Mexico: The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity begins worktables with federal government

July 29, 2011

Javier Sicilia y Francisco Blake @ La Jornada

Javier Sicilia and Francisco Blake @ La Jornada

In observation of the dialogue between the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity and the federal government, on 22 July there were initiated five worktables between both parties, in accordance with the agreements resolved on 23 June in the Chapultepec Castle.  While the first worktable will address coordination of work, the other four will be thematic: coverage of justice cases; system of attention to victims; wholesome revision of the national security strategy with emphasis on the strengthening of the social fabric; and impulse of mechanisms of participatory democracy and the democratization of the media.

As permanent guests in the worktables will be President Felipe Calderón and Javier Sicilia; in the Joint Commission on Ties will be Juan Marcos Gutiérrez González, sub-secretary of Governance in the Ministry for Governance, and Emilio Álvarez Icaza as representative of the Movement.  To the ceremony for the formal installation of said worktables in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City attended Javier Sicilia, Julián Lebarón, Araceli Rodríguez, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, and representatives from each of the tables on the part of the Movement.  On the government side, Francisco Blake Mora, Secretary of Governance; Alfonso Lujambio Irazával, Secretary of Public Education, and Marisela Morales Ibañez, head of the Federal Attorney General’s Office.  According to journalistic sources, the worktables are to begin on Thursday 28 July.

In his comments at the formal inauguration of the worktables, Javier Sicilia had the following to say regarding the violence gripping the country: “We understand that the question is a complex one, regarding social and political order–even human or spiritual.  We do not believe that to point fingers or demand heads would be a serious solution.  We prefer to unite our energies in favor of fraternity and not for confrontation.  We will not renounce dialogue with anyone and we will seek it with all, because the cause of peace is born from the recognition of the humanity of the other, and to recognize her humanity implies listening to her words and being disposed to exchange ideas and agreements in the interests of all Mexicans.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):


Mexico: Pronunciation of the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electricity Prices

July 29, 2011

On 23 and 24 July, in the community of El Naranjo, municipality of Palenque (Chiapas), there was held a meeting of the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electricity prices.  In the meeting participated organizations and communities from the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz that have organized themselves in civil resistance in light of the high electricity prices, opting to not pay given prices, given that the costs are considered excessively high.

In their communiqué, the participants of the meeting denounced that “We see and suffer in alarm, but also with anger and impotence given how they repress us and subject us to judicial process, this just for raising our voices.  They seek to sap us of our strength and will, subjecting us to a justice that denies us the most fundamental human rights and which criminalizes our struggles and our comrades.”  They expressed their solidarity with the National and International Campaign against Judicial Harassment and the Criminalization of Human-Rights Defenders and Social Activists of Mexico, initiated by the Regional Autonomous Council of the coastal zone of Chiapas and the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights A.C. from Tonalá (Chiapas), due to the judicial investigations targeting Nataniel Hernández Núñez, ex-director of the Center, which have been considered legal harassment.  Among other demands, they call for the cancellation of arrest-orders, investigations, and penal processes targeting several members of the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electricity Prices.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil a las Altas Tarifas de la Energía eléctrica (24 July 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Campeche: Arrest of activist campaigning against high electricity prices (26/05/2010)

Mexico: AI Declares Activists against High Electricity Tariffs Prisoners of Conscience (10/03/2010)

Campeche: National Meeting for the Liberation of Political Prisoners of Candelaria, Campeche (27/10/2009)

Oaxaca: Fourth Regional Forum of the Southern Sierra of Oaxaca

July 27, 2011

On 16 and 17 July there was held the Fourth Regional Forum of the Southern Sierra in the municipality of Santa Cruz Zenzotepec, district of Sola de Vega, in Oaxaca.  The event was attended by authorities from six municipalities of the Southern Sierra.  The objective of the event was to exchange experiences and knowledge regarding the problems faced by the peoples of the region due to the looting of their lands and the ongoing violations of the human rights of the indigenous.

Forum participants denounce that “the institutions by means of their functionaries and in some cases popular representatives reach our communities with connections, take advantage of our solidarity and hospitality but above all our needs so as to convince us of the supposed ‘benefits’ brought by the offered projects.  Many times they even demand that our municipalities provide work-resources.”

Their demands include the following: “We demand that the Mexican State carry our an urgent change in the public policies of development for the implementation of projects in which participate national and transnational firms.  We demand that we be consulted regarding which type of development we indigenous peoples and communities want, in accordance with our necessities and social, cultural, and environmental surroundings.  We also demand that all federal institutions do not require productive projects and aid projects in the communities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaración final del Foro (20 July 2011)

Rechazan pueblos indígenas proyectos hidraúlico y minero (Proceso, 22 July 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: communiqué of the Las Abejas Civil Society

July 27, 2011

Acteal (@Caracol Azul)

On 22 July, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the December 1997 Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a new communiqué in which it shares its analysis of the present political moment in Chenalhó and the rest of the country.  It says that “while the government of Juan Sabines wastes many millions of dollars of the money of the people in praising his own works such as the Rural Cities as well as the putative justice meted out on his prior friend and now enemy Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, the reality of the communities in Chiapas is rather different than what they would like us to believe via their media, which are completely controlled by the government.”

