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


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)

Oaxaca: Communities opposed to the Paso de la Reina dam report harassment and intimidation of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)

June 28, 2014
Demostration against the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric Dam (@SIPAZ)

Demonstration against the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric Dam (@SIPAZ)

Representatives of 42 communities in the coastal region of Oaxaca who oppose the construction of the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric dam have met with the Ombudsman of the Office for the Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) in Puerto Escondido.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform him of the harassment and intimidation from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against the people and communities who are opposed to the construction of the dam.

Although the hydroelectric project is a federal one, community representatives consider that municipal and state governments should get involved to promote, protect, and ensure the human rights of the population that could be affected. They have denounced that the communities have been deceived by the CFE since the latter has concealed the consequences the construction of the dam might have, among them forced displacement, disruption of the water supply, damage to the Lagunas de Chacahua National Park, and so on. All this would jeopardize the lives of Mixteco, Zapoteco, Chatino and Afro-mestizo groups in the region.

Meanwhile, the DDHPO committed himself to follow up on the complaints and to take up actions to protect the rights of the people and communities who would be affected.

For more information (in Spanish):

Preocupa a Consejo de la DDHPO, proyecto de la presa Paso de la Reina (NSS Oaxaca, 15 de junio de 2014)

CFE intimida a comunidades opositoras a Presa Hidroeléctrica (Voces Oaxaca, 16 de junio de 2014)

Preocupan a Consejo Ciudadano de la Defensoría comunidades afectadas por presa Paso de la Reina (Noticias, 16 de junio de 2014)

Hostiga CFE a comunidades por oponerse a la presa Paso de la Reina, denuncian ante DDHPO (Entidad, 16 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: The Diocese of Puerto Escondido expresses its full support to the communities in resistance to hydro project Paso de la Reina (June 13, 2014)

National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace (May 16, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (March 28, 2014)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (July 19, 2013)

Oaxaca: Police Operation after post-election conflict leaves several dead and wounded

June 14, 2014
San Juan Cotzocón City Hall (@Noticiasnet.mx)

San Juan Cotzocón City Hall (@Noticiasnet.mx)

On June 11, in the community of San Juan Cotzocón Mixe, there was an armed confrontation between members of the State Police and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) group of Gorgonio Tomás Mateos, identified as a protégé of former PRI deputy, Jesus Madrid Jiménez.

The confrontation, which ended with at least 8 killed, an unknown number of wounded and over 100 arrested, was unleashed when an operation by the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) ventured into the community to execute three arrest warrants against people linked to that PRI group. This group has kept the local population under siege since last May 18. According to official sources, the arrest warrants were part of an early warning issued by the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO), in which it requested the government intervention “faced with the inability of the San Juan Cotzocón City Council to protect the human rights of its inhabitants. “

According to some media, after the police operation, followers of Gorgonio Tomás Mateos threatened to lynch the people of San Juan Cotzocón who were unsympathetic to their group. At least 100 families entrenched themselves in their homes for fear of being attacked.

Since January 1, a group of residents of San Juan Cotzocón, led by Tomás Mateos Gorgonio, now a fugitive from justice, has taken control of the Town Council. Since then, locals have reported repeated of human rights violations perpetrated by this group,  including arrest and detention of at least a hundred people, the sexual abuse of women, the expulsion and displacement of more than a hundred people in the community, and the arrest of visitors from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), who came to the community to report on the displaced persons.

