International/National: national and international warning regarding the increase in the number of aggressions against defenders of the land, territory, and environment

December 16, 2014

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In observance of the presentation of the report “We no longer fear: Defenders of the land, attacked for confronting savage development,” Mexican civil-society organizations warned of the increase in the number of attacks on defenders of the land, territory, and environment in the country.

In the report that was presented, the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH) documents 106 cases of harassment against 282 defenders of the land and 19 civil organizations in this line of work throughout the world.  It denounces that 95% of the cases have gone unpunished, due to the “incapacity of the States to hold perpetrators accountable, either through their actions or inaction.”

In the case of Mexico, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) calculates that, from the beginning of 2013 to April 2014, 82 attacks took place on environmentalists, 35 of them in Oaxaca, with 9 in Puebla, 8 in Mexico State, 6 in Morelos and Veracruz, and 3 cases in Chiapas, Mexico City, and Sonora each.

The majority of the registered attacks took place within the context of wind-energy projects (30), mines, dams, highways, public policies, geothermal energy, and aqueducts.

37 of the attacks were perpetrated by authorities; in 30 cases, the perpetrators were unknown; in 5, attacks were carried out by people of the same community (who generally favor the project in question), in 3, organized crime was to blame, while in another 3, the question was related to people associated with firms who promote megaprojects.  Lastly, in 6 cases perpetrators were described as having ties to the authorities.

In the presentation of the FIDH, Adrián Ramírez, from the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH), warned also of the recently announced 10 points made by President Enrique Peña Nieto, given that these “place emphasis on supporting the states where megaprojects have been attempted to be imposed, amidst strong popular objections.  That is to say, the idea is to provide economic incentives to these megaprojects, as if the problem in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero has to do with development and not social inequality.”

Axel García, from the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), noted that for his part the number of documented cases registered by the Observatory “does not reflect all the attacks suffered by defenders.  These are only paradigmatic cases.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe de la FIDH “No tenemos miedo. Defensores del derecho a tierra: atacados por enfrentarse al desarrollo desenfrenado

Informe sobre ataques a personas defensoras ambientales 2014 (CEMDA)

Preocupantes, ataques a defensores del derecho a la tierra por proyectos eólicos (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2014)

106 casos de violencia contra defensores de la tierra en los últimos tres años (Animal Político, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

En 16 meses hostigan y atacan a 82 ambientalistas en México, acusa el Cemda (Sin Embargo, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Aumentan agresiones contra defensores de la tierra y de los pueblos indígenas (Proceso, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders (12 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Threats from the mayor of Santa María Chimalapa denounced

December 16, 2014

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Miguel Ángel García Aguirre, regional coordinator of the National Committee for the Defense of the Chimalapas, accused Silaín Hernández, mayor of Santa María Chimalapa, of being responsible for the threats he has received if he does not abandon the Zoque zone.  He explained in mid-November that he received phonecalls from at least two numbers from Oaxaca threatening him to leave the community.  He said he had received the call of a person who had refused to identify himself, “but to me it seemed like it was Silaín […] threatening me to leave Chimalapas […] this all in a threatening tone.”  He assured that, though the mayor be responsible for this behavior, he would continue to work in defense of the land in Chimalapa.

For his part, Silaín Hernández accused Miguel Ángel García and Luis Bustamante, also a member of the National Committee for the Defense of the Chimalapas, as well as the ex-secretary of governance Jesús Martínez Álvarez of causing a social destabilization after having released media communiques.  The mayor referred to a case from about two weeks ago, when a document that was firmed by the National Committee was released assuring that its membership along with the ejidal commissioner had not wanted to hold assemblies that would address questions of accountability and the prospect of a dam that would be installed on Zoque territory.

The communique in question distanced itself from the president of the ejidal commission, Ildeberto Mendoza, “for not having demonstrated interest in defending the interests of the people” amidst the permanent aggressions and invasions promoted by corporations and the Chiapas state government.  The document expresses that this decision was taken after the mayor manipulated Ilderberto Mendoza to suspend the general assembly on two occasions during which it had been planned to discuss the constitutional motion that had been interposed by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) regarding the invasion of more than 160,000 hectares of land by people from Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian amenazas de Silaín Hernández (Noticias Net, 19 de noviembre de 2014)

Alcalde de Chimalapas acusa al Comité Nacional para la Defensa de los Chimalapas de desestabilización social (Página 3, 19 de noviembre de 2014)

Desconocen a autoridad comunal por no defender a Chimalapas de invasiones y megaproyectos (Chiapas Paralelo, 13 de noviembre de 2o14)


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)


