Chiapas: South-Southeast Forum on analysis and construction of alternatives: Land Tenancy, Use, and Usufruct of land for women in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

August 5, 2014

Foro Sur-Sureste de análisis y construcción de alternativas: Tenencia, Uso y Usufructo de la tierra para las mujeres (@pozol.org)

From 24 to 26 July there was held the “South-Southeast Forum for analysis and construction of alternatives: Land tenancy, use, and usufruct of land for women in Chiapas,” which counted with the participation of approximatey 300 indigenous and campesina women from Chiapas and other states, as well as researchers and female human-rights defenders.  Upon conclusion of the event, participants expressed their opposition to policies that seek to deprive them of their natural resources by means of oil, mining, eco-tourist, wind-energy, hydroelectric, highway, and airport-seaport construction projects and by denying their traditional knowledges.  Participants denounced that these projects are being carried out without any sort of consultation or authorization from indigenous peoples themselves, but are instead blessed by governmental institutions.

Participants demanded, among other things, that the political and agrarian policies at the federal, state, and community levels respect their rights to land tenancy, use, and usufruct, as well as to their right to participate in decisions regarding land use and territory, without the denial of such using the argument of traditional uses and customs.

Lastly, they reported that they would seek to organize a broad movement of women to unite their strength with the people in resistance to demand their rights as women to land.  They affirmed that “we also call on the populace at large to also affirm our demands, to organize, and unite forces to arrest the offensive being waged by neoliberal patriarchal capitalism which, with the support of the government, threatens to remove campesino peoples from our natural and cultural goods to benefit national and transnational corporations, which threaten all forms of life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Mujeres en Chiapas y otros estados, reivindican su derecho al uso y usufructo de la tierra (Chiapas Paralelo, 29 de julio de 2014)

Realizan foro por derechos de mujeres indígenas y campesinas (CIMAC Noticias, 28 de julio de 2014)

Pronunciamiento final (28 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Pronouncement  from the women’s gathering “Saving Our Mother Earth” (20 June 2014)


Chiapas: regression in law on “legitimate use of force”

August 4, 2014

congreso

On 30 July, the Permanent Commission of the Chiapas state Congress welcomed the entry into law of the bill proposed by state governor Manuel Velasco Coello to overhaul the Code on the Legitimate Use of Force, otherwise known as the Chiapas Bullet Law or the Garrote Law.  This was proposed and approved by the Congress on 15 May before being published in the Official Periodical on 4 June.  Criticisms of said law include that it would allow police to dismantle protests when they consider these to represent threats to state security.  It should also be mentioned that the Article 19 organization intervened with a nullification measure before the federal judiciary, using the claim that the law was unconstitutional.

Manuel Velasco Coello took the decision in favor of the bill after the Puebla state governor, Rafael Moreno Valle, decided to retire his “bullet law” following the death of a youth due to a police shooting on 9 July.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobernador de Chiapas da marcha atrás a “ley garrote” que criminalizaba las protestas (Proceso, 30 de julio de 2014)

Reculan Ley Bala chiapaneca, dos meses y medio después de haberse aprobado (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de julio de 2014)

Fracasó #LeyBala en Puebla; atrás #LeyGarrote en Chiapas (Sopitas, 31 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force” (18 May 2014)

National: Creation of the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (26 April 2014)


Chiapas: New communique from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

July 28, 2014

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés (@SIPAZ)

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés (@SIPAZ)

In a new communique published on 25 July, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés reported that the support-bases from the La Realidad caracol have decided to share 59,000 pesos that have been collected for the reconstruction of the autonomous clinic and school that were destroyed in May to support the transportation of members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) which is soon to be held in Chiapas.  It should be recalled that from 4 to 9 August, this meeting between Zapatistas and other indigenous peoples belonging to the CNI will take place in La Realidad.

