Chiapas: Denuncia PUDEE amenazas y hostigamiento de la CFE

April 8, 2013


On 23 March, representatives from communities in resistance and members of the People United for the Defense of Electricity (PUDEE) from the Tila, Sabanilla, Tumbala, and Salto de Agua municipalities released a communique in which they denounce “the climate of confrontation among communities being provoked by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in the communities of the northern zone of Chiapas.”  The communique mentions that, since the beginning of the year, the CFE has been visiting the communities of these municipalities toward the end of finding the authorities of the communities in resistance who refuse to pay for electricity prices, which in recent years been very high.  “[They call for] meetings in the communities to inform that starting this year, the indebted must pay for their consumption of electricity, and the CFE will install meters, so as supposedly to offer quality services.  They also offer a convention whereby users commit to paying their debts over the course of five years.  They are saying that they will be changing to digital meters and other technological equipment to control electrical services.  This is one of the means of controlling us and refusing us service.  In some communities, there are confrontations, because ejidal authorities and rural agents are accepting these tricks.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado PUDEE (23 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE (24 March 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: harassment and threats from the CFE directed at organizations resisting high-electricity prices denounced

March 5, 2013


In a communique published on 22 February, the Laklumal Ixim organization (Our People of Maize) denounced the harassment and threats carried out by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against organizations resisting high-electricity prices in the Tila and Tumbala municipalities (northern Zone of the state of Chiapas).  Laklumal Ixim note that CFE employees have systematically visited those in civil resistance (of indigenous majority) so as to give them documents to pay.The organization denounced that “the CFE threatens to demand penal penalties, if payment is not received for the continued use of electricity […].  In this way they seek to facilitate the robbery of the people and the repression of their struggle for the right to just prices that accord with the conditions of poverty in which the majority of people of Chiapas live.”  Laklumal Ixim affirmed that in a similar sense, female beneficiaries of the “Opportunities” program have been threatened with having their benefits revoked if they did not pay for these bills.The organization noted that more broadly, “communities of the northern jungle regions who pay for their electricity find themselves rather worried about the CFE’s decision to increase electrical energy prices and to suspend subsidies, such that prices have skyrocketed, making payment practically impossible.”Laklumal Ixim stressed moreover that “it is lamentable that the present governor, instead of attending to the enormous structural challenges and social conflicts [in the state], spends his time on tour, celebrating, and promoting his image as a wasteful spender, as though he were in an electoral campaign.  We seriously call on the Chiapas state-government soon to assume its constitutional responsibilities and to observe its promises, such that during this government there comes to be a just price for all those in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Iniciará CFE en Chiapas procesos legales por resistencia al pago de energía (Milenio, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Comunicado completo de Laklumal Ixim (22 de febrero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mobilizations at the national level against high electricity prices (12 February 2013)

Mexico: National day of protests against high electricity prices (4 April 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE (24 March 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)

Campeche: Arrest of activist campaigning against high electricity prices (26 May 2010)

Mexico: AI Declares Activists against High Electricity Tariffs Prisoners of Conscience (10 March 2010)

Chiapas: Choles block highway in the Northern Zone

April 13, 2012

On Tuesday 10 April, Ch’ol women and men from communities of the Tila and Tumbalá municipalities who pertain to the organization Laklumal Ixim (Our People of Maize), carried out a highway blockade at the deviation known as Pulpitillo on the route from Yajalón to Tila and Tumbalá, to observe the 93rd anniversary of the murder of General Emiliano Zapata.  By means of a political pronunciation they report that they would like to “show that the struggle for the land and its defense continue being relevant […].  We denounce that with the present governments of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Juan Sabines Guerrero, we indigenous people continue to experience a strategy that seeks to carry out legalized looting of our lands so as to hand them over via megaprojects to large foreign corporations, all of this by means of trickery and lies associated with the programs FANAR, previously PROCEDE-PROCECOM.”

They demand, among other things, that “the Chiapas state government definitively cancel the concessions it has granted to Canadian mining companies, […] the cessation of the strategy of looting of our communal and ejidal lands by means of the Agrarian Ministry through lies and illegal acts taht seek to impose FANAR, previously PROCEDE, […and] a just electricity price in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento pueblo chol (10 de abril)

En Tila y Tumbalá recuerdan a Zapata (Cuarto Poder, 11 de abril)

Chiapas: Masojá Shucjá, commemoration of the victims of the conflict of ’95 and ’96

October 7, 2011

On 1 October there was held a celebration in commemoration of the victims of the conflict of the years 1995 and 1996 in the northern zone of Chiapas.  It was held in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, where 8 were killed at the hands of the organization “Paz y Justicia” during those years.

