Chiapas: National and international support for Patishtán and the prisoners fasting and on hunger strike

October 28, 2011


Following 27 days of fasting and hunger strike, the prisoners “now feel weakness and exhaustion, experiencing dizziness and shock,” reported Pedro López Jiménez, a new spokesperson for said prisoners who find themselves in the prisons of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Cintalapa, and Motozintla on Tuesday 25 October.

Several national and international movements and organizations have supported the cause of these prisoners as well as of their ex-spokesperson, Alberto Patishtán, who was transferred to the federal prison no. 8 in Guasave, Sinaloa, more than 2000 kilometers in distance from his place of origin last week.  During these days also have been held protest-actions in France, Spain, the UK, and in front of the representation of the Chiapas state government in Mexico City.

On 25 October, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity made public a letter directed to Alberto Patishtán: “Today we demand not only his rapid return to the prison in San Cristóbal de Las Casas but also his release as well as that of the 10 indigenous incarcerated persons who are carrying out a hunger strike in addition to the protection of those fasting in solidarity with them who find themselves in the atrium of the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  The imprisonment of Patishtán Gómez, his sentencing, and transfer from the south to the north of the country, as though he were a criminal of highest danger, is clear evidence of the fallacy of justice we live and that demands our greatest energies to rebuild the country and create the justice we need.”

The same day, civil-society organizations that organized the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award, which Alberto Patishtán received in 2010 due to his work in favor of human rights within prisons, also published a letter in which they affirm that they “manifest our solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike […], as well as with their relatives who find themselves in an indefinite sit-in in the Cathedral Plaza in city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico.  […] We reaffirm our commitment to the persons, collectives, and communities that have received the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award; we support Professor Alberto Patishtán in his struggle for liberty and justice; and we call on authorities from the Mexican State to assure the return of Professor Alberto Patishtán post-haste to the detention center closest to his family, as is demanded by international human-rights law.”

Last week, Amnesty International (AI) also demanded Patishtán’s return to the state and made a call on the authorities to carry out a “complete review” of the evidence in the cases of the indigenous prisoners who have since 29 September been on hunger strike.  AI expressed its concern for the transfer of Patishtán Gómez to Guasave, considering that this amounts to “revenge” against the professor for his “active role in the hunger strike and in the struggle for the respect of the human rights of prisoners.”

For its part, the State Council on Human Rights (CEDH) has requested that the federal Secretary of Public Security carry out the necessary actions for Patishtán’s return to Chiapas, in light of the fact that his transfer constitues a serious human-rights violation.  As they say, “this is evidence of a flagrant violation of article 69 of the Federal Law on the Execution of Penal Sanctions, which stipulates that the transfer of the imprisoned should take account of the constitutional imperative to protect the organization and development of the family.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de las organizaciones co-convocantes del reconocimiento Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum (25 October)

Carta pública del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad (25 October 2011)

Resienten debilidad presos chiapanecos en huelga de hambre: vocero(La Jornada, 25 October)

Chiapas: impiden autoridades que médico revise a los presos en huelga de hambre / La Jornada (La Jornada, 26 October)

Situación de los presos en huelga de hambre y ayuno en Chiapas.(Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs, Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad, 25 October 2011)

Reporte de la situación de la huelga de hambre y ayuno desde el interior del Ceress 5. (24 October)

Denuncia de Presos en Huelga de hambre -26 días (24 October)

Piden regresar a Chiapas a indígena reubicado en penal de Sinaloa(Proceso, 21 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New denunciation by Las Abejas (28 October 2011)

Chiapas: 20 days into hunger strike and 11 days into sit-in of relatives, 2 prisoners are released (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: 15 days of hunger strike and  days of sit-in (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: Sit-in of relatives of relatives of prisoners on hunger strike(17 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on strike, and Zapatistas (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: 8 days of hunger strike at CERSS no. 5 (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: Prisoners fasting and on hunger strike (4 October 2011)

Chiapas: Public day for Fasting and Prayer for Peace in the San Cristóbal prison (26 September 2011)


Chiapas: New denunciation by Las Abejas

October 28, 2011


On 22 October, during the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society made public a communiqué in which is denounced various human-rights that have occurred in the state of Chiapas in recent weeks.

