Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice

October 31, 2009

On Monday October 26th, 2009, the Cathedral Square in San Cristobal de Las Casas was the scene of much activity and mobilization as three organizations and social movements arrived in the center of town, one after another. The three groups – the “community of Faith (Pueblo Creyente)–Tzotzil Region, The Other Campaign, and the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) – each had distinct demands that came down to the same basic message: there is no justice in Chiapas. Some demanded that “paramilitaries” charged in the Acteal Massacre remain in jail, while others asked for the release of social leaders who have been “arbitrarily detained.”


The Community of Faith–Tzotzil Region had organized a “Pilgrimage for Peace and real Justice” in solidarity with the Acteal Abejas. Together they called on the Supreme Court of Mexico to refrain from freeing any more of the prisonners accused as material perpetrators of the Acteal massacre of 1997. Five hundred people from the Highlands of Chiapas participated. At the end of the pilgrimage, mass was celebrated in the Cathedral by the Bishop of San Cristobal, Father Enrique Diaz Diaz, along with parish priests from the area.

According to journalists’ sources the Supreme Court of Mexico is expected to make a decision in the cases of 31 prisoners in jail for their participation in the Acteal Massacre of December 22nd, 1997. The media has reported that some of the prisoners could be released for violations to their human rights during the court process, despite the fact that Abejas members have identified them as material perpetrators of the crime. If the prisoners are released, they would add to the 20 persons who were already released August 12th as a result of another Supreme Court decision.


During the morning of October 26th about 200 Other Campaign followers – the majority indigenous – gathered at the San Cristobal bus terminal to begin a march into the city. They demanded the release of political prisoners, referring in particular to prisoners from the Front for the People in Defense of the Land (FPDT) in San Salvador Atenco (Estado de Mexico), the Civil Resistance Movement of non-payment for electric energy from Candelaria (Campeche), two tseltal members of the Other Campaign from San Sebastian Bachajon (Chiapas) and Alberto Patishtan, from the Voice of El Amate (Chiapas). The march, which was carried out as part of a national mobilization organized by the Other Campaign, came to an end in the Cathedral Square after the mass of the Community of Faith. Residents of the communities of San Sebastian Bachajon and Jotola, among others, also took the opportunity to speak to those gathered.


While Other Campaign followers were still carrying out their meeting, 100 members of the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata – Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) arrived at the Cathedral. They demanded the release of three of their “compañeros” who are presently jailed, as well as a stop to all harassment by the state government toward their organization. They announced the beginning of a sit-in in the Cathedral Square as a pressure tactic to resolve their demands, beginning October 26th for an indefinite period of time.

OCEZ said that ever since the arrest of one of their leaders, Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez, on September 30th, the harassment in their communities has been relentless. At dawn on October 24th the Attorney General of State Justice (PGJE) arrested other members of their group: Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez and Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez were arrested without being served arrest warrants. On October 25th a joint military and police search for drugs and firearms was carried out in Laguna Verde. Laguna Verde, along with neighbouring community 28 de Junio, are communities where members of OCEZ-RC live. Out of fear for their lives the residents had asked for the presence of human rights observers who were witnesses during the raid and concluded that no illicit objects were found.

For more information:

On the Pilgrimage of the Community of Faith and ‘Las Abejas’

Comunicado de Las Abejas de la conferencia de prensa del 22 de octubre 2009

La SCJN resolverá este miércoles sobre los recursos pendientes del caso Acteal (La Jornada 27/10/09)

Se manifiestan contra la SCJN… (Expreso de Chiapas 27/10/09)

On the Other Campaign March

ONG exigen la liberación de los presos políticos en el país (La Jornada (27/10/09)


Comunicado de la OCEZ-RC: En la madrugada detienen a dos miembros de la OCEZ Carranza la policía

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas

Exige la OCEZ libertad para 3 de sus dirigentes (La Jornada 27/10/09)

For more information from SIPAZ

Journey of the “Community of faith”: Reflection and action on a changing reality (August 2009)

Special Report on the Case of Acteal (August 30, 2009) – The Supreme Court (SCJN) Ruling: an irreproachable ruling judicially, a highly questioned decision based in the historical and actual context

Chiapas: The Abejas Denounce the Harassment of the Chiapas Government (october 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)

Campeche: National Meeting for the Liberation of Political Prisoners of Candelaria, Campeche

October 27, 2009

Imagen de la conformación de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil a las Altas Tarifas de la Energía Eléctrica, mayo de 2009

On September 13th, 14th, and 15th, the National Meeting for the Liberation of Political Prisoners of Candelaria was held in Campeche, in the capital of the same state, in solidarity with the five prisoners of Candelaria and the villagers of San Antonio Ébula, all from the state of Campeche. The five detainees from the “Movement in opposition to high electrical energy prices” in Candelaria who had been violently detained this past July 10th, accused of kidnapping, among other crimes, were freed on bail on September 23rd.

