On June 20th, 1996, Minerva Guadalupe Perez Torres, a 19-year-old Chol woman, was informed that her father was ill and she immediately left Tila, where she was studying, for the community of Masoja Shucja. But in the town of Miguel Aleman, she was intercepted by a group of people belonging to the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia. According to testimonies from members of Paz y Justicia, obtained by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), Minerva was kidnapped for three days, beaten and raped. Twenty-six years after those events, her whereabouts are still unknown.
Within the framework of the International Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearances on August 30th, 2022, we accompanied, as SIPAZ, the Colembij collective in Susuclumil in the northern zone of Chiapas, in the act of commemoration of the victims of disappearances, of extrajudicial executions and forced displacement.
In the years 1995-1999, the Mexican State responded to the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) with a counterinsurgency policy, also known as the “Chiapas ‘94 Campaign Plan.” The documentation registered by Frayba is of 122 cases in the North Zone, of which 37 were forced disappearances and 85 extrajudicial executions. More than 4,500 people were forcibly displaced, and cases of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual torture, harassment, intimidation, destruction of property, among others, were documented.
The Colembij collective, made up of victims and survivors, shared their words at the event on August 30th, remembering those executed, including: Rogelio Jimenez Lopez, Hector Perez Torres, Domingo Vazquez Avedaño, Sebastian Perez Lopez, Nicolas Mayo Gutierrez and Miguel Gutierrez Peñate, and the disappeared persons, among them: Minerva Guadalupe Perez Torres and Mateo Arcos Guzman. In addition, victims of forced displacement gave their word of testimony. “We demand that the three levels of the Mexican government recognize the responsibility for this crime of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, president of the republic at the time, and Julio Cesar Ruiz Ferro, governor of Chiapas at the time, and the municipal president of Tila, Carlos Lopez Martinez. We ask and request the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) to continue its monitoring, and determine the responsibility of the Mexican State in human rights violations and order reparations for damage. We thank Frayba and SIPAZ and we stand in solidarity in the struggle of each and every organization and group of relatives of the disappeared in Mexico and the world”, said Colembij.
The relatives remembered the victims of the Dirty War with an altar, candles and a photo clothesline. Their words expressed great pain, but at the same time strength and hope. The commemoration closed with singing, prayers and music.
For more information in Spanish:
Colembij: somos familiares de personas desaparecidas, desplazados forzados de la guerra contrainsurgente (Frayba, 30 de agosto de 2022)
16 años de la desaparición forzada de Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres (Frayba, 20 de junio de 2022)
Verdad y justicia para las víctimas de crímenes de lesa humanidad (Frayba, 29 de agosto de 2022)
Zona Norte – Dignidad, contrainsurgencia y continuum de impunidad (Frayba)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Ejido Tila denuncia “actos vandálicos” de inconformes vinculados con “Paz y Justicia” (August 27, 2020)