Chiapas: Presentation of the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum”Honor

January 26, 2010

On January 24, 2010, in the framework of his 50th episcopal anniversary, Don Samuel Ruiz García, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal, presented the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” honor to the Diocesan Women’s Coordination (Codimuj, Coordinadora Diocesana de Mujeres), the Abejas Civil Society of Acteal (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas), the Mayan Indian Ecumenical Theology (Teología India Ecuménica Mayense) and to professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a detainee at the San Cristóbal prison and a member of Voz del Amate.

The co-presenters of the prize include the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, the Commission of Support for Community Unity and Reconciliation (CORECO, Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria), Social Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI, Desarollo Económico Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas), the Institute of Intercultural Studies and Research (INESIN, Instituto de Estudios e Investigación Intercultural), Services and Consultancy for Peace (Serapaz, Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz), International Christian Solidarity Service with the Peoples of Latin America (SICSAL, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los pueblos de América Latina) and the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ, Servicio Internacional para la Paz).

The press release for the event explains the atmosphere of the proceedings:

“On October 10, 1999, in Amatenango del Valle, the members of the Mayan Indian Theology bestowed on Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia the charge of Canan Lum and named him jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum. jCanan Lum is the protector of the community, he who loves and defends the people, protector of life, land and nature. It is the recognition of a life of service dedicated to the well being of others.

jTatic Samuel has recognized that his service and the achievements made are the result of the historic process carried out by the people and communities that are the subjects of their own historic trajectory and are seeking their own liberation. The recognition that he has received is, in reality, deserved by those who are immersed in these processes and jTatic Samuel has made that clear on several occasions.

Motivated by the jubilee celebration of jTatic Samuel, the group of civil organization that are were founded, inspired or work closely with the episcopal system that the Bishop Emeritus has carried out over the last 50 years, consider it appropriate to recognize the individuals and collectives who have made themselves subjects of their own history, who have struggled for the liberation of their people, who through daily commitment and community service love, protect and defend their people.”

For More Information:

Full Press Release (in Spanish)


Tribute to Don Samuel Ruiz, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas

January 22, 2010

On January 25, 2010 the 50th anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Don Samuel Ruiz, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, will be celebrated.

Within the framework of the celebration, the diocese has organized a Theological Pastoral Congress that will be held from January 20 to 23. The event will offer a space for reflection with speakers from Mexico and other countries including Pablo Richard, Mariana Gómez Álvarez Icaza, Monsignor Victor Corral and Elena Lopez. The first day’s series of speakers was scheduled to begin with Gustavo Gutiérrez, whom current bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel has referred to as the father of Liberation Theology. However, due to health related concerns Gutiérrez will not be able to attend though his prepared address will be read at the event. In addition, clergy member from several different regions of the diocese will be speaking each day reflecting of their personal experiences with Bishop Emeritus Don Samuel Ruiz and their path within the diocese.

For More Information:

The event program (in Spanish)

The San Cristóbal de las Casas diocese website (access to the text of adresses given, in Spanish

Streaming AUDIO of the event:
(Copy the above url into your personal audio program, in Spanish)

Streaming VIDEO of the event:

Chiapas: IV aniversario de la Voz del Amate

January 19, 2010

On January 5, 2006 the prisoners’ organization La Voz del Amate (the Voice of Amate) attracted public attention through a long hunger strike that brought about the release of all of the organization’s members with the exception of Alberto Patishtán who was charged with federal crimes. Although he was transferred in April 2009 from the Amate prison to the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS) No. 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Patishtán was still considered the only member of La Voz del Amate. Recently, Rosario Díaz Méndez, another prisoner, has become a member of the organization which is an adherent to the Other Campaign.

On January 6, 2010, during the celebration of the 4th anniversary of La Voz del Amate in the patio of the CERSS No. 5, the two members expressed their gratitude for all of the support they have received and emphasized their determination to continue to fight for justice. Approximately 30 people—from several civil and social organizations from Chiapas, Mexico and other countries—entered the prison on the occasion to show their solidarity.