The meeting, in which six national organizations and twenty-eight organizations from nine Mexican states participated, among them several from the state of Chiapas, also brought solidarity with the villagers of San Antonio Ébula, who have been deprived of their own land by people contracted by the local businessman Eduardo Escalante with the complicity of the state government.

In the public pronouncement made at the end of the meeting, they emphasized that the encarcerated of Candelaria are “political prisoners of conscience because they have been deprived of their freedom for defending the rights of the people,” since they demand a just rate for electrical energy service. Moreover, the participants of the meeting denounced the conduct of the law enforcement authorities who, “have violated the human rights of our ‘compañeros’ . . . and, above all, have been clear in criminalizing civil disobedience and any other kind of organization that tries to defend the rights of the people.” They announced that they will take action to pressure and demand the freedom of the detainees. This means that a large part of the organizations participating in the meeting will become part of the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electrical Energy Prices, which was formed last May in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, and who have made mutual solidarity one of their principles in the vein of “One for all and all for one.”

In this context, Elmer Castellanos Velázquez and Guadalupe Lizcano Gómez were freed on bail due to the resolution of their legal defense’s appeal. Sara López González, Joaquín Aguilar Méndez and Guadalupe Borjas Contreras are still in jail, each of whom are from the Candelaria “Movement in opposition to high electrical energy prices.”

For more information (in Spanish)


Acción Urgente: Libertad inmediata e incondicional a l@s pres@s políticos de Candelaria, Campeche


Oaxaca: Supreme Court decision in Oaxaca case

October 23, 2009

La Policía Federal Preventiva en la ciudad de Oaxaca en 2006 Fuente:

On October 14th the Supreme Court of Mexico (SCJN) made a decision regarding human rights violations by authorities during the Oaxaca conflict of 2006 and 2007. The decision finds the governor at the time, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, responsible for human rights violations.

With a vote of seven to four, the Supreme Court holds the Oaxacan governor responsible for human rights violations committed by state police during the conflict that lasted from May 2006 until June 2007. However, a proposal submitted by Ministers Juan N. Silva Meza, Jose de Jesus Gudino Pelayo and Jose Ramon Cossio was rejected. Their proposal sought to include Vicente Fox, then president of Mexico, as well as Minister of the Interior, Carlos Abascal and Public Security Minister, Eduardo Medina Mora in the list of those responsible for allowing an unmanageable situation that exposed the population to situations that put their human rights at risk. The Supreme Court Minister Jose Ramon Cossio said now it will be up to Felipe Calderon and the Mexican Congress to decide whether or not they will proceed with a political trial against the Oaxacan Governor.

Ruiz Ortiz said he disagrees with the Supreme Court decision, calling into question whether or not Fox should have been included. Members of the Popular Assembly for the People of Oaxaca (APPO), who had asked for Ruiz Ortiz’s resignation during the conflict, insisted on the Oaxacan governor’s responsibility for human rights violations. The Secretary of section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) Gabriel Lopez Chinas, said the ex-secretary general Jorge Franco Vargas and the ex-public attorney Rosa Lizbeth Cana Cadeza should also be put to trial for being the operators “of unlimited repression against the Oaxacan people.” Section 22 of the SNTE – which brings together teachers from all over Oaxaca – suffered repression from the state government on June 14th, 2006. That repression resulted in the creation of the APPO, which integrated different social, political and indigenous organizations that confronted state authorities during the second half of 2006 to demand the resignation of the governor, whom they accused of suppressing social, political and indigenous organizations.

For more information:

More Information from SIPAZ:


Chiapas Forum: “Women’s Perspectives on Militarization”

October 20, 2009

foro mujeres y militarizacion

On October 2nd and 3rd, various organizations, among them SIPAZ, convened a forum on Women’s Perspectives on Militarization, which was held at CIDECI-Unitierra, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas. About 160 women from Guatemala, Honduras, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guerrero, and elsewhere participated along with those from the communities of Chiapas. Between lectures and table discussions, the women shared their ideas, sorrow, bravery, resistance, struggles, complaints, and injustices that their organizations and communities are enduring.

In the final declaration of the event, they stated:

“The increase, in the last decade, of militarization, para-militarization, and drug-militarization in Latin America has worsened violations of human rights, the most recent examples of which being the coup in Honduras and the installation of seven United States military bases in Colombia which signify, on the one hand, the weakening development of the fledgling democracies in Latin America, and, on the other, the strengthening of militarization as a means of control through the use of weapons, protests and proposals of social improvement through the neoliberal capitalist system in which poverty, corruption and violence are its principal expressions.