He denounced at least three attacks on the vehicle of Marcelo Pérez Pérez, parish-priest of Chenalhó, explaining that “the the intention to hurt Father Marcelo is evident , because he is a priest committed to truth and justice.”  Las Abjeas add that “what is happening here in Chenalhó is happening also in other parts of Mexico, against working men and women of justice and dignified peace […].  We say this because not so long ago we learned of the harassment against our priest, friend, and brother Jtotik Raúl Vera, bishop of the diocese of Saltillo, Coahuila.”

They indicated as well the harassment engaged in by the Federal Commission on Electricity (CFE), an “arm of the government in its counter-insurgency plans” in Nuevo Yibeljoj where the electricity of 10 families pertaining to Las Abejas was cut.  In this case Las Abejas say “from the government we now know what to expect.  What most hurts us, though, is that the brothers with whom we suffered the displacement of 1997 and with whom we shared many years of struggle, now attacks us.”  They detail that on 13 July, a member of Las Abejas de Chiapas arrived at the home of José Alfredo Jiménez Pérez (ex-president of the directive table and member of the Civil Society), insulting him, threatening him, and teasing the concept of pacifist resistance.

Las Abejas conclude: “Although the government would like to humiliate our struggle and resistance; although the government in its evil by means of its social programs seeks to break the social fabric of our communities, we will not allow this to happen, because our struggle is connected to the sky and the earth.  Our struggle is united with the knowledge of nature.  In this construction of peace and justice, we are not the only ones present: there are many in other parts of Mexico and indeed the world who are struggling against the project of death of the neoliberal governments.”

Finally the Society announced that “next 12 August will have passed 2 years since the ‘Supreme Court of Injustice in the Nation’ ordered the release of the paramilitaries who murdered our brothers and sisters in Acteal.  With this in mind, on 12 August we will hold a protest in Acteal and a press-conference to denounce this grave impunity and violation of our rights to know the truth as survivors and relatives of the massacred.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 July)

Denuncian hostigamiento y cortes de servicio de la CFE en Acteal, Chiapas (La Jornada, 23 July)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Electricity-cut to 10 families that belong to the Las Abejas civil Society. Tension in community (24 July 2011)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal welcome Javier Sicilia’s Pact for Peace (1 July 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Release of OPIM leader; incursion of Navy forces in La Morena community

July 27, 2011

OPIM members @La Jornada

On 7 July, Rafael Rodríguez Dircio, member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), was released, having been detained and incarcerated on 29 June on the charge of homicide of Alejandro Feliciano García.  On these same charges had been detained five other members of OPIM on 17 April 2000.  One of these persons was Raúl Hernández Abundio, a prisoner of conscience as recognized by Amnesty International who spent more than two years in jail on this charge, with the four others having been released previously.  Inocencio Orduño Magallón, judge in the case, resolved in favor of Rafael Rodríguez’s release in light of lack of evidence.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights reminds us that there exist four other arrest-orders against OPIM members for this same crime.  “It is for this reason that we request the Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office to suspend these arrest-orders, given that with the release of Rafael Rodríguez Dircio, it has once again been demonstrated that the accusations and the legal process against these indigenous defenders are derived by fabricated evidence against those who demand the realization of their human rights and who organize toward that end.”

In other news, on 20 July, units of the Armed Navy of Mexico invaded the community of La Morena, municipality of Petatlán.  They detained for two hours state police who had been monitoring the community as well as residents of the community, denounces Elvia Torres Cruz, sister to Javier Torres, a campesino who was murdered in April.  The justification for the operation was that the unit had on the previous Sunday (17 July) left one of its vehicles in the community.  On that day there was had a confrontation in the community between units of the Armed Navy and of the state police.  One marine and one police-officer died.  On 18 April of this year Javier Torres was murdered by a uniformed group carrying high-caliber weapons, presumably operatives linked to organized crime.  His family has received protectionary measures and since that time the community of La Morena has been protected by the state police.

In an interview, Javier Monroy, coordinator of the Workshop for communal development (TADECO), said that leaders of organizations that comprise the Front of the Popular Masses of the State of Guerrero met with the Minister of Justice, Alberto López Rosas, and demanded that the clarify the acts and prioritize the investigation of the murder of Javier Torres.  In this vein, he indicated that TADECO has requested support for construction materials and other goods for La Morena, given the events of 17 July.

