Chiapas: New round of military incursions in OCEZ-RC communities

July 29, 2008

OCEZ-RC in the community of 28 de Junio, Venustiano Carranza

In the municipality of Venustiano Carranza on July 19, 2008, at 9:30 in the morning, some 400 soldiers entered a parcel of land located between the communities of 20 de Noviembre and San Isidro los Laureles, both pertaining to the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization – Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC, Organización Campesina Emiliano Zapata – Región Carranza).

According to the reports made by the OCEZ-RC in their communiqué from July 22, the soldiers entered the parcel “with the pretext of a search for marijuana plants in the land where grow corn and beans to feed our familias.” In addition, the soldiers were asking for “various names of leaders of the region, carrying with them a list of people to look for in the area.”

In an interview with SIPAZ, members of the OCEZ-RC also stated that on July 22 at 11:30 at night, three military vehicles passed through Laguna Verde, another community which pertains to their organization in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza. They added that the soldiers returned to the community a few hours later at 1:00 in the morning with the lights of the vehicles turned off.

Members of the OCEZ-RC from the communities of 28 de Junio and Laguna Verde distributed the following communiqué in Spanish.

OCEZ-RC Communique 23/07/08 (In Spanish)

More information:

Chiapas: Civil organizations express their concern over the increasing number of recent military incursions in the state (SIPAZ 13/06/08)

Chiapas: Military incursions in OCEZ-RC communities (SIPAZ 30/05/08)

More information in Spanish:

Denuncia local: Incursion militar en comunidades de Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas (Frayba, 24/07/08)

Campesinos de Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, exigen el cese del acoso militar (La Jornada, 22/07/08)

Video entrevista: Chiapas: Hostigamiento a comunidades de la OCEZ-RC (SIPAZ, 27/05/08)


Oaxaca: Adán Mejía López cleared of charges and released after a year in prison

July 23, 2008

David Venegas Reyes and Adán Mejía López [Source: Noticias de Oaxaca]

On July 22, 2008, Adán Mejía López, who had been detained at the Santa Maria Ixcotel prison awaiting sentencing for charges of drug possession with intent to sell, was released and all charges were dropped.

Mejía, aged 25, originally from Mexico City and a member of the Marxist Militant Tendency, was arrested July 17, 2007 in Oaxaca City. He claimed that he had been tortured in an attempt to make him confess to crimes committed on July 16, 2007 at the Cerro del Fortín, where a popular demonstration against the official Guelaguetza was violently repressed by police forces.

According to Mejía, due to the fact that the police were unable to connect him to the events at the demonstration, he was handed over to the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigación), who then planted drugs on his person in order to charge him with drug possession with intent to sell. The charge was found groundless and, give Mejía’s political activity, possibly fabricated ad hoc.

More information in Spanish:

Integrante de la APPO, liberado (La Jornada, 23/07/2008)

Fue liberado Adán Mejía López (Noticias de Oaxaca, 23/07/2008)

Entrevista telefonica a Adán Mejía Lopez (SIPAZ, 24/10/2007)

Oaxaca, un conflicto todavía abierto: actualización. Informe de la visita de SIPAZ a Oaxaca, 3-12 de agosto de 2007 (SIPAZ, Octubre 2007)

El testimonio de Adán Mejía López en el informe de SIPAZ (agosto 2007)

Guerrero: The IACHR requests another extension to precautionary measures for members of OPIM/OPIT

July 23, 2008

On June 27 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested from the Mexican government the implementation of an extension of precautionary measures for 41 members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa/Tlapaneco People (OPIM/OPIT, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa/Tlapaneco). This would constitute an extension of the precautionary measures originally implemented by the IACHR in January, 2005 which were extended once before in September, 2007.

The request comes after several threats received by Obtilia Eugenio Manuel among other human rights defenders who pertain to the OPIM/OPIT. The OPIM/OPIT has accompanied the cases of two indigenous women who were raped by members of the Mexican Army (cases brought before the IACHR) as well as several cases of forced sterilization in El Camalote.

