Oaxaca: Members of the APPO accused in the Brad Will case

October 29, 2008

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Reporter Brad Will, of Indymedia New York, was killed on October 27, 2006 [Source: Indymedia New York]

On October 16, 2008, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno was detained by the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigación) along with Octavio Pérez Pérez and Hugo Jarid Colmenares Leyva. They were accused of the killing of New York Indymedia reporter Brad Will, from the United States, who was killed during a confrontation which occurred in Oaxaca City on October 27, 2006. Interestingly, the three detained men are all members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO, Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca). In addition, the Federal Attorney General’s office (PGR, Procuraduría General de la República) issued arrest warrants for six other individuals who were associated with the opposition. On October 22, 2008, the judge responsible for the case, Luis Salvador Cordero, stated that Juan Manuel Martínez was to be indicted and held in custody pending trial as the prime suspect in the killing of Will. His lawyer stated that he would appeal the judge’s decision at the federal level. The other two detainees, who were accused of harboring a criminal, were released on bail on October 18.

Amnesty International stated that these detentions “apparently contradicted the conclusions and recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos), as well as the independent forensic experts from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).” They added that “Both the CNDH as well and the PHR have demonstrated major concerns regarding inadequacies in the investigation. These include a lack of adequate evaluation of the forensic tests and a lack of investigation into all possible suspects, including state agents”.

The forensic experts from Physicians for Human Rights (an international organization which has contributed to cases at the International Criminal Court in the Hague) presented evidence which refuted the conclusions of the PGR which stated that Will died as a result of a close-range shot, implicating members of the APPO.

In general, the CNDH has questioned the management of the case on the part of the PGR. The president of the CNDH, José Luis Soberanes Fernández, stated that, “they [the PGR] wasted two years before starting the investigation. We sent them our recommendation and then they began to hurry; in 15 days they solved the case, but they ignored the evidence that we had sent them”. According to Soberanes, the PGR’s actions were the result of pressure exerted on the Mexican government by the United States: “They stated that they would not activate the resources [promised in] the Merida Initiative unless this case was solved, a case that should have been resolved regardless, and now we see the results”.

More Information:

Brad Will: Still Dead – and Kicking (Friends of Brad Will, 29/10/08)

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission Blames Plan Mexico for APPO Arrests (Friends of Brad Will, 25/10/08)

Ignoring Evidence Mexican Authorities Charge Activists with 2006 Murder of Independent Journalist Brad Will (Democracy Now, 20/10/08)

Urgent Action Mexico: Fear for Torture or Ill-treatment/Legal Concern: Juan Manuel Martinez (Amnesty International, 20/10/08)

Forensic Evaluation by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR, 03/10/08)


Guerrero: prisoners of the OPIM are released

October 23, 2008

The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña (CDHM, El Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan) released the following press release regarding the appeal granted to 4 of the 5 members of the Indiginous Me’phaa People’s Organization (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa):

Federal judge grants appeal by Me’phaa indigenous men imprisoned in Ayutla

  • The verdict was announced on 15th October in favour of four prisoners. One will remain in prison.
  • The prisoners who won the appeal should be freed by tomorrow, Tuesday 21st October.
  • The verdict demonstrates that the aim of the arrests was to put an end to their organised work

Tlapa, Guerrero, Mexico on October 20, 2008- The Eigth District judge based in Acapulco, Livia Lizabeth Larumbe Radilla, granted the appeal by four of the five members of the Indigenous Me’phaa People’s Organisation (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me´phaa, OPIM). For six months they have been imprisoned in Ayutla jail, accused of the murder of an Army informer.

Following this verdict that was announced on 15th October, the First Instance Mixed judge in Ayutla, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, was notified on Friday 17th and he has 24 hours to release the accused indigenous men.

This would mean that tomorrow, 21st October, at the latest, the prisoners will be leaving the jail, except for Raúl Hernández Abundio, who will remain in prison because the District judge says that the witnesses claim that he was present when the gun that killed Alejandro Feliciano García was fired, on 1st January this year. However, this accusation is very vague. Read the rest of this entry »

Guatemala: III Americas Social Forum

October 20, 2008

The III Americas Social Forum took place October 7-12 at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. The gathering was composed of a space “to bring together all of the different forms of resistance and alternatives to neoliberal policies that have been created… and for the development of critical and original thought” (Irene León, Agencia Latinoamerica de Información) among the thousands of participants from all over the continent.

The forum was made up of a plethora of discussion groups, workshops and seminars organized under 6 main themes: Achievments and Challenges due to Changes in the Hemisphere; People in Resistance to Neoliberal Policies and Imperial Domination; In Defense of Quality of Life while Confronting the Capitalist Opresor; Diversity and Equality; The Ideological Dispute; and Original Peoples and Nations, Indigenous and Afro-descendents.

The Red por la Paz, of which SIPAZ is a member, also participated in the forum through a seminar titled “Land, Territory and Social Conflict.”

The presence of Bolivian president Evo Morales was anticipated for October 9. Unfortunately he was unable to attend personally, though he did prepare a statement in solidarity with the forum (see below) which was read that same afternoon.

The Social Forum was concluded with a March of Indigenous, Campesino, Workers Union, Black, Feminist and Popular Resistance which left from the Obelisco in the south of the city to the Central Plaza. At the plaza in front of the National Palace participants of the forum read the final declaration of the Social Movements’ Assembly (see below) in which “the Mérida Initiative, Plan Colombia, the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America), military bases, the School of the Americas and the Fourth Fleet” were denounced. The declaration also stated, “We are participants in a decisive and historic moment for humanity. In these few days the disaster created by the capitalist system has become evident, something those of us from social movements have been warning about for a long time.”

