Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state

April 29, 2014

Rueda de prensa de los liberados. Foto (@Pozol Colectivo)

Press-conference of those released. Photo (@Pozol Colectivo)

The indigenous prisoners Audentino García Villafuerte (Hiber) and Andrés and Josué López Hernández have been released after nearly eight months incarcerated (Hiber) and three years, two months, and nine days (the López Hernández brothers).

After a trial that found no evidence to condemn them, the three prisoners were released unconditionally at the end of March.

According to repeated denunciations, national and international human-rights organizations note that the charges of these three were fabricated, and that their basic rights to freedom and personal integrity had been violated, given that they were subjected to torture during their imprisonment.

According to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), “Using their testimony, we can confirm that in jails in the state of Chiapas, indigenous peoples are discriminated against and insulted, but due to fear of reprisals against them and their families, they do not denounce the acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.  Furthermore, even when torture is obvious, justice is absent because it is not investigated.”

For the CDHFBC, torture is a method of criminal investigation used frequently in Chiapas by police units and the Army and Navy toward the end of obtaining information or forced confessions.

“Due to its acts of torture, the State is responsible both directly and by omission for the behavior of its officials, who, being cognizant of the act, do not intervene to punish those responsible and thus allow this grave human-rights violation to continue unchecked.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura” denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Pozol Colectivo, 14 de abril de 2014)

En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura (CDHFBC, 15 de abril de 2014)

Video: Persiste la tortura en Chiapas (Koman Ilel, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba”

March 30, 2014

25 Aniversario del Frayba, marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

25th anniversary of Frayba, March de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 19 March, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, better known as Frayba) celebrated 25 years since its founding.  Created in 1989 through the invitation of the then bishop of the the San Cristóbal de San Cristóbal diocese, Samuel Ruíz García, it in time passed into becoming a key reference for the defense of human rights, particularly of indigenous peoples, at the local, national, and international levels.

Part of the celebrations included the organization of an “International forum on human rights: from memory to hope,” which was attended by more than 350 persons, nationals and internationals.  On 18 March, the book The Social Evangelism of Bishop Raúl Vera was presented by the very bishop himself, who previously had worked with Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas and who now holds the presidency of the CDHFBC.

At the press-conference and ceremony which closed the events, the members of the CDHFBC recognized the difficulties and challenges implied for example by the advance of extractive industry and touristic projects in Chiapas, ina ddition to the attempts to loot territory, but they stressed that “it is the people who guide our path, in a positive feedback loop.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Destaca obispo Raúl Vera, la creación del Frayba por don Samuel Ruiz(Chiapas Paralelo, 20 de marzo de 2014)

Sin traicionar el legado de Samuel Ruiz, celebra el Frayba su 25 aniversario(Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2014)

El Frayba celebra su 25 aniversario (La Jornada, 19 de marzo de 2014)

“Lo que no se vale aquí es no caminar… caminemos”: Samuel Ruiz García(Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de marzo de 2014)

Sitio Web del 25 aniversario:

Facebook: frayba.derechoshumanos

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces

March 28, 2014

Acala, marzo de 2014 (@Mundo Veracruzano)

Acala, March 2014 @Mundo Veracruzano)

On 1 March, José Rolando Pérez de la Cruz (21 years of age) was arrested by municipal police in Acala without any stated reason and has been held in the local jail since that time.  He was last seen there alive by his grandmother, who arrived when the youth was transferred to the hospital for injuries and a bleeding face.

The police action resulted in the release of a denunciation of homicide holding the local police responsible.  After the arrest, relatives and residents of Acala mobilized to mourn his death outside City Hall, assuring that they would remain there until actions would be taken to punish those responsible for his death.

On 15 March, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced that “the acts remain in impunity and the municipal authorities claim that the youth committed suicide by hanging, though there are witnesses describing that the body showed signs of beatings and injuries.”  The CDHFBC continues: “The corpse showed signs of injuries received from beatings including bruises on the ribs and on the left check, as well as on the eyebrows, in addition to a bloody nose.  It remains crucial to determine the reasons for his death; after death, his body went to autopsy.  The results of the autopsy claim that the ’cause of death of José Rolando Pérez de la Cruz was MECHANICAL ASPHYXIATION FROM HANGING, and that the body presented no injuries, whether external or internal.’  This account clearly contradicts that of the witnesses who saw the dead body.”

For this reason, the CDHFBC manifested “its concern and indignation regarding the disproportionate action of municipal police of the state of Chiapas, who instead of acting with respect for human rights, as based in established protocols and manuals, exercise arbitrary force by using torture which then leads to death.”  It added furthermore that it “has knowledge of other cases of death while in custody in 2014 on the part of municipal police, as took place in the Tapachula jail: one on 7 January, the other on 1 March.  This shows the recurring pattern of police action.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Muere joven de 21 años, según en manos de policías (Cuarto Poder, 3 de marzo de 2014)

Boletín: Policías municipales de Acala privan arbitrariamente de la vida al joven Rolando Pérez (CDHFBC, 15 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested

March 16, 2014

Acteal (@Espoir Chiapas)

Acteal (@Espoir Chiapas)

On 12 March, the house of the family of Normelina Hernández López and Macario Arias Gómez was burned to the ground in the Puebla Colony.  The family is one of 17 others that was forcibly displaced from the community in August 2013 and now has taken refuge in the Acteal community.  The previous week there had already been burned the door of a catechismal house.  The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights indicated that “these acts took place despite the presence of approximately 30 officers from the State Preventive Police who seemed not to notice.”  For this reason, the Center expresses its “concern over the persistence of the violence climate and for the risky situation in which the forcibly displaced families find themselves.  In light of the gravity of the latest events, return looks more difficult.  For the situation we find the governmental authorities responsible by omission, for, instead of administering justice, they maintain and permit an impunity that generates tension and violence.”

