Guerrero: Torres reappears with signs of torture

December 29, 2008


Digna Ochoa y Placido [Source: Amnesty International]

On December 13 2008, Javier Torres Cruz, from the community of La Morena in the municipality of Petatlán, Guerrero, was able to escape his kidnappers. According to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), during the 10 days in which Torres was missing, he was blindfolded and suffered beating and torture. The Urgent Action put out by Amnesty International states that upon his reappearance, he showed signs of “contusions and bruises, especially on his hands and continued to suffer abdominal pains.” According to Torres’ family members, it is most likely that he was being held by members of the Mexican Army.

It is important to mention that Javier Torres Cruz is a member of the Ecologist Organization of the Sierra of Coyuca and Petatlán (Organización Ecologista de la Sierra de Coyuca y Petatlán), a witness in the case of human rights defender Digna Ochoa y Placido, and has previously denounced being accosted by the military, police and armed and hooded civilians on several occasions. On November 13, 2008, 100 soldiers from the 19th Batallion of the Mexican Army entered his community and entered several homes in search of Torres and his brothers. In addition “they threatened, struck and prodded women and children with their weapons.”

More information:

Document – Mexico: Further information on possible disappearance/fear for safety: Javier Torres Cruz (AU, 18/12/08)

Guerrero: Key witness in the Digna Ochoa y Plácido case, Javier Torres Cruz, disappears (SIPAZ, 15/12/08)

More information in Spanish:

Seguimiento al caso Javier Torres Cruz, OMCT (19/12/2008)

Denuncia pública, CCTI, ANAD y Familiares (18/12/2008)

Golpeado y con huellas de tortura aparece el ecologista Javier Torres, La Jornada (16/12/2008)


Acteal: Living with impunity

December 29, 2008


On December 22 the community of Acteal in the Highlands of Chiapas commemorated the 11th anniversary of the massacre that took place there in 1997 titled “Living with Impunity.” In a ceremony that attracted 100 of people, the Civil Society of the Abejas (Bees) of Acteal once again denounced the impunity continues with regard to the intellectual authors of the massacre as well as the irregularities that have occurred and the lack of justice in the case against the intellectual authors.

Meanwhile a public report written by the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center expresses the “deliberate and misguided” policy of the government in “committing systematic attacks against the civil population with the intended end of debilitating the support for the EZLN and evetually crushing” the movement during the period of the massacre at Acteal. The Abejas concluded en their communiqué that from here on “we will construct justice ourselves in a non-violent form as we are tired of waiting for the mal gobierno (bad government).”

More information in Spanish:

Comunicado de la Organización de la Sociedad civil las Abejas (22/12/08)

Informe: Acteal en Impunidad, Frayba (22/12/08)

Guerrero: Key witness in the Digna Ochoa y Plácido case, Javier Torres Cruz, disappears

December 15, 2008


According to an Urgent Action from the World Organization Against Torture, December 3, Javier Torres Cruz disappeared while on route to visit his sister Agustina Torres Cruz in Petatlán from his own community of La Morena. Family members began looking for Torres after a telephone conversation between he and his siter was abruptly dropped, however they were unable to find either Torres or his vehicle.

Torres Cruz is a member of the Ecologist Organization of the Coyuca and Petatlán Sierra in addition to being one of the principle witnesses for the Attorney General of the Federal District [Mexico City] (PGJDF, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal) in their case regarding the death of lawyer and human rights defender Digna Ochoa y Plácido. Last year Torres Cruz testified along with his uncle Isaías Torres Rosas that the ex mayor of Petatlán and major landowner Rogaciano Alva Álvarez had ordered three gunmen to kill Digna Ochoa on October 19, 2001. Due to this testimony, the PGJDF recently opted to reopen the case. Isaías Torres Rosas was subsequently murdered in January of this year leaving Torres Cruz the sole remaining witness in the Ochoa case.

It is worth mentioning that on November 13, 2008, Torres Cruz’ community of La Morena was subject to a military operation consisting of 100 military personnel. According to several eyewitnesses, the same Rogaciano Alva Álvarez was present at the operation along with a group of armed civilians. The armed group remained in the community until the following morning. According the Mexican daily, La Jornada, the lawyer representing the family of Digna Ochoa, Manuel Fuentes Muñiz, pointed out that it is quite likely that Rogaciano Alva Álvarez is implicated in the disappearance of Javier Torres Cruz.

More information:

UA 336/08: Javier Torres Cruz (m), aged 28 (AI, 11/12/08)

More information in Spanish:

AU: MEX 111208 Presunta desaparición forzada/Temor por integridad personal (OMCT, 11/12/08)

AU: Desaparición forzada de Javier Torres Cruz (CCTI, 11/12/08)

Exigen aclarar desaparición de testigo que señala a autor de la muerte de Digna Ochoa (La Jornada, 11/12/08)

Guerrero: Urgent Actions by various international organizations call attention to the arbitrary detention of Máximo Mojica

December 8, 2008


Amnesty International (AI), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) through the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI) released Urgent Actions regarding the case of Máximo Mojica Delgado, María de los Ángeles Hernaández Flores, and Santiago Nazario Lezma who were arbitrarily detained in the last days of November in Telolapan, Guerrero.

On November 27, three armed men carried off Máximo Mojica without presenting identification or an arrest warrant. On November 29, María de los Ángeles Hernández and Santiago Nazario were detained by armed men who were described by neighbors to be agents of the Police Ministry of Investigation (PIM).