According to a report from the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), involvement in these cases has made the OPIM/OPIT the object of “…acts of harassment and intimidation… with the intention of intimidating them and limiting their activities as human rights defenders.” Among the cases that prompted the IACHR to request a new extension was the death of the brother of one of the aforementioned victims of rape as well as the arrest of five members of the OPIM/OPIT on April 17, 2008 who were accompanying the cases of sterilization.

More information in Spanish:

Exige la CIDH ampliar medidas cautelares a favor de los me’phaa presos en Ayutla (El Sur, 13/07/08)

CIDH solicitó a México proteger a defensores de derechos humanos en el estado de Guerrero (CEJIL, 09/07/08)

CIDH exige al Estado protección para 41 indígenas de la OPIM (La Jornada, 09/07/08)

CIDH ordena al Gobierno Mexicano ampliar medidas cautelares a favor de presos de la OPIM (CDHM “Tlachinollan”, 08/07/08)

Mexico/US: Mouriño and Chertoff meet to discuss the implementation of the Mérida Initiative

July 21, 2008

Los secretarios de Seguridad Interna de Estados Unidos, Michael Chertoff, y de Gobernación, Juan Camilo Mouriño, tras la firma del convenio bilateral en materia de seguridad, ayer en Nueva Orleáns

Mexican Secretary of Interior, Mouriño and US Secretary of Homeland Security, Chertoff [Source, La Jornada]

On July 18, 2008, the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño Terrazo, met with US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, to discuss the future of the Mérida Initiative and bilateral relations between the two nations in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking.

Later Chertoff met with the Mexican security cabinet which includes the secretaries of defense, General Guillermo Galván from the Army and from the Navy, Mariano Francisco Saynes; from the Office of Public Security, Genaro García Luna; as well as the attorney general of the Republic, Eduardo Medina Mora. Chertoff was accompanied by the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Antonio Garza and other members of the Office of Homeland Security.

In a press release from the Office of the Secretary of the Interior of Mexico stated that the tose present in the meetings “…discussed the importance of the Mérida Initiative for bilateral cooperation and the need to move forward with its full implementation in the near future.” The press release also mentioned that within the talks “… the need to continue expanding the cooperation in order to avoid arms trafficking to our [Mexican] territory,” was stressed. On June 27, 2008, the funds for the 2008 fiscal year which fall under the Mérida Initiative were signed by President Bush after being passed in the US Congress.

Recently, Presidents Calderón and Bush spoke by telephone in regards to the initiative and the acceleration of the implementation of the funds, equipment and training that fall within the plan. During the meetings that took place this past Friday in Mexico City, Chertoff supported the movement toward implementation stating that military and police training could begin within a “matter of weeks.”

More information:

Secretary Chertoff Visits Mexico (US Embassy, 18/07/08)

Chertoff: US helped Mexico detect drug submarine (AP, 18/07/08)

Sub tip provided by U.S. (The News, 18/07/08)

More information in Spanish:

Analizan Mouriño y Chertoff Iniciativa Mérida (El Universal, 18/07/08)

Reunión con el Secretario de Seguridad Interna de Estados Unidos, Michael Chertoff (SEGOB, 18/07/08)

Avalan más recursos para Iniciativa Mérida (La Reforma, 17/07/08)

Acuerdan Calderón y Bush agilizar la Iniciativa Mérida (La Jornada 05/07/08)


Guerrero: Federal Agency of Investigations attempts to dismantle Radio Ñomndaa. Interviews by SIPAZ.

July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, agents from the Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigaciones) entered the offices of Radio Ñomndaa in an attempt to shut down the local radio station. Radio Ñomndaa “La Voz del Agua” is an independent station that broadcasts, without official permission, from Xochistlahuaca in the Montaña region of north-eastern Guerrero and hosts local and cultural programs in both the native language of Ñomndaa and Spanish. The station has been operating since 2002 and has previously received threats of a shut down by the AFI.

