Chiapas: Human Rights Defender Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz Receives Death Threats

December 26, 2009

On Dec. 14, 2009, Mr. Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, who works with the organization Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación in the city of Comitán de Dominguez, received a death threat at his home that read: “stop or you are going to die.” In the early morning of Nov. 8, 2009 his house was raided by state police wearing civilian clothing and balaclavas and carrying fire arms. A complaint was filed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in regards to the events. Interestingly, Guzmán received the death threat two days before he was scheduled to attend the hearing held at the Public Prosector’s Office for the criminal investigation into the raid that took place, abuse of authority and torture. Due to the threat, Adolfo and his wife did not attend the proceedings on Dec. 16.

This is yet one more family that has been affected, one more human rights defender that has been criminalized and intimidated in Chiapas. The list continues to grow.

Read the Complete Denunciation (Spanish):

Amenazan de muerte a defensor de derechos humanos (Boletín 40 del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 17/12/09)

For More Information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento de la sociedad civil ante una nueva ofensiva gubernamental contra las organizaciones sociales y civiles en Chiapas (30/11/09)

Chiapas: Denuncia pública de Enlace, Capacitación y Comunicación (blog de SIPAZ, 11/11/09)

For More Information in English:

Mexico – Death threats against human rights defender Mr Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz (Front Line, 23/12/09)


Guerrero: Army Harasses Puerto de las Ollas Six Times in Six Months

December 26, 2009

[Military incursion, June 2009. ©Tlachinollan]

“Yet again the community of El Puerto de las Ollas has been the victim of military incursions and human rights violation,” denounced the Community Development Workshop (Taller de Desarrollo Comunitario AC). In the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2009, a military command entered the community of Puerto de las Ollas found in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalán, where they kidnapped and tortured Javier Tapia to make him respond to interrogation. In addition, the soldiers appropriated food stuffs and personal belongings of the community and upon leaving, they threatened to return. According to the same denunciation, “this event is part of an intense military mobilization in the region, with commandos in military vehicles and the circling of aircraft [planes and helicopters].”

“This is the sixth incursion suffered by this community so far this year. The first occurred between Jun. 9 and 13 in which the military, with the complicity of paramilitary forces identified as residents of the community of San Isidro, took possession of and looted houses with in the community, beat the women and children and forced them to sleep outside during the period in which they remained in the community. They eventually left before the arrival of a Civil Observation Mission that was made up of journalists, representatives of civil organizations and the Coddehum (Human Rights Defense Commission of the State of Guerrero). As of that first instance, the incursions have continued with acts of intimidation, looting, insults and death threats (…)”

Read the Complete Denunciation (in Spanish):

Nueva incursión del ejército mexicano en la Comunidad del Puerto de Las Ollas y Las Palancas, en Coyuca de Catalán, Guerrero (denuncia del Taller de Desarrollo Comunitario AC, en Enlace Zapatista, 17/12/09)

For More Information in Spanish:

Nuevas incursiones militares en Puerto las Ollas y Chilpancingo (artículo de La Jornada Guerrero, 18/12/09)

Personas y derechos pisoteados (9/12/09, Pronunciamiento de varios organismos de defensa de los derechos humanos, página web del Centro de Derechos de La Montaña Tlachinollan)

For More Information From SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Reports of military torture and harassment of three communities in the region of Cuyuca de Catalan (SIPAZ, 21/07/09)

MEXICO: 61 Years After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 15, 2009

Sixty-one years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 11 years after the UN’s declaration on human rights defenders, several organizations dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights are reporting the current situation in their respective states as well as at the national level.

In Chiapas, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) published a special bulletin in which they denounced the fact that in the state “the defense of human rights is subject to intimidation, attacks and killings.” After recounting the harassment suffered by human rights defenders Frayba concludes: “This year the work done in defense of human rights has been criminalized to the point of considering human rights defenders participants in organized crime or part of a supposed subversive network to destabilize the government in 2010.”

In Oaxaca, the “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” Regional Human Rights Center, made a public declaration in which they highlighted the state’s current situation “drowning in impunity, corruption, human rights violations and social decomposition.” They questioned the state government denouncing that: “In the Fifth Report issued by the Oaxacan State Government it is evident that this is a government made up of a small group, with an explicit goal of appropriating territories in order to turn Oaxaca into a personal dictatorship.”