Since April 2013, Catholics and Evangelicals from the Puebla Colony have been in conflict regarding land on which had been located a Catholic chapel.  On 23 February, the state government awarded the land in dispute to the San Cristóbal de las Casas diocese and for this reason, the displaced announced that they would return to their community on 14 March, a return that was cancelled after the burning of a door of the catechismal house.

Sources within the Chiapas state government reported that two people have been arrested from the Puebla ejido for the burning of the house of the family of Macario Arias and placed under the control of the State Preventive Police (PEP).

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman casa de familia desplazada del ejido Puebla (Parroquia de Chenalhó y desplazados de Colonia Puebla, 12 de marzo de 2014)

 Boletín: Persiste la violencia contra las personas desplazadas forzadamente del ejido Puebla (CDHFBC, 13 de marzo de 2014)

Pobladores del ejido Puebla, en Chenalhó, incendian vivienda de familia católica (La Jornada, 13 de marzo de 2014)

 Incendian dos casas de indígenas en Chiapas (El Universal, 12 de marzo de 2014)

Detiene a dos tzotziles por quemar casas en Chiapas (El Universal, 12 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: CDHFBC denounces cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment by municipal police of San Cristóbal de Las Casas against two indigenous persons

March 2, 2014

índiceIn a bulletin released on 24 February, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced that on 17 February, three municipal police from San Cristóbal de las Casas arrested and subjected two indigenous persons in the Tlaxcala neighborhood to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.  The CDHFBC indicated that they were insulted and beaten, and that they were held incomunicado and denied medical assistance before being released.

In light of these acts, the CDHFBC stressed that “we are concerned that elements of the municipal police, public security forces, and citizens’ protection and ministerial police act in Chiapas in such a disproportionate and arbitrary manner, using cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as we have documented.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín del CDHFBC: “Tratos y penas crueles, inhumanos y degradantes, por elementos de la Policía Municipal de San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas” (24 de febrero de 2014)

Chiapas: denuncian a policías por torturar y humillar a dos indígenas Proceso, 25 de febrero de 2014

Chiapas: Denunciation of attacks on BAEZLN from the Morelia JBG and on hospital personnel from San Carlos de Altamirano

February 7, 2014

Mural en Caracol IV, Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras @ SIPAZ

Mural in Caracol IV (Morelia), Whirlwind of Our Words @ SIPAZ

The Good-Government Council (JBG) from Caracol IV (Morelia), Whirlwind of Our Words, has denounced that on 30 January, some 300 members of the Democratic Independent Center of Agricultural and Campesino Workers (CIOAC) traveled on 18 trucks and severely assaulted Zapatista support bases in the 10 April ejido, pertaining to the 17 November autonomous municipality.  The Zapatistas requested aid at the San Carlos hospital in Altamirano, but the aggressors arrested them and blocked the passage of the ambulance, stripped and assaulted the nuns in the vehicle, and themselves appropriated the ambulance and a truck).  The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights documented the status of the injured, noting “two grave lesions and three hospitalizations, one of them facing the possibility of losing sight,” as the Center shared in its third press release.  “In addition, [there were] attacks and arrests of four personnel who work in the San Carlos hospital.  With regard to the aggressor group, there were 2 injured from the 20 November community who were hospitalized in the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in Altamirano and released the same day.”

The most recent attack against BAEZLN in 10 April community had taken place on 27 January, when 250 members of the Democratic CIOAC destroyed the signposts at the entrance of the ejido and proceeded to take down trees “which belong to our ecological reserve,” noted the JBG, using five vehicles: 9 pines were lost, in addition to 40 oak trees, 35 coffee plants, and 3 banana trees.  Furthermore, the attackers removed firewood “that is not for familial use but that was taken to sell, as carried away in 41 trucks’ worth.”

The CIOAC’s attempt to take over Zapatista lands began to spin out of control on 13 November 2013, although 2007 was the first time that “they provoked us by threatening to take the land we recovered in 1994,” as they “wanted to take control,” according to the JBG.