Chiapas: Sit-in, hunger-strike, suturing of lips, and simulated crucifixion for the release of Florentino Gómez Girón

December 15, 2014

Foto @ Raúl Vera/Chiapas Paralelo

Photo @ Raúl Vera/Chiapas Paralelo

Since 10 November, relatives of Florentino Gómez Girón (who has been held in the no. 14 prison of El Amate in Cintalapa since 1 May, on the charge of robbing cattle) and members of the “Ricardo Flores Magón” Popular Front have maintained a sit-in before the Chiapas state-congress in Tuxtla Gutiérrez to demand the release of Gómez Girón. Some days later, after having denounced “governmental indifference” and suffered police harassment and the threat of displacement using public force, those who comprised the sit-in began a hunger strike, sutured their lips, and participated in a mock crucifixion before the congress.

Filemón Gómez reported that the health of seven of the ten hunger strikes has declined, adding that they are presenting fluctuations in blood pressure, weakness of the extremities, nausea, dizziness, risk of infection, and gangrenous symptoms due to the sutures.  In this way, she added that protestors had had no contact with state authorities to address the case.

Juana Gómez, daughter to Florentino, mentioned that her father was arrested in Tuxtla Gutiérrez after a teachers’ march by two persons dressed in civilian clothes.  He was neither accused of any crime nor provided any evidence of having done so, and to date, no convincing evidence implicating Florentino Gómez has been revealed.  Furthermore, she affirmed that he was targeted for his political activism.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se crucifican indígenas en el Congreso de Chiapas (Milenio, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

Debilita ayuno a seguidores de líder preso en Chiapas (Imparcial Chiapas, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

Ante indiferencia gubernamental, mujeres de Chiapas se costuran los labios (Chiapas Paralelo, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Familiares de presos político inician huelga de hambre para exigir su libertad (Chiapas Paralelo, 19 de noviembre de 2014)

Policías de Chiapas detienen al activista Florentino Gómez (Proceso, 1 de mayo de 2014)


National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution

December 7, 2014

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March in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Photo @SIPAZ

On 20 November, in observance of the Day for Global Action for Ayotzinapa, protests were held in solidarity with the relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzianapa in many cities throughout the world.  From three points in Mexico City, thousands of persons marched, accompanying caravans of students and relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa to arrive at the rally in the Zócalo of the capital.  After the rally, when the mobilization that had been peaceful to that point ended, a group of youth launched rockets and attempted to break down the principal entrance of the National Palace.  Riot police intervened against them, as against the rest of the protestors who had not participated in this intensified phase.  People were injured and arrested, but the authorities have not released any official data.  Meanwhile, on social networks photographs emerged demonstrating presumed infiltrators in the protests, who were placed there supposedly to destabilize the protests.

The parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa expressed, before hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Mexico City’s Zócalo, that “this is not just about Guerrero: all throughout Mexico there are secret graves full of persons who have been executed outside the law and forcibly disappeared.”  This was their conclusion following the tour they carried out in several states of the country during the previous week, including the north and south of the country.  At the act at the Zócalo, one of the organizers reported that in more than 185 cities of the world, people had come out to the streets to demand the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.

In Chiapas, thousands of students, teachers, campesinos, and citizens in general marched in a dozen municipalities to demand the presentation of the students who were disappeared on 26 September.  At least 4000 marched peacefully in the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, a protest was organized that counted with the participation of a thousand people.  After a group of presumed infiltrators burned down shops after looted them, a strong police presence was deployed, leading to the arrest of several protestors.  Regardless, the police had been nowhere to be seen until 2pm; the morning of the protest progressed without any visible police presence.  The protestors distanced themselves from the counter-violence that was exhibited at the beginning of the march, when some set an Oxxo and part of a Soriana store on fire.  They accused the government of sending agents provocateurs.  Later, authorities announced the arrest of 13 “anarchists.”  Also in Comitán, Venustiano Carranza, Ocosingo, Tapachula, as elsewhere, protests were held.  Dissidents shared similar slogans, including, “You took them alive; alive we want them back,” and “Zapata lives; the struggle continues!”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Les decía ‘no me peguen, ya nos vamos’”; múltiples agresiones policiacas en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Marcha pacífica realizan en la capital chiapaneca (Diario de Chiapas, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Videos: Histórica marcha por Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Culmina la Jornada de Acción Global por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

La refriega en el Zócalo después de una marcha pacífica (Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Identifican en redes a encapuchados, antes de la marcha en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Fosas por todo el país: padres de los 43 normalistas (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Multitudinarias movilizaciones de solidaridad en ciudades del mundo (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)


Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa

December 7, 2014

©SIPAZ Marcha en San Cristóbal de las Casas de la Brigada Nacional por los desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa

March in San Cristóbal de las Casas by the National Brigade for the disappeared of Ayotzinapa @ SIPAZ

On 12 November, in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, relatives of the disappeared students and the student committee reported on the activities of the National Brigade regarding the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa.