In Guerrero, in a press conference held by the Guerrero Network of Human Rights Civil Organizations (Red Guerrerense de Organismos Civiles y de Derechos Humanos) in Chilpancingo, a number of campesino, indigenous, social and human rights organizations presented a joint statement. The document, titled “People and Rights Trampled On,” states that “In Guerrero the shadowy era of the dirty war continues to repeat, because governments allowed the army to return to poor regions were there have been armed uprisings. (…) Today the reappearance of the army throughout the state of Guerrero is a form of punishment against new insurgent movements. (…) We social and civil organizations that have documented serious violations of the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, are facing not just a slander campaign against our work as human rights defenders but we are also suffering surveillance, harassment and threats carried out with the sole purpose of putting a stop to our work, silence our denunciations and violate our right to defend human rights and fully exercise freedom of expression.”

At the national level, the Early Warning Network (Red de Alerta Temprana) together with other organization, published a report titles Panorama of the Current Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico. In the conclusions they warn: “We consider that [the government] is implementing a strategy to identify human rights defenders and their organizations as ‘enemies’ of the system and identifying the political affiliation of the victims and rights defenders in order to criminalize their actions. Through the use of threats, harassment, murder attempts, arbitrary detentions and the application of arrest warrants against these individuals they are trying to create an environment of tension and fear with the clear objective of polarizing the collective work of these organizations, creating divisions and diminishing or ending the work they do. There is a pattern of aggression that corresponds to a psychological operation of terror.”

For Mor Information:

“Tlachinollan” Human Rights Center of the Montaña: Who defends human rights defenders? (10/12/09)

In Spanish:

Chiapas: OCEZ-RC, prisoners released and the initiation of a process of goodwill

December 15, 2009

On Nov. 23, José Manuel Chema Hernández Martínez, José Manuel de la Torre and Roselio de la Cruz González, leaders of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC), were released on bail after being accused of criminal association and causing damages.

After their detention, members of the OCEZ-RC held a sit-in at the San Cristóbal cathedral and on Oct. 30 they occupied the UN offices located in the same city. After the release of their leaders, the OCEZ-RC informed that they had accepted the proposal presented by Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero through Diego Cadenas, director of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, to open mediation

In the early hours of Nov. 27, the State Government and the OCEZ-RC signed an agreement that will bring attention to the demands of the OCEZ-RC insisting that the government cancel the 11 arrest warrants out against the organization’s leaders and members in addition to the militarization of Venustiano Carranza.

Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, who was present for a portion of the meeting, assured that in Chiapas “there is rule of law, but this does not mean that the State is an oppressor, on the contrary, this government is eager to defuse the situation. I do not hold political prisoners, currently no one can call themselves a political prisoner in Chiapas; we want to be sure that no-one is being persecuted that there is the social responsibility necessary to build a climate of lasting social peace. We want to make sure there is no inconformity, no fear and that the campesinos dedicate themselves to agricultural production.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Liberan bajo fianza a dirigente de la OCEZ (La Jornada, 24/11/09)

Dirigente de la OCEZ condena represión (La Jornada, 25/11/09)

OCEZ demanda cancelar aprehensiones (El Universal, 26/11/09)

OCEZ y Estado firman minutas (Cuarto Poder, 28/11/09)

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: The OCEZ-RC sit-in, twelve days later (6/11/09)

Chiapas: “Pueblo Creyente” Pilgrimage in Venustiano Carranza Brings Together 850 People

December 11, 2009

“We can live without gold, without water we will die.”
“The Pueblo Creyente is aware.”

On December 6, 2009, the “Pueblo Creyente” (Community of Faith) held a pilgrimage to “express [their] feelings in favor of life, respecting the rights of organizations in order to develop out communities together.” Eight hundred fifty individuals—most of them belonging to the San Bartolomé Apóstol parish in Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas—made the two hour pilgrimage to the church at Venustiano Carranza singing and denouncing the mining companies as well as the lies and abuses of power surrounding the current situation.

In November, the Mexican national daily La Jornada had made public pieces of the report published by the State Attorney General’s Office titled, “The Prevailing Situation in the Municipality of Venustiano Carranza.” The report is an intent on documenting the existence of a “subversive network” that is supposedly planning destabilizing acts for the year 2010 and whose focal point is said to be Jesús Landín, a catholic priest in Venustiano Carranza. The report also appears to have “justified” the harassment denounced in recent months by the diocese and other social activists.

