Chiapas: Tension maintained in Mitzitón

February 26, 2011

On 23 February 2011, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) published a bulleting regarding the violent events that have taken place in Mitzitón, municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, relating in detail that which occurred and denouncing the climate of tension that continues to prevail in the community.

The bulleting affirms that “on 14 February were detained 23 individuals of the ‘non-cooperating’ group and seven of them brought before the judicial authorities for likely being responsible for the crimes of kidnapping, attempted homicide, and attempts against public peace for that which occurred in the community of Mitzitón.  Regardless, due to these persons’ being detained, there is a climate of tension in the community that makes the population of the place vulnerable, given that other violent acts can explode that would put at risk the lives, integrity, and security of the residents.  It should be mentioned that the non-cooperative group has carried out nightly blockades on the highway and the roads that lead to the community.  For this reason the adherents to the Other Campaign find themselves living near the offices of the ejidal commissariat and the communal church without being able to work their lands.  Moreover, the children find themselves without the ability to attend classes and services in the community have been suspended.  In light of the previously narrated, Frayba considers these violent acts unacceptable and laments that officials of the state of Chiapas do not carry out actions that help to resolve this conflict, the commitments previously made to the community notwithstanding.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Bulletin in full (Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, 23 February 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (25 October 2010)

Chiapas: New conflict in Mitzitón (8 September 2010)


Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonalá-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign

February 26, 2011

On 22 February 2011, members of the Autonomous Council of the Coast, adherents to the Other Campaign, organized partial blockades of the Tonalá-Pijijiapan road that connects the coastal zone with Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the state, as well as a campaign of information and denunciation as a part of an action of solidarity demanding that repression directed against adherents of San Sebastián Bachajón be halted together with repression targeting the political prisoners of the Voz of Amate, those in a solidarity hunger-strike, and the organized peoples of Mitzitón.  According to the demonstrators, hours after their action ended there arrived approximately 300 federal and state police who arrested more than 50 people, among them women and minors.

During the morning of the following day the women and minors were released, leaving 19 detained.  Among them is found Nataniel Hernández, director of the “Digna Ochoa” Center for Human Rights, a civil association created in 2009 that works to defend and promote human rights in the coastal zone of the state, and two lawyers from this organization.  On 23 February, the Public Minister of Tonalá confirmed that the detained found themselves offering their declarations; as of mid-day, their juridical situation had not been clearly defined.

A communiqué of the State Attorney General’s Office indicated that the operation to dismantle the roadblock was carried out “in observation of the eviction-protocols that respect human rights, obeying the state of alert released by users of the road who reported that the blockaders were charging 100 pesos for pedestrians to cross, which affected hundreds of people, personal automobiles and private and public transport.”

Collective-members of the Other Campaign denounced for their part a new escalation of violence and repression against the communities organized as a part of the Other Campaign, indicating the aggressions and attacks in Bachajón, Mitzitón, and now the coast as part of the same strategy.

For more information (in Spanish):

Federal police detain 19 adherents of the Other Campaign of the EZLN (CNN Mexico, 23 February 2011)

The release of 19 campesinos and fisherfolk of Chiapas is demanded (Proceso, 23 February 2011)

19 activists arrested in Chiapas (La Jornada, 24 February 2011)

Communiqué from the Coastal Zone, Tonalá, Chiapas (23 February 2011)

Denunciation of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights

Denunciation of the Network against Repression Chiapas in light of the escalation of violence (23 February 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of human-rights defender (21 June 2010)

Chiapas: the Civil Society Las Abejas carries out day of fasting and prayer for peace

February 25, 2011

On 21 and 22 February 2011, members of the Civil Society Las Abejas of Chenalhó carried out a two-day fast and observation of prayer for peace in Acteal, an action that they claim “naturally brings us to remember our brothers and sisters who were massacred here on 22 December 1997 while they did the same that we now do: to fast and pray for peace.”

The communiqué, published on 22 February, in observation of the monthly celebration of the massacre in 1997 emphasizes that through this action “not only are we united by the memory of our martyrs in Acteal, but we also unite ourselves in solidarity with other brothers and sisters who have been massacred more recently in other parts of our country, and we especially unite our hearts to that of those who in recent days have undertaken fasts for peace and justice.  We say to them that we hear their call and we invite others to continue uniting their hearts.” They refer to actions taken in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Moreover, they denounced that “[p]erhaps some think that that which is happening today in Chihuahua and in all of Mexico is very different to what happened in Acteal and Chiapas more than 10 years ago.  Before it was a war of counter-insurgency which was reportedly directed against ‘transgressors’; now it is said that it is a war against organized crime.  Fine, now they tell us that it is not war, although there are more dead than in those countries where indeed there exists wars.  But we no longer believe what they tell us; rather, what we see.”