More Information:

III Americas Social Forum Website

More Information in Spanish:

Minga de Movimientos Sociales

Púlsar: Agencia Informativa

Guerrero: Thirteenth Anniversay of the Community Police

October 20, 2008

On October 14 and 15, the community police of the Costa Chica and the Montaña regions of Guerrero celebrated its thirteenth anniversary in the community of Tilapa, municipality of Malinaltepec. The community police began in 1995 in 8 communities in 2 different municipalities. Today they maintain a presence in 72 communities in 10 municipalities.

According to Martín Candia Galindo, one of the founders of the community police, “In territories under the influence of the community police there are no drug traffickers or any drug cartels present; our youth are free of that terrible [presence].” The Regional Council of Community Authorities (CRAC Consejo Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias) has achieved this success despite the fact that they do not have access to many resources, their members do not receive a salary and according to the denunciations they have made on more than one occasion, the government continues to harass the community police in an attempt to disqualify their work.

In addition to being an autonomous movement in implementing justice, the CRAC insists that their social project is one that encompasses many facets of daily life in the Costa Chica and Montaña regions of Guerrero. Among other things they have started plans for a community radio station and as of last year they have initiated the University of the Peoples of the South (Universidad de los Pueblos del Sur), a project that continues to grow.

During the anniversary, the CRAC put forward several themes for discussion including: the increasing insecurity of the nation, the militarization of the country, the lack of legitimacy on the part of official policing systems, the campaign of fear driven by mass media and the criminalization of social movements. Mario Campos, parish priest from the municipality of Xalpatláhuac, in the Montaña Alta added at the opening of the celebrations, “There are alternatives in solving the problems of insecurity related to drug trafficking and assaults. To serve is not a crime; it is for this reason that we ask the officials of the region to support the CRAC.”

More information:

The Community Police in the State of Guerrero (SIPAZ, 15/09/05)

More information in Spanish:

Página Web de la Policía Comunitaria

Trece años. La policía comunitaria de Guerrero no deja de crecer (Ojarasca, 20/10/08)

Policías comunitarias de Guerrero dicen haber acabado con el narco (La Jornada, 17/10/08)

Chiapas: Marcelino Díaz González of “La Voz del Amate” released

October 17, 2008

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas) reported the release on 15 October, 2008, of Marcelino Díaz González, member of “La Voz del Amate”, an inmate organization and adherent to the Other Campaign based out of the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS, Centro Estatal de Reinserción Social de Sentenciados) No. 14 “El Amate” in Cintalapa, Chiapas.

Marcelino Díaz González, born 2 June, 1980, from San Pedro Nixtal Uk’um, in the municipality of El Bosque, was a member of the campesina organization USISON and later became an adherent to the Other Campaign. He was detained 3 October, 2001 by the State Judicial Police (Policía Judicial del Estado) without an arrest warrant. According to Díaz’s testimony he suffered threats, beatings, and maltreatment such as the placement of a plastic bag over his head as well as being shut in a freezer for 12 hours. He was held under an administrative arrest (arraigo) for 30 days in an unofficial arraigo house, the Hotel Safari in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (no longer used to house individuals under arraigo).

The following link contains excerpts from an interview with members of “La Voz del Amate” (Spanish)

Audios de la conferencia de prensa por la liberación de un integrante de La Voz del Amate (Frayba, 15/10/2008)

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization takes place in La Esperanza, Honduras

October 16, 2008

Slideshow of the II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization took place between 3 and 6 October, 2008 in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras. The meeting saw the participation of some 800 individuals and 175 organizations from 27 different countries including: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada and five European countries.

During the 4 day gathering 19 regional based cases of “solidarity/urgent actions” were presented in which participants denounced the current militarization status of Haiti, Colombia, The United States, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Triple Border (between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay), Honduras, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala y Paraguay.

On October 3 and 4 workshops were presented on several diverse theme including: Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Americans and Campesinos; Immigration; Social Movements; the Criminalization of Social Struggle; the Fourth Fleet; the Triple Border; Military Bases; the Military Industrial Complex; the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America); Free Trade Agreements; the Mesoamerican Project (formerly the PPP, Plan Puebla Panama); IIRSA (Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America), the Merida Initiative and Plan Colombia. The reflection on possible plans of action was divided into regions: South America, Mesoamerica (including southern Mexico), the Caribbean and the North (including northern Mexico).

At the closing of the meeting the Final Declaration was read to the participants and later made public (in Spanish, see below). On the morning of the 6th, the gathering was concluded with a march and subsequent demonstration held in front of the United States military base located in Palmerola, Comayagua, Honduras.

Final Declaration of the II Hemispheric Forum Against Militarization (Spanish)

More information:

Hundreds Gather to Confront Militarization of the Americas (Americas Policy Program, 05/10/08)

More Information (in Spanish):

Sitio del II Encuentro Hemisférico contra la Militarización

Campesinos e indígenas protestan en base de Palmerola y exigen su cierre (Proceso, 06/10/08)

Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas

Chiapas: Police operation provokes confrontation and death of six indigenous persons

October 7, 2008

[“Massacre in Chincultik” produced by Meridiano90-Noticias Sin Fronteras]

Last Friday, October 3, 2008, a violent operation carried out by federal and state police left six people dead, 17 people injured, and 36 detained, almost all of whom were habitants of the ejido (communally held land) of Miguel Hidalgo, which is located in the municipality of La Trinitaria, Chiapas.

SIPAZ expresses grave concern over the events.

Read the rest of this entry »