Oaxaca: Denunciations and initiation of mobilizations by Section 22 of the SNTE

March 25, 2011

Since 14 March, at approximately 6:30pm, teacher Carlos Rene Román Salazar, member of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) finds himself disappeared.  The Oaxaca State Attorney General’s Office has offered 500,000 pesos “to those persons who provide utile, true, efficient, and opportune information regarding the identity and whereabouts of those presumed responsible for the disappearance of the victim or data that would permit the localization of Professor Carlos René Román Salazar.”

In other news, on 18 March, unknown subjects set on fire a bus from the Normal School of Pre-School of Oaxaca, leaving a threatening message directed at the General Secretary of the SNTE, Azael Santiago Chepi.  Section 22 rejected “these aggression and provocations on the eve of the State Assembly, with the clear intention of destabilizing the movement and provoking instability in our state.  We reject the mediatic politics of terror undertaken against the direction of Section 22.”

In its assembly that closed on 20 March, Section 22 of the SNTE agreed on a week of mobilizations to demand the appearance with life of Román Salazar as well as the resignation of three officials of the government of Gabino Cué, found to be responsible for the repression visited on protestors in Oaxaca de Juárez on 15 February.

For more information (in Spanish):


Ofrecen 500 mil pesos por profesor desaparecido (El Universal, 18 March)

Queman autobús escolar en Oaxaca (El Universal, 18 March)

Aprueba Sección 22 movilizaciones en Oaxaca (Radio Formula, 20 March)

Amagan maestros con más movilizaciones y protestas (Milenio, 20 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Confrontation between protestors and police during visit of Felipe Calderón – teachers mobilize themselves (20 de febrero de 2011)


Chiapas: Meeting “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth”

March 25, 2011

Forum “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth” (@SIPAZ)

On 16 and 17 March, in observation of the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), there was held the meeting “With Memory, the Peoples build Justice and Truth” at the Indigenous Center for Integral Traning (CIDECI-Unitierra) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Some 150 women and men attended the event, hailing from different social and civil organizations from several states of the country, including Chiapas, Guerrero, Chihuahua, and Mexico City. The common thread of the event was the subject of the construction of memory, a process that according to those who participated should be carried out in a collective fashion so as to counter the false versions of history propagated by the economic and political elite of the country. “The construction of memory helps us to understand our journey from the past, to locate our presen tasks, and to define as to where we would like to go in the future,” explained one participant.

On the first day were held several panels dealing with different questions: impunity and new forms of constructing justice (Communal Police of Guerrero and the Civil Society Las Bejas of Acteal, from the highlands of Chiapas); the defense of Mother Earth (ejidatar@sfrom Atenco, state of Mexico; ejidatar@s from San Sebastián Bachajón, Northern Zone of Chiapas); concrete experience in the work of historical memory (community of Masojá Shucjá, Northern Zone of Chiapas); defenders of the right to expression (Center for the Rights of Women, state of Chihuahua and members of the Coordination of Women in Resistance in Jotolá, Chiapas).

There was also read a communiqué by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, in which he greeted in the CDHFBC for its 22nd anniversary and manifested his indignation as regards the behavior of “some idiots” (government functionaries) with regard to the burial of Samuel Ruiz García in January. Moreover he expressed his concern for the integrity and life of human-rights defenders in Mexico as well as respect for the members of the CDHFBC, who despite the risks implied by their work, nonetheless continue: “You could have been others, but you chose to be that which now brings you together.”

The final pronouncement, signed by the organizations and movements present, stresses the importance of memory in light of the tasks handed down by the past so as to maintain hope for the future: “Memory helps us to remember, brings to the present the disappeared, those who have been murdered, imprisoned, exiled. We do not forget the dirty war, State terrorism, or the counter-insurgency war; nor do we forget who it is that is responsible for impunity. Regardless, also in our memory are those individuals, peoples, and organizations who never give up, and it is this memory that converts itself into hope for future generations.” The organizations that signed the pronouncement proposed the following, among other things: “In light of the generalized violence imposed by the State, let us generate movements for peace and against war, and let us expand and recognize the participation of women, children, youth, and the elderly in the decisions governing collective life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del encuentro “CON LA MEMORIA, LOS PUEBLOS CONSTRUIMOS JUSTICIA Y VERDAD” (17 March 2011)

Hermann Bellinghausen: “Empezó en Chiapas encuentro de activistas y defensores de derechos de todo el país” (17 March)

Palabras del EZLN a la XLI Asamblea Nacional de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles “ Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (March 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre

March 25, 2011

(Viejo Velasco @chacatorex.blogspot.com)

In a joint press-release issued on 14 March, several civil organizations that work in the defense of human rights denounced serious irregularities in the judicial investigation into the death of three indigenous individuals and the forced disappearance of another four persons during the violent incursion of civilians into the community Nueva Palestina and of 300 police officers to the community Viejo Velasco, municipality of Ocosingo, on 13 November 2006. These organizations accuse the government of Chiapas of “committing grave irregularities, in addition to reiterating its lack of interest in clarifying the acts, doing justice, putting an end to impunity, and present the whereabouts of the four persons disappeared during the Viejo Velasco massacre.”

