Mexico: Weighty sentences for members of the FPDT in Atenco

August 26, 2008

Ignacio del Valle,leader of the FPTD [Source: D.R. 2005 Greg Berger/Narco News]

On August 21, the first penal court of Texcoco, Mexico State, sentenced 10 members and sympathizers of the Peoples Front for the Defense of the Land (FPTD, Frente del Pueblo en Defensa de la Tierra), in San Salvador Atenco, to 31 years, 10 months and 15 days in prison. All 10 individuals have been held by the authorities since the police operative, in which they were arrested, took place on May 3 and 4 of 2006.

In addition, the court sentenced Ignacio del Valle, leader of the movement, to 45 years in prison for the crimes of kidnapping and attacks to traffic routes. Del Valle is currently being held at El Altiplano maximum security prison, serving a term of 67 years for a previous case concerning the events in early May, in which he was found guilty of kidnapping for the holding of officials between February and April 2006. This new sentence will expand the social activist’s sentence to a total of 112 years in prison.

National and international human rights and social organizations have strongly protested his sentence. Among them, the Internacional Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation (CCIODH, Comisión Civil Internacional de Observación por los Derechos Humanos), who had visited FDTP prisoners in 2006, declared the sentences “completely abusive.”

More information:

6th Visit of the CCIODH. Mexico, February 2008: Conclusions and Provisional Recommendations

More information in Spanish:

Comunicado ante las condenas a los presos de Atenco (CCIODH, 24/08/08)

Dictan sentencia de 4 años de prisión a floristas de Atenco (La Jornada, 23/08/2008)

La justicia de arriba, la Justicia de abajo (Blog “Atenco Somos Todas”, 22/08/2008)

Comunicado ante las condenas a los presos de Atenco (CCIODH, 21/08/2008)


SIPAZ releases its new report and launches a new questionnaire for its readers

August 21, 2008

SIPAZ has published its latest quarterly report (Vol XIII Nº 3, August 2008) and launched a new questionnaire for its readers.

In this issue:

Mexico: Increase in cost of living and poverty pose major concerns

The Merida Initiative in Mexico

SIPAZ Activities (Mid-April to end of July 2008)

Read the report on line / Download the Word document

SIPAZ Report Questionnaire

Chiapas: Military harrassment in Montes Azules communities

August 21, 2008

On August 15 at around noon, in the community of Ranchería Corozal, located in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve and a member community of the Rural Association of Collective Interests Union of Unions-Independent and Democratic (ARIC UU-ID, Asociación Rural de Interés Colectivo Unión de Uniones Independiente y Democrática) 2 naval helicopters arrived with Ricardo Frias, the head of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP, Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). Frias was accompanied by several representatives of the Office of the Seceretary of Agrarian Reform (SRA, Secretaria de Reforma Agraria) Office of the State Secretary of Interior as well as 50 members of the Mexican Army and the State Judicial Police.

According to a denunciation released by the ARIC UU-ID, after taking measurements of the community and the fields surrounding it, Frias stated that, “there will be no option other than relocation or compensation” for the land. he added that despite the negotiations that the ARIC UU-ID has held with the government regarding the case, “with the future changes in government the agreement will not be respected.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ

August 20, 2008

[Source: Amnesty International USA]

SIPAZ recently conducted an interview with Luis Arriaga Valenzuela, director of the Agustín Juarez Pro Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh) in Mexico City, on the topic of human rights with regard to the Merida Initiative. He spoke at length on Centro Prodh’s belief that the subject of human rights should be “a core theme” within the Merida Initiative negotiations. However, Arriaga stated that there is indeed a lack of human rights language in the plan. Centro Prodh’s stance is that there should be included the “creation of a mechanism between government authorities and the civil society, including NGO’s that specialize in human rights, in order to implement the Merida Initiative with higher standards of protection” for fundamental guarantees.

Arriaga pointed out the findings in a recent study published by Centro Prodh on human rights violations perpetrated by military personnel. One disturbing discovery uncovered in the report is the statistic that shows that the majority of the victims of human rights violations due to military actions were women and minors. He stated the importance of trying military personnel in civil courts as opposed to military tribunals, where civilian victims have little or no access to justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Chiapas: Declaration from the National and International Caravan of Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities of Chiapas

August 20, 2008

The National and International Caravan of Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities of Chiapas left Mexico City last July 28 destined for several zapatista communities in Chiapas and ended their trip on August 12. The caravan, according to its organizers, was made up of some 300 individuals from various European nations as well as the United States, Canada, Argentina and Mexico. The objective of the trip was a show of support with the zapatista communities which, in the last few months, have been subject to a significant increase in military and police operations.

To read the declaration (in Spanish), click on the link below:

Pronunciamiento de la Caravana Nacional e Internacional de Observación y Solidaridad con las Comunidades Zapatistas de Chiapas (08/08)

More information:

From the Caravan of Observation and Solidarity with the Zapatista Communities (NYC Independent Media Center, 01/08/08)

Marcos speaks to Solidarity Caravan in Chiapas (Mexico Solidarity Network, 09/08/08)

Chiapas: Arbitrary detention and torture in Benemérito de Las Américas; one dies while in municipal police custody

August 20, 2008

According to a report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDH Frayba), on Saturday, August 9 at around 7:00 pm, José Gómez Estrada and Remigio Hernández Arellano were arbitrarily detained by 4 municipal police officers from Benemérito de las Américas, Chiapas. Later, as reported by the CDH Frayba, both men were tortured for a period of 2 hours while they were irregularly held in the municipal jail. José Gómez Estrada died while in municipal police custody.

More information in Spanish:

Policías Municipales de Benemérito de Las Américas privan arbitrariamente de la libertad y torturan a los sres. Remigio Hernández Arellano y José Gómez Estrada (CDH Frayba, 15/08/2008)

Oaxaca: “Caravan in Solidarity with the Indigenous Community of Santiago Lachivía”; SIPAZ interview

August 20, 2008

After the deaths of two indigenous campesinos August 5 in Santiago Lachivía, a community located in the San Carlos Yautepec district, the Union of Indigenous Peoples and Communities of Yautepec (UPCIYO, Unión de Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas de Yautepec) assembled the “Caravan in Solidarity with the Indigenous Community of Santiago Lachivía” on August 18, 2008.

SIPAZ conducted an interview with Evaristo Belleza Avila, the Communal Lands Commissioner of Santiago Lachivía in Oaxaca, in which he describes the events of August 5. He describes the community’s shock and confusion at the violence and expresses the need for an explanation from the governor and State Attorney General. He stated, “Right now we are hoping that there will be justice and that our government takes into consideration our request and our complaints.” A second interview was conducted with Leobardo Vasquez Hernandez, the ex-Communal Lands Commissioner of Santiago Lachivía, who gives a broad explanation of the historical context of the community.

To hear the SIPAZ interviews with Evaristo Belleza Avila and Leobardo Vasquez Hernandez (in Spanish) click on the link below:

Oaxaca: “Caravana en Solidaridad con la Communidad Indígena de Santiago Lachivía”; Entrevista de SIPAZ (SIPAZ, 14/08/08)

More information:

Oaxaca: Military Operation in Santiago Lachivía leaves two dead and one wounded; Urgent Action (SIPAZ, 19/08/08)