Finally they indicated that “[i]t may seem the war of counter-insurgency against the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas has finished, but it has not.  The decomposition and violence in our country is great, thanks to the corrupt government and criminals.  What is happening here is no longer discussed much. The government is very tricky; its strategy is to make see how nothing is happening.  But we would like to reiterate and reaffirm that the war in Chiapas continues.  The counterinsurgency continues with its two faces that ultimately are the same: the bread and the stick.  The stick, or open repression, we see employed against our brothers and sisters of Mitzitón and San Sebastián Bachajón who defend their land, territory, and natural resources.  They are harassed by paramilitaries protected by the bad government of Juan Sabines Guerrero.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: communiqué of Las Abejas in observation of the monthly celebration of the Acteal massacre (26 de enero de 2011)

Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre (27 December 2010)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastián Bachajón

February 25, 2011

On Saturday 19 February departed a caravan to the Agua Azul region that was made up of members of different communities and civil and social organizations with the end of “documenting the situation lived by the comrades, and to see and accompany the comrades of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido […] and to give a voice to the women, who are affected by the conflict that is lived in the area whose voice would also like to be heard.”

Organized by the Center for the Rights of Women in Chiapas, the Independent Movement of Women and the Feminist Brigade together with different civil organizations from Chiapas sought to “open a space for women and families that are suffering the difficulties in Agua Azul and document the looting by the government and people from the community who are associated with it, beyond continuing to express our solidarity and demanding the release of the 10 comrades who are still unjustly imprisoned.” It should be remembered that on 2 and 3 February were detained adherents of the Other campaign following a confrontation of 117 ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón.  10 of them were sentenced to imprisonment “for crimes that they did not commit, like kidnapping, injuries, homicide, and damage to communication media and public peace,” while the rest were freed.

The communiqué released by the Caravan stressed that “[t]he violation of autonomy began some time ago with the government’s attempt to construct in Agua Azul a large tourist center using transnational capital that would supposedly benefit the ejidatarios of Agua Azul who form part of the large ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón.  The resistance of those who for many generations have taken care of and administered this beautiful space, which is part of their land and territory, has been long and heroic; but the government succeeded in coopting several leaders and destroying the dynamic of internal accords and unity.  In collaboration with dissidents and through its dirty measures, it has succeeded in taking over the administration of the place using 3000 signatures that accept its intervention, though most of these signatures are of ejidatarios from other communities of the ejido, not from Agua Azul who do not respond to the historical interests and international rights of the indigenous peoples.  We know that the so-called ‘dialogue-table’ carried out last Sunday, which was attended by governmental authorities and representatives of the official Council of Human Rights of the State, was a shameful celebration that attempted to legitimate the government’s intervention and the looting of the tourist center of Agua Azul from its legitimate possessors, who are unfortunately now divided.”

The communiqué moreover disclosed that “[t]he war that is lived in Chiapas cannot any longer be covered up by promises or the war on organized crime.  The members of this caravan believe that the violation of autonomy of all those who reside in Agua Azul (not only one part of those in conflict) is part of the strategy of war of low intensity implemented by the different levels of state and federal government since 1994 that is now directed against the organized resistance of the Other Campaign, which finds its focus in Agua Azul, Mitzitón, Tila, Chicomuselo, and different territories where the peoples resist in defense of their land and territory.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué of the caravan in Agua Azul (19 February 2011)

Women of Chiapas support imprisoned indigenous ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, (La Jornada, 18 February 2011)

Communiqué of the women of Bachajón regarding roadblock (Zapateando, 18 February 2011)

The word of comrade Alma, director of the Center for the Rights of Women in Chiapas (18 February 2011)

Words of support for ejidatarios of Bachajón from children of the Other Campaign in Mexico City (16 February 2011)

Center for Rights of Women in Chiapas claims state government provoked conflict in Bachajón (9 February 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Chiapas: Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organizations XI’NICH

February 25, 2011

On Saturday 19 February, in the community of Limonar, municipality of Ocosingo, there was celebrated the presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordiantion of Indigenous Social Organizations Xi’nich.  The event was attended by around 80 representatives of 25 communities and of 5 visiting organizations.  The selection committee, comprised of members of several civil organizations from Chiapas and the individuals and organizations who received the award last year, decided to present the award this year to Xi’nich, among others, for its long-standing peaceful defense of the land and the rights of indigenous communities of Chiapas’ northern zone and jungle zone.

The event began at night on Friday 18 February with the showing of several videos regarding the work of Xi’nich, the life and burial of Don Samuel Ruiz, and the presentation of the jCanan Lum Award to all those recognized this year in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on 26 January, after the celebration of the burial of Don Samuel.  The presentation of the award, which took place on Saturday, began with the presentation of the organizations of the jCanan Lum commission that were present: Social Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI), Commission of Support for Communal Unity and Reconciliation (CORECO), Service and Assessment for Peace (SERAPAZ), and SIPAZ.  Later, youth from different communities put on a theater-work prepared with the assistance of L@s Zapay@s, a collective of critical clowns who dedicate their work to the political education of children by means of theater.  The work emphasized labor exploitation and discrimination against campesin@s and the indigenous with regard to migration to cities.  By means of theater, the youth defended the importance of the traditions and ways of life of indigenous communities.

The jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award was received by Margarita Parcero Álvarez and Miguel Martínez Gutiérrez, both of whom are members of the coordination of Xi’nich.  Miguel Martínez thanked the jCanan Lum commission for having bestowed the award on Xi’nich in the name of all the members of the organization.  Another member of the organization specifically invited the youth of the communities to participate in the activities promoted by the organization, so as to assure that its processes continue on into the future.  Similarly, coordinator Magdalena González Velasco requested that the youth join the struggle of Xi’nich, mentioning that “hopefully the youth will continue developing its consciousness so as to continue struggling.” She also stressed that the path of Xi’nich had been difficult especially for women, but that they continue to struggle, although they be but few.

A representative of Xi’nich read a text regarding the trajectory of the organization and what Don Samuel Ruiz had meant for them.  “… And thus was born Xi’nich in the year 1992, by walking 1100 kilometers to the city of Mexico.  Before embarking on that journey, jTatic Samuel gave us his blessing and lent us his hat to make the first collection with which we began to walk.  From then, jTatic Samuel was our jCanan Lum: the caretaker of the People.” Father Xel (Jerónimo Hernández), priest of the area, made a call to all to take on the role of defender of the land, given the death of jTatic Samuel: “it is not only jTatic Samuel that is jCanan Lum but all of us together who must defend the land.” Similarly, the Xi’nich text regarding its trajectory emphasizes this responsibility to defend the people: “Upon receiving this grand embrace of solidarity, this recognition as members, as part of the great work of jTatic Samuel, Canan Lum, we recognize our great responsibility: to love, care for, serve, and defend our peoples and communities and to make ourselves brothers of all those who would struggle for a world that is more just, more human, and truer.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: celebration and presentation of 2011 jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: visit to Alberto Patishtan to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Award denied (2 August 2010)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE

February 25, 2011

Members of the organization Peoples United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) reported that personnel from the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) is installing digital measurement-devices in the communities of the municipality of Tila, toward the end of charging those who find themselves in resistance to paying for electricity.

They denounced that since 24 January CFE personnel “are harassing us and installing measurement-devices in the homes of our comrades who resist the payment of the consumption of electrical energy.  They arrive with many people to set up the devices, thus intimidating users.”  They also mentioned that “[t]hey make us sign conventions to continue paying for consumption, but if we do not commit ourselves to signing, they threaten us to cut us off.  They tell us that these are the orders of the government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

No to digital measurement-devices: PUDEE, (Cuarto Poder, 18 February 2011)

The PUDEE northern jungle region denounces harassment by the CFE (communiqué in full of the PUDEE, 16 February 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Intimidation and polluting project in the municipality of Tila are denounced (9 July 2010).

Chiapas: Public Denunciation by the United Peoples in Defense of Electric Energy (3 December 2008)

Guerrero: Uncertainty over future of TADECO module at Chilpancingo Civic Square

February 24, 2011

On February 22nd, members of the Communitarian Development Workshop (TADECO), a civil organization from Chilpancingo, circulated an email in which they manifested that personnel from the municipal government handed them a document summoning them to “present” their materials sales permit in three days, or otherwise move out. TADECO has occupied a space by the Civic Square, called “Information, Culture and Denouncement Module”, to follow up reports of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, and as a means to collect resources for the struggle of the Committee of Relatives and Friends of the Kidnapped, Disappeared and Murdered in Guerrero. They promote critical information and alternative culture by selling audiovisual and printed materials.

In a press release, the members of TADECO demand respect for the right to protest and manifest their position against the privatization of the Civic Square: “[…] The […] Civic Square is a space for demands, for protest, for social and popular struggle, where indigenous peoples, students, women, peasants and workers from the whole state, come from distant places and territories where they live with the goal of seeing their claims transcend to the state, national and international levels, and be resolved. Its condition is that of a symbiotic space that gives meaning to the rallies, manifestations, cries for independence, and the May, September and November parades; where the collection and the hunger strikes take place, and where the information and denouncement module operates. It’s about a special public space that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the city, one with public order and a popular presence so defined and developed. However, in these times of neoliberalism, privatization of the federal, state and municipal public management has also come to our real historic center (not the formal one decreed by the municipality) to side with the great capital and the multinational corporations in the largest and most important public space of our city. With the arrival of the national and international private sector with their Oxxos, McDonalds, Liverpoles and the like, there is also a tendency for change”.

The members of TADECO have decided to comply with the petition from the municipality on Thursday, February 24th, to stake their claims for the political struggle in which they’re engaged, and to demand respect for their right to protest and demands for justice. They’re also inviting to a press conference on the same day, Thursday February 24th at 11:00 am at the aforementioned Module to introduce to the public attention their position on this situation.

For more information:

TADECO Manifest(La Nueva República, February 23rd)