On December 3, after a number of days without knowing the location of these 3 people, they were found in the custody of the State Attorney General’s office. They were visited by members of the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Guerrero which later stated that the three detainees showed signs of mistreatment and had not been given the right to an attorney. The State Attorney General’s office had not yet presented formal charges against any of the three detainees.

It is worth mentioning that Mojica had participated in the Civil Association of Land and Liberty (Asociación Civil de Tierra y Libertad), which is part of the Front of Democratic Organizations in the State of Guerrero (FODEG) and that Mojica and María de los Ángeles Hernández were both members of the State Coordination of Educational Workers of Guerrero (CETEG).

Case update:  On December 4, 2008, Máximo Mojica Delgado, María de los Ángeles Hernaández Flores, and Santiago Nazario Lezma were transfered to Tecpan where they were brought before the Galeana District Judge in order to solicit an administrative detention on charges of kidnapping Adriana de Jesús Ortega Zarate.

For More Information:

UA – Mexico: Fear of torture or other ill-treatment (AI, 04/12/08)

The IRCT demands immediate action regarding forced disappearance of a Mexican colleague (03/12/08)

Mexico/US: Mérida Initiative funding released

December 6, 2008


US Ambassador to Mexico, Antonio Garza [Source: El Porvenir]

On December 3, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Antonio Garza and the Sub-secretary for North America from the Mexican Foreign Relations Department, Carlos Rico, signed the Letter of Agreement between the two countries which marked the beginning of the transfer of funds set forth in the Mérida Initiative. These funds will initially spent by the US government and the resulting equipment, technology and training will then be sent to Mexico. While the Letter of Agreement refers to approximately 197 million USD of the 400 million USD promised in the initiative for 2008, according to Ambassador Garza, some 136 million USD is already be utilized through military cooperation and through the Economic Support Fund (ESF).

Antonio Garza spoke of the necessity for cooperation between the US and Mexico and while he spoke admiringly of President Calderón’s administration, he also pointed out that “sometimes the narcotraffickers are better coordinated, and integrated in their transnational activities than those that are confronting them.” The ambassador also mentioned that the transffering of some 43 million USD of the funds has yet to occur pending the compliance with internal reports. Although 15% of the funds are conditioned on the Mexican government’s compliance with the human rights clauses attached to the initiative, according to the office of Senator Patrick Leahy [VT-D], the State Department has yet to deliver their report concerning the conditions to Congress.

It is important to reiterate the many human rights and social organizations in Mexico continue to be concerned by the impact that the Mérida Initiative may have on the human rights situation in the country given the intensification of militarization that the initiative implies.

More information:

US delivers 197 million anti-crime package to Mexico (AFP, 03/12/08)

U.S. lets Mexico have drug war funds (IHT, 03/12/08)

US gives Mexico anti-drug funding (BBC, 04/12/08)

US releases first part of $400 million aid package for Mexico’s fight against drug cartels (AP, 04/12/08)

H.R. 2642: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 , SUBCHAPTER C: MEXICO

US Embassy Statements:

Statement from US Ambassador Antonio Garza (03/12/08)

The Joint Declaration at the signing of the Mérida Initiative (03/12/08)

More articles from SIPAZ:

The Merida Initiative in Mexico (SIPAZ, 08/08)

Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ (20/08/08)

Mexico/US: Bush signs Mérida Initiative into law (30/08/08)

Mexico/Chiapas: The World March of Women concludes in San Cristóbal de las Casas

December 6, 2008


Patricia Cervantes of Ciudad Chihuahua, Chihuahua, giving testimony at the popular tribunal of the World March of Women

The march/caravan titled “For the Life and Security of Women,” coordinated by the Mexican section of the World March of Women, arrived at San Cristóbal de las Casas December 1. The caravan was made up of 100 women from all over Mexico who participated in the 7 day tour of the country which started in Ciuada Juárez, Chihuahua on November 24.

On December 1, the caravan was received at the Cathedral Plaza in San Cristóbal with a rally and indigenous ceremony. That afternoon, a popular tribunal was organized to hear the testimony of victims of violence against women. In particular the issue of feminicide was present in several of the women’s testimonies from the states of Chihuahua, Jalisco, Estado de México, Veracruz y Chiapas.

The following day the women marched from the Municipal Administration Building in San Cristóbal de las Casas in a demonstration that concluded in the Cathedral Plaza.

More information:

World March of Women website

More information in Spanish:

Página de La Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres

Mexico/Chiapas: Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres finaliza en San Cristóbal de las Casas (SIPAZ, 04/12/08)

Chiapas: Public Denunciation by the United Peoples in Defense of Electric Energy

December 3, 2008

The organization United Peoples in Defense of Electric Energy (Pueblos Unidos en Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica, PUDEE), an organization which is in resistance to the high energy prices in the Northern Zone of the state, has denounced for years the unjust policy of high energy prices. As stated in their recent communiqué, the new program implemented by the government of Chiapas of Juan Sabines Guerrero, known as ‘Luz Solidaria’ (Solidarity for Light) is being closely scrutinized by PUDEE. The program consists of a subsidy, a ‘tarifa preferencial,’ for certain communities that will result in lower electricity bills. However, according to the communiqué it continues to maintain the high prices intact and is being used as a means of keeping communities divided, in addition to attempting to control and subue the resistance.

Below is the public denunciation of the PUDEE from November 23, 2008