They called attention to the International Meeting on Adventure Tourism carried out in San Cristóbal de Las Casas this same week.  “Yes, our state of Chiapas is marvelous because thus it has been created by God for all his children on this Earth, not for the politicians and the transnational rich who exploit and destroy it for their own interests.  In this way the government claims that the tourism will bring development for all citizens of Chiapas, for the indigenous who live from the tourism in San Cristóbal who are threatened with displacement from Santo Domingo, so that they are hidden from the eyes of the invited rich from many different countries.”

Las Abejas expressed their solidarity with the prisoners fasting and on hunger strike in different prisons of the state, particularly with Alberto Patishtán who received the “Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum” for his work in favor of human rights and peace the same year as Las Abejas did (2010): “So the government says that it respects human rights, maintains imprisoned many innocent persons and attempts to dismantle the non-violent movement of fasting and prayer led by Professor Alberto Patisthán, who has unjustly been imprisoned in prison no. 5 in San Cristóbal.  While Professor Patishtán and his comrades protested peacefully, the government just two days ago removed him during the early hours of the morning to arbitrarily transfer him to a prison in the state of Sinaloa, thousands of kilometers in distance from Chiapas, where it would be practically impossible that his family and friends visit him.”

The Las Abejas Civil Society also made reference to the new death-threats directed against human-rights defenders Adolfo Guzmán and Margarita Guadalupe Martínez.  They mentioned in this regard that “this confirms what we Mexicans have long thought: that the criminals and the authorities are the ones who persecute them.”

Separately, Las Abejas denounced the harassment against indigenous communities that defend their autonomy, such as San Patricio (municipality of Sabanilla), San Marcos Avilés (municipality of Sitalá), and Candelaria el Alto (municipality of Venustiano Carranza).  They commented in this regard: “The situation of harassment in these communities, especially in San Patricio, reminds us of what we lived in Chenalhó in the weeks before the Acteal massacre: people who are kidnapped in their own communities and cannot even eat; robbery and burning of crops and of domestic animals; constant firing to intimidate.  And all this has been done by paramilitaries, the same as in Chenalhó, under the complicit regard of the police and the authorities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo (27 September 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Day of Action for Justice and Truth of Las Abejas of Acteal (19 August)

Chiapas: Update regarding the situation in San Patricio, northern zone

October 27, 2011


In a communiqué published on 20 October, the Center for the Rights of the Woman in Chiapas (Cdmch) and Services and Assessment for Peace (Serapaz) denounced that there continues a “situation of violence, harassment, and fear” in the autonomous Zapatista community of San Patricio, official municipality of Sabanilla, located in the northern zone of Chiapas.  Following a visit to the community on 15 and 16 October, these institutions could declare that “at least one part of the invading paramilitary group was forced to retreat by the government; the authorities have compensated for their violent and clearly counter-insurgent action, granting residents land in the ranch La Josefina, in the municipality in Palenque; regardless, according to what has been told us, some paramilitaries have remained to surveil the community.  Our comrades fear that the retirement of the paramilitaries is merely a new trick and that they will be ambushed and massacred upon leaving to cultivate their crops.  for this erason they have yet o exit the community at all.”  The communiqué mentions also that “there exist threats that the paramilitary group Hidalgo Union from the municipality of Sabanilla will arrive to retake the land and continue the harassment and looting of the land and territory belonging to the community of San Patricio.”

They report that due to the insecurity that prevails in the community, the Zapatista support-bases have transferred children younger than 7 years of age to a secure place, so as to protect their integrity.  They denounced as well that the aggressors have destroyed the maize, beans, and rice crops of the support-bases, having sold these, taken their firewood, and killed their cattle.  “These violent provocations and aggressions have impeded our support-base comrades from carrying out their daily work, including that of preparing their food.”  All of this implies a situation of humanitarian emergency that will not be resolved within the near term.