Before all of those present including the other prisoners who were there, Julio Cesar, an ex-prisoner and member of La Voz del Amate who was released thanks to the organization’s efforts, explained that the objective is  not solely the denunciation of injustice in a few cases in particular but the injustice of the system that imposes suffering on many and particularly indigenous peoples who often do not speak Spanish and do not have the economic resources to acquire legal help. Similarly, a member of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center reminded everyone present that the defense and promotion of human rights is not solely reserved for institutions like the human rights center.  Everyone, by virtue of being human, has rights and the right to demand they be recognized. A member of the Ik Collective commented that among “those outside,” many people are not free but prisoners in “jails of fear, violence and alcohol,” and thanked La Voz del Amate for demonstrating that it is possible to build freedom even from the inside of a prison.

For More Information:

Communiqué from la Voz del Amate (Spanish, Chiapas Denuncia Pública blog, 05/01/10)

Text read by Alberto Patishtán at the anniversary celebration (Chiapas Denuncia Pública blog, 07/01/10)

For More Information from SIPAZ:

The Voice of Amate (La Voz del Amate) Speaks (SIPAZ Quarterly Report, August 2009)

Guerrero: IACHR condemns Mexican government in disappearance case

January 16, 2010

In its 23 November sentence that was made public in December, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) found the Mexican government to bear responsibility for the disappearance of Guerrero-based social activist Rosenda Radilla Pacheco in 1974 and condemned the great number of massive and systematic rights-violations that took place during México’s so-called “Dirty War.”  IACHR further questioned the military tribunals and called on Mexican authorities to adopt reforms that would guarantee that human-rights violations committed by the military be dealt with in civilian courts.

The CIDH demanded that the Mexican State continue in its search for the missing campesino and that it publicly recognize its responsibility in this case as well as produce a biography of Pacheco’s life, make available psychological assistance to his family members, and pay the equivalent of $238,000 in reparations.

In the weeks following the public release of IACHR’s statement on the case, the government faced pressure to attack the findings through sources both in government and outside of it:  the CNDH (whose ombudsman found it “ridiculous” to have to resort to international justice organizations in cases such as this one); the Permanent Commission of the National Congress; Amnesty International; and the Association of Families of the Incarcerated, Disappeared, and Victims of Human-Rights Violations.  In this light, the Minister of the Interior, who during a press conference on the matter claimed that CIDH should not bear judgment on a case that occurred 35 years ago, promised to respect the sentence and pay the recommended fine, all in the public eye.  Nonetheless, “Tito Radilla, who struggled in this case at both the national and international level, stated that an honorary plaque in memory of her father was not enough, and made clear that what she demands is an investigation to locate his remains” (Milenio).

For more information (in Spanish):

Mexico is condemned for its “Dirty War” (article, Informador, 15/01/10)

The Permanent Commission of Governance calls on the Secretary of Governance to fight the CIDH sentence in the case of Radilla Pacheco (article, La Jornada, 13/01/10)

New sentence by CIDH finds government responsible in the Radilla case (article, La Jornada, 16/01/10)

Ombudsman will oversee the implementation of CIDH’s ruling (article, Milenio, 18/12/09)

CIDH condemns México for its dirty war (article, El Universal, 15/12/09)

The case of Radilla Pacheco vs. México, ruling of 23 November 2009 (Inter-American Court on Human Rights)

For more information from SIPAZ (in Spanish):

Impunity in Guerrero:  An Endemic Problem (SIPAZ document, September 2007)

Chiapas: new harrassmants of a member of the civil organization Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación, AC

January 13, 2010

The International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) would like to express its concern regarding acts that since November have threatened the physical security of Mr. Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, member of Enlace Capacitación y Comunicación in Comitán, Chiapas, as well as that of his family. Enlace, Capacitación y Comunicación is a counterpart of SIPAZ and a member of the Peace Network in Chiapas. The series of acts of harassment that is here denounced seems to find its impetus in the marked tendency toward the criminalization of the work of human-rights defenders.

