Chiapas: Mexican State Publicly Apologises for Forced Disappearance 23 Years Ago

@ Sadec

On January 19th, 2022, the protocol act of “Acknowledgment of Responsibility and Public Apology of the Mexican State for the Antonio Gonzalez Mendez case” was held in the municipality of Sabanilla. This as part of the measures issued in 2019 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) after analyzing the case and pointing out the responsibility of the Mexican State for the lack of investigation of the forced disappearance of Antonio that occurred on January 18th, 1999.

“Antonio’s disappearance occurred within the framework of the counter-insurgency war waged by the Mexican State to combat the struggle for autonomy and self-determination of the indigenous peoples in Chiapas. After the head-on war against the communities in resistance and under the demand of the people of Mexico to opt for Peace, the Mexican State changed its strategy promoting a comprehensive war of attrition attacking the civilian population through the implementation of counterinsurgency warfare tactics”, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights pointed out.

Present at the event were Sonia Lopez Juarez, Antonio’s wife; his daughters and son, the Secretary General of the Government, Victoria Cecilia Flores Perez; the municipal president of Sabanilla, Jose Darwin Gonzalez Cabello and the undersecretary of Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez.

The undersecretary began his speech by addressing the family saying, “I come on behalf of the Mexican State to vindicate and dignify Antonio Gonzalez Mendez and I come to assume the responsibility of the Mexican State in the violation of his rights, in particular his right to life, to his integrity, his personal freedom, his legal guarantees and protection, as well as the obligation of the State to guarantee access to justice” and added, “we want this act to serve as an action to vindicate the person of Antonio Gonzalez ; that his memory and his work as a social fighter in this region of Sabanilla be recognized with dignity, because his struggle must have concrete results with his presence and with the profound transformation that Chiapas and the entire country require.”

For their part, Antonio’s family demanded justice and mentioned that the forced disappearance was “carried out by one or several members of the paramilitary group of Paz y Justicia, who were blamed for multiple homicides, forced displacement, assaults and other abuses against individuals and communities that sympathized with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Civil society organizations attended the event and expressed their solidarity with Antonio’s family.

For more information in Spanish: 

Estado mexicano ofrece disculpa pública y reparación del daño por desaparición forzada de ch´ol hace 23 años (zona docs 20 de enero de 2022)

Se disculpa el gobierno por desaparición de indígena en Chiapas (La Jornada 20 de enero de 2022)

Estado mexicano reconoce responsabilidad por no investigar desaparición forzada de Antonio González Méndez (Frayba 19 de enero de 2022)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Chiapas on Verge of Civil War – EZLN (September 21, 2021)

Chiapas: Patria Nueva JBG Denounces Latest Harassment of Nuevo San Gregorio Community(December 2, 2021)

Chiapas: Kidnapping of Two Members of Nueva Patria JBG Denounced (September 16, 2021)

Chiapas: Denuncian nuevas agresiones armadas a la comunidad zapatista de Moíses Gandhi (January 21, 2021)

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