Subcomandante Moisés explained that this decision has been made public “because we cannot be like the bad governments, which say that money is dedicated to one thing but ends up being moved elsewhere.”  He expressed furthermore that “the construction of the accommodations for our indigenous brothers and sisters has now been completed, and we are finishing the last details so that everything will be ready with joy in our hearts to receive our guests.  The construction of the new school and clinic continues, also with joy.  Because while those from above destroy, we from below rebuild.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado “Para que sepan” (Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, 25 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: EZLN requests support for the reconstruction of the autonomous school and clinic in La Realidad (June 13, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces dates for the exchanges between Zapatistas and indigenous peoples of the CNI (June 12, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces upcoming activities (June 10, 2014)


Oaxaca: indigenous organizations and peoples challenge federal reforms, considering them to be “a legalized land grab”

July 27, 2014

(@Otros Mundos Chiapas)

(@Other Worlds Chiapas)

On 14 July, upon the close of the “Water and Energy” seminar held in Oaxaca de Juárez, civil organizations and communities pertaining to the Mixteco, Chatino, Zapotec, and Mixe peoples of the state of Oaxaca as well as organizations from Chiapas and Mexico City issued a communique denouncing the reforms being implemented in the country.  They indicated that said reforms betray a lack of respect for humanity rights and represent “a legalized land grab,” given that they were approved to favor national and international firms.

The authors of the communique explained that the laws on Hydrocarbons, National Waters, Mining, Public Service of Electricity, Geothermal Energy, Housing, Foreign Investment, Expropriation, National Goods, Labor, Regulation of Energy, Public and Private Associations, the National Agency on Industrial Security, Protection of the Environment, Education, and Telecommunications “have been presented and approved without the participation of the communities and citizenry in general who live in the country.”

They denounced that “they have found the three levels of government to lie, trick, threaten with death, repress, arbitrarily arrest, forcibly disappear, and even execute communal human-rights defenders,” and they affirmed that they will continue defending their lands and territories amidst this new attempt at looting.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de organizaciones y pueblos indígenas (14 de julio de 2014)

Pueblos de Oaxaca repudian despojo de Peña Nieto con Ley Energética(Ciudadanía Expres, 17 de julio de 2014)

Rechazan comunidades las reformas de EPN (Noticias.net, 18 de julio de 2014)

Reforma Energética legaliza el despojo territorial a pueblos indígenas: ONG´s (Página3.mx, 18 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English): 

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


National: Social organizations carry out “Disjointed National Mobilization” to demand release of political prisoners

July 14, 2014

movilizacion8julio

Photo (@EDUCA)

On 8 July, members of 38 social organizations organized a “Disjointed National Mobilization” involving roadblocks and protests in Mexico City, Yucatán, Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Chihuahua. The mobilization was organized to demand the release of Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Enedina Rosas Vélez, and Abraham Cordero Calderón, who have been imprisoned in Puebla state since April of this year for their opposition to the Comprehensive Morelos Project (PIM).

PIM, which is overseen by the Federal Electricity Commission, seeks to build two geothermal plants as well as an aqueduct and a gas pipeline to supply these plants; the additional infrastructure would cross the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala.  The construction works are being conceded to transnational firms, both Spanish and Italian.

Also during the mobilization, organizations demanded the release of Marco Antonio Suastegui, spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), who was detained in the state of Nayarit on 17 June.  The member organizations note in a communique that “we cannot allow the bad governments to continue imprisoning members of our people so that the conquistadores of today who own the large transnational corporations have all the ability to continue looting us of our land, polluting our nature, threatening our life, destroying our culture, and violating our rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Mobilización Dislocada Nacional 8 de julio 2014 (Alianza Única del Valle, 26 junio 2014)

Exigen liberación de activistas y cancelación de megaproyectos (EDUCA, 8 de julio de 2014)

Protestas en 8 estados por el Proyecto Integral Morelos (La Jornada, 8 de julio de 2014)

Campesinos de Ixtapa anuncian movilización (Reporte Ciudadano, 7 de julio de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: 13 días de ayuno y oración de Alejandro Díaz Santis para pedir por su liberación (8 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Organizaciones exigen la inmediata liberación del vocero del CECOP, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz (27 de junio de 2014)

Guerrero: Operativo policial detiene a opositor de la presa de La Parota(17 de junio de 2014)


Chiapas: Congress approves electoral reform. It establishes formal gender equality, but with exceptions

July 7, 2014
Congreso del estado de Chiapas (@chiapas.gob.mx)

Chiapas State Congress (@ chiapas.gob.mx)

On June 30, the Chiapas State Congress approved reforms and additions to the Code of Elections and Citizen Participation by majority. Such changes allow the approval of the federal political and electoral reform at the state level.

The most controversial points include that of gender equality for candidates for elected office, but the reform allows for the rule to be suspended, for, if the candidate comes from a democratic process of internal election within a party, it is conceivable that equality not be observed in such a case.