In late November, several priests and members of religious orders from the Southern Zone made a public declaration stating: “Instead of slander, harassment and persecution, we hope that the governor will join the people in defending the holy land of Chiapas, lungs of the nation, and serve as an example of respect for the rights that are clearly delineated in the constitution and that defend the treaties signed by Mexico before the international community.” In the communiqué distributed during the recent pilgrimage, the Pueblo Creyente also clarified: “Our role as the Church is to promote and defend life, a life with justice and dignity in order to realize peace in our communities and not to create acts that provoke instability and more suffering for the community.”

After the pilgrimage—in a church so full of people that many were seated on the floor—the parish priest Jesús Landín gave mass and called for unity in “these violent times.” In a prayer, a sister asked God to “[liberate them] from the abuses of power, from the companies that destroy nature, […] and that [they be granted] peace, peace and justice.” “Padre Chuy,” who has received all types of threats in the past months, ended by thanking the people for the show of solidarity and care received by the parish workers.

A representative of the Pueblo Creyente from the parish in Chicomuselo came in solidarity with the message of the pilgrimage and invited all of those present to Chicomuselo on Dec. 22.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente (6/12/2009)

Declaración de los sacerdotes y religiosas de la zona Sur de la diocesis de San Cristobal (noviembre 2009)

Católicos se solidarizan con sacerdote Landín (artículo del Cuarto Poder, 7/12/2009)

Marchan en Carranza en apoyo a sacerdote “acechado” por el gobierno (artículo del blog “Observatorio CIudadano” 6/12/2009)

Peregrinaciones y misas en apoyo a Jesús Landín (artículo de La Jornada 7/12/09)

More From SIPAZ:

Journey of the “Community of faith”: Reflection and Action on a Changing Reality

Chiapas: demonstration during the visit of Canada’s Governor General

December 10, 2009

About 50 protesters wearing masks and carrying photos of slain activist Mariano Abarca Roblero greeted Canada’s Governor General Wednesday in San Cristobal de Las Casas, on the last day of her state visit to Mexico.

The protesters were kept about 200 meters from FOMMA, a Mayan women’s collective where Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean watched a play and participated in a roundtable discussion.

There were no clashes between the protestors and the dozen or so riot police guarding the barricade.

The protestors carried signs accusing Canadian company Blackfire of murder and chanted “If Abarca were alive, he’s be here with us” and “Canadian mines get out.”

Afterward, in a statement to media, Jean condemned the assassination of Abarca Roblero, calling the murder unacceptable, inexcusable and deplorable.

“We believe that the justice system here in Mexico will proceed with the enquiry in that case,” Jean said. “We will be following this situation closely with the firm hope and conviction that justice will be served.”

At a press conference held that morning at local NGO Otros Mundos Chiapas, organizers and residents of Chicomuselo called for a complete withdrawal by the Canadian company, which has a barite mine near Chicomuselo that was temporarily shut down on Monday.

Two residents of Chicomuselo said they have received threats since Abarca Roblero’s death and do not feel safe in their community.

For more information (in Spanish):

– Condena gobernadora de Canadá asesinato de activista en Chiapas (Jornada, 10 de diciembre de 2009)

– De visista en Chiapas gobernadora general (Cuarto Poder, 10 de diciembre de 2009)

– Página Web de Otros Mundos

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Anti-mining Activist Mariano Abarca killed

Chiapas: International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

December 3, 2009

The United Nations has declared November 25th “International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women”. This date was chosen in commemoration of the brutal assassination of the three Marabal sisters under the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

Rashida Manjoo, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women, affirmed that “all women have the right to live free of violence” and called for the States to assume the responsibility to end violence in the lives of women. On the eve of the day, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the UN, announced that “at some point in their lives 70 percent of the world’s women suffer from physical or sexual aggression on the part of a man, who in the majority of cases is the husband, partner, or someone the woman knows. This is unacceptable.”

Women from independent organizations, indigenous women, members of The Other Campaign, syndicates, and international women all marched in the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas to call attention to the violent situations from which women continue to suffer.

During a meeting in the city’s center one woman said, “Today we remember the heroic, dignified and rebellious fight; this is a day of reflection and of anger and denunciation of the different forms of violence that we suffer as women.”

The public declaration by the organizers of the march stated, “We call to the women and men of both country and city to resist in a civil and peaceful manner, and to build alternatives that are equal across gender, class, and ethnicity in terms of economy, nutrition, education, sanitary, and security.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento politico organizaciones en Chiapas

Indymedia Chiapas (26 de noviembre de 2009)

Hacen recuento de los atropellos contra mujeres (La Jornada, 26 de noviembre)

Informe presentado a CIDH sobre la violencia institucional contra las mujeres en México (noviembre de 2009)