They warned finally of the “counter-insurgent violence employed by the municipal and state governments that reward paramilitary groups which harass and violate the human rights of indigenous peoples, granting them lands and permitting the reproduction of these groups in light of such perks.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo del Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas y de Serapaz (20 October)

Sigue acoso en San Patricio (Cuarto Poder, 21 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on hunger strike, and Zapatistas (10 de octubre de 2011)

Chiapas: harassment and risk of forced displacement in autonomous community of San Patricio in the northern zone (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Preparatory Ministerial Meeting for the XIII Forum of Mechanism for Dialogue and Coordination in Tuxtla

October 27, 2011

Preparatory Ministerial Meeting for the XIII Forum of Mechanism for Dialogue and Coordination in Tuxtla (@Expreso de Chiapas)

On 17 October, representatives of the 10 countries that comprise the Mechanism for Dialogue and Coordination in Tuxtla agreed in this same city to propsoe to their respective governments that the meeting which will be held next November in the capital of Chiapas that they seek agreements to modernize their police-forces and coordinate regionally in terms of security or interchange of information to fight organized crime in the region.

As a result of the agreements come to by the International Conference to Support the Security Strategy of Central America, held in Guatemala on 21 and 22 June last, the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic are working together on eight security-projects for the region toward the end of eradicating common problems such as trafficking of drugs and arms as well as money-laundering.

At the meeting was also addressed themes like economic integration and cooperation, the transit of products from abroad to the region, the installation of an electric interconnection for the regional market, the construction of a Mesoamerican system of land information as a tool to reduce risks in light of natural resources, and actions of vigilance against epidemics, among other things.

Regarding the question of migration, the Mexican representative Patricia Espinoza, who presided over the meeting, offered “just and respectful” treatment to those undocumented migrants who enter Mexico; she affirmed that the rule for a new migratory law in Mexico would be expedited so as to guarantee the respect of human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Canciller Espinosa encabezará Cumbre de Tuxtla (El Universal, ‎16 October 2011‎)

Sabines rechaza militarización de la frontera Sur (El Universal, 17 October)

Mandatarios de Centroamérica buscarán acuerdos antinarco (Proceso, ‎17 October 2011‎)

Mesoamérica propone una estrategia de seguridad regional contra el crimen (CNN México, 17 October 2011‎)

Llama SRE a países mesoamericanos a cerrar filas contra el crimen(Proceso, 17 October 2011‎)

Propone Juan Sabines pedir a migrantes documento biométrico en lugar de visas (Milenio, ‎17 October 2011‎)

Propone Sabines otorgar a migrantes de CA cédula de identidad (La Jornada, 17 October 2011‎)

Mesoamérica va contra crimen (El Universal, ‎18 October 2011)

Alista Mesoamérica plan contra el narco (Milenio, 18 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: opening of new Sustainable Rural City in Los Altos, 14 April 2011

Chiapas: Las Abejas’ communiqué denounces construction of rural cities in the Chiapas Highlands (22 May 2010)

Mesoamerica: The “Mesoamerica Plan” to replace Plan Puebla-Panamá (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: Controversy regarding the VIII Global Meeting for Adventure Tourism in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

October 27, 2011

On 17 October, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa inaugurated the VIII Global Meeting for Adventure Tourism in San Cristóbal de Las Casas; the meeting was also held in other places in Chiapas.  According to Shannon Stowell, president of the International Association of Adventure Tourism (ATTA), more than 650 tourist operators from 54 countries were in attendance.

During the opening day, Calderón noted that the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in 1994 was a reflection of the marginalization suffered by its participants: “Look, for example, at the case of Chiapas itself.  Now 17 years ago there was in this very place of Chiapas, and particularly in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a rebellion, an armed indigenous movement that at the beginning independently, of no sharing the path of violence to reach a cause whatever it may be, the truth is that it was reflected the circumstances of the peoples who for decades and centuries–I insist–had experienced marginalization and poverty.”  This was the first time in years that he had referred to the Zapatista movement.  He noted that the option for indigenous groups who own natural resources is adventure tourism, which represents a route that can be taken to correct the terrible inequalities seen in the country, as in the world.

In his intervention, the governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, stressed the projects of sustainable development and ecotourism as promoted by indigenous peoples.  He noted that the new Chiapas state-constitution respects the right to the free decisions of indigenous groups, who now have an opportunity for better development through use of their natural beauties.

In contrast with these official discourses, it should be noted that the first module of the Meeting was installed in the Cathedral Plaza of San Cristóbal de Lasas, in front of the sit-in of relatives of prisoners who have been fasting and on hunger strike since late September.

