Guerrero – Briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo

December 21, 2011

Valentina Rosendo durante el acto oficial de reconocimiento @ quoruminformativo

Valentina Rosendo during the act of recognition @ quoruminformativo

A year and four months late, Alejandro Poiré, secretary of Governance, offered a public apology in the name of the Mexican State to the Guerrero indigenous woman Valentina Rosendo Cantú, in an act of recognition of its international responsibility in the violation of her humans rights and lack of adequate attention in observing the points outlined in a sentence of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).  The act was held in Mexico City in the presence of social and human-rights organizations.

Poiré assured that despite the near-decade of struggle, total observance of the sentence should be had, given that the acts suffered by Valentina were “so lamentable and so terrible [… that] they should never be repeated with any other person in any other part of the country.”

Without referring to which types of public servants it was who violated Valentina’s rights, Poiré indicated that the “deviations” of public officials who violate human rights “should be investigated, punished, and compensated entirely by the Mexican State.”  He added that the acts which occurred in 2002 and the impunity of the case is not a generalized affair in the Calderón government: “It is evident that those isolated cases in no way represent the policy of the Mexican State, which is oriented always to the promotion, respect, protection, and guarantee of human rights.”

Valentina Rosendo related her nearly ten years of suffering not only due to the sexual violence of the soldiers but also because of the consequences that followed from her denunciation of members of the armed forces, such as her having to flee from her land and live in the face of constant threat of death: “I continue struggling as a woman and [my husband] has never valued that.  He left cowardly, but I continue with my face high, I brought up my daughter, and here I am proud of myself, of being who I am.”  Valentina shared that she thought her violation should help other besieged women defend themselves and denounce their attackers

To conclude, Poiré directed himself to the victim: “Esteemed Valentina, example Valentina: Nearly a decade ago the State did not protect you or procure you justice; today the Mexican State recognizes its responsibility and acts in consequence; this public act is a reflection of this conviction, and, knowing that your suffering is irreparable, we desire that for you and the little Yenis and all your relatives this symbolic act translate into a minimal restitution of justice, and that it serves for the reconstruction of your project of life.  Once again, apologies.”

Before leaving the hall, Valentina warned that her struggle has not ended.  “It continues because those responsible are still out there; they still are where they should not be.  But we have advanced a bit and there is hope.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alejandro Poiré Romero, Secretario de Gobernación, durante el acto de Reconocimiento de Responsabilidad del Estado Mexicano, Caso Valentina Rosendo Cantú (Presidencia de la República, 15 December 2011)

“Tienen que reconocer que dije la verdad” (El Universal, 14 December 2011)

Caso Valentina Rosendo: Estado reconoce responsablidad (El Universal, 15 December 2011)

Reconoce Estado mexicano responsabilidad pública en caso Rosendo Cantú (La Jornada, 15 December 2011)

Con un “usted disculpe”, el Estado admite responsabilidad ante Valentina Rosendo (La Jornada de Guerrero, 15 December 2011)

Pide Gobernación perdón a Valentina (Milenio, 16 December 2011)

Acto de Reconocimiento Público. Caso Valentina Rosendo Cantú (15 December 2011)

“Usted disculpe”, dice gobierno a indígena violada por militares hace nueve años (Proceso, 15 December 2011)

El secretario de Gobierno, Humberto Salgado, refrendó el compromiso de la administración de Ángel Aguirre de respetar los derechos humanos y la democracia (Gobierno del estado de Guerrero, 15 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: NGO informs US authorities regarding Mexico’s obligations under Mérida Initiative (26 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: NGO demands that Calderón observe sentence in case of Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández (28 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (4 February 2011)


Chiapas: Torture in the case of David Potenciano is denounced, as are acts of vigilance against relatives