For more information (in Spanish):

La justicia que esperamos (boletín de Tlachinollan)

Declara el juez la inocencia del indígena Rafael Rodríguez Dircio y sale libre (El Sur de Acapulco, 16 July)

Pide la OPIM al gobierno mecanismos para que otros acusados no pisen la cárcel (El Sur de Acapulco, 17 July)

Libre Rafael Rodríguez, defensor del pueblo indígena me’phaa(Indymedia, 7 July)

Indígena de la OPIM libre (La Jornada, 6 July)

Liberan a integrante de la OPIM; no hubo pruebas (La Jornada, 6 July)

Irrumpen marinos en La Morena; retienen a policías y habitantes (La Jornada, 21 July)

Oficial: un marino y un policía estatal murieron en el choque en La Morena (El Sur de Acapulco, 21 July)

¨No tengo confirmado¨ que hayan sido efectivos de la Marina los que atacaron a policías del estado: Aguirre (El Sur de Acapulco, 22 July)

Huyen familias de la sierra de Petatlán por amenazas y asesinatos (El Sur de Acapulco, 22 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Lucio Cabañas’ widow and her sister are murdered (17 July)

Guerrero: The ecologist campesino Javier Torres Cruz is murdered (6 May 2011)

Guerrero – briefs:  Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena (28 December 2010)

Guerrero: Torres reappears with signs of torture (29 December 2008)

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua

July 27, 2011

Protest regarding the case of Ranchería Las Conchitas (@FNLS)

According to the affected, on the evening of 3 July, 10 armed men entered their homes violently, beating them and threatening them with high-caliber weapons, machetes, and chains.  The victims, members of five families that comprise 32 persons (including 23 minors), fled in light of the aggression, leaving all their belongings in their homes which were constructed on the land of 90 hectares that was awarded them in 2002 on Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipliaty of Salto de Agua, in northern Chiapas.  In 2002, they had been relocated from the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve to the municipality of Salto de Agua by the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas and the Federal Prosecutorial Office for the Protection of the Environment, following their voluntary abandonment of the reserve.

They have relocated to San Cristóbal de las Casas, where, on 12 July, they initiated a sitín in the offices of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) in this city.  On 19 July, they extended their protests with a second sit-in in the cathedral plaza of San Cristóbal.  On 21 July they engaged in roadblocks on 4 principal highways of Chiapas.

Beyond guarantees to return to their homes, the victims demand regularization of lands and compensation for damages suffered.  They warn that they will maintain their protests until the government resolves the communal conflict.

For more information (in Spanish):

FNLS bloquea vías carreteras (Cuarto Poder, 22 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (21 July 2011)

Choles instalan plantón en San Cristóbal tras desalojo de predio (La Jornada, 18 de julio de 2011)Choles continúan protestas por desalojo(El Universal, 18 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (18 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (15 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (13 July 2011)

Plantón de choles en San Cristóbal de las Casas (La Jornada, 13 July 2011)

Indígenas se plantan frente a CNDH de Chiapas (El Universal, 12 July 2011)

Violencia política contra mujeres indígenas: Desalojos y Represión(Comunicado del Área de Mujeres Rosa Luxemburgo y del Área de Derechos Humanos de K’inal Antsetik, 11 July 2011).

Choles denuncian desalojo en reserva forestal (El Universal, 9 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (5 July 2011)

Denuncia de desalojo violento (FNLS, 3 July 2011)

ACAT-France concludes its visit to the country: “Torture persists in Mexico”

July 25, 2011

From 2 to 18 July 2011, a French delegation from Christian Action for the Abolition of torture (ACAT France) visited Mexico with the objective of collecting information to release a diagnostic regarding the practice of torture and other cruel and inhuman punishments in the country.

Its important legal-protection system notwithstanding, Mexico was chosen as one of the five priority-countries contemplated by the “Fortifying the mechanisms of investigation, information, alert, and monitoring of torture and other abusive treatment” project that ACAT is carrying out due to the “systematic persistence of troture, impunity for those responsible, and death-threats directed at victims, relatives, and civil-society representatives who denounce such.  This, within a context of increasing violence in the country and the combatting of organized crime, with the participation of the armed forces in the task of public security, competing with civilian forces.”

The delegation visited Mexico City and the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, although it also met with organizations, relatives, and survivors of torture in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Mexico state, Guerrero, Jalisco, Sinaloa, and Tlaxcala.  Furthermore, it held work-meetings with the Minister of Governance, the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), the Mexico City Commission on Human Rights (CDHDF), and representatives of the governments of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

In its press-release issued at the end of its visit, ACAT-France speaks of “the utilization of torture and degrading and inhumane treatment as methods of investigation, the persistence of bail, and the lack of investigation and sanction of those responsible for these human-rights violations as well as access to justice and reparation for victims.  Also there has been observed how torture is used to repress social movements and inhibit political participation and the defense of human rights, as occurred in the cases of San Salvador Atenco and Oaxaca.”

As a result of this visit, ACAT-France will publish a report that investigates the conclusions of its visit toward the end of visibilizing the situation of torture in Mexico and strengthening national and international resources of pressure for the total eradication of that practice.

For more information (in Spanish):

Concluye visita a México de ACAT Francia “Perdura la tortura en Mexico” (boletín de prensa de la ACAT, 21 July 2011)

Llaman la atención de ONG francesa, recientes y pasadas desapariciones forzada (SIDIDH, Centro Prodh, 21 July 2011)