San Cristóbal de las Casas: Meeting of 250 women of Southeastern Mexico

August 30, 2010

From 19 to 21 August, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, there was held the 15th Meeting of Women, organized by the Coordination of Campesina and Indigenous Women of Southeastern Mexico.  The event, which involved the participation of 250 women from Yucatán, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco, and the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, was held under the slogan “Despite poverty and injustice, women continue to build a dignified life with hope.”

In the meeting’s final pronouncement were emphasized the following successes:  the denunciation of all types of violence against women, the strengthening of women’s rights through training in literacy, gender, and communal organization; in addition, there was shared an analysis of reality from the perspective of “how we are affected as women.”  During the press-conference, some of the participants shared their proposals to continue advancing in their position as women.

For more information (in Spanish):

Final Pronouncement of the Meeting of Women of the Coordination of Campesina and Indigenous Women of Southeastern Mexico (20 August)


Guerrero: Liberty for Raúl Hernández, prisoner of conscience

August 30, 2010

Raúl Hernández free (@ Tlachinollan)

After having been held for 28 months in the prison of Ayutla de los Libres, Raúl Hernández Abundio, member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), was released on Friday, 27 August.  The judge overseeing his case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, ordered Hernández’s immediate and unconditional release, basing his demand in arguments advanced by the defense.  Sánchez Sánchez said that Raúl Hernández “is neither guilty nor judicially responsible for the murder of Alejandro Feliciando García, which occurred in January 2008.”  Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, the defense lawyer from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, proclaimed the development to be “a triumph for the social movement both in Guerro and Mexico generally.”

Hernández left prison at 2:45pm and was received by members of the OPIM as well as his juridical advisers and lawyers from Tlachinollan.  Via telephone conversation with media sources, he stressed that he “feels happy, now that they have given me my liberty,” and that “we will continue to work so that they give us infrastructure, schools, medical clinics; we will continue to struggle, and I will continue to work.”

In a 27 August communiqué, Amnesty International (AI), which has recognized Raúl Hernández as a prisoner of conscience, requests that Hernández’s “groundless” processing be thoroughly reviewed, and that he receive compensation for his “unjust imprisonment.”  AI claims that “the case against Raúl Hernández constitutes reprisal on the part of the authorities for his legitimate activities in promotion of indigenous rights by means of the OPIM as well as his exposure of the abuses committed by local caciques, soldiers, and authorities.”  In a communiqué released the same day, Tlachinollan reiterates that “the sentence proclaimed today shows the forcefulness of the evidence brought forth by Raúl and his defense and furthermore confirms the inconsistencies of the accusations that the national and international human-rights organizations have denounced with the strong convinction and belief that Raúl is innocent, and that his imprisonment followed from the constant denunciation of fundamental rights carried out objectively by his organization since 1998.”  Raúl Hernández was imprisoned since April 2008, charged for the crime of murdering an informant of the Mexican army, crime he did not commit.

For more information (in Spanish):

Following two years in prison, judge demands liberty for Raúl Hernández (La Jornada, 27 August)

Amnesty International demands compensation for Raúl Hernández, given his unjust imprisonment (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández is released; call for clarification of crime for which he was unjustly accused (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Indigenous defender from Guerrero accused of murder is released (La Jornada, 28 August)

Amnesty International communiqué(27 August)

Communiqué-Raúl Hernández, free (27 de agosto)

Weblog on the case of Raúl Hernández

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: PGJE requests 50 years for Raúl Hernández (11 August)

Chiapas: believers of San Pedro Chenalhó express their concern over the possible construction of a rural-city in their municipality

August 13, 2010

In a communiqué released by the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó on 8 August, parish-members expressed their rejection of the possible construction of a rural-city in their municipality.  They declared that “[i]t worries us that this rural-city project be imposed instead of consulted with the people to see if they agree or not.  If consultation is made, it is based on lies and omissions; the government does not clearly state that it will bring about this megaproject, whether or not it is for the good of the people.  For example, it does not explain what “productive re-conversion is,” or who would benefit from such. Rural cities were not invented by the state and federal governments during the past six years; it has its base in history from much earlier–for example, during the colonization of Latin America, when such things were not in fact called rural cities but rather land-parcels, with the objective of making easier and more efficient the control of the people to demand of them tribute (or taxes), to use them as labor in the mines and plantations (mostly sugar-cane), as well as for the construction of cities for the Spanish and political-military control.  It is true that then, as now, it was also said that advantages could be had for the directly affected, and that population-concentration allowed them ‘access to basic services of potable water, education, health, etc.–so as to combat poverty in Chiapas, in sum.”