The event was attended not only by people of the community and neighboring ones but also by persons of other regions, including a delegation of the Las Abejas Civil Society (municipality of Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, which was another region that was particularly affected by violence at the end of the 1990s).  The choir of Las Abejas sang songs while a group of youth from this organization presented a theatrical work regarding the Acteal massacre of 1997.

Following the religious celebration and the play, participants at the event walked to a small pantheon where some of the victims have been buried; there, relatives of the dead and disappeared prayed and presented their word, as did present and past victims in addition to others invited to the celebration.  Four women from Jotalá spoke about how they experience violence today on the part of the government.  A resident of the Nuevo Retorno community gave his word by narrating how it was that those displaced from Miguel Alemán, a bastion of Paz y Justicia at the time, relocated themselves in 2002 to Nuevo Retorno after having lived for years in Masojá Shucjá.

The entire commemoration was a call to maintain alive memory and to continue demanding justice for the victims: Romeo Pérez Pérez, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, Mateo Hernández López, Juan Ramirez Torres, Hector Pérez Torres, Encarnación Pérez Pérez, Maria Rebeca Pérez Pérez, Sebastián Pérez López, among those who fell in Masojá.

A canvas explained what happened in the following manner:

In this place, where the waters cross, 15 years ago the Mexican government began to apply violence against the communities by means of a coordination among the military and the paramilitary organization Paz y Justicia.  In this way the Mexican government engaged in a politics of death in our Ch’ol region of the northern zone.

Our community was besieged and our brothers and sisters ambushed, disappeared, and executed.  They besieged us so that we would suffer hunger, fear, and disorganization.  In this way they brought us death.

Now we through prayer and celebration save our memory and create life.  Our memory is against forgetting; it is for true justice, so that these acts of death do not repeat themselves.  The armed conflict in Chiapas is part of a strategy of counter-insurgency; the Mexican government incentivized the creation of paramilitary groups in different regions of the conflict zone.

Among these paramilitary groups was distinguished for its cruelty and operative capacity the organization Paz y Justicia, which operated in the Ch’ol territory of the northern zone of Chiapas in the municipalities of Salto de Agua, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, and Sabanilla.  This documented counter-insurgency strategy left 122 cases of disappearances and executions in the period from 1995 to 2001, of which 37 were forced disappearances (32 men and 5 women) and 86 executions (74 men and 7 women).

All these actions were carried out by Paz y Justicia with the support of the Mexican Army and the Ministry of Public Security, resulting in over three thousand forced displacements.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demand for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996 (7 October 2010)

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)

Chiapas: MRPS announces the creation of a Human Rights committee and march

April 12, 2010

On April 9, 2010 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico,  The MRPS – Popular Resistance Movement of the Southwest – announced the creation of the “Digna Ochoa Human Rights Committee of Chiapas” with presence in the municipalities of Petalcingo and Tumbalá in the northern zone of Chiapas.

They denounced “a climate of persecution and criminalization of priests, social justice workers and human rights defenders” as well as strategies of “persecution, repression and provocation” promoted both by the state government of Chiapas and the federal government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa with whom they charged “the de facto suspension of constitutional guarantees and human rights of our people and the establishment of a state of emergency“.  Given this panorama of “structural human rights violations” and the urgent need to “strengthen the organizational processes of our communities“, this committee “through community monitors, will be an instrument for documenting and systematizing the violations of our human rights committed by the various state bodies.

In the same press conference, the MRPS announced a march that took place the following day, April 10, 2010, in the township of Tila, with three motives:  “publicly demonstrate [their] rejection of the Support Fund for Agricultural Entities without Regularization” (FANAR in spanish, which they said is the new face of PROCEDE, Program for Ceritification of Ejidal Rights and Titles to Urban Plots) vindicating the rights of the ejidatarios; “claim a fair rate of electricity for Chiapas and maintenance and repair of CFE electrical energy lines in the municipalities of the Northern zone, and the termination of criminalization and persecution of human rights defenders in Chiapas.

Chiapas: contradictory stories on new conflict in Bolón Ajaw

February 15, 2010

At the close of last week, several contradictory accounts were presented regarding a new conflict in the fields of Bolón Ajaw, municipality of Tumbalá, in the north of Chiapas.  Managed by the Zapatistas since 1994, these fields, which pertain to the autonomous muncipality of Comandanta Ramona, are located 4km from Agua Azul.  They feature waterfalls that have yet to be exploited for touristic ends.