In this context, women will continue being used as the plunders of war, hostages, shields, forced to take place in activities that violate our dignity. The militarization seeks to appropriate our thoughts, spirits, families and territories. Today, we live in a militarized society in which power, coercion and violence are reproduced as a way of life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa del 2 de octubre

Pronunciamiento del Foro Perspectivas de las Mujeres ante la Militarización

Audios (in Spanish):

ponencias 2 de octubre

ponencias 3 de octubre


capsúla radiofónica

Chiapas: Open letter from the Abejas to Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of Chiapas

September 15, 2009

Abejas0809 027

In an open letter written to Governor Juan Sabine’s Guerero, the Abejas rejected the Governor’s invitation to meet with his representatives. In the letter dated September 7th, the Abejas requested that the perpetrators of the Acteal massacre of 1997 not be released. They also expressed their disagreement with the state government’s actions, which they say seek to divide their organization through offers of financial support and projects.

For more information (in Spanish)

- Carta abierta completa

- “Priva clima de división: indígenas” (artículo de La Jornada)

More information from SIPAZ:

Special report in the Case of Acteal (August 2009)

Chiapas: Memorial in Masojá Shucjá for the victims of the Peace and Justice paramilitary group

September 7, 2009
Masoja Shucjá @sipaz

The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center was invited. The communities that have suffered the same situation of war were invited. Other organizations were invited. The press was invited.

In the northern region of Chiapas the community of Masojá Shucjá wants its dead to be remembered and continues to demand justice. But more than ten years later, justice has yet to be served.

This past August 30th members of the Civil Resistance Movement Against High Electricity Rates (also belonging to PUDEE – People United for the Defense of Electrical Energy) and followers of The Other Campaign built an altar with flowers, candles and photos in Masojá Shucjá. The altar was raised not only in memory of those from Masojá Shucjá who have been killed and disappeared, but also in honor of the one hundred victims of the Peace and Justice paramilitaries in the northern region of Chiapas.

The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center’s 2008 Annual report reflected on the situation of human rights situation in Chiapas: “The internal armed conflict in Chiapas remains unresolved. As part of the Mexican government’s counterinsurgency strategy incentives were given to start paramilitary groups in specific regions of the conflict zone. Among these paramilitary groups the Peace and Justice is known for its cruelty and operative capacity in the Chol territory of the northern region, which includes the municipalities of Salto de Agua, Tila, Tumbala, Yajalon and Sabanilla. The counterinsurgency strategy, which has been documented by this Human Rights Center, has resulted in 122 cases of disappearances and executions from 1995 until 2001. Among the 122 dead, 37 were forced disappearances (32 men and 5 women) and 86 were executions (79 men and 7 women).”

Besides the imprisonment of five Peace and Justice leaders from 2001 to 2002, these crimes remain unpunished. On top of that it is feared that in the same way that perpetrators were released in the Acteal case, the few who have been sentenced in the northern region could be released as well.

By candlelight at dawn on Sunday August 30th, indigenous Choles from Masojá Shucjá began to pray for their dead relatives and for peace. After sharing tamales and coffee the church filled for a memorial mass. At the end of the mass survivors and relatives of the victims gave testimony and shared in their ever-present pain. In the words of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, when justice doesn’t come from above, it has to be built from the bottom up. This implies always remembering, never forgetting.

For more information (in Spanish):

- Indígenas de Chiapas exigen “justicia divina y terrenal” para sus muertos

- Balance anual 2008, sobre la situación de Derechos Humanos en Chiapas (Capitulo 4. Memoria Histórica. Crímenes de lesa humanidad en Chiapas: una política de Estado)

For more information from SIPAZ:

- Northern Region: a Powder Keg of violence (1999)

- The Tragedy of the Choles: a people torn apart by violence (1997)

Oaxaca: Liberation of 4 Loxicha prisoners

July 31, 2009


On the 18th July, four indigenous prisoners from the Loxicha region were granted early release from prison. Estanislao Martínez Santiago, Ricardo Martínez Enríquez, Cirilo Ambrosio Antonio and Urbano Ruiz Cruz had been imprisoned since 1996, accused of having committed a variety of different crimes of federal order.

The freed indigenous peoples come from a marginalized area, where they are routinely subjected to both violence and repression at the hands of the government, which, on the 25th September 1996 resulted in the detention of 12 individuals. The arrest occurred when, “on the 25th September 1996, the state and federal government implemented an operative in the Loxicha region that resulted in murders, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and grand-scale arbitrary and unjust detentions”, according to organizations that have followed the process, such as the Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño A.C, as well as the Zapatista Collective of Oaxaca and the priest Wilfredo Mayren Pelaez, spokesperson for the prisoners of Loxicha. “We must recognize that 8 political prisoners are still imprisoned, who, on the 25th September, will complete 12 years in jail; 4 of them remain in prison awaiting the resolve of their legal situation, whilst the other 4 will complete sentences of 30 to 34 years, during which time they are being deprived of their freedom.”