In a communiqué, the organization Other Worlds Chiapas affirmed that “there are many analyses and investigations that qualify tourism as an activity that negatively affects biodiversity and the communities in which this is developed; one only need think of Acapulco or Cancún.”  It continues: “Tourism affects many things: it affects things when much petroleum is consumed in aerial and terrestrial transport, releasing gases into the atmosphere; it affects the construction of infrastructure in the space in which this is carried out (highways, airports, etc.); if affects because it needs many primary materials, for which mountains, rivers, jungles… so obtain these materials or energy; it affects local cultures that are asked to make themselves available to tourism; it affects the waste of millions of pesos in advertising that could be destined to schools or hospitals; it affects through the repression and militarization against communities that do no want these activities and who struggle to defend their lands and territories in search of real alternatives for survival.”

The Center of Higher Studies in Mexico and Central America has noted for its part that “toward the end of making the mentioned meeting look good, the mayor of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Cecilia Flores Pérez, together with representatives of the tourist industry, officially negotiated (we do not know under what terms) with indigenous ambulatory merchants that they locate themselves in the central park, the outskirts of the historical center and the plaza of Santo Domingo.  In our encounters with children and women merchants, they commented to us that they were offered no compensation for ‘disappearing’ but rather were threatened with being arrested, their business interrupted, by use of public force.  This measure was reinforced with the installation of a spectacular security-tower in the Peace Plaza in this city.”

In more general terms, the communiqué denounced that “it is carefully attempted to show that injustice and social inequality suffered by communities results from the ‘self-isolation’ taken by themselves, and that with this type of touristic activities they can be included in ‘progress.’  The official voice has indicated that these economic activities are advanced so as to supposedly combat inequality and poverty, but it is evident that we are facing a clear demonstration of a modern colonialism of adventure.”  It continues: “We reject all attempts by which the natural and cultural resources of Chiapas and of the country be considered commodities, or that they serve to enrich a small group of national and foreign businesspeople, much elss that ecotourism serve as an instrument of forced integration of indigenous groups and communities into neoliberal capitalism, who have historically been oppressed by the State.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El turismo de aventura, opción de indígenas para corregir desigualdades, dice Calderón, La Jornada, 18 October 2011

Turismo de aventura, valuado en 89 mil mdd: Guevara (El Universal, 17 October 2011)

Es turismo de aventura opción de empleo: FCH (El Universal, 17 October 2011)

El Presidente Calderón en la Inauguración de la Cumbre Mundial de Turismo de Aventura (Comunicado de prensa, Presidencia de México, 17 October 2011

Movimiento indígena de 1994, reflejo de marginación: Calderón (La Jornada, 17 October 2011)

Comunicado de Otros Mundos AC sobre la Cumbre Mundial de Turismo de Aventura, 16 October 2011

Pronunciamiento del CESMECA Cumbre Internacional de Turismo de Aventura en San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Centro de Estudios Superiores de México y Centroamérica (CESMECA, 20 October)

Guerrero – briefs: XVI Anniversary of the Communal Police; National Indigenous Congress postpones XXX Meeting of the Central Pacific Region

October 27, 2011


On 14 and 15 October was held the XVI anniversary of the Communal Police in Malinaltepec, Guerrero.  The event was made up of the meeting of several representatives from different communities and organizations, both indigeous and non-indigenous, and included a cultural event and a deployment of police representing the communities surrounding the site of the event.

Four work-tables were held at the event: 1. For the defense of our land and territory; 2. Communal radios and independent media; 3. Organization of women and their participation in different organizational processes; 4. Alternative models for education.  In these were shared organizational experiences, progress had, matters to be improved, and examples of struggle against capitalism and everything this system implies (racism, exploitation, patriarchy, looting, denigration).  Furthermore were shared proposals to unite forces in the struggle against oppression.

At worktable 1 was discussed above all the defense against transnational mining companies that are lying in wait to engage in further exploitation.  There was also discussion of experiences in struggle that go from the juridical plan to direct confrontations.  The social, environmental, and health consequences of open-pit mining were shared.

At the women’s worktable was discussed the bad experiences with authorities and the military that has victimized indigenous women above all, for example through rape, abuse, and the inefficacy of authorities to resolve these.  For this reason they have decided to organize themselves in struggle.  Furthermore, in the specific case of Guerrero, women have struggled so that they be taken in regard, above all in the political participation of the CRAC-PC, given that at the moment there is only one woman who is a coordinator of this institution.