The first version of these events speaks of a confrontation on 6 February between members of support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and members of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC) that left one dead, 12 injured, and 5 arrested among the Zapatistas.

In a subsequent communiqué, the Attorney General for State Justice (PGJE) confirmed that the conflict had left 1 dead, 5 detained, and 28 injured among members of OPDDIC, as the number of injured among the Zapatistas was said to be unknown.   13 of the 28 injured were hospitalized with injuries that seem to have resulted from firearms, knives and machetes, and fists.  According to the PGJE, the conflict erupted in January when Zapatistas from Bolón Ajaw requested support from sympathetic communities in Oxchuc, Alan Sacjun, Salto del Tigre, and Bachajón in preventing OPDDIC members from cleaning the pathway from the Agua Azul waterfalls to those of Bolón Ajaw, a move that was considered by the Zapatistas to encourage tourism.

On 10 February, the Agustín PRO Center for Human Rights entitled one of the entries in its media synthesis “Confrontation in Chiapas spurs media campaign against indigenous communities–communication media from Mexico City emphasize ‘executions’ and ‘disappearances’ on the part of the Zapatistas on their front pages.”  Other media pointed out the still-relevant judiciary findings against OPDDIC from February 2008 for the charges of aggression, assault, death-threats, murder attempts against non-governmental organizations and EZLN support-bases in Bolón Ajaw.  Other media accounts alluded to the Morelia Good Government Council’s 23 January 2010 report on OPDDIC aggressivity in the same community.  Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle gathered in La Otra Jovel claimed that in the Bolón Ajaw ejido “the population has been now for many years harassed by other indigenous individuals organized and armed by the government as paramilitary groups.”

The Chiapas state government announced on 10 February that EZLN support-bases had released 5 OPDDIC members, thus confirming the PGJE statement.

In a communiqué released on 11 February, the Good Government Council (JBG) of Morelia clarified the recent events in Bolón Ajaw by referring to its previous communiqué:  “15 days ago we released our statement; for us, this period of time was to represent a time of waiting to see if they wanted to dialogue, but they never approached us.”  The JBG added that “this is the restarting of the types of tricks used by previous governments that would simply make up crimes so as to be able to justify their repressiveness.”

Regarding the conflict of 6 February, the JBG noted that “the OPDDIC lies claim that it to have been us that surprised the population at dawn, when in fact it was us who were thus surprised.”  The communiqué further claimed that OPDDIC members “arrived with pistols and rifles in hand firing at our compañeros.  We estimate that they expended some 250 cartridges of .22 ammunition (…).  40 OPDDIC members arrived in Bolón Ajaw with weapons at hand; they went to the village church, forcibly entering by destroying the door, and destroyed much inside (…).  The indiscriminate firing that they engaged in while in Bolón Ajaw itself was the cause of the deaths among them.”

The JBG admitted that “of course we detained 7 of them, but we have respected them at all moments and indeed have given them to eat (although not high-quality food, since we ourselves do not have such) and water to drink as well as a room in which to sleep (although, again, not a terribly comfortable one, since this is how we live) and blankets.  In sum, we have respected their rights as humans; even if they are animals, we know how to respect them (…).  We proposed that they be released on condition that they promise not to occupy the land and that tranquility be restored.  This was our proposal, which we have observed with honor and truth.”

The JBG also mentioned that “Pedro Raúl López, special prosecutor for matters pertaining to non-governmental organizations, shared the message of Juan Sabines Guerrero, who insinuated that the military could be ordered in, with the result that dialogue would collapse and hostilities be reinitiated if the problem were not resolved through dialogue.”

For more information (in Spanish):

The Morelia JBG clarifies recent events in Bolón Ajaw (11 February)

EZLN support-bases release 5 OPDDIC members previously detained in Agua Azul (La Jornada, 11 February)

Pending judicial findings against OPDDIC members (La Jornada, 10 February)

Confrontation in Chiapas spurs media campaign against indigenous communities (media synthesis from the Agustín Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights, 10 February)

Agua Azul residents call for justice after having been assaulted by Zapatistas (Milenio, 10 February)

EZLN group executes an indigenous individual and disappears 5 (Razón, 10 February)

Alleged Zapatistas detain indigenous individuals (El Universal, 10 February)

Confrontation at Bolón Ajaw field leaves 12 indigenous people injured (La Jornada, 8 February)

The JBG of Caracol IV in Morelia denounced aggression on part of OPDDIC (communiqué of 23 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: aggression against members of CAPISE and SERPAJ (9 February 2008)


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