Guerrero: 4 of the 5 jailed human rights defenders are freed

March 19, 2009

On March 18, the judge Jesús Rafael Aragón granted an appeal to 4 of the 5 members of the Indigenous Me´phaa People´s Organization (OPIM), who have been incarcerated since April 17 of last year. Manuel Cruz Victoriano, Orlando Manzanarez Lorenzo, Natalio Ortega Cruz, y Romualdo Santiago Enedina were freed, while Raúl Hernández Abundio remains in jail.

The five human rights defenders were accused of killing Alejandro Feliciano García, an army informant, on January 1, 2008. In October of last year, the Eigth District judge in Acapulco granted an appeal, but it was overturned by the Attorney General´s office, without any new evidence.

According to the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan), “We are awaiting within the next few hours the confirmation of this appeal with the First Instance Judge of Ayutla, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, so that within 24 hours he will order the immediate release of the 4 indigenous persons from El Camalote who were adopted as perisoners of conscience by Amnesty International(AI).” The CDHM Tlachinollan has been defending the case of the 5 human rights defenders since they were first jailed.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Comunicado del CDHM Tlachinollan, 18/3/2009

México: Retiran cargos penales contra cuatro Indígenas presos de conciencia, pero uno continúa detenido injustamente, Amnestia Internacional, 18/3

Retiran cargos a mixtecos; sólo uno seguirá en prisión, El Universal, 19/3.

More Information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Memebers of the OPIM request another appeal, (SIPAZ Blog 5/2/2009)

Guerrero: Federal government overturns appeal granted to 4 of the 5 detained members of OPIM (SIPAZ Blog, 11/6/08)

SIPAZ Website- Civil Society: OPIM


Chiapas: Hostilities against human rights defender of the MRPS-FNLS

March 18, 2009

On February 12, hostilities against Marcos López Pérez, a human rights defender of the Movement of Popular Resistance of the Southeast (MRPS-FNLS) and member of the Human Rights Commission of the National Front of the Fight for Socialism (FNLS), were made public.

The Facts:

On February 5, Marcos López Pérez visited the Center of Social Re-adaptation (Cereso) of the municipality of Ocosingo as part of the work that he does as a lawyer. That day, as part of his work, he met with the director of the prison Jorge Pedrero, who is also an ex-captain of the army. The director, in the middle of the meeting without warning, ordered the guards to physically remove López Pérez from the prison.

Marcos López Pérez decided to forget about the event, thinking nothing of it. Therefore, on March 3, he visited the prison again as part of his work. Upon entering the prison he noticed that the guards were all looking at him; while registering himself, the guards requested that he bring the original copy of his professional certificate and that he leave it with the guards, which is not common practice in the prison. He stated: “after I had spoken with my defendant I left the prison, it was when I was leaving the visiting room and entering the hallway that I found the guards all gathered together. I saw that while I was gathering my things they quickly closed the door and locked the exit. And they began to communicate by radio, from the inside more guards came out, there were about 8 guards and they surrounded me, blocked the door and wouldn’t let me leave. They handcuffed me… they wouldn’t let me leave and they were constantly threatening me”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Hostilities against human rights defender,

Mexico: European Parliament approves the Strategic Partnership between the European Union and Mexico

March 13, 2009

On March 12 the European Parliament approved, by 463 in favor, 20 against, and 52 abstaining, a report by the Spanish representative José Ignacio Salafranca (PPE-DE) which supports the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the European Union (EU) and Mexico. The European representatives stated as priorities the fight against drug-trafficking, international terrorism, organized crime, as well as cooperation on issues of immigration. The report also requested the inclusion of Mexico as “a permanent member of the new financial and international economic structure of the G-20”. In 2000, the EU and Mexico had signed an “agreement of global partnership”, increasing commerce between the two by more than 100%, and in light of these “positive results”, the European Parliament decided to move forward towards “a qualitative step forward in relations between Mexico and the European Union”.

