Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero/National: Criminalization of Social Protest

April 26, 2016

Protest.pngDuring the teachers’ mobilizations in Chiapas. Photo: @Cuartoscuro

On Friday April 15, the teachers began a day of mobilizations across the country as part of a “new struggle against educational reform, for the defense of public education, and employment stability”, which began with the blockade of highways, ports and border crossings in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Chiapas.

Teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) on the Tehuantepec Isthmus led two highway blockades as part of their actions against educational reform, the education law in Oaxaca, and to demand the release of political prisoners. In Guerrero, contingents of the State Coordinator of Education Workers in Guerrero (CETEG) blocked the lanes of the Sol Mexico-Acapulco motorway from morning as well as demonstrating on a number of streets of the capital. In Michoacan, at least three thousand members of CNTE, accompanied by trainee teachers of Arteaga municipality and some social organizations took control of the entrances to the industrial zone and blocked the exit to the Morelia motorway.

In Chiapas, the “disproportionate use of the security forces, arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments which characterize repression and criminalization of social protest” were committed and documented by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez during the actions of the teachers from CNTE and the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE). CDHFBC pointed out that elements of the Federal Police, the Gendarmerie, and the State Police took part and used “indiscriminately and unjustifiably tear gas and rubber bullets damaging the health of those who were protesting.” Also, they denounced that they physically injured the passersby or those who were at the site of the repression, including children, women, and seniors. In the two cities, elements of the police “arbitrarily detained and with inhumane and/or degrading treatment, without respect for personal guarantees nor mediating protocols that protect security and integrity, at least eight women teachers, ten male teachers and three passersby” who were removed to the maximum security prison at Tepic, Nayarit.

The Ministry of Public Education (SEP) made it known that it sanctioned “with discounts […] and with separation from service 13,700 teachers” who participated in the protests against educational reform in different states of the country. CDHFBC urged the Mexican State to “assume the obligation to protect, guarantee and respect human rights; cease repression and criminalization of social protest; guarantee life, integrity and personal security of those who exercise their legitimate right to free protest; immediately, effectively, seriously, thoroughly and impartially see to these events, sanctioning those responsible for the human rights violations described; and immediately release the people arbitrarily arrested and unjustifiably transferred accused of invented crimes as justification for the repressive actions.”  

For more information in Spanish:

Movilización de la CNTE contra la reforma educativa en 28 estados (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

SEP sancionará a más de 13 mil docentes por protestas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

Policías repliegan a maestros en Chiapas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

Boletín: La represión del Estado mexicano criminaliza la protesta social en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 16 de abril de 2016)

Tortura y represión en operativos contra SNTE en Chiapas: Frayba (La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2016)

Criminaliza el Estado a los maestros en Chiapas: Frayba (Desinformémonos, 17 de abril de 2016)

Acusan golpes y torturas contra maestros detenidos en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de abril de 2016)

Con marchas y protestas, exigen la liberación de maestros detenidos en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de abril de 2016)

NotiFrayba:Criminalización de la protesta social en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 18 de abril de 2016)

For more information form SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero: Protestas del magisterio contra la reforma educativa en varios estados (25 de febrero de 2016)

Guerrero: Maestros en Acapulco lograron sabotear la evaluación de docentes (14 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Choques entre policía y magisterio en el bloqueo a la evaluación (21 de octubre de 2015)


Chiapas: Day of Action for the Liberation of Alejandro Diaz Santiz and Political Prisoners

April 23, 2016

Presos.pngDuring the cultural event in Plaza de la Resistencia y la Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Photo: @Work Group “No estamos todxs”

In the framework of International Political Prisoners Solidarity Day, relatives of Alejandro Diaz Santiz organized a cultural event, a sit in and press conference for the freedom of the unjustly imprisoned [man] together with collectives and sympathizers. Diaz Santiz, who has been deprived of his freedom for 17 years, is an adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and from prison has been organizing to denounce violations of his rights and those of other prisoners. Last September he was moved to the Federal prison at Villa Comaltitlan in Tapachula in spite of the fact that he had been sentenced for a local and not federal jurisdiction crime as well as not being a highly dangerous prisoner. According to his attorney, Leonel Rivero Rodriguez, he was transferred “in a totally arbitrary manner” and the move “had no type of basis.”