Various civil society organizations working for women and indigenous peoples’ human rights have expressed their concern and outrage “for the inaction of state and federal authorities to resolve the post-election conflict that, since January 2014, has besieged the community of San Juan Cotzocón, Mixe, Oaxaca where there has been an escalation of violence that has resulted in the murder of several people. ” These organizations also repudiated “the omission and neglect of state authorities, which has shown its ineffectiveness for conflict resolution in community settings.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Aumenta zozobra por violación a DH en comunidad mixe (Cimac noticias, 4 de junio de 2014)

La violencia se enseñorea en Cotzocón, ante complacencia del Gobernador (Página 3, 6 de junio de 2014)

Jesús Madrid detrás del conflicto en Cotzocón: habitantes (ID, 6 de junio de 2014)

Hay 21 desplazados en Cotzocón y 200 familias corren riesgo de ser expulsadas (Página 3, 9 de junio de 2014)

Enfrentamiento en San Juan Cotzocón deja 4 muertos y 9 heridos (Página 3, 11 de junio de 2014)

Un enfrentamiento entre elementos de la SSP y habitantes del municipio de San Juan Cotzocón, han dejado nueve policías lesionados y cuatro detenidos (Excelsior, 11 de junio de 2014)

La versión oficial sobre los hechos en San Juan Cotzocón (Quadratín, 11 de junio de 2014)

Ya van 33 expulsados de Cotzocón (Noticias, 11 de junio de 2014)

Gabino Cué solicitó intervención del Ejército Mexicano en Cotzocón (Página 3, 11 de junio de 2014)

Bañan de sangre a Cotzocón (Noticias, 12 de junio de 2014)

Deplorable la actuación del Estado frente a conflicto en San Juan Cotzocón: OSC (Consorcio, 12 de junio de 2014)

Oaxaca: The Diocese of Puerto Escondido expresses its full support to the communities in resistance to hydro project Paso de la Reina

June 13, 2014
Demostration form COPUDEVER (@SIPAZ)

Demostration form COPUDEVER (@SIPAZ)

Coinciding with International Environment Day, the Bishop of the Diocese of Puerto Escondido, Pedro Vasquez Villalobos, conducted a Mass in which he expressed the full support of the diocese to the community of Paso de la Reina and other communities organized in the Council of Peoples United for the Defense of the Verde River (COPUDEVER). In relation to their resistance to the construction of the Paso de la Reina Hydroelectric Dam, in the Municipality of Jamiltepec, Oaxaca, he stressed: “I say to those who live here and are striving to protect this river and the land, feel our support … our spiritual presence and strength of will because we are united to you, saying NO to the construction of the dam at Paso de la Reina … We are united with you, it is an union of the Church with you … “.

The bishop noted that the project violates the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people and stressed the importance of the river to the lives and development of communities that benefit from it: “You are the guardians of water, plants, animals, and the land they inhabit,” said the bishop in reference to the Indians, “rightful owners of these lands and territories”. 3.100 hectares of 40 villages from six municipalities would be affected by the dam.

About the smear campaign undertaken by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against the Diocesan Church of Puerto Escondido, the bishop said: “It has made serious disqualifications against our work saying that we come from outside the region and accuses of misinforming and confusing public opinion. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento diocesano (Diócesis de Puerto Escondido, 5 de junio de 2014)

La Iglesia se opone a proyecto hidroeléctrico en Oaxaca (Proceso, 5 de junio de 2014)

CFE desprestigia a Diócesis de Puerto Escondido por oponerse a Presa Paso de la Reina (Página 3, 5 de junio de 2014)

La Diócesis de Puerto Escondido y agentes de pastoral reiteran su apoyo al Consejo de Pueblos Unidos en defensa del Río Verde (Fé y resistencia, 6 de junio de 2014)

Respalda obispo lucha de pueblos contra Paso de la Reina (Noticias, 6 de junio de 2014)

Reitera Diócesis de Puerto Escondido oposición a hidroeléctrica Paso de la Reyna (E-Oaxaca, 6 de junio de 2014)

CFE desprestigia a Diócesis de Puerto Escondido por oponerse a Presa Paso de la Reina (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace (May 16, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (March 28, 2014)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (July 19, 2013)

Oaxaca / National: Assault on teacher Damian Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco

June 13, 2014
Demostration of teachers from Oaxaca (@Sección XX)

Demostration of teachers from Oaxaca (@Sección XX)

The Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH), reported that on May 26, the teacher Damian Gallardo Martinez, was attacked in the jail in Salto, Jalisco, where he is imprisoned having been accused of kidnapping the children of a Oaxacan entrepreneur. A criminal complaint was presented to investigate the facts, since his relatives fear he might be victimized by a new assault. Martínez Gallardo’s defense asked the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) to issue precautionary measures to ensure his physical and psychological integrity.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acusa Limeddh que Gallardo es hostigado aún estando preso (Enfoque Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)

LIMEDDH denuncia que Damián Gallardo fue atacado en el penal del Salto, Jalisco (NSS Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)

Piden a CNDH medidas cautelares para Damián Gallardo (Quadratín Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)

Oaxaca: “Any consultation to be realized now is illegal”; more than 15 wind farms have already been imposed

June 13, 2014
San Dionisio del Mar (@SIPAZ)

San Dionisio del Mar (@SIPAZ)

“For us, any consultation to be realized now is illegal, because it should have taken place 10 years ago. Now we want respect for our common land, 68,154 hectares that we were recognized by presidential resolution in 1964″, complained Mariano Gómez López, spokesperson for the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ). Currently, there are more than 15 wind farms in the communal lands of Juchitan, La Venta and other municipalities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, all of them imposed without prior and informed consent, as the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (that was ratified by Mexico) requires. López Gómez reported that villagers from Juchitán filed a constitution protection demand, asking the companies to justify why they did not conduct prior, free and informed consultation.

For this reason, representatives of the Ministry of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the General Secretariat of the Government of Oaxaca will meet in Juchitán de Zaragoza. The APPJ spokesman expressed that “probably they want to design a strategy on free, prior and informed consultation for the energy reform laws. But for us it does not apply, as the 15 wind farms already installed; or the one that Mareña Renewable (expelled from San Dionisio del Mar), now called “Southeast Wind Power and South Wind-farms” wants to build in Juchitán; or the Bii Hioxio wind farm which Fenosa Natural Gas builds on communal lands in Juchitán and that has continued to be built illegally, when its construction should have stopped. “

Furthermore, a workshop around the theme “What and How is a Consultation?” was held in the city of Juchitan, took place on June 7, because “today we are surrounded by huge fans using wind to generate energy. But do you know where these projects come from and how they affect or benefit us? This huge project of energy production was installed without asking the communities that live in the region and without giving information. People from the Isthmus and from the country have the right to be consulted when a project of this type is to be installed in our territory. “

For more information (in Spanish)

Ahora cualquier consulta sobre parques eólicos en Oaxaca es ilegal: juchitecos (La Jornada, 6 de junio de 2014)

Taller informativo: El Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas a la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada (Blog Tierra y Territorio, 4 de junio de 2014)

Escucha en Vivo el Taller informativo El Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas a la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada (Blog Tierra y Territorio, 7 de junio de 2014)

For more Information from SIPAZ (in English)

Oaxaca: threats and attempted kidnapping against communal defender of the Isthmus (April 26, 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca/National: Caravan of Migrants arrives to Mexico City

June 12, 2014
"We are migrants, not delinquents" (@Cuarto Oscuro)

“We are migrants, not criminals” (@Cuarto Oscuro)

On June 1, the Caravan for Migrants Free Transit left Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, in order to reach the capital of Mexico, with the aim of seeking dialogue with the relevant authorities and so as to denounce the treatments received by migrants en route to the United States. Father Alejandro Solalinde, director of the migrant shelter “Hermanos en el Camino,” called various Central American ambassadors to engage in dialogue with federal Mexican officials so as to find real solutions to the migrant movement’s demands.

Arriving in Mexico City, migrants from Guatemala and Nicaragua expressed outrage at the cancellation of the round-tables they were supposed to have with their consuls in the premises of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF): no one gave them a solid argument to justify such a cancellation. Only the charge d’affaires of the Embassy of El Salvador and the vice-consul of Honduras arrived to the round-tables. The meetings that took place addressed issues related to insecurity suffered by migrants crossing the country, the discrimination faced by Mexicans, and the extortion of victims by various police forces.