For more information (in Spanish):

La Junta de Buen Gobierno, Corazón del Arco Iris de la Esperanza del Caracol IV, denuncia la agresión que sufrió bases de apoyo del ejido 10 de abril del municipio autónomo en rebeldía 17 de noviembre, Chiapas, México(Enlace Zapatista, 1 de febrero de 2014)

Testimonio de personal del hospital San Carlos con respecto a la agresión a compañeros del ejido 10 de abril, ocurrida el 30 de enero de 2014 (Enlace Zapatista, 1 de febrero de 2014)

Omisión del gobierno del Estado de Chiapas para impedir agresiones a las BAEZLN. La CIOAC violenta el territorio del EZLN (Boletín de prensa No.3 del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 2 de febrero de 2014)

Denuncian agresiones a bases de apoyo del EZLN por seguidores de la Cioac(La Jornada, 2 de febrero de 2014)

Agreden a religiosas en el ataque al ejido 10 de Abril; les impiden atender a heridos (La Jornada, 3 de febrero de 2014)

Miembros de la CIOAC Democrática agreden a bases de apoyo zapatistas(Koman Ilel, 2 de febrero de 2014)

La JBG CORAZON DEL ARCO IRIS DE LA ESPERANZA CARACOL IV, TORBELLINO DE NUESTRAS PALABRAS denuncia hostigamiento y agresiones (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denunciation of harassment and attacks from the Whirlwind of Our Words Caracol (7 December 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



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:

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)

Chiapas: Acteal, 16 years in search of justice

January 1, 2014

22 de diciembre de 2013 @ SIPAZ

22 December 2013 @ SIPAZ

On 22 December 16 years passed since the Acteal massacre in the Chenalhó municipality, an act that killed 45 indigenous Tsotsil persons (14 girls, 4 boys, 8 men, 19 women, 4 of whom were pregnant) as they were praying in the Acteal chapel.  During the massacre, units of the Police of Public Security were located 200 meters from the site.  Members of the Las Abejas Civil Society once again commemorated the anniversary of the massacre this year, beginning on 21 December by sharing their experiences of struggle and ending with a pilgrimage and mass on 22 December.  Hundreds attended the commemoration.

“This sixteenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre we recall as being illuminated by a light that emerges from the Sacred Land of Acteal, but this light shines also through the darkness which covers our country in threatening clouds,” noted Las Abejas in their communique.  “Today counterinsurgency is for all, not just the indigenous of Chiapas.  It is made up of two parts: trickery and repression–or, as some say, the carrot and the stick.  Or, as Abejas have said at times: balls of sugar and bullets [...].  It is precisely what the bad governments are doing, whether run by Manuel Velasco or Peña Nieto and their programs such as the National Crusade against Hunger.  They have created programs of assistance by taking advantage of the needs of the people in communities; their objective is to ease their conscience to cover over the looting and handing-over of our country to neoliberal foreigners.  The worst thing is that, so that the people don’t lose the ‘spell,’ they do propaganda, promoting the idea that the government brings good things and supports the people.”

Las Abejas also recalled the 98 persons displaced from the Puebla Colony “over a problem that has been going on for 8 months without resolution.  Now the government says that it wants to resolve the problem so that the displaced return to their homes, but it wants to impose conditions in exchange for such a resolution.  The conditions are that paramilitaries not be mentioned, that justice not be demanded, and that we silence ourselves [...].  And now after leaving the side of justice and truth, the government says that the problems will be resolved with productive support and communal programs.”

Las Abejas ended by saying that “the people now are walking on the construction of another justice, and one of those paths is with the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP); we must meet more often.  We want nothing more than justice for Acteal, other massacres, and cases of human-rights violations throughout Mexico.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) read a communique at the commemoration which indicates that “Amidst impunity, the people save their memory, reflect, and find alternatives based on truth for the construction of justice.  In this way, relatives, witnesses, and victims of State crimes perpetrated in the Northern Zone, the Jungle, and Highlands of Chiapas met on 6 and 7 December in the Susuclumil community of Tila for the pre-audience of the work-group on Dirty War as violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice with the People’s Permanent Tribunal.  The session was called ‘Meeting for justice and truth,’ in which the judges declared: ‘It is not to the institutions of the Mexican State that we are looking for justice, but rather to alternative spaces for the construction and defense of our own justice, in addition to aiding with the convergence and union of the indigenous.'”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Las Abejas a 16 años de la Masacre de Acteal (22 de diciembre de 2013)

Boletín de CDHFBC: La memoria histórica: un instrumento para la verdad y la construcción de justicia (22 de diciembre de 2013)

El sistema de justicia, podrido: Las Abejas (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (27 December 2012)

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: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte

January 1, 2014


The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) has made public the arbitrary kidnapping and torture to which Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte was subjected after he was illegally arrested in July 2013, tortured, and coerced into signing a letter in which he confessed to being responsible for robbery.  According to the CDHFBC, on 21 July 2013 in Simojovel, García Villafuerte was arrested without the presentation of any arrest-order and by means of excessive and unjustified use of public force on the part of the specialized police of the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).  The CDHFBC demands the youth García Villafuerte’s prompt release and an investigation be conducted soon, impartially, seriously, and exhaustively, so as to assess responsibility to the material and intellectual authors of these denounced human-rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

En Chiapas persiste práctica reiterada de tortura y detenciones arbitrarias, denuncia Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Frayba denuncia tortura y privación de la libertad de un joven chiapaneco(Centro Prodh, 17 de diciembre de 2014)


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