Antonio Diaz Velasco, Alejandro’s father, stated in the press conference that, in spite of the fact that his son’s visual health is deteriorating, he is not receiving medical attention in prison. “I saw that he is ill, his eyes are discolored, I asked him what was wrong, he said that they don’t give him medication, little food, beans and five tortillas.” He confirmed that the transfer is making family visits difficult because the distance from his community to the prison is long and they do not have the economic resources to pay for transport. Pedro Lopez Jimenez, member of the Supporters of the Voice Amate organization, added that they hope that “the authorities fulfill their promises and free Alejandro” as the State Government signed an agreement in February for the liberation of Diaz Santiz. For his part, Rivero pointed that Alejandro was subjected to an irregular trial, having “a bad or no defense” following his arrest. It should be recalled that Diaz Santiz is a Tsotsil indigenous who “at the time of his arrest did not speak Spanish, was tortured, never had access to an interpreter, and did not have enough money for an adequate legal defense”, the Work Group “No Estamos Todxs” (GTNET) statement said.

According to the attorney, Alejandro would currently have the right to parole for partial remission of the sentence – a reduction of his sentence for good behavior and participation in social reinsertion activities – for which a legal protection was lodged and is awaiting verdict. Lopez Jimenez announced that they expect the legal protection move to be successful and if it is not, they will continue with actions to demand the immediate release of their compañero. The release of Roberto Paciencia Cruz was also called for, unjustly imprisoned in the State Center for Social Reinsertion of Prisoners (CERSS) No. 5 at San Cristobal de Las Casas, and the San Bachajon prisoners at Amate CERSS, municipality of Cintalapa.

For more information in Spanish:

Conferencia de Prensa 18 de Abril ¡ Libertad Inmediata para Alejandro Diaz Santiz¡ (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todxs, 18 de abril de 2016)

17 de abril: Día Internacional de los Presxs Políticxs (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todxs, 18 de abril de 2016)

Exigen libertad de preso polìtico (Mural Chiapas, 19 de abril de 2016)

No pueden cerrar la voz: libertad para Alejandro Díaz Santis (Agencia SubVersiones, 10 de abril de 2016)

17 de Abril dia internacional de solidaridad con lxs presxs politicos (Europa Zapatista, 17 de abril de 2016)

Recibió CNDH mil 151 quejas en 2015 por falta de atención médica en penales (Proceso, 29 de marzo de 2016)

La crisis en las cárceles de México: 10 problemas urgentes sin atención (Animal Político, 13 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Exigen la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Santiz (11 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas: Toman acuerdo Solidarios de la Voz del Amate para liberación de presos y reparación del daño (9 de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas: Jornada por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal (9 de noviembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Trasladan a Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, junto a 386 presos, a penal de alta seguridad (15 de septiembre de 2015)


Chiapas: Primero de Agosto Displaced Families Report Enclosure of their Lands

April 21, 2016

Primero.pngDisplacement camp at Primero de Agosto, Photo @ Radio Zapatista

On April 14, the displaced of Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas made a public statement denouncing the barbed wiring of part of the land of Primero de Agosto where they lived and from where they were displaced on February 23, 2015. According to their statement, they were provoked by ejidatarios from Miguel Hidalgo, members of the Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical (CIOAC-H) on April 7 and 8 “carrying firearms, machetes, and all uniformed with PRD yellow caps (sic).”

They also reported that intimidation around their camp continues. After the events of April 7 and 8, on the morning of April 9, the authorities of the region passed by performing violent acts on cows and a bull “eight meters from where we are displaced.” The displaced of Primero de Agosto blamed the three levels of government, noting that the members of CIOAC-H from Miguel Hidalgo are “protected and backed by the governments that don’t do anything, that don’t say anything.” It should be mentioned that on February 25 last year, the State Government of Chiapas committed itself to dividing the lands in equal parts. Nevertheless, the lands have not been divided one year later and the inhabitants remain displaced. They reported that to this date the state government “hasn’t fulfilled anything, on the contrary, it has allowed the situation to get worse. The Mexican State has ignored the case.”

