Oaxaca: Assambly cancel the authorization given to CFE in “Paso de la Reina” project

July 31, 2009

Pancarta contra las represas en Oaxaca

In a press conference held on the 27th July, a member of The Council of Unified Peoples for the Defense of the Río Verde (Copudever, El Consejo de Pueblos Unidos por la Defensa del Río Verde) in Tataltepec de Valdés, alongside the president of the Communal Lands Commission of Paso de la Reina, Juan Gómez Gómez, commented that the general assembly had revoked and cancelled the authorization, which on the 27th June 2007 had granted in writing permission for the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE, Comisión Federal de Electricidad) and other departments to conduct studies of the land. The government-sponsored CFE has, however, ignored the opposition expressed by various indigenous communities, and maintains its decision to go ahead with the construction of the hydroelectric dam in community lands, that will run through the Río Verde in the Istmo of Oaxaca. This is in spite of the fact that those affected demand that the project is cancelled and have already mobilized themselves to stop the preliminary workers of the site.

The representative of Copudever, Juan Gómez Gómez, has demanded that the authorities respect the rights of the cooperative and the ‘free and informed’decision of the indigenous communities, as recognized by the internationally signed and ratified agreements of the Mexican government.

For more information, see

“Ejidatarios de Oaxaca se alistan para luchar contra presa de CFE”, La Jornada (27/07/2009)

“NO a la presa Paso de la Reina”, Prensa Indígena (07/03/2009)

“Rechazan pueblos la hidroeléctrica Paso de Reina en Oaxaca”, Cimacnoticias (21/05/2008)

More information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Hydroelectric dam project “Paso de la Reina”


Oaxaca: Detention of journalist Ernesto Reyes

July 31, 2009
Fuente: www.libertad-expresion.org.mx

Fuente: http://www.libertad-expresion.org.mx

On the 21st July, members of the Mexican Army in Oaxaca detained and condemned the newspaper journalist Ernesto Reyes Martínez, who writes for Noticias Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca and works as correspondent for the radio station XEW, part of the radio newsreel Hoy por Hoy. Ernesto Reyes Martínez was detained whilst taking photographs of an alleged detention that was happening on the federal highway. Various organizations, such as the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH) and ARTICLE19 have condemned the detention, stating that “the illegal retention of the journalist lasted an hour and 30 minutes, during which time he was kept in solitary confinement and was not allowed to make telephone calls”. It is important to recognize the precarious situation in which many journalists find themselves in Mexico, a country that is marked for being the second most dangerous in the world in regards to human rights violations of journalists. In light of this event, ARTICLE19 and Cencos have called upon the state government to “adopt the necessary means to guarantee the right to freedom of expression, as the privation of the right of society to be informed is a direct threat for the consolidation of democracy”.

For more information, see:

“Militares obstruyen ejercicio periodistico en Oaxaca”, Cimacnoticias (22/07/2009)

“Alerta-LE: Militares obstruyen ejercicio periodistico en Oaxaca”, Campaña permanente de protección a periodistas en México (21/07/2009)

Oaxaca: Liberation of 4 Loxicha prisoners

July 31, 2009
Fuente: www.espora.org

Fuente: http://www.espora.org

On the 18th July, four indigenous prisoners from the Loxicha region were granted early release from prison. Estanislao Martínez Santiago, Ricardo Martínez Enríquez, Cirilo Ambrosio Antonio and Urbano Ruiz Cruz had been imprisoned since 1996, accused of having committed a variety of different crimes of federal order.

The freed indigenous peoples come from a marginalized area, where they are routinely subjected to both violence and repression at the hands of the government, which, on the 25th September 1996 resulted in the detention of 12 individuals. The arrest occurred when, “on the 25th September 1996, the state and federal government implemented an operative in the Loxicha region that resulted in murders, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and grand-scale arbitrary and unjust detentions”, according to organizations that have followed the process, such as the Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño A.C, as well as the Zapatista Collective of Oaxaca and the priest Wilfredo Mayren Pelaez, spokesperson for the prisoners of Loxicha. “We must recognize that 8 political prisoners are still imprisoned, who, on the 25th September, will complete 12 years in jail; 4 of them remain in prison awaiting the resolve of their legal situation, whilst the other 4 will complete sentences of 30 to 34 years, during which time they are being deprived of their freedom.”