They added that “[w]ith this brief explanation, we believers of Chenalhó are led to conclude in definitively rejecting the construction of rural cities, because it is clear that this plan encourages us to abandon our lands and allows transnational firms to occupy them.  Once we are concentrated, they can control us and demand that we cultivate crops other than the milpa, beans, etc.”

It should be remembered that more than 2000 people already live in more than 400 houses in the first rural-city constructed in the state, Nuevo Juan del Grijalva.  The second such city is being built in Santiago el Pinar, municipality located between Chenalhó and San Andrés.

For more information (in Spanish):

Letter of the believers of Chenalhó in full (8 August 2010)

Indigenous organizations oppose the construction of rural-city in Chenalhó (11 August 2010)

Integration for disposession: the Mesoamérica project, or the new appropriation of land (CIEPAC bulletin, 21 June 2010)

Sustainable Rural-City Institute (state-government web-site)

With the new sustainable rural-city, Santiago El Pinar will change your reality (press-release of the Institute for Social Communication of the state-government of Chiapas, January 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas’ communiqué denounces construction of rural cities in the Chiapas Highlands (22 de mayo de 2010)

Chiapas: Las Abejas’ day for justice and truth

August 13, 2010


On 12 August, more than 200 indigenous members of the civil organization Las Abejas marched in San Cristóbal and carried out a 12-hour day of action for justice and truth, to continue protesting the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice for the Nation (SCJN) that one year ago released 29 Tzotzil indigenous individuals accused of having participated in the massacre of 45 indigenous people in Acteal on 22 December 1997.


Following the pilgrimage-march and the preparation of a Mayan altar in the cathedral plaza, a press-conference was held in which participated survivors of the massacre.  In their communiqué Las Abejas affirm that “[o]ur struggle is for truth and justice; one does not negotiate or condition with money, crumbs, or the waste of the bad government. The massacre of Acteal is a crime of state; it is not forgotten.  We will continue tirelessly denoucning the impunity of the material and intellectual authors of the massacre, because we are the guardians of memory, and without memory the people will never have justice.”  Survivors of the massacre expressed their fear regarding the presence of released paramilitary-group members, which represents a threat to their security, given that the weapons used in the massacre continue to be hidden in communities.

The day continued with religious and cultural activities into the night.

For more information (in Spanish):\

Almost 13 years after the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas hold a day for justice and not-forgetting (La Jornada, 13 August 2010)

– Communiqué, chronology (texts and photos) and live coverage (transmission via Internet) of the day:

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Urgent Action in the case of Padre Uvi

August 13, 2010

Padre Uvi (@ Colectivo Pinotepa)

On Thursday 5 August, the Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. (Barca), located in Oaxaca de Juárez, released an Urgent Action regarding the case of Father R. Fco. Wilfrido Mayrén Peláez, also known as Padre Uvi.  The Urgent Action emphasized the work Padre Uvi has engaged in on human rights since the year 1992, being the founder of Barca.  It disclosed that Padre Uvi has supported the social-organizational process of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region, approaching different media and international organizations “so that they be familiar with the situation that prevails in the area.” He denounced the killing of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola on 27 April of this year, presumably prosecuted by members of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), and he has taken on the defense of Padre Martín Octavio García Ortiz following his kidnapping by strangers on 19 June.

Barca’s communiqué relates that two representatives from the European Parliament requested asylum from Padre Uvi on 2 July after realizing that they were being pursued by members of UBISORT after having held a meeting in which had been discussed the situation in San Juan Copalá.  It mentions that UBISORT has accused Padre Uvi of being responsible for the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of this organization, on 30 July.  Barca emphasizes that “the attacks directed against father [Uvi] worry us, given that they are increasingly frequent and threatening,” adding that “unfortunately here in Oaxaca, there are many cases of attacks on human-rights defenders, and we believe that people from the government and complying groups could make attempts against the physical and psychological integrity of [Padre Uvi], given that the government has protected with all impunity some groups in the state, as is the case with UBISORT.” Barca made a call to “all those social human-rights organizations, people, and international media to be conscious of and endorse the responsibility of the Mexican State to guarantee security and protect the lives and work of human-rights defenders in Oaxaca.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Barca Urgent Action in full (5 de agosto)

Millenarians and subversive activists reject the army among the Triquis (Despertar, 2 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: more violence in the Triqui region following the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of UBISORT and brother to Rufino Juárez Hernández (13 August 2010)

Oaxaca: Update on the case of Padre Martín (19 July)

Oaxaca: arrest of cleric following killings of PRI functionaries in San José el Progreso (30 June)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan — 2 dead and 4 missing (29 April)

Oaxaca: more violence in the Triqui region following the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of UBISORT and brother to Rufino Juárez Hernández