The migrant Gonzalo Gonzalez said: “As a Guatemalan I feel outraged that none of our representative authorities is here, when, supposedly, they ensure that the rights of Guatemalans are respected. Where are they? Whats up? What do they fear? A simple migrant that dares to speak out for the first time?”

For more information (in Spanish):

Migrantes hartos de violencia en México (Diario de México, 5 de junio de 2014)

“México es una gran maquinaria de desaparición de personas”: Solalinde; con EPN no hay expectativa de mejora (Sin Embargo, 28 de mayo de 2014)

INM repatria a 90% de centroamericanos y a 66.9% de América del Sur presentados (La Jornada, 1 de junio de 2014)


Sale caravana migrante este 1° de junio #Video (Oaxaca Tres Punto Cero, 1 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (May 3, 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (May 2, 2014)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike (April 29, 2013)

Oaxaca: Every other day a woman is killed in the state

June 12, 2014
Demostrations against femicide (@SIPAZ)

Demostrations against femicide (@SIPAZ)

Ana María Hernández Cárdenas, director of the civil association Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca, has reported that so far during the administration of Gabino Cue Monteagudo, 294 women have been killed, exceeding the figure of femicide murders during the previous government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Just in the period from May 10 to 30, 10 murders of women were recorded in the state, thus representing one murder every two days.

With respect to 2013, the cases of femicide in Oaxaca have increased by 216.6 percent, counting only from January to May 2014. In this situation, the director of Consorcio announced that civil organizations have requested a Gender Alert, and she demanded an immediate halt to violence against women, calling on the three branches of government to make progress in legislation, budget, and public policies consistent with the seriousness of the situation.

For more information (In Spanish):

Suman 289 feminicidios en lo que va del gobierno de Cué: ONG (Proceso, 23 de amyo de 2014)

Se disparan feminicidios (El Imparcial, 27 de mayo de 2014)

Feminicidios en color naranja (NSS Oaxaca, 27 de mayo de 2014)

Violencia feminicida es un problema de seguridad nacional (Ciudadanía Express, 28 de mayo de 2014)

¿Cuántos feminicidios son suficientes para una alerta de género? (Consorcio, 29 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English)

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (March 2, 2014)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women (8 December 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Conmemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmentalists

June 12, 2014
Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

The Mexican Environmental Law Center (CEMDA) announced that, between 2009 and 2012, 51 environmental activists were attacked in Mexico. 23 of those cases were murders and two are of forced disappearance.

Andrea Ulisse Cerami, responsible for Defense and Public Policy at CEMDA, also mentioned: “We have a record of cases but we believe there might be many more of them, because several defenders do not even report those aggressions. We believe that there are more; there are cases of persons that come to us and express that they are afraid to denounce. “

These attacks occur when communities oppose development projects of different types. The projects are imposed in their territories without consulting them, although they may imply the sale or abandonment of their lands.

According to Andrea Ulisse Cerami, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders, and it is among the 5 countries that have received the most complaints. The states with the highest number of reported assaults are Guerrero and the state of Mexico. The cases of Oaxaca and Chiapas, both rich in natural resources, are also notable. “There has been a number of complaints, mainly related to mining. The case of Mariano Abarca Romero, defender of indigenous peoples and anti-mining activist who was killed [in Chiapas], is one of them.”

Finally, the representative of CEMDA emphasized the failure to investigate and punish the perpetrators, “which is the main preventive measure that can be given.” “In the case of murders in recent years, none of them has been clarified. There is the problem of access to justice for environmental defenders. In fact the lack of punishment of those responsible is another measure that encourages new attacks because nobody seems to mind about them.”

For more information (in Spanish)

El CEMDA reporta 51 ataques a activistas del medio ambiente en tres años; hay 23 asesinados y dos desaparecidos (Sinembargo, 5 de junio de 2014)


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