared responsibility for the intellectual and material authors of the crimes.  Beyond this, he stressed that the deaths of social activists is certainly a constant feature of life in the country.

For its part, the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) made public that “with relation to these crimes, 12 arrest-orders have been declared against the presumed murderers, among which is included the leaders of UBISORT which one day before the departure of the caravan made serious threats against the physical integrity of our comrades.  We also indicate that ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz should be considered an intellectual author of these bloody acts, given his public recognition of his having financially supported the paramilitary UBISORT group.”Similarly, Amnesty International and Frontline Defenders have reminded the federal and Oaxacan state authorities of their responsibilities to guarantee that these acts not remain in impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

La herida está ahí y siempre va a estar: Omar Esparza (El Imparcial, 27 de abril de 2013)

UCIZONI: Demandamos castigo para los asesinos de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Kaos en la Red, 26 de abril de 2013)

A 3 años de la muerte de una indígena y un finlandés en Oaxaca (E-Oaxaca, 26 de abril de 2013)

Oaxaca: A tres años del asesinato de defensores de derechos humanos seguimos reclamando justicia (Amnistía Internacional México, 27 de abril de 2013)

México: Se cumple el 3° aniversario del asesinato de la defensora de los derechos humanos Bety Cariño (Frontline Defenders, 27 de abril de 2013)

Audio-video:

Entrevista a Bety Cariño: Sembrando sueños, cosechando esperanzas (Código DH, 27 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders

April 21, 2012

(@zapateando.com.mx)

On 17 April, members of different civil and social organizations carried out a meeting in front of the headquarters of the Federal Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City to demand the clarification of the murder of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola that occurred on 27 April 2010 when they were attempting to bring humanitarian support to the community of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region of the state of Oaxaca.  Protestors demanded that authorities conclude with their investigations, “given that they now have all the necessary evidence and testimony, and it is just a question of political will to resolve it.”

They announced that they will submit an international criminal denunciation against the Oaxacan ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (2004-2010).  Beyond this, the Cariño family declared that it will next week visit Finland, Jaakkola’s country of origin, to officially submit the denunciation against Ruiz for his responsibility for the crime.  “Yes, it is necessary to go to the other side of the world to find justice, so that is how we will do it,” signaled Omar Esparza, Bety Cariño’s husband.

In the protest participated organizations like the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of Peoples, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, and Campesino and Urban Communities in Solidarity with Alternatives, among others.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden aclarar asesinato de Cariño y Jaakkola (La Jornada, 18 de abril de 2012)

OSC anuncian denuncia penal internacional contra Ulises Ruíz a dos años del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Boletín de Prensa MAIZ  / Alianza Mexicana por la Auto Determinación de los Pueblos, 17 de abril de 2012)

Convocan a protesta para exigir detención de homicidas de activistas (Proceso, 30 de marzo de 2012)

For more information (in Spanish):

Oaxaca: Triquis return to their communities after 16 months of sit-in (8 February 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala

December 14, 2011

Reyna Flores Matrínez (@sanjuancopalaoaxaca.wordpress.com)

In light of the lack of responses by the state government 16 months after their having been expelled from San Juan Copala, displaced women from the Triqui zone have announced that they will engage in a walking march starting on 19 December from the communities of Agua Fría, Santa Cruz Tilapa, and Yosoyuxi toward the capital.  In a press-conference, Reyna Martínez, representative of the group, lamented that to date, and despite the 27 murders in the zone, there have been launched only three criminal investigations, and that in any case substantial advances in the investigation of the events are lacking.  She also denounced the lack of interest on the part of the government to find a solution to the problem, “given that in recent months this has been in the hands of low-ranking officials who have no capacity for creating solutions.”

In other news, following the announcement on 8 December that there would be presented at the European Parliament the report of the Euro-deputies Satu Hassi (Finland) and Franziska Keller (Germany) after their official visit to Mexico last September (a presentation that was deferred to the subsequent year), several media have published articles on said report which identifies several challenges regarding investigations into the murder of activists Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño, which occurred on 27 April 2010 near San Juan Copala: “Change does not come overnight, and now a new party has come into power in Oaxaca following 70 years of PRI governments.  Regardless, lack of coordination between federal and state levels, the co-existence of different judicial systems, and the poor existing standards for investigations continue to serve as obstacles for there to be significant progress, despite the efforts of the government.”  The report also indicates that “We fear that without political will to delimit responsibilities, impunity will continue to prevail.  People feel that the credibility of the Mexican State is at stake.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe europeo: Los crímenes de San Juan Copala, puras disculpas (Proceso, 2 December)

Realizarán mujeres desplazados de Copala caminata a la capital(Noticiasnet.mx, 7 December)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: Third National Forum “Weaving Resistance in Defense of our territories”

June 8, 2011

Photo @ Colectivo Oaxaqueño

On 20 and 21 May was held the Third National Forum “Weaving Resistance in Defense of Our Territories” in Capulálpam de Méndez, Oaxaca, where 59 indigenous communities and 51 social and civil organizations pronounced themselves regarding respect for their collective rights regarding property and natural resources, following a profound reflection having to do with the principal problems faced by indigenous communities and peoples.  They expressed during the day that “in light of the lack of efficient legal resources for the defense of collective rights, we peoples today find ourselves in resistance so as to protect the natural resources of our territories, such as water, forests, biodiversity, as well as to show our self-determination as a legitimate right of the people.”

In this event the indigenous people of Capulálpam declared the “Y” territory located in a sacred mountain in the same municipality as “historical communal territory for the recharging of aquifers,” affirming that “this patrimony of Capulálpam will never be the object of exploitation.”

The forum also expressed its solidarity with the struggles in Capulálpam de Méndez against the mining project of La Natividad; Santa Cruz Itundujia, against the Federal Commission on Electricity; the Coordination of United Peoples in Defense of Water, in the Valley of Ocotlán; San José Progeso, against the mining project of the Cuzcatlán firm; the council of United Peoples in Defense of the Río Verde, against the hydroelectric project Paso de la Reyna; the Ecologist Front Agua San Felipe, for the defense of water; the Wixárrica people, for the defense of its ceremonial center and the struggles for territorial defense taken in the state and the country, as well as demanding justice for the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaratoria del tercer foro regional: Tejiendo la Resistencia en Defensa de Nuestros Territorios, CENCOS, 24 May 2011

Pueblos Indígenas exigen respeto a sus territorios frente a proyectos depredadores de sus recursos naturales, Realidad Oaxaca, 23 May 2011

DECLARACIÓN DEL TERRITORIO HISTÓRICO COMUNAL DE RECARGA DE ACUIFEROS LA “Y”, Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 24 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Forum Building Resistance in Defense of our Territory (27 April 2009)


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