We invite you to answer to the most recent Urgent Action from Enlace, Capacitación y Comunicación and the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC) that you can find below:

For more Information:

Urgent Action: The harassment of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, human-rights defender and member of the civil organization Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación, AC, continues

More Information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Human Rights Defender Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz Receives Death Threats (December 12nd, 2009)

Guerrero: human-rights defenders are watched, threatened with death

January 13, 2010

On the 28th of December, the Center for Community Development (TADECO) publicly denounced death-threats that several of its members had received in previous days.  Many of the threats were communicated by means of a cell-phone stolen from one TADECO member.  Some of the received messages clearly indicate TADECO members to have been under surveillance:  “How easy it’d be for us to go to the Black-Pants and  Brown Sweater .  Would you mind?” Others pointed out…:  “Be careful, since one day they’ll also be searching for you.” These acts were denounced by both the Public Ministry and the Commission for Defense of Human Rights in Guerrero (Coddehum).

According to La Jornada of Guerrero, “Javier Monroy Hernández, coordinator for TADECO, indicated that TADECO members realize that their lives may be in jeopardy and hence, beyond legally denouncing these death-threats, requested the PGJE to immediately provide precautionary measures for members and supporters of the organization.” On this occasion several organizations from Guerrero expressed solidarity with TADECO members by once again denouncing both the violent environment and repeated human-rights violations that have been observed of late in the state of Guerrero.

As the TADECO communiqué explains, “As supporters of the Other Campaign, we are committed to non-violent social struggle and as such try to realize our principles through public service through our creation of a National Plan of Struggle, a new leftist anticapitalist and anti-neoliberal organization, and a new manner of doing politics from below and to the left, so as to effect a life of dignity and a new country, with bread, justice, work, and liberty.  In our view, it is precisely this that attracts the attention of bad government, caciques, and rich capitalists, who are bothered by our modest efforts which they see as jeopardizing their interests.  We are convinced that such forces support these death-threats.”

To read the denunciation in full (in Spanish):

The Center for Community Development (TADECO) denounces death-threats and intimidation directed at its members (Enlace Zapatista, 28/12/09)

For more information (in Spanish):

TADECO members experience intimidation by phone, denounce such (article, El Sur de Acapulco, 28/12/09)

Cell phone stolen from TADECO used to threaten members; act is denounced (article, El Sur de Acapulco, 29/12/09)

Organizations join together to oppose TADECO death-threats (article, La Jornada Guerrero, 30/12/09)

Guerrero: NGOs denounce grave negligence in the investigation of the killing of 2 Mixteco leaders

January 13, 2010

Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo

On the 28th of December 2009, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) published a recommendation to various authorities of the state of Guerrero regarding the case of two leaders of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, who were originally abducted in February 2009 and later discovered to be dead.  When found, their bodies indicated severe physical abuse.

In a joint letter, the widows of these Mixteco leaders together with several human-rights organizations from Guerrero and Mexico City denounced the glaring omissions and general negligence of the Public Ministry and municipal and state governments in the case:  first for failing seriously to have investigated the whereabouts of Raúl and Manuel in the first few days of their disappearance, and also for not adequately pursuing those responsible for their deaths.

In addition, the letter’s authors reproach the CNDH’s publication on the matter, stating that it “at no point discloses that Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas in fact were human-rights defenders or that their murders likely resulted from their very promotion of these rights.”

To read the communiqué in full (in Spanish):

The government of Guerrero was negligent in its investigation of the extrajudicial executions of Raúl and Manuel (All Rights for All, 04/01/10)

To read the CNDH’s recommendation on the case (in Spanish):

Recommendation 078/2009

For more information (in Spanish):

The CNDH releases a recommendation to the government of Guerrero (article, Milenio Online, 04/01/10)

The CNDH requests historical truth in the killing of Mixtecos (article, El Sur de Acapulco, 04/01/10)

Silenced: violence against human-rights defenders in southern Mexico (PBI-Mexico report, May 2009)

For more information on SIPAZ:

Guerrero: the bodies of two mixteco leaders, reported disappeared since February 13, are found (SIPAZ blog, 02/24/09)

Guerrero: National and international organizations demand an investigation into the killing of the two human rights defenders (SIPAZ blog, 03/02/09)

Guerrero: The IACHR grants precautionary measures to 107 human rights defenders in Guerrero (SIPAZ blog, 04/05/09)

Presentation by OPIM and OPFM (SIPAZ document, in Spanish)