December 21, 2011

imagen de la conferencia de prensa @ CDHFBC

Photo of press-conference @ CDHFBC

On 14 December, relatives of David Potenciano Torres denounced at a press-conference the human-rights violations he has suffered.  During the event, held at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, Jorge Luis Mendoza Torres, brother to Potenciano Torres, read a denunciation relating the juridical inconsistencies in the case and the acts of torture to which his brother had been subjected.  Potenciano is accused of having participated in the murder of Jorge Fonz Ramos, president of the Ranchers’  Union of the Northern Zone, who in accordance with the denunciation of the relatives of David Potenciano had friendly relations with Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state.  For its part, the CDHFBC manifests its “concern for the harassment of relatives of David Potenciano Torres,” indicating that it has “requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (MC-287-11 David Potenciano Torres and others), due to the threats to his physical integrity and security delineated in the aforementioned denunciations and because, according to the evaluation of the relatives of David Potenciano, the precautionary measures awarded by the State Council on Human Rights are insufficient.”  The communiqué indicates that Potenciano Torres has told the Second Judge of the Penal Region of Tuxtla Gutiérrez about the acts of torture to which he was subjected, but that said authority to date “has not even carried out the preliminary steps for the initiation of an investigation [into these crimes], as is called for by the State Law to Prevent and Sanction Torture in the state of Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de Jorge Luis Mendoza Torres, hermano de David Potenciano Torres (14 December 2011)

Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas(pdf) (14 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapan

December 21, 2011

Photo @Voces por la paz

On 12 December, during a peaceful protest carried out at an exit from the Chilpancingo-Acapulco highway which has been promoted by Governor Ángel Aguirre, two students were murdered by municipal, state, and federal police.  The victims are teacher-students Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, 20 years of age, and Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino, 21 years of age.  Another youth died from gunshot wounds.  Furthermore there are the undetermined number of injured persons and 24 who have been arrested.  The students had been demanding that classes at their teaching-training college resume, given that they had been suspended for over a month now.  The Federation of Socialist Campesino Students of Mexico (FECSM) energetically condemned the murder of the three students in the Rural Normal “Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa.  The events have provoked rejection throughout the country, both from human-rights organizations as from the political class.  In a 13 December press-release, civil-society organizations demand “the resignation of Ramón Almonte Borja, Secretary of Public Society of the state of Guerrero, so that there could be had an exhaustive and effective investigation into the aggression suffered by the students.”

In light of these acts, human-rights organizations have expressed the urgency of an impartial, effective, and timely investigation into the police violence. They have demanded punishment for those responsible.  The United Nations has demanded that Mexico carry out a serious, competent, and impartial investigation into the murder of the students, expressing its “concern for the excessive and violent use of force” against youth.  The UN also called on the Mexican State to open spaces for respectful dialogue with the student community and to guarantee their rights to free expression, free assembly, and social protest, in addition to liberty and personal security.

On 14 December, close to 60 persons from social and student movements from UAM, UNAM, and UACM mobilized at the Representation of Guerrero in Mexico City to repudiate the killing of the students.  Protestors found the state and federal governments to be responsible.  “It does not matter to us if it was the police of Guerrero or those of the PFP; there is no difference between them […],” yelled one youth while others drew human figures on the black ground.  “We would like to call the attention of the people; we want them to know that the government kills students; human life means nothing to it.”

Fernando Mancilla Fuentes, president of the National Confederation of Mexican Students (Conem) and director the Colimense Federation of Students (FEC), announced that on 19 December there would be held a grand national mobilization in light of the murder of the students.  He affirmed that this national movement would “support all the proposals and demands of the students of Guerrero,” and that it would demand the clarification of the crime.

Moreover, he asserted that use of the term “collateral damage” is a habitual manner of justifying the arbitrary acts of power throughout the whole country, where there exists no brake on violence.  For this reason protestors will demand a resolution of the case and application of the law against the police who carried out the killings.

For more information (in Spanish):

Policías matan a tres estudiantes durante desalojo en la autopista (La Jornada, 12 December)

Ejecución Extrajudicial de Estudiantes de la Normal Rural de Ayotzinapan (Voces por la paz, 13 December)

Chiapas: Regional Forum for the Defense of Human Rights

December 14, 2011

Press conference @ SIPAZ

Following the Regional Forum for the Defense of Human Rights carried out in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on 8 and 9 December, rights-defenders who participated released a pronunciation calling attention to campesino and indigenous communities, given that in their view these face several threats in light of the deterioration and looting of their lands and natural resources, a process that generates more poverty and destruction of the social fabric which is then translated into increased migration and unhappiness.

They expressed their concern regarding the potential reactivation of the mine in Chicomuselo.  The operation of this mine has affected the environment of neighboring communities and has not respected the right of consultation on the part of residents, and for this reason “we join the local organizations that demand the cancellation of the permits for exploitation.”