In the parliamentary discussion regarding the strategic partnership before the voting, the representative of the Green Party Raul Romeva i Rueda stated that instead of developing benefits, this type of agreement has “created a dependence” of Mexico on the EU, and a commercial deficit to Europe. According to him, the “most concerning” without question is the “liberalizing obsession” towards the economy of this country, especially in sectors like banking in which 90% is in foreign hands, a good part of them European. He also stated that “the bulk of the exports from the EU are import-export goods, for example European goods are not consumed in Mexico. To the contrary, they are reassembled and exported. I am referring to the famous maquiladoras (sweatshops). Mexico has become a trampoline for goods from the EU to the United States.”

The Spanish representative also called a resolution to “the problem of impunity, which according to official data, is between 97 and 99 percent”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

La Eurocámara aprueba apoya el establecimiento de una Asociación Estratégica entre la UE y México, Parlamento Europeo (12/03/2009)

UE-México: La Comisión propone una Asociación Estratégica, RMALC (15/07/2008)

Oaxaca: Amnesty International testifies about the abduction and torture of a member of the APPO

March 12, 2009

On March 4, Marcelino Coache Verano, member of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) was abducted in the city of Oaxaca and tortured for a number of hours according to an Urgent Action report (Index Number: AMR 41/014/2009) by Amnesty International released on March 9. The international organization expressed concern for the safety of Marcelino Coache, who was abducted by 3 men, tied up, blindfolded, and taken to an unknown location.

“The men punched and hit him repeatedly with the butt of a gun and burned him with cigarettes around his nipples and genitals. After a few hours, he heard one man enter the room who said “this is one of the rebels” (éste es uno de los revoltosos). In response another man said “then we’ll kill him” (entonces lo matamos) and cocked a gun. Marcelino Coache was then bundled into a vehicle and driven away. He was released in Zaachila municipality, about 30 km from Oaxaca City, at about 3.30 AM on 5 March. He managed to secure a lift from a taxi and was driven straight to hospital for medical attention”.

Two days later, Marcelino Coache held a press conference in order to denounce the incident. On March 11, dozens of members of section 22 of the National Syndicate of Educational Workers (SNTE) and member of the APPO marched in protest of the illegal detention and torture of Marcelino Coache Verano.

The other day precautionary measures were sought by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR). It is not the first time that Marcelino Coache has suffered intimidation and physical aggression. At the beginning of the creation of the APPO in December of 2006, Marcelino Coache “was arrested along with other APPO leaders and accused of arson, sedition and resisting arrest. He was acquitted after spending more than six months in prison.”

For More Information:

Urgent Action: Mexico: Fear for safety: Marcelino Coache Verano (m), Amnesty International (3/9)

In Spanish:

Protestan decenas en Oaxaca contra la represión del appista Coache Verano, La Jornada (12/03/2009)

Mexico: US approves another 300 million dollars for Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative

March 12, 2009

Source: Terra Actualidad

Source: Terra Actualidad

On March 11, the United States government approved another 300 million dollars for the Mexican government as part of the Merida Initiative, a program of military aid for the war on drugs. The Merida Initiative is an agreement between the US and Mexico with the objective of confronting the drug-trafficking in Mexico and consists of 1.4 billion dollars over a 3 year period. According to the press release by the Embassy of the United States in Mexico, “This renewed funding, when combined with the $400 million made available late last year, demonstrates the United States’ continued and serious commitment to its shared responsibility in working with Mexico to confront drug trafficking and organized crime.” The aid package of 300 million dollars for 2009 was lower than the amount promised by the US: 450 million dollars.

Nevertheless, various social and human rights organizations are concerned about the consequences of the militarization which accompanies the war on drugs. In addition others questioned the right of the United States to condemn Mexico when the US itself has not been capable of controlling the sale of high-powered firearms on the border of both countries. Additionally, according to the Archdioceses of Mexico, “they [the US] have not recognized the consumption of drugs in their own country, the largest market for narcotics”. The government of the United States is giving military aid to Mexico in order to fight the war on drugs, however it is not making an effort to reduce the demand for drugs which is fueling the conflict in Mexico, a conflict which left of death toll of 5,61 in 2008 alone.

