Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations

On 11 February was pronounced the imprisonment sentence of 10 indigenous individuals from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, adherents to the Other Campaign, following the confrontation on 2 February in area of Agua Azul, which left one dead and several injured among PRI militants. The incarcerated adherents are accused of homicide, attempted homicide, and attacks on public peace, as reported sources close to the case. The accused insist on their innocence. The same day adherents to the Other Campaign in the community of Mitzitón blocked the highway in solidarity with the prisoners, to demand their release.

According to the assembly of ejidatarios of Bachajón, “those who carried firearms were from the PRI group, with Carmen Aguilar Gómez and his son, together with their comrades, who were firing against us. They claim that there was one dead and several injured, blaming us, the comrades of the Other Campaign.” They denounced as well that [t]he threat of a police invasion and occupation in the area has been corroborated since February 2010, when the ‘Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas’ Center for Human Rights denounced the pressure that the state and federal authorities had been exercising to oblige the ejidatarios who are adherents to the ‘Other Campaign’ in the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido to participate in a dialogue-table that would skillfully seek that the control-point of Agua Azul be turned over to the state government while simultaneously generating conditions that would justify a military intrusion.”

In other news, the World Organization against Torture among others expressed its concern for the arbitrary detention and violation of legal process as regards the minor and other ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón who are adherents to the Other Campaign. “It has been denounced that the 117 ejidatarios did not enjoy at any moment the assistance of defense counsel or a translator who would understand the Tseltal language and customs, neither during the investigation of events nor during the presentation of declarations. The ejidatarios who declared themselves claim to have been threatened by the state police and harassed by members of the administrators of justice during the reception of declarations.”

In a public communiqué, the Center for the Rights of Women in Chiapas also denounced that “the events that occurred on 2 February constitute the perfect pretext for the government, both state and federal, to take control of the area, to militarize it, and carry out what it has intended to do for years—to utilize the territory as an ‘ecotourist’ center managed by private capital without taking into account those who legitimately possess such a right. We lament the occurrence of a confrontation among indigenous brothers, because given this, the possibility of an organized resistance against official and private interests for the appropriation and exploitation of natural resources that are found in the area is weakened.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Using blockades, indigenous of Chiapas demand liberation of 10 comrades (Proceso, 10 February 2011)

Maderas del Pueblo finds Oppdic responsible for the harassment of ejidatarios in Bachajón (La Jornada, 14 February 2011)

Residents of Chilón and Tumbalá negotiate control point in Agua Azul (La Jornada, 14 February 2011)

Security guarantees are demanded for incarcerated adherents (La Jornada, 13 February 2011)

Indigenous of Chiapas allege their innocence regarding homicide (La Jornada, 13 February 2011)

Prison sentence for 10 indígenous individuals of the Other Campaign accused of homicide (La Jornada, 12 February 2011)

Pronunciations and urgent actions:

World Organization against Torture: Arbitrary detenction/Absence of judicial guarantees/Harassment/Fear for security and personal integrity (11 February 2011)

Communiqué of organized women in collectives of the northern zone of Chiapas (11 February 2011)

Arbitrary kidnapping of ejidatarios in Chiapas-Frayba (11 Febraury 2011)

Center for Rights of Women in Chiapas finds state government responsible for provoking conflict in Bachajón (7 February)

Video testimony:

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: Ejidatarios de Bachajón denounce governmental strategy and escalation of aggression by Opddic (25 November 2010)

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