For more information (in Spanish), see:

“Liberan en Oaxaca a cuatro presos políticos”, CENCOS (20/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 presos Loxichas, después de 13 años”, Disidente Radio (19/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 compañeros de la region Loxicha”, El Enemigo Común (20/07/2009)

More information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: people march for the liberation of 12 political prisoners in Loxicha

Chiapas: Person dead after brutal attacks in Mitzitón

July 29, 2009
The ejido of Mitzitón (Foto: HR Centre Frayba)

The ejido of Mitzitón (Foto: HR Centre Frayba)

On the 21st July, in the cooperative of Mitzitón, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a brutal attack resulted in the death of one person and left five injured. All of those affected were members of the tsotsil community and of ‘La Otra Campaña’, which is coordinated by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). The confrontation occurred within the context of the current construction project that plans to build a motorway from San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Palenque that would run through the territory of Mitzitón, thus resulting in the possible removal of land owned by members of the cooperative.

The first conflict occurred on the 19th July when cooperative members, followers of ‘La Otra Campaña’, were insulted and threatened by a group of approximately forty people lead by Carmen Díaz López, who were armed with sticks, machetes and slingshots. The cooperative members were measuring their land when the group of forty people arrived, who stated that they had the backing and support of the government, and that the cooperative should shop measuring their land. In the morning of the same day, the aforementioned group of people had persecuted, threatened and detained cooperative member, Mauro Díaz Jiménez, and had actually placed a machete under his throat to threaten him.

It is worth mentioning that the majority of the cooperative members did not recognize anyone within the obstructing group of people, since they had not become involved in dealing with community issues. Carmen Díaz López was actually expelled from the community and removed of his land rights eight years ago for having been involved in the trafficking of undocumented individuals.

When a group of cooperative members arrived at the area of disputed land, at 9.30am on the 21st July, they were blocked by sixty people, who were armed with stones, sticks and slingshots. At that moment, a blue van arrived at the scene, driven by and containing collaborators of the obstructing group, which then ran over various members of the cooperative. In addition, the cooperative members were attacked by firearms and had one of their vans destroyed. The attacks resulted in the death of Aurelio Díaz Hernández, as well as various injuries suffered by Fernando Heredia Heredia, Javier Gómez Heredia, Raymundo Díaz Heredia, Jose Heredia Jiménez and Marcelino Jiménez Hernández.

Díaz López and other members of the obstructing group are parishioners of the evangelical religious organization “Alas de Águila” (noted for its quasi-military structure), whilst the cooperative members who are followers of ‘La Otra Campaña’ belong to the catholic faith. On various levels, both by local sources and by the state government, the conflict has been regarded as based upon religious differences. However, Human Rights defenders have presented an alternative understanding, which argues that the root of the conflict lies within the fight of the cooperative members against the construction of the motorway, which would be built over their land.

For more information see:

Para más información:

Chiapas: Declaration of the 5 liberated indigenous tseltales of ‘La Otra Campaña’ from San Sebastián Bachajón

July 21, 2009
Press conference of the liberated indigenous tseltales

Press conference of the liberated indigenous tseltales

On the 9th of July 2009, representatives of the indigenous tseltales, who are members of the village of San Sebastián Bachajón and part of ‘La Otra Campaña’, took part in a press conference, together with the Centro de Derechos Humanos “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas” (Human Rights Center “Fray Bartolome de las Casas” or CDHFB). The press conference took place in the offices of CDHFB, with the aim of the liberation of five of the seven detained indigenous tseltales from the village. The detainees have been imprisoned since last April and have suffered acts of torture to incite confessions of responsibility for holdups of tourist buses in the region of Agua Azul.