In the document that was put together following a day of work with five tables regarding questions relevant to Chiapas, the assembled pronounced themselves against “the continuation of the policy of construction of rural cities, as this affects the traditional forms of production and modes of life of local populations, in addition to not presenting possibilities for improvements in access to services, as has been the pretext.”  They indicated that this policy of relocation that is done with rural cities “is merely a masked form of forced displacement in favor of economic interests that are foreign to the communities.”

Regarding migration, their diagnosis is that “the restrictive policies of migration generate on our southern and northern borders conditions of grave violations to fundamental rights, attempts on life and the physical integrity and liberty of migrant persons on the part of state agents or criminal groups supported by the state.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del Foro Regional por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (9 December 2011)

Gobiernos de Chiapas y federal amagan la integridad de pueblos indígenas: ONG (La Jornada, 12 December 2011)

Foro Regional de Derechos Humanos. Iniciativas para la Identidad y la Inclusión AC (Escrutinio Público, 9 December 2011)

Piden atención a pueblos indígenas y campesinos (Cuarto Poder, 11 December 2011)

Señalan amenazas a formas de vida (Cuarto Poder, 10 December 2011)

Lanzan pronunciamiento tras Foro (Cuarto Poder, 10 December 2011)


Pronunciamiento del Foro Regional por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Radio Zapatista, 9 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forum for the defense of rights-defenders (18 October 2011)

Mexico: Growing insecurity for the work of human-rights defenders–denunciations from Washington, Brussels, and Chiapas (31 March 2011)

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Mexico: Accord to establish a Mechanism for Protection of Human-Rights Defenders; campaign “Declare yourself” is launched (20 July 2011)

Guerrero briefs: Two ecologists are kidnapped by armed men in the Sierra de Petatlán; Movement for Peace condemns the act; Civil Monitor of the Police of the Mountain publishes new report

December 14, 2011

Civil Monitor of the Police press-conference (@CENCOS)

Marcial Bautista Valle, president of the Organization of Ecologist Campesinos of the Sierra de Petatlán (OCESP), and Eva Alarcón Ortiz, assessor of this organization, were taken by a commando-team on 7 December in the region of the Costa Grande of Guerrero.  They had been traveling on a bus that was held up by armed subjects who took them by force.

Federal and state forces that make up the Coordination Guerrero group, which is comprised of military authorities and representatives from the thee levels of government who are in charge of analyzing questions of security, chose to carry out a joint operation to find the two but have not been successful to date.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity pronounced itself in this regard, noting that “Both have stressed the question of the problem of Petatlán in the first dialogue with President Felipe Calderón and were members of the Caravan to the South.”  The MPJD denounced that “in the last two weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in aggressions against human-rights defenders.”

In other news, on 7 December there was presented publicly in Mexico City the latest report by the Civil Monitor of the Police in the Mountain of Guerrero.  This report documents 353 cases of police abuse, the most frequent violations being arbitrary detention, extortion, and death-threats, in addition to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.  It also stresses that only 10% of the received complaints were followed up on by police.  The civil organizations that comprise MOCIPOL have affirmed in press-conference that the document “provides evidence that the security policies impelled by federal plans causes there to be a reproduction of risk, with the examples of the warlike conceptions and the progressive militarization of public security; the blurring of the local and federal spheres; the increase in human-rights violations and the stigmatization of victims; and finally the move for legislative reforms that generally lack sufficient deliberation.  This situation, as our reports shows, is exacerbated in regions such as the Mountain of Guerrero, one of the most impoverished regions of the country, where impunity and corruption prevail.”

For more information (in Spanish):

PGR indaga desaparición de ecologistas en Guerrero (El Universal, 8 December 2011)

Privan de la libertad a dos ecologistas en Acapulco (Milenio, 7 December 2011)

Hallan muerto a activista plagiado; ‘levantan’ a dos ecologistas en Guerrero (Proceso, 7 December 2011)

El MPJD exige investigar el caso del secuestro de don Trinidad de la Cruz comunero de Ostula Michoacán; y el de Eva Alarcón y Marcial Bautista de Valle, defensores de la Sierra de Petatlán (Boletín de prensa, MPJD, 7 December 2011)

Realizan en Guerrero operativo de búsqueda de líderes ecologistas (La Jornada, 9 December 2011)

Informe completo del Monitor Civil de la Policía en la Montaña de Guerrero (7 December 2011).