For more information in Spanish:

CIOAC-Histórica cerca tierras de familias desplazadas de Primero de Agosto (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 14 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Desplazados del Poblado Primero de Agosto denunciaron escalamiento de hostigamiento, amenazas de muerte y desalojo (7 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: 8 meses de “amenazas y hostigamiento” a tojolabales en desplazamiento forzado del poblado Primero de Agosto (5 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Red por la Paz denuncia actitud omisa del gobierno de Chiapas ante caso de Primero de Agosto (16 de julio de 2015)


National: Senate Passes Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

April 17, 2016

SEZ.pngThe Special Economic Zones @Presidencia de la República

On Thursday, April 14, the Senate passed the Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) with 88 votes in favor and eight against. The purpose of this law is to reduce poverty, allow for the provision of basic services and broaden the opportunities for a healthy and productive life in the regions which have the greatest deficiencies in social and economic development, according to the judgment. It will do so through the promotion of investment, productivity, competitiveness, employment, and a greater distribution of income among the population. The law establishes preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies. It will give concessions for 40 years, renewable for 40 more, and will enjoy tax and customs exemptions for eight years, for example.

While the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), Ecologist Green Party (PVEM) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) endorsed the law, the PRD senator, Dolores Padierna, rejected it. She pointed out that the law does not provide for any social benefit but benefits “for the economic elite of this country and foreign companies.” Similarly, senator Layda Sansores San Ramon, Citizens Movement (MC), considers that “it auctions Mexico.” Sharing this idea, the coordinator of the Work Party (PT), Manuel Bartlett warned that the developers of the SEZ will become administrators of the states of the republic in which they operate and seek “to deepen the appropriation of national territory for big international finance companies.” In effect, the law plans the expropriation of all territories required to establish investment projects, which will be administered by businessmen, who will be able to operate their own surveillance and security companies. Bartlett concluded assuring that “this is not a Peña Nieto project, because Peña Nieto has no projects. This is a North American plan studied in its universities. It is a big lie that with growth there can be a distribution of wealth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Aprueba el Senado ley sobre zonas económicas especiales (Educa, 15 de abril 2016)

Con ZEE, Peña Nieto pretende terminar de rematar a México: Layda (Pagin@bierta, 15 de abril 2016)
Avanza ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales en el Senado (La Jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Senado votará el jueves por ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales (La jornada, 13 de abril 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)


Guerrero/National AFAT and IGIE Respond to the Conclusions on Fire at Dump in Cocula

April 16, 2016

43.pngThe search continues. Photo: @Mujeres y La Sexta

On April 1, the Attorney General of the Republic and a representative of the panel of experts on the dynamics of fire caused controversy at a press conference where they shared preliminary conclusions on the possibility that the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa had been burned at the dump at Cocula. Dr. Ricardo Damian Torres, from the panel of experts, confirmed that it is possible that the 43 were incinerated in the said dump given that “there was a controlled fire of huge proportions at the place called the dump of Cocula” and that “at least 17 adult humans were burned at that place.” According to Damian Torres, this allows for the establishment of a hypothesis that there was a massive cremation of 43 bodies, but that “this possibility could only be confirmed with large scale proof.”

Both the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team (AFAT) and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) doubted the hypothesis of the Attorney General. On the one hand, the AFAT – which also confirmed that there had been cremation of human bodies at the dump – pointed out that the analysis of the panel of experts “neither confirms nor denies the Attorney General’s hypothesis” as it could not determine when the fire occurred, if it was a question of one or various cremations, nor did it manage to identify the human remains found. On the other hand, the members of the IGIE dubbed the press conference as “a unilateral action against previous agreements” and were of the opinion that the preliminary two-and-a-half page report “lacks answers to a number of technical questions that been made to the judges at the outset of their work.” Like the AFAT, the IGIE were of the opinion that the report had few novelties on the Iguala case but that the public presentation had not been agreed neither with the relatives of the disappeared nor with the IGIE, which “demonstrated great irresponsibility and little sensitivity as regards the rights of the victims.”

For more information in Spanish:

Nuevo peritaje: hubo 17 quemados; se atiza pugna PGR-GIEI por Cocula (Excelsior, 6 de abril de 2016)

EAAF emite opinión sobre peritaje de Cocula (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 2 de abril de 2016)

Equipo Argentino de Antropología forense (EAAF) presenta peritaje sobre caso Ayotzinapa; confirma la imposibilidad científica de la “verdad histórica” oficial (Centro Prodh, 9 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Familiares de los 43 emprenden caravana de búsqueda a Iguala (7 de marzo de 2016)

Guerrero: Padres y madres de Ayotzinapa van a la Corte, a 16 meses de la desaparición de sus hijos  (27 de enero de 2016)

Guerrero: ONG y expertos en derechos humanos respaldan labor del GIEI en caso Ayotzinapa (25 de enero de 2016)


National: Launch of National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory

April 15, 2016

EarthNational Campaign in Defense of Mother earth and Territory. @defensamadretierra

On April 10, the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory was launched in Mexico City to defend territory and combat the disinformation that exists in the country as regards dispossession. This campaign, made up of 179 organizations, collectives and associations, has three objectives for November 20 of this year: share struggles and stories of defense of Mother Earth to show how it is being destroyed and the importance of defending it; denounce how the destruction “is giving profits to the men of money, Mexican and foreign, and they call this predatory profit development and progress”; and also to make known alternative ways of life and government to show that “another way of life in society respecting Mother earth and our brothers” is possible.

