Chiapas: Death Threats against Defenders of Life and Territory in Chicomuselo Denounced

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We are sharing the statement of the “Samuel Ruiz Garcia” Committee for the Promotion of the Defense of Life:

Chicomuselo, Chiapas. January 31st, 2020.

Announcement.

TO THE THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT

TO THE MEDIA

TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

TO RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

TO PUBLIC OPINION

PERSONAL INTEGRITY OF THOSE WHO DEFEND LIFE AND TERRITORY IN LAZARO CARDENAS MUNICIPALITY OF CHICOMUSELO CHIAPAS AT RISK.

The “Samuel Ruiz García” Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life, expresses its concern at the death threats directed at residents of the Lazaro Cardenas ejido municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, it is presumed that these are carried out by residents of the same locality represented by the ejido commissioner JOSE ANTONIO RAMIREZ HERNANDEZ.

According to information gathered by this committee, the events derive from the division of ejidatarios given the proposal of the ejido commissioner to distribute common land on November 29th, 2019, when they decided to leave the General Assembly before the imposition for the distribution of these lands, however, on that same date the few attendees made the appointment of their Municipal Agents, a situation that caused even more discontent of the population in general.

Days later, on December 2nd of that same year, 55 ejidatarios and 342 residents met who, after agreeing to the intervention of the Agrarian Attorney to review the issue of the distribution of communal lands, decided to appoint their own municipal agents with the participation of the general population, a situation that to date has kept the opposing group headed by the ejido commissioner discontent.

On December 17th, 2019, staff of the Agrarian Attorney’s Office presented themselves to the Assembly of ejidatarios where both groups participated, clarifying that the distribution of communal lands is not appropriate, since the approval of the majority of ejidatarios is needed and because it is a forest area that must be preserved for the environment.

Before the designation of municipal agents in both groups, the Municipal City Council decided that through the ejido commissioner and the Municipal Agents a general meeting will be convened where neighbours and ejidatarios will participate for the election of Municipal Agents, however, in that meeting, which a representation of the City Council attended, about 350 people were present between ejidatarios and neighbours, but not the group of ejidatarios represented by the Commissioner, so a second meeting was convened leaving forth January 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm, at which the commissioner’s group did not appear again, nor representatives of the City Council.

It should be noted that minutes later City Council employees reported that when they headed to the town of Lazaro Cardenas at the bridge, near the Bella Vista clinic, a group of people was already waiting who, in addition to sticks, carried firearms, firing several shots on seeing the City Hall staff who immediately decided to return to Chicomuselo so as not to put themselves in danger.

On the same day, according to information that this committee has, text messages with death threats circulated on social networks with the phrase “the secretary will come to want to appoint municipal agents, but he confessed to us that it is the order of the priest of Chicomuselo” “We are going to make a blockade  and you are going to see a mess immediately.” “Those who can fall first are Adolfo Moreno, Aurel, Ricardo, Israel, the municipal secretary and a jurist who is from Catholic human rights.” It should be noted that of the people mentioned, some of them are servants committed to the pastoral work that the San Pedro and San Pablo parish have been doing for years in Chicomuselo, which is presided over by the pastor Eleazar Juarez Flores, threatened with death on several occasions for his work in defense of life, land and territory.

Likewise, people threatened with death in coordination with the community have taken actions in favor of the life of the community such as: surveillance, complaints about the sale of alcohol, actions against mining, among others, a situation that keeps the other group unhappy since people who sympathize with the commissioner’s group have caused various conflicts in the community.

For all the above, and given the constant threats, harassment and persecution against those who defend life and human rights, we consider the intervention of the three levels of government urgent to pay for the reconstruction of the social fabric in that community, and to avoid confrontations among peasants for an administrative and competitive matter of the majority of the population and not exclusive to ejidatarios, as it is not an agrarian matter.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Piden parar los megaproyectos en un encuentro en Chicomuselo (December 23, 2019)

Chiapas : OSC denuncian militarización de los espacios civiles a una año de la inauguración de un cuartel en Chicomuselo (November 11, 2019)

Chiapas: Frayba denuncia actos de espionaje contra defensoras del territorio en Chicomuselo (May 29, 2019)

Chiapas: Denuncian vigilancia militar en Chicomuselo (March 27, 2019)

Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict (March 27, 2019)

Chiapas : BriCos inician trabajo de documentación en Chicomuselo ante militarización y persistencia de proyectos mineros (February 9, 2019)

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