El Monitor Civil de la Policía presenta informe sobre violaciones de DDHH por las fuerzas de seguridad en la Montaña de Guerrero (Boletín de prensa, 7 December 2011)

Debe cambiar la estrategia de seguridad para proteger también a civiles: ONG (La Jornada, 8 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: violence in the Sierra de Petalán (17 October)

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

Guerrero: Second murder of ecologists in the Sierra de Petatlán (9 June)

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)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala

December 14, 2011

Reyna Flores Matrínez (

In light of the lack of responses by the state government 16 months after their having been expelled from San Juan Copala, displaced women from the Triqui zone have announced that they will engage in a walking march starting on 19 December from the communities of Agua Fría, Santa Cruz Tilapa, and Yosoyuxi toward the capital.  In a press-conference, Reyna Martínez, representative of the group, lamented that to date, and despite the 27 murders in the zone, there have been launched only three criminal investigations, and that in any case substantial advances in the investigation of the events are lacking.  She also denounced the lack of interest on the part of the government to find a solution to the problem, “given that in recent months this has been in the hands of low-ranking officials who have no capacity for creating solutions.”

In other news, following the announcement on 8 December that there would be presented at the European Parliament the report of the Euro-deputies Satu Hassi (Finland) and Franziska Keller (Germany) after their official visit to Mexico last September (a presentation that was deferred to the subsequent year), several media have published articles on said report which identifies several challenges regarding investigations into the murder of activists Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño, which occurred on 27 April 2010 near San Juan Copala: “Change does not come overnight, and now a new party has come into power in Oaxaca following 70 years of PRI governments.  Regardless, lack of coordination between federal and state levels, the co-existence of different judicial systems, and the poor existing standards for investigations continue to serve as obstacles for there to be significant progress, despite the efforts of the government.”  The report also indicates that “We fear that without political will to delimit responsibilities, impunity will continue to prevail.  People feel that the credibility of the Mexican State is at stake.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe europeo: Los crímenes de San Juan Copala, puras disculpas (Proceso, 2 December)

Realizarán mujeres desplazados de Copala caminata a la capital(, 7 December)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment”; Second Regional Meeting on Mining and its Impacts on Indigenous and Rural Communities

December 14, 2011

At the end of November, Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a special report entitled “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment in Mexico,” which seeks to “give voice to the defenders who confront grand economic interests and demand their rights to the land and a healthy environment, especially those who have been targets of violence for this reason.  To give visibility to the contradictions, interests, and violation of rights produced by mining projects, PBI has consulted experts and defenders who promote and/or protect the rights of communities affected by exploitation in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, San Luís Potosí, Baja California, and Durango.”

The report indicates that “In recent years, the worsening financial crisis and the instability in international relations have resulted in an increase in the value of gold and other metals.  Mining exploitation-sites that previously were not so profitable have become very lucrative capital-projects.  The Mining Congress of Mexico (Camimex) notes in its 2011 report that the profits had during the previous year reached 15.474 billion dollars, 51% more than in 2009.  Mexico furthermore has been the primary producer of silver since that time.  These positive results contrast with the situation of campesino and indigenous communities that are affected by mineral exploration and exploitation.  The extraction of these resources is frequently grounds for conflict between these communities with organizations that defend human rights on one side and extractive firms and public authorities on the other.”

In an illustration of this dynamic, on 26 November there was held the Second Regional Informational Forum on Mining and its Impacts on Indigenous and Rural Communities in San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, Oaxaca.   The final pronunciation of the event asserts the following: “we express our total rejection to mining in the region of Ocotlán and Ejutla.  We denounce that the San José, Los Ocotes, Monte Albán, and Taviche mining projects were NOT debated in ejidal or citizens’ assemblies, and for this reason they do not enjoy the consent of our communities for their operations.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Tierra Minada la defensa de los derechos de las comunidades y el medio ambiente en México (PBI México, December 2011)

Declaración final del Segundo Encuentro Regional Informativo sobre Minería y sus Impactos en comunidades indígenas y rurales (26 November 2011)

Se oponen pueblos indígenas a empresas mineras (, 7 December 2011)

No a proyectos mineros en Ocotlán: comuneros (NSS Oaxaca, 6 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Mexico: Damages due to mining in Cahuaré denounced (27 November 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 2011)

Oaxaca: Civil Mission of Observation “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” (8 September 2010)

Chiapas: pilgrimage against “death projects” (3 December 2010)