The organizations noted that “This massacre occurred within a context of intense struggle and resistance that attempted to assert the locals’ rights to territory and the management of the natural resources located in the heart of the Lacandon Jungle, as set forth in accounts of the rights of indigenous peoples. During the time of the massacre there was experienced a situation of social tension and juridical uncertainty with regard to the land-tenancy of more than forty communities, as promised by the State, in an area rich in biodiversity, water, forest-cover, and with a strong scenic-touristic attractiveness, as found within the Montes Azul Biosphere Reserve.”

The organizations reported that the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF)—a world-renown group—analyzed the human remains made available by the judicial authority of Chiapas, finding that these were different than those discovered in the place in question. The group of forensic investigators affirmed moreover that “Grave deficiencies were found during the exhumation of the remains,” which points up “the negligence of the public ministry with regard to the process for exhumation.” According to the forensic report, “the biological and non-biological evidence, together with the documentation of such, was carried out in a precarious and incomplete fashion.”

Human-rights organizations demanded the recovery of the remains discovered by the committees who have followed the case; these were promised by the Public Ministry in July 2007 and were presumably hidden by authorities. Similarly, these organizations demand that the location of the remains be investigated and clarified, that the personnel who intervened to manipulate these be investigated, and that the officials who “arbitrarily replaced the remains” be sanctioned, together with “those who gave the orders to so do.”

In light of the denounced, the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office announced that the case would be re-opened, noting that “it will be the Special Prosecutorial Office for the Investigation of the Crime of Homicide that will handle the penal investigation, while for its part the Special Prosecutorial Office for Attention to Crimes Related to Public Servants will initiate an exhaustive investigation toward the end of observing the behavior of all those public servants and authorities who ordered and executed the investigations previously carried out.” In its communiqué, the Office stressed that “in November 2006, the investigations were realized by the now-extinct Special Prosecutorial Office of State, with Mariano Francisco Herr<!–án Salvatti in charge, who has been incarcerated since January 2009 and who now faces new processes against his person.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Obstaculizan investigación en masacre de Viejo Velasco: ONG(InfoChiapas, 15 March)

Boletín de prensa conjunto de Organizaciones civiles (14 March)

Boletín de prensa de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) (17 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)

Chiapas: Viejo Velasco, a year after the unjust detention of Diego Arcos Meneses (24 November 2007)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again

March 20, 2011

Nataniel Hernández Núñez (@kaosenlared.net)

On 15 March, Nataniel Hernández Núñez, director of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights (Tonalá), was detained while he found himself in the city of Tapachula investigating the situation of 4 individuals who had been arrested that day.  According to the denunciation of the Autonomous Council of the Coast, organization to which the arrested pertain, at 8pm was emitted a federal arrest-order for the crime of attacking communication media, one that had been suspended since 2010.  The Council indicates that this order “was executed with the rapidity that only the government has when it deals with social activists or rights-defenders.”  Nataniel Hernández had already been detained together with 18 members of the Council and 2 lawyers associated with the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights on 22 February, until all were released.

According to another communiqué released by the Council on 16 March, “Thanks to the work of another comrade from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, today [March 16] at 2am was had the release of the 4 comrades who had been detained at 2pm yesterday [ie, 15 March].  It was a repetition of that which happened on 22 February: it was against the rights-defending comrade that they went.  It is known as well that other rights-defenders arrested last month by the state-government of Chiapas are being sought.” The communiqué authors also warn that “If during the course of this day 16 March our comrade is not released, we will take the measures we deem necessary to secure his release without charges.”

At 7pm on 16 March, Hernández was released with a fine of $11,000 pesos.  The Council denounced in a second communiqué this day “that the state continues to accuse and harass us juridically.  That which transpired yesterday is yet more evidence of their harassment of us, their violation of our human rights and individual guarantees.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a director del centro de DH ‘Digna Ochoa’ en Chiapas (La Jornada, 16 March)

Comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (15 March 2011)

Comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (16 March 2011)

2ndo comunicado del Consejo autónomo de la Costa de Chiapas (16 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 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)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde

March 20, 2011

On 13 and 14 March was held in Pinotepa Nacional a cultural day and mobilization in defense of the Río Verde and against the multi-use hydroelectric-dam project Paso de la Reyna, organized by the Council of Peoples in Defense of the Río Verde (COPUDEVER).  The activities were had in observation of the International Day of Action against Dams, which has been celebrated globally now for various years every 14 March.

The cultural events held in the Zócalo of the Oaxacan city began on 13 March at 4pm, with informational sessions regarding the Paso de la Reyna project, its potential impacts on the region, as well as murals created by students from affected communities that express their rejection of the project and present information regarding the generation of electricity.  The cultural activities ended with the projection of documentaries on dams and the defense of land and territory on the part of communities, sharing, among other things, the case of COPUDEVER and the experiences had at the Third Global Meeting of the Movement of those Affected by Dams, which was had in Temacapulínm, Jalisco, in October 2010, a location in which is planned the construction of the Zapotillo dam, against the wishes of local populations.

