Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre

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Lacandona Jungle, photo @ http://www.nadir.org

On 13 November, several civil organizations released communiques commemorating the 2006 massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Lacandona Jungle, which resulted in the death of seven persons, two disappearances, and 36 displaced.  The organizations emphasized that the crimes remain unpunished to date.  The civil organization People’s Wood, for example, mentioned that “Seven years since the Viejo Velasco massacre […] the Mexican State still has not clarified the events nor punished those intellectually and materially responsible for the brutal attack on the Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol indigenous community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, which was perpetrated by a group of approximately 40 individuals from the neighboring community of New Palestine who were accompanied and supported by 300 units from the Chiapas Sector Police.”  The communique adds that “It should be noted that this bloody event took place within the context of intense struggle and resistance for the right to land and the management of the natural resources of the indigenous communities settled within the heart of the Lacandona Jungle.  This resistance confronted an aggressive policy of territorial displacement, social looting, and privatization of nature on the part of the Mexican State, as exercised over more than 40 communities located within the limits of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity, water, forest cover, and scenic and touristic attractiveness in our country.”

The communique from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) notes that “seven years after these events […] 36 persons […] continue to be forcibly displaced […and] Mariano Pérez Guzmán and Juan Antonio Peñate López continue to be disappeared, and police investigations have stagnated.  At the same time, state authorities in Chiapas still have yet to arrest those responsible for this paramilitary action.  The undersigned organizations [including the Committee for teh Defense of Indigenous Freedoms {CDLI}, Xi’nich, the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. {Cediac}, Communal Health and Development A.C. {SADEC}, and Services and Assessment for peace, A.C. {SERAPAZ}] indicate that such crimes against humanity should never remain unpunished.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 7 años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco (Madres del Pueblos, 13 de noviembre de 2013)

Comunicado Frayba – Viejo Velasco (13 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

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)

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