The members of the campaign call on all towns, communities, neighborhoods and suburbs that suffer dispossession, destruction of Mother Earth caused by mining, petrol, and forestry projects, or that make water a merchandise; that struggle against agrochemicals, mono-cultivation, and preserve native seeds; that are being affected by pollution; that struggle against the privatization of beaches, mangrove swamps, lakes, forests and protected natural areas, to carry out actions as part of this campaign.

For more information in Spanish:

En defensa de la madre tierra (La jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Invitan a sumarse a la Campaña Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra (Regeneración, 12 de abril 2016)
Convocatoria Campaña en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio (Serapaz, 11 de abril de 2016)
Alistan campaña en defensa de la tierra; realizarán acto en el Monumento a la Revolución (Proceso, 8 de abril 2016)


National: Disturbances in Indigenous Territories over the Implementation of Megaprojects: San Francisco Xochicuautla and Atenco

April 14, 2016

Unrest.pngDemolition of one of the homes in Xochicuautla protected by the riot police. Photo: @FJXochicuautla.

In recent days there have been at least two major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects. In one case, some 700 members of the police forced entrance into the Otomi-Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, to permit the entrance of bulldozers of a construction company. This community has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and through popular mobilization and the granting of two legal decisions won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of their lands. Despite this, the police force entered the community offering protection to the company, which demolished the Peace and Dignified Resistance Camp and a number of houses which were on the planned highway route. According to statements from the spokesperson of the community, Jose Luis Fernandez, 25 people were evicted and beaten, among them a woman who is almost 80 years old.

As Proceso pointed out, the work “is carried out by Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, which belongs to Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, one of the main contractors of the Federal Government and whose financial dealings in tax havens were uncovered through the investigation of the Panama Papers.” Furthermore, the corporate group has been identified by various media sources as the main contractor of Mexico State since it was governed by the current President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, and as the “supplier of the luxury residences of the leader’s wife and of Luis Videgaray Caso, Minister of Finance and Public Credit”, according to La Jornada.

In another case, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra – FPDT) reported the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” Due to this, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero – CDHZL) stated: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.” It should be remembered that the struggle of the people of Atenco against the construction of an airport on their lands was violently repressed. In the protests, two youths lost their lives, more than 200 were arrested, and at least 26 women were sexually tortured by the police.

For more information in Spanish:

Irrumpe Higa con fuerza pública a Xochicuautla; derriba viviendas pese a amparos (Proceso, 11 de abril de 2016)

Editorial / Xochicuautla, atropello a la legalidad (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Sociedad civil resiste en Xochicuautla e Higa se niega a detener las demoliciones ilegales (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 13 de abril de 2016)

Constata ONU violación de órdenes judiciales en obras de la autopista Naucalpan-Toluca (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Declaración de alerta máxima del CNI, ante la cobarde traición a la comunidad indígena Ñatho de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de abril de 2016)

Hay un acuerdo para suspender las obras en Xochicuautla: habitantes (Animal Político, 14 de abril de 2016)

Frente por la Libertad de Expresión condena desalojo de la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Noticias MVS, 12 de abril de 2016)

Policías en Xochicuautla y ayer, militares en Atenco; “nos están provocando”, dicen comuneros (Sin Embargo, 13 de abril de 2016)

Denuncian en Atenco que militares escoltan a trabajadores de constructora (Proceso, 12 de abril de 2016)

Ejército irrumpe en tierras ejidales de San Salvador Atenco (Desinformémonos, 12 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Comunidad de Xochicuautla denuncia proyecto carretero y se solidariza con pueblos indígenas de Chiapas que enfrentan despojo (20 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)

Nacional: El FPDT de Atenco inicia movilizaciones después de anuncio de próximo aeropuerto (4 de septiembre de 2014)

Nacional: A 8 años de impunidad en Atenco, continúa amenaza de construcción del aeropuerto (8 de mayo de 2014)


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