National: AMLO Confirms Head of National Guard Will Be Serving Military Officer

April 9, 2019

NatG.pngNational Guard Uniforms (@Cuarto Oscuro)

At a press conference on April 5th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) confirmed that the head of the National Guard command will be an active military officer whose name will be announced in the near future, as well as that of the people who will form the General Staff of the new security corps, which will also be composed of representatives of the Federal Police, the Navy and the Army.

With this, the request of the head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, that the command be civil, a request which echoes the demands of broad sectors of society, who consider the strategies of security focused on militarization have not worked.

In this regard, Lopez Obrador said he explained to the head of the CNDH “why he thought that the commander should be a military head of the National Guard, because we will have the support of the Army, I am talking about a reconversion in the Army and we need elements of this institution, also with experience, with discipline, with rectitude, with honesty, with professionalism and we already have it.” AMLO stressed that the National Guard will go through a process of training on two fundamental issues: human rights and “moderate, regulated use of force.” He recalled that 50 thousand more elements will be needed to cover the 236 territorial locations – it will begin with 150 – in which the country was divided. Finally, he declared that “I only want it to be also clear that the president of Mexico is at the same time supreme commander of the Armed Forces, and I am never going to give the order to the Army, to the Navy, to any body to repress the people of Mexico.”

For her part, the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero said that, “we have a problem of violence and security in our country that we are committed, at least, to try to solve efficiently.” She emphasized that the new strategy will focus on guaranteeing security to the population and no longer on specific operations against a cartel.

For more information in Spanish:

Guardia Nacional o guardia militar (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de abril de 2019)

Cifra récord de militares en las calles, con AMLO (El Economista, 7 de abril de 2019)

Comandará militar en activo la Guardia Nacional: AMLO (La Jornada, 6 de abril de 2019)

Un militar en activo encabezará la Guardia Nacional, confirma López Obrador (Proceso, 5 de abril de 2019)

Jefe de Guardia Nacional será militar en activo, confirma AMLO; No es una burla, defiende Gobernación (Animal Político, 5 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil” (April 8, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National: Senate Will Not Approve National Guard Bill. Morena and #SeguridadSinGuerra Propose Alternatives (February 13th, 2019)

National: Deputies Approve National Guard amid Doubts in the Executive (January 24th, 2019)

National: Public Hearings to Debate the Creation of National Guard Begin (January 15th, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Asks Congress for Civil Controlled National Guard and that it Last Five Years Maximum (January 2nd, 2019)

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National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil”

April 8, 2019

National Guard.png@Juan Carlos Cruz, Cuarto Oscuro

On March 31st, over 50 civil organizations, academics and activists, including #SeguridadsinGuerra published a statement in which they insisted on the need for a “truly civilian” National Guard. The decree that will allow its creation was published five days before. They expressed their concern about the possibility of it ending up being a military body if it is confirmed that the recruitment, training and operation will be in the charge of the Armed Forces taking the risk that “the only civil thing about this guard will be their administrative disguise.”

They asked President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to fulfill his campaign promises and “no longer insist on militarizing the country” by stressing that the indications sent by the Federal Government point towards the construction of a military body. They recalled in particular that as recently as March