August 13, 2010

Rufino Juárez Hernández (@Diario Despertar)

During the night of Thursday 29 July was killed Anastasio Juárez Hernández, designated municipal agent of San Juan Copalá by the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT) and brother to the director of the organization, Rufino Juárez Hernández.  According to his brother, Anastasio was killed by gunfire while in his house, located in the center of San Juan Copalá, although representatives of the administration of San Juan Copalá claim the murder to have taken place elsewhere, in Juxtlahuaca. Juárez Hernández blamed the killing on leaders of MULT-I–José Ramírez Flores, Miguel Ángel Álvarez Velasco, Eugenio Martínez López, and Jesús Martínez; he has also accused Alejandro Encinas, deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the Catholic Church in Oaxaca, Section 22 of the Oaxacan teachers’ union, and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) of being the “intellectually responsible” for the murder.  Surprisingly, he also extended responsibility for the murder to Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, present governor of the state, whom others have indicated as having strong ties to UBISORT.

Representatives from the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá affirmed that Anastasio was killed in the city of Juxtlahuaca following a conflict among PRI-members regarding control of the municipal government there; it is understood that the conflict also involved taxi-drivers and local merchants.  At mid-day on Friday 30 July, between 100 and 300 units of the State Agency of Investigation (AEI) and of the State Preventive Police (PEP) entered the autonomous municipality, as they claimed, to “support the prosecutor and investigators to find the corpse [of Anastasio].” Representatives of the autonomous municipality asserted, for their part, that the police were accompanied by 400 “heavily armed” men from UBISORT, and that both groups “entered with guns blazing,” resulting in the injuring of two girls, aged 15 and 17, and two arrested.  Authorities also denounced that members of MULT joined the attack; they have claimed that the goal of this incursion into San Juan Copalá was to bring the body of Anastasio to the autonomous municipality to make it seem that it had been the residents of Copalá who had killed him.

In a communiqué, the Regional Center for Human Rights Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño (Barca) repudiated the police incursion into San Juan Copalá, calling on civil human-rights organizations to “manifest their rejection of this aggression against the autonomous municipality.” Referring itself to the caravan that attempted to reach San Juan Copalá on 8 June, Barca declared that “it is contradictory that, when security-measures were requested so that the Bety and Jiry [sic] humanitarian caravan could enter to leave basic-goods, the state did not fulfill its responsibility and impeded that the mission be allowed to continue.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Anastasio Juárez, municipal agent of San Juan Copala, is killed (La Jornada, 31 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Guerrero: PGJE requests 50 years for Raúl Hernández

August 11, 2010

On Friday 6 August there was held an audience on the case of Raúl Hernández Abundio who, according to his counsel, has been unjustly accused of the murder of an army-informant in January 2008.  Such claims notwithstanding, the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) of Guerrero has requested Hernández Abundio be given the maximum sentence of 50 years.  It should be remembered that the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which is heading the defense of Hernández Abundio, member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous Peoples (OPIM), has already invalidated previous evidence.  Furthermore, the judge who visited the crime-scene has confirmed that the declaration of the principal witness in the case is incorrect and hence affirmed that Hernández Abundio could not have committed the murder.  The PGJE also has not taken into account the declarations of ocular witnesses who established that Raúl Hernández was not in the vicinity where the crime occurred when it did.  Following this audience, the judge will have 10 days to release the corresponding sentence.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a lawyer with Tlachinollan, stressed that “this is a clear indication that the state government–the government of Zeferino Torreblanca–continues with its sober and deliberate intention to persecute human-rights defenders and other social activists in Guerrero; it is clear evidence because of the lack of evidence, because the accusation is nonsense.” Similarly, Amnesty International (AI) condemned the conclusions of the PGJE in a 7 August press-release.  The adjunct director of the AI Program for the Americas, Kerrie Howard, declared that “[t]he decision to continue [with the case] despite the fabricated charges of murder against Raúl Hernández is part of a systematic campaign of the Mexican authorities against members of this indigenous community who defend the human rights of their people.” Tlachinollan circulated a model letter directed at the Guerrero Judicial Power to request justice and liberty for Raúl Hernández.

For more information (in Spanish):

AI condemns accusation against indigenous Mexican (La Jornada, 8 August)

Official repression, ratification of charges against Hernández: NGO (La Jornada, 7 August)

Amnesty International press-release (7 August)

Model-letter to the Judicial Power (Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights)

Press-release of the Observatory for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders (10 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Briefs: Detention of FODEG member, Raúl Hernández received threats and announcement of the commeoration of the massacre at Aguas Blancas (30 June 2010)

Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández (23 April 2010)