The brigade was organized into three branches, one towards the north (passing through the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Michoacán); one toward the south (visiting the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Tlaxcala), and another state brigade in Guerrero, which visited the municipalities of Tlapa, San Luis Acatlán, Ayutla, Tecoanapa, Zihuatanejo, Atoyac, and Acapulco.  The three caravans met in Mexico City on 20 November to conclude their work with a mass-march and rally in the Zócalo.  The objective of the Brigade was to collect direct information regarding the acts of 26 and 27 September, the investigative process, and the search for the 43 disappeared students, beyond making proposals for the elaboration of a program for struggle and action that would transform the causes led to the events seen in Iguala.

The “Daniel Solís Gallardo” Brigade arrived to Chiapas on 14 November, being named for one of the normalist students who was killed on 26 September, and it led a march through the streets of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, to the applause of onlookers.  “Alive they took them; alive we want them,” “Ayotzinapa, hold on; Chiapas is rising” together with other slogans were heard until the march reached the Cathedral Plaza.

At the rally, two women spoke, being the mothers of two of the disappeared.  They said that they no longer have fear, and that they are prepared to give their lives to find their sons, because though the government says they are dead, they believe in their hearts that they are still alive.

On 15 November, the members of the Brigade visited the Zapatista caracol of Oventik, where they met with the high command of the Revolutionary Clandestine Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and the EZLN expressed its sympathy for the pain, rage, and powerlessness of the parents who still have yet to find their sons.

The activities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas concluded with a press-conference during which Brigade members noted that the EZLN had suggested that they “visit those who like us have suffered forcible disappearances or extrajudicial executions–who are not few in number in this country–because it is only they who will understand us and accompany us in our pain and struggle.  It is they with whom we can articulate a movement, a larger and more powerful nucleus with all the social organizations that would like to join,” following their return through Oaxaca.

For more information (in Spanish):

Expresa el EZLN total apoyo a familias de normalistas desaparecidos, La Jornada, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Caravanas por Ayotzinapa llegan a Chiapas y Chihuahua, Proceso, 14 de noviembre de 2014

Concluye visita a Chiapas de la caravana de Ayotzinapa, Proceso 16 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras del Comandante Tacho en el inicio del encuentro del EZLN con la caravana de Ayotzinapa, el 15 de noviembre del 2014, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras de la Comandancia General del EZLN en voz del Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras del Comandante Javier, dando la bienvenida en el caracol de Oventik a la caravana de Ayotzinapa, el 15 de noviembre del 2014, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)


Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo

December 6, 2014

(@Koman Ilel)

(@Koman Ilel)

From 10 to 12 November, in the Chicomuselo municipality, different activities were organized to protest mineral exploitation and to organize in defense of life.  At the end of a march held on 10 November, Chicomuselo was declared a “municipality free of mining.”  On 12 November, the Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth took place, with the participation of 3,500 persons.

At the close of the event, participants declared their opposition to mineral exploration and exploitation operations, as well as wind-energy plants, natural gas ducts, hydroelectric dams, and superhighways sought to be imposed on their lands.  They noted that the structural reforms advanced by the federal government “in no way benefit the campesino and indigenous peoples of our country but instead seek to facilitate once again the looting of our common goods and to impoverish us evermore with policies that would have us depend on the large firms of the country, as well as transnationals.”  They affirmed that they would continue to resist the government “and its predatory policies,” and they called on Mexican society to unite to the cause against megaprojects, to educate itself, and to act “amidst a system that oppresses, imposes, and violates human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran a Chicomuselo territorio libre de minería (Chiapas Paralelo, 10 de noviembre de 2014)

Chicomuselo, libre de explotación minera (Koman Ilel, incluyendo materiales audiovisuales y declaración final, 11 de noviembre de 2014)

“Megaproyectos despojan y saquean a la Nación”, denuncian comunidades campesinas e indígenas (Sididh, 12 de noviembre de 2014)

Acuerdan ejidatarios que Sierra Madre de Chiapas estará libre de minería(Chiapas Paralelo, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

A 5 años del asesinato de Mariano Abarca por su resistencia contra la minera Blackfire, demandamos justicia (Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo Extractivo Minero, 12 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciation of renewal of mining activities in Chicomuselo (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)


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