As part of the discussion, Alejandra Soriano Ruíz (Party of the Democratic Revolution, PRD), president of the Commission on Gender Equality of the state Congress, asked the lawmakers to remove this exception, but the proposal was rejected. Congresswoman Rosa Alma Siman (Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI) said in reply that women in Chiapas do not want to participate in politics, and that there are not enough women interested to ensure gender equality.

The delegate of the National Electoral Institute (INE) in Chiapas, Edgar Arias, announced that he will promote the challenging of these reforms before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), explaining that “on the subject of gender they should retain an exception to the constitutional obligation of parties to observe equality when nominating candidates.”

As for other changes, it is worth mentioning that campaign times were shortened in comparison with the times proposed at a federal level. For the governor it will be 63 days and for Congress and municipal government, 33 days.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impugnarán ante la Corte la reforma electoral aprobada en Chiapas (Proceso, 1ero de julio de 2014)

Congreso de Chiapas homologa reforma electoral (El Universal, 1ero de julio de 2014)

Aprueba Chiapas paridad de género… pero con “candado” (CIMAC Noticias, 2 de julio de 2014)


Chiapas: Resurgence of conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in Mitzitón

July 7, 2014
Tala de árboles en los Altos de Chiapas(@cgt)

Photo @ CGT Chiapas

On 29 June, inhabitants of the community of Mitzitón, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle announced that the community assembly of this town has taken “the decision to act against the criminals who operate in Mitzitón and who will be subjected to the sanctions agreed by our assembly, which are that from this moment they lose any land or community rights and therefore they should leave our area immediately.”

They explained: “Our community is divided by external economic interests, which have been harming our forests through the excessive logging of pine trees. And even though we have filed many complaints with the General Prosecutor of Justice of the state, they have not arrested anyone for the crime.”

After a community trial, eight people were detained.  Inhabitants of Mitzitón destroyed and burned about 25 homes of evangelicals belonging to a group that is known as “The Shrimps,” who they identify as logging trees illegally. Afterwards, the group whose houses were destroyed blocked the road from San Cristóbal to Comitán to seek the intervention of the authorities.

On June 30, the police unblocked this road, displacing nearly 100 indigenous evangelicals who were demanding the release of their arrested compañeros, after the Catholics handed them over to the State Police.

It should be remembered that since October 2013, the authorities in Mitzitón who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle have not recognised the land rights of 23 families allegedly engaged in illegal logging.

The evangelical pastor Esdras Alonso González, leader of the grouping Wings of the Eagle, said in an interview with La Jornada that the families whose homes were destroyed have received more than three million pesos from the previous government since 2011 to relocate to another location, but their leaders “kept the money.”

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General of Justice of the State reported that it “issued an arrest warrant against seven” people from Mitzitón accused of kidnapping, for events that occurred on September 11, 2013 in the same area. One of the detainees was released.

For more information (In Spanish):

Denuncia del pueblo de Mitzitón, Chiapas (Enlace zapatista, 29 de junio de 2014)

Católicos retienen a 8 evangélicos en Mitzitón, Chiapas (El Universal, 29 de junio de 2014)

Desbloquean la carretera Panamericana, tomada por indígenas evangélicos de Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de junio de 2014)

Acusa pastor a líderes evangélicos de quedarse con el dinero para la reubicación de 25 familias (la Jornada, 1ero de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Chiapas: people of Mitzitón recognize errors and name new authorities (April 3, 2012)

Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released (November 26, 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats and aggression in Mitzitón (May 31, 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (February 10, 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (October 25, 2010)


Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror”

July 3, 2014
Presentación Informe, 25 de junio 2014 @ SIPAZ

Press Conference, June 25, 2014 @ SIPAZ

On June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was commemorated. In this context, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (CDHFBC) presented the Special Report on Torture in Chiapas: Torture, mechanism of Terror.

Relatives of victims, psychologists, and specialised experts in the investigation of torture took part in the presentation, along with members of CDHFBC. Gabriel García Salyano noted that torture is a systematic and systemic event, since it has been naturalized in everyday life. He said that he sought a testimony from someone; he asked whether they had been tortured and they replied, “no, they just beat me a little,” making reference to the normalisation of violence.

Jorge Hernández, member of CDHFBC, said that “there is no justification for the practice of torture.” And he added that “torture occurs frequently in Mexico; it is a method of police investigation, of control, of terror: a product of the violence engendered by the political system, exerted by those from the government who represent power.”

The Special Report has recorded 17 events where at least one act of torture was performed. The towns where these acts were recorded are: Tuxtla Gutiérrez (6), Tapachula (2), Chenalhó (2) and one case each in Simojovel, Maravilla Tenejapa, Arriaga, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque, Sabanilla, and Acala.

