On 10 September, the Mexican Center for Environmental Rights (CEMDA) and the Inter-American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) presented an amicus brief to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the case of the environmental activists Teodoro Cabrera García and Rodolfo Montiel Flores against the Mexican State. The document emphasizes the importance of the work of environmental-rights defenders and identifies those responsible for attacks on such defenders in Meixco. The document concludes by requesting that the IACHR “recognize the special importance of the work of Cabrera and Montiel Flores […], in particular given the lack of effective resources that exist for environmental protection,” “take into consideration the general context of attacks and harassment directed against human-rights defenders in Mexico,” and “declare the violation of the right of liberty of association of Cabrera García and Montiel Flores.”
In 1998, Teodoro Cabrera and Rodolfo Montiel founded the Organization of Ecological Campesinos of the Sierra de Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán (OCESP) in the hopes of protecting the forests of the state of Guerrero. In 1998 they were arbitrarily detained and tortured for their work. Although released in 2001, they were not declared to be innocent. The two activists appealed to the IACHR in 2010, asserting that Mexican authorities had done nothing to compensate them for their suffering nor to guarantee their security.
In other news, on Tuesday 14 September, a commando-group kidnapped Víctor Ayala Tapia, leader of the Free Front Hermenegildo Galeana, in the community of Papanoa from the municipality of Tecpan de Galeana, Guerrero. In a press conference, Javier Monroy, leader of the Workshop for Communal Development (TADECO), reported that Ayala Tapia is member of the National Civic Revolutionary Association (ACNR) and that he led the occupation of city hall to demand a solution to the requests of the social court last week. Monroy claimed that “we believe that the disappearance of our comrade constitutes an action taken by the municipal police and by groups of armed individuals dressed as civilians.” Ayala Tapia’s relatives released a communiqué in which they request that those who have the leader imprisoned release him. “The relatives, fathers, brothers, wife, and friends of Víctor Ayala Tapia request those who have Víctor Ayala in their power to respect his life. We have faith that you will come to realize that Víctor is innocent and that you will understand all that we are suffering. His wife and children await his return, alive […]. We guarantee that the captors will suffer no revenge from anyone.” The document ends by listing the numbers 7424241431 and 7421063324 for those who wish to share information regarding the whereabouts of Ayala Tapia. Enlace Zapatista released an Urgent Action on 14 September, demanding that the activist be presented alive immediately.
For more information (in Spanish):
CEMDA and AIDA letter to the Inter-American Court (10 September)
Relatives of Víctor Ayala call for his release; “he is a wholesome person” (La Jornada, 20 September)
Urgent Action (Enlace Zapatista, 14 September)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):