For More Information:

Press release from the US Embassy in Mexico, (3/11)

Human Rights Advocates Dismayed At U.S. Military Funding to Mexico, News Blaze (3/10)

In Spanish:

México debe rechazar “limosnas” de EU para lucha antinarco: Iglesia, La Jornada, (11/3)

Iniciativa Mérida es limosna: Iglesia, El Universal, (12/3)

More Information from SIPAZ:

Mexico/US: Mérida Initiative funding released, SIPAZ (12/4/08)

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

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

Chiapas: Zapatista Women’s Festival: “Mama Corral”

March 11, 2009

On March 7 and 8, the Forum of Zapatista women took place in celebration of the International Women’s Day, dedicated to Doña Concepción García de Corral, “known by the Zapatistas as Mama Corral, the mother of fallen fighters and tenacious fighter for the rights of disappeared people”.

Arriving in Oventik, one noticed the lines and lines of cars parked by the side of the road, with signs indicating that they had come from other Caracoles. Thousands of women came together at the event which was convoked as a political, sporting, and cultural event. Games of soccer, basketball, and volleyball took place, as well as cultural events like dancing, all organized by and for the women.

During the political part, the comandantes of the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee- General Command (CCRI-CG) of the EZLN stated: “It is time to break the chains, to break the silence, to say enough to feeling inferior to men. It is time to act, to take hold of our rights with our own hands. It its time to move forward”.

“We do not know how many more celebrations like this we will have, because the war continues. But meanwhile, we will celebrate that we are alive”.

For More Information (In Spanish):


Palabras de bienvenida y mensaje político de CCRI-CG del EZLN

Chiapas: operations against marijuana culitivation denounced as part of a counterinsurgency strategy

March 2, 2009

On February 26, the Good Government Council of the Highlands, “Corazón Céntrico de Los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo” (Oventik) denounced a number of new military incursions that have taken place in Zapatista communities since the beginning of the year in the autonomous municipality of San Andrés Sakam Ch’en de los Pobres. Since February 21, flyovers of airplanes and helicopters, the movement of soldiers, and operations looking for marijuana have increased significantly. The EZLN has been clear in its prohibition of the use and the growing of drugs in its communities and therefore, according to the communiqué from the Good Government Council, the recent events show “a provocation and a pretext to send soldiers into our communities”. The communiqué continues by stating “It is clear that this is a strategy by the government to fight us” and to “enter in Zapatista communities in order to control, provoke, and threaten us”. At the same time, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Frayba) stated that it had recently received information of flyovers in the “Zapatista Community Ecological Reserve El Huitepec”.

Frayba also stated in their bulletin on February 27 that they had heard rumors in the region of the Caracol “Torbellino de nuestras palabras” (Morelia), that on Saturday, February 28 forced evictions of Zapatista support bases will take place at the waterfalls of Agua Clara in the municipality of Chilón. According to Frayba, these new rumors and hostilities against Zapatista communities are evidence of the implementation of a counterinsurgency strategy against organized indigenous communities, and for the most part against Zapatistas. At the same time, Frayba is warning that the realization of forced evictions by the Mexican Army in Agua Clara would be a direct strike “to the delicate social peace that exists in he state” and a step towards “the beginning of a conventional war”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

La JBG de Oventik denuncia sobrevuelos e incursiones militares, disfrazados de operativos antidrogas en comunidades de San Andrés Sakam Ch’en de Los Pobres, comunicado (26/02/2009)

Nuevos actos de hostigamientos contra comunidades Zapatistas, boletín de prensa, Frayba (27/02/2009)

Denuncian incursión militar en comunidad rebelde de Chiapas, La Jornada (27/02/2009)