At midday on July 10, the AFI along with agents from the Secretary of Communication and Transport (SCT, Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes) and the ministerial police arrived at Radio Ñomndaa with an order to shut down the station and seize their broadcast equipment. Members of the station along with individuals from the community protested the action and put enough pressure on the agents that within a few hours they had left the community without seizing any of the equipment. However they were able to disconnect much of the equipment leaving the radio unable to broadcast.

In a communiqué made public soon after the operation, Radio Ñomndaa expressed its right to broadcast and made a call for support from both the local and national civil society. They also began broadcasting via their web page soon afterwards.

SIPAZ conducted an interview with David Valtierra Arango from Radio Ñomndaa on the afternoon of July 10. To hear the interview in Spanish click the icon below.

More information in Spanish:

Impiden indígenas desmantelamiento de Radio Ñomndaa por la AFI y SCT (La Jornada, 11/07/08)

La AFI intentó desmantelar Radio Ñomndaa (Radio Ñomndaa, 10/07/08)

Intenta AFI desmantelar a la radio comunitaria Ñomndaa (Tlachinollan, 10/07/08)

Oaxaca: Violence in Zaachila and media harassment of members of VOCAL

July 11, 2008

On June 20, 2008, according to an urgent action released by the Comité 25 de noviembre in conjunction with the Centro Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, several individuals were wounded during a protest against the governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who was visiting Zaachila despite the accords of the Community Assembly which prohibit such a visit.

The urgent action relates the incident in which the father of the municipal president of Zaachila, Natalio Pérez Tomás “arrived at the scene with a fire arm shooting at the protestors, who fled, seeking shelter in businesses and nearby houses where they looked on as others resisted the aggression.”

It goes on to denounce that “after the aggression the community was surrounded by agents from the anti-riot division of the state preventative police who attempted to enter the community as a helicopter from the state public security agency circled overhead, creating a sense of intimidation among the inhabitants of the community.”

On July 7, Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL, Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad), made public a communiqué in which they denounced having been victim to a media attack supported by the state government. According to the communiqué, the state-run television station, Channel 9, made public photographs of several members of VOCAL and linked the organization with the violent acts that occurred in Zaachila while stating that arrest warrants had been issued for the members.

SIPAZ conducted an interview in Spanish with VOCAL member Silvia Hernández on July 7, 2008. To listen to audio of the interview, click on the icon below.

More information in Spanish:

Petición de solidaridad y apoyo a VOCAL y al movimiento social en Oaxaca (VOCAL, 07/07/08)

Acción Urgente: Preocupación por la integridad física de pobladores de Zaachila, Oaxaca (Comité 25 de noviembre, Centro Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, 23/06/2008)

Video de los disparos (Oaxaca en Pie de Lucha, 20/06/08)

Pagina web de VOCAL

Chiapas: SIPAZ interview with members of la Voz de El Amate. Testimonies of violence and injustice.

July 10, 2008

CERSS (formerly CERESO) no.14 “El Amate” [Source: Cuarto Poder]

On June 28, members of SIPAZ visited eight detainees at the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS, Centro Estatal para la Reinserción Social de Sentenciados, formerly CERESO) no.14 in Cintalapa who are members of the organization “La Voz del Amate,” and adherents to the Other Campaign.

The detainees, who have declared themselves political prisoners, carried out a hunger strike and fast from March 4 to April 5 of this year and once again on May 24, asserting their innocence and demanding their immediate release. On April 17, as a consequence of their protest, the detainees were subjected to violence by other detainees with no intervention on the part of the prison authorities.

On May 27 the plantón (permanent protest encampment) erected by members of la Voz del Amate was dismantled when the authorities transferred to other prisons as a result of their decision to carry out the one day hunger strike and protest against their imprisonment. On June 26 members of the la Voz del Amate decided to resume the plantón in a different area of the prison. All of the members of la Voz del Amate live and sleep in the camp that was originally erected January 5, 2006.

More information:

Brief overview of each of the cases of the members of La Voz del Amate

For more information in Spanish including interviews with members of La Voz del Amate, see the SIPAZ blog en español.