At the education worktable was suggested the necessity of including new forms of education that would stress the importance of solidarity and respect for peoples and nature, beyond being popular and bilingual.

During the anniversary was also to be held the thirtieth Pacific Central meeting of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), but during the inauguration ceremony arrived the state Secretary for Public Security, Ramón Almonte Borja.  For this reason, employing their rights to autonomy and self-determination, the CNI postponed the meeting “due to the presence and intervention of functionaries from the state government of Guerrero.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechaza el CNI la presencia del secretario Almonte Borja en aniversario de la CRAC (El Sur de Acapulco 16 October 2011)

Pronunciamiento. Congreso Nacional Indígena. Paraje Montero, municipio de Malinaltepec, Guerrero, México (17 October 2011)

Aniversario XVI de la CRAC-PC (17 October 2011)

Radio Jenpoj Tlahuitoltepec Mixe (Audio del Aniversario)

Marcando el paso, Policía Comunitaria de Guerrero (Periodistas de a pie)

Viva la policía comunitaria: XVI aniversario de la CRAC-PC  (19 October 2011)

El Congreso Nacional Indígena pospone la XXX Reunión de la Región Centro Pacífico (Enlace Zapatista 20 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Anniversary and expansion of the Communal police (17 October 2011)

Guerrero: “Indigenous peoples are subject to rights and are not electoral merchandise” (February 4, 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota (January 13, 2011)

Guerrero: Mobilization of the Communal Police against mining (9 August)

Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota (January 13, 2011)

Chiapas: New death-threats against human-rights defenders; they denounce intimidating treatment on the part of judicial authorities

October 27, 2011

During the course of the night of 19 to 20 October, there was left a death-threat at the house of the human-rights defenders Margarita Martínez Martínez and Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz.  In accordance with a press-bulletin released by the Fray Bartolomé Center for Human Rights (Frayba), the death-threat, directed against Adolfo Guzmán, contained the following message: “SO THAT YOU KNOW, THERE IS NO JUSTICE.  BETTER TO CLOSE YOUR MOUTH IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO DISAPPEAR.  WE ARE THE LAW AND WE ARE PROTECTED.  DEATH DEATH DEATH” [sic].  It should be mentioned that the family of Margarita Martínez and Adolfo Guzmán has received death-threats on various occasions, after having denounced the harassment of their home where they were previously living in Comitán de Domínguez in November 2009.  At the root of this denunciation is the kidnapping and torture suffered by Martínez Martínez in February 2010, as are the harassment and death-threats from November 2010.  Due to this situation, the family of Margarita Martínez and Adolfo Guzmán has been protected with precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  These measures have to date included police protection.

Separately, Margarita Martínez and Adolfo Guzmán have publicly denounced the intimidating treatment they received on the part of personnel from the Prosecutorial Office of the Highlands District (FDZA) and the Special Prosecutor for the Protection and Attention to Human-Rights Non-Governmental Organizations (FEPAONGDDH).  According to the denunciation, “they arrived to the domicile of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz and Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez in an aggressive and intimidating manner, filming and taking photos of Adolfo, Margarita, and the police guard; they said that they had come to do an investigation associated with the new death-threat left at the house of Adolfo and Margarita.”  “Adolfo requested them from the start to turn off the video-camera, as they arrived in a very intimidating way, but regardless, the two women carrying the cameras ignored him and continued filming and taking photos.”  In accordance with the document signed by Margarita Martínez and Adolfo Guzmán, “Adolfo spoke with comrades from Frayba to tell them about the situation  and to inform them that he would refer the State Attorney General’s Office to Frayba.  It was then that they left, with the same attitude, given that previously they had taken the name of the police guards and of Adolfo, beyond the filming and photos taken.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de Margarita Martínez y Adolfo Guzmán (20 October 2011)

Boletín de prensa del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (pdf) (20 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Announcement of International Accompaniment for the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights center on the part of the International Service for Peace (10 December 2010)

Chiapas: 7 months after the beginning of harassment directed at members of Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación of Comitán (23 June 2010)

Chiapas: Wife of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, Member of Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación, Margarita Martínez: Beaten, Kidnapped and Threatened with Death (26 February 2010)

Chiapas: new harrassment of a member of the civil organization Enlace, Capacitación y Comunicación, AC (13 January 2010)