On 14 March was had a protest march in which participated representatives of the affected communities organized by COPUDEVER, teachers from Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE), and groups from several parishes of the Puerto Escondido diocese.  The march began from two distinct points in Pinotepa Nacional and met to concentrate forces in the Zócalo of the city.  In the march participated some 6000 people who thus expressed their rejection of the Paso de la Reyna hydroelectric-dam project.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Marchan contra la presa Paso de la Reina en Pinotepa Nacional (EDUCA, 14 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar obras hidroeléctricas (Proceso, 14 March)

Página Web sobre Paso de la Reina y represas

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (20 March 2011)


Oaxaca: Assembly cancels the authorization given to the CFE in project “Paso de la Reina” (31 July 2009)

Chiapas: National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER)

March 20, 2011

From 10 to 13 March was held the 8th National Meeting of the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) in the municipality of Huitiupán, in northern Chiapas.  Attending the meeting were 441 indigenous delegates from a dozen Mexican states as well as representatives of organizations from Guatemala that also struggle against the construction of dams in their country.  The meeting concluded with a march of more than 500 people in the settlement of Simojovel, a municipality that neighbors Huitiupán.

The meeting’s final declaration reports that the residents of more than 30 communities and of the town of Huitiupán have declared themselves to be in civil resistance until the project of constructing two hydroelectric dams  in the municipalities of Itzantún and Chinín be cancelled; these are projects that they claim the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) plans to re-initiate after 26 years.  They also denounced that, if these projects were to be permitted, some 11,800 hectares would be lost, with the residents of between 30 and 35 indigenous communities subsequently losing their lands.  The plan would also affect dozens of communities from six neighboring municipalities that benefit from the Santa Catarina River.

The assembled also rejected the construction of the Tenosique dam (Boca del Cerro) in Tabasco, all those planned to be constructed on the Usumacinta River, in addition to La Parota in Guerrero, Paso de la Reina in Oaxaca, and Las Cruces in Nayarit.  They also requested reparations for those affected by projects in Jalisco, Nayarit, Oaxaca, and Sinaloa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Anuncian ONG resistencia civil contra embalses, (La Jornada, 14 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar proyecto a CFE (Cuarto-Poder, 14 March 2011)

14 de marzo, Guadalajara se suma a día internacional contra represas, (Milenio, 14 March 2011)

No más presas hidroeléctricas en Chiapas: Comunidades de la zona Norte, (Chacatorex, 12 March 2011)

Seguirán rechazando a la represa Itzantún, (Cuarto-Poder, 1 March 2011)

Exigen cancelar obras hidroeléctricas (Proceso, 14 March)

DECLARACIÓN DE HUITIUPÁN: Aprobada en el VIII Encuentro del Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (MAPDER) (14 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón

March 20, 2011

In a press-conference held at the office of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights on 9 March, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón adherents to the Other Campaign found the state-government responsible for the violent eviction of 2 February committed by a group of PRI militants who they say were organized by the Secretary of Government with authorities from the Chilón City Hall.  They claim that the operation to deny them access to the Agua Azul waterfalls “was financed by the three levels of government by putting together an agreement with the authorities from the  municipality of Tumbalá and the officialists from San Sebastián Bachajón to hand the eco-tourist center over to the government: it finds itself under the administration of the Secretary of Housing of the state, in accordance with the agreements signed among [these groups].”

They also made reference to the  declarations to the press of the State Council on Human Rights (CEDH) on 8 March that stated that the problem was due to “the absence of the Other Campaign” in the negotiation-tables set up by the government and that for this reason the conflict had yet to be resolved. They stated that “it is shameful that a human-rights organization has served as a mask for the bad government that seeks to hide the true intention of violently displacing with cruelty, hatred, and presumption those who defend their dignity, the territory, and their autonomy.” They affirmed that they would continue to struggle for the release of their 5 comrades who are still incarcerated.

The CEDH, represented by its advisor Pedro Raúl López Hernández, denied that the organization demonstrated partiality in the case and affirmed that the goal of the institution was to serve as mediator in the conflict that continues among residents, since they fear that the conflict could expand and end fatally: “With this intervention we offer impartiality and our services so that the parties can sit down and attempt to resolve this affair among themselves […]. The Council has requested that the state government revise the cases of the persons who are detained, to release them if their human rights had been violated.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de ejidatarios/as sobre sus acciones en Bachajón (7 March 2011)

Denuncia de Hostigamiento e intimidación por parte de Policía y funcionarios del Gobierno a Ejidatarios Bachajón (8 March)

El CEDH de Chiapas exhorta a adherentes a la otra campaña a privilegiar el diálogo (La Jornada, 8 march)

Comunicado Conferencia de prensa de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (9 March)

Ejidatarios de Bachajón denuncian amenazas policiacas en un plantón (La Jornada, 9 March)

Acusan a Castañón León de utilizar la violencia para despojar de Agua Azul a ejidatarios (La Jornada, 10 March 2011)

Niegan parcialidad en el caso de Bachajón (Cuarto Poder, 12 March 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts

(8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

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)