For more information (in Spanish), see:

“Liberan en Oaxaca a cuatro presos políticos”, CENCOS (20/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 presos Loxichas, después de 13 años”, Disidente Radio (19/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 compañeros de la region Loxicha”, El Enemigo Común (20/07/2009)

More information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: people march for the liberation of 12 political prisoners in Loxicha

Guerrero: Reports of military torture and harassment of three communities in the region of Cuyuca de Catalan

July 21, 2009


From the 9th to the 13th July a group of soldiers entered into three communities in Guerrero (Las Palancas, Puerto de las Ollas y El Jilguero) in the region of Coyuca de Catalán, in the area of Tierra Caliente. The soldiers fired gunshots into the air and at those who tried to flee into the mountains.

The aim of the military excursion was to detain members of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (ERPI), in particular the so-called commander Ramiro, whose real name is Omar Guerrero Solís, who organized a press conference from hiding on the 31st May. In his declaration, the commandor Ramiro accused a local political boss of using a paramilitary group with the aim of intimidating agricultural workers from the area who opposed deforestation or the cultivation of drugs in the area.

Although on the 9th June, 60 soldiers entered into the communities, on the following day, even more arrived so as to provide reinforcements to those already there, bringing the grand total of soldiers up to around 500. During the five days, women and children of the area suffered harassment by the soldiers, and in some cases, torture. At last, the army withdrew on the 13th June, when a team of observers arrived, formed of Human Rights organizations, as well as various Civil Society organizations, such as the Human Rights Defense Commission of the state of Guerrero (Coddehum).

The reports submitted by the Civil Society organizations talk of the specific torture of two individuals, as well as of house raids and the use of knifes that were placed on three women’s throats to make them give information regarding the whereabouts of their husbands. In addition, members of the communities suffered robberies, threats and various attempts by the soldiers to falsify tests that would suggest links between community members with armed groups and drug-traffickers, through the sowing of poppy seeds, as well as arms and other military equipment.

For more information (spanish):

Chiapas: First Continental Meeting Against Impunity, 20th and 21st July 2009

July 15, 2009
“The fight against abuse works to unify all of the towns of the region and leads to the sharing of experiences” (La jornada, 22/06/2009)

“The fight against abuse works to unify all of the towns of the region and leads to the sharing of experiences” (La jornada, 22/06/2009)

On the 20th and 21st July 2009, the First Continental Meeting against Impunity took place at the Zapatista Caracol in Morelia. More than 300 people, including international human rights observers, traveled from various states of Mexico and from various countries within Latin America to attend the event (countries included Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Guatemala).

There was no single dynamic to the meeting: it consisted of various horror stories, not much in relation to the crimes committed by the state in the recent past, but also because of the widespread existence of impunity, especially in reference to Argentina or in the case of Acteal in Mexico. A number of worrying concerns were raised during the meeting, especially in relation to the current events that are taking place in Peru, Guatemala and in the state of Guerrero in Mexico.

For more information, please visit:

Guerrero: prisoners of the OPIM are released

October 23, 2008

The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña (CDHM, El Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan) released the following press release regarding the appeal granted to 4 of the 5 members of the Indiginous Me’phaa People’s Organization (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa):

Federal judge grants appeal by Me’phaa indigenous men imprisoned in Ayutla

  • The verdict was announced on 15th October in favour of four prisoners. One will remain in prison.
  • The prisoners who won the appeal should be freed by tomorrow, Tuesday 21st October.
  • The verdict demonstrates that the aim of the arrests was to put an end to their organised work

Tlapa, Guerrero, Mexico on October 20, 2008- The Eigth District judge based in Acapulco, Livia Lizabeth Larumbe Radilla, granted the appeal by four of the five members of the Indigenous Me’phaa People’s Organisation (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me´phaa, OPIM). For six months they have been imprisoned in Ayutla jail, accused of the murder of an Army informer.

Following this verdict that was announced on 15th October, the First Instance Mixed judge in Ayutla, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, was notified on Friday 17th and he has 24 hours to release the accused indigenous men.

This would mean that tomorrow, 21st October, at the latest, the prisoners will be leaving the jail, except for Raúl Hernández Abundio, who will remain in prison because the District judge says that the witnesses claim that he was present when the gun that killed Alejandro Feliciano García was fired, on 1st January this year. However, this accusation is very vague. Read the rest of this entry »


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