Gerónimo Moreno Deara acted as representative of those who had been recently liberated: he recounted the events of the detainment, the arrival, and the imprisonment within the state jail “El Amate”, which is based in Cintalapa. Gerónimo Moreno Deara recounted how they suffered torture for two days and how, on being detained, they were forced to take part in manual labor for the other prisoners so as not to be assaulted.

Two of the authorities of the village, who represented the committee of surveillance, as well as the principal traditional authorities, spoke about the origins of division within the village and the way in which they joined the ‘La Otra Campaña’. They stated that they are going to keep fighting for the liberation of the two other members of the village who remain imprisoned.

In turn, the CDHFBC, which acts in defense of the seven indigenous peoples who were detained last April, gave thanks to the national and international solidarity that has resulted in the recent liberation of the five individuals. Furthermore, the Center urged for those in solidarity to keep fighting for the freedom of Antonio and Jerónimo Gómez Saragos, who are currently imprisoned in “El Amate”. Moreover, representatives of CDHFBC stated that they were eagerly awaiting the resolution of the appeal against the order for the commitment of the defendant, which will be announced within the next few days.

For more information:

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: 5 indigenous tseltales of the village of San Sebastián Bachajón are released

July 21, 2009


On Monday 6th of July five of the seven indigenous tseltales, who are members of ‘La Otra Campaña’ from the village of San Sebastián Bachajón, were liberated due to the waiver of court action. The issue revolves around the existence of a legal body, which has the authority to remove charges attributed to those detained, as well as the ability to grant partial amnesty of the penalty charge. Gerónimo Moreno Deara, Alfredo Gómez Moreno, Miguel Demeza Jiménez, Sebastián Demeza Deara and Pedro Demeza Deara were imprisoned for three months, because of ‘actions in defense of the land’, according to the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC or Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de las Casas). Furthermore, the brothers Gerónimo and Antonio Gómez Saragos, continue to be imprisoned in the CERSS number 14 in the “El Amate” prison in Cintalapa, ‘accused of violent robbery and organized crime’.

On Thursday 9th July at 11.30am there will be a press conference in the offices of CDFBC to ‘inform about the conditions of release and about the current situation of the two members of the cooperative who continue to be imprisoned’.

Guerrero: Reports of military torture and harassment of three communities in the region of Cuyuca de Catalan

July 21, 2009


From the 9th to the 13th July a group of soldiers entered into three communities in Guerrero (Las Palancas, Puerto de las Ollas y El Jilguero) in the region of Coyuca de Catalán, in the area of Tierra Caliente. The soldiers fired gunshots into the air and at those who tried to flee into the mountains.

The aim of the military excursion was to detain members of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (ERPI), in particular the so-called commander Ramiro, whose real name is Omar Guerrero Solís, who organized a press conference from hiding on the 31st May. In his declaration, the commandor Ramiro accused a local political boss of using a paramilitary group with the aim of intimidating agricultural workers from the area who opposed deforestation or the cultivation of drugs in the area.

Although on the 9th June, 60 soldiers entered into the communities, on the following day, even more arrived so as to provide reinforcements to those already there, bringing the grand total of soldiers up to around 500. During the five days, women and children of the area suffered harassment by the soldiers, and in some cases, torture. At last, the army withdrew on the 13th June, when a team of observers arrived, formed of Human Rights organizations, as well as various Civil Society organizations, such as the Human Rights Defense Commission of the state of Guerrero (Coddehum).

The reports submitted by the Civil Society organizations talk of the specific torture of two individuals, as well as of house raids and the use of knifes that were placed on three women’s throats to make them give information regarding the whereabouts of their husbands. In addition, members of the communities suffered robberies, threats and various attempts by the soldiers to falsify tests that would suggest links between community members with armed groups and drug-traffickers, through the sowing of poppy seeds, as well as arms and other military equipment.

For more information (spanish):