For more information (In Spanish):

Report: La tortura, mecanismo de terror Informe Especial sobre Tortura en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 25 de junio de 2014)

Presentación Informe Especial La tortura, mecanismo de terror (CDHFBC, 25 de junio de 2014)

Frayba: Presentación de Informe Especial sobre la Tortura en Chiapas (Radio Zapatista, 25 de junio de 2014)

Presentación Informe Especial La tortura, mecanismo de terror (Colectivo Pozol, 26 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (April 29, 2014)

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

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (January 1, 2014)


Chiapas: Civil Society Las Abejas against the “Proposed Hydrocarbons Law”

June 28, 2014

 

Acteal (@SIPAZ)

Acteal (@SIPAZ)

On June 22, the Las Abejas of Acteal Civil Society denounced another effort by the government to promote “constitutional reforms [...] not for the benefit of the Mexican people, but for a few people who are sick with ambition and greed,” expressing their opposition to the “proposed hydrocarbons law,” defining it as “a project of theft and plunder of the peoples” to “legalize the theft of our lands and the invasion of our territory,” and also a “death sentence for millions of men, women, and children who [live] from Mother Earth.”

In their latest communiqué, they stated that: “We, the women and men, or the campesinos and campesinas, who work the land, we say we CAN LIVE WITHOUT GOLD; CAN LIVE WITHOUT OIL; but we CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT WATER!, CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT CORN.” They also addressed the senators and the president of Mexico, accusing them of being “traitors to the motherland,” stressing that “what they have done is succintly called a crime and betrayal of the motherland.” They pointed out that the hydrocarbons law states that “in 90 days the campesinos who own land on which there are presumed to be hydrocarbon deposits will come to an agreement with companies such as Shell, British Petroleum … etc,” and added that “here in our country their laws and their reforms of death and dispossession have no worth. They must know that we will defend Mother Earth, just like our brothers and sisters who were massacred at Acteal defended peace and justice, at all costs.”

Las Abejas continued to denounce the neoliberal capitalist system as “a machine of terror and inhumanity which represses, imprisons, dispossesses, and massacres the peoples who resist and build their autonomy.” Therefore, they continued to demand that their brothers and sisters of the organized peoples of Mexico “unite to defend our mother earth and territory, until the laws of plunder and dispossession of the Mexican political mafia are cast down.”

Finally, they expressed their solidarity with the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Pérez, who has received threats, the director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, Victor Hugo López, who has suffered harassment, and the family of David Ruiz, a member of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI), who was killed in a motor accident.

For more information (in Spanish):

Su “proyecto de ley de hidrocarburos”, significa, la sentencia de muerte (La Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de Junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community (26 April 2014)


Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Perez, the priest of Simojovel

June 28, 2014
Father Marcelo Perez (@ acteal.blogspot.com)

Father Marcelo Perez (@ acteal.blogspot.com)

In an Urgent Action issued on June 19, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre (CDHFBC) expressed concern for the death threats and harassment which threaten the life and integrity of the priest Marcelo Pérez Pérez and other members of the Parish Council of the municipality of Simojovel. For several months, the parish has been particularly active in seeking the decommissioning of bars, nightclubs, and centers of prostitution in the municipality.

During the last pilgrimage organized in this context, on June 6, board members heard: “This fucking father who keeps on fucking, what he wants is a beating or a bullet.” Other people during the pilgrimage were defaming the cleric through flyers accusing him of being a “subversive apostate,” “false prophet,” and “social destabiliser of the region,” among other insults about his work.

The CDHFBC demands from the State that it protect and ensure the life, personal integrity, and security of Father Marcelo and those who make up the Parish Council; that it investigate and put an end to the acts of death threats, harassment, assault, defamation, and criminalization against Father Marcelo and those who make up the Parish Council; and that it guarantee and respect the right to freedom of thought and free expression in the region.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Riesgo a la integridad y la vida del sacerdote Marcelo Pérez e integrantes del Consejo Parroquial en Simojovel (CDHFBC, 18 de junio de 2014)

Teme Frayba por párroco de Simojovel (La Jornada, 20 de julio de 2014)

Temen por vida de padre que pidió cerrar bares en Chiapas (Milenio, 20 de julio de 2014)

For more information in English:
http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/140619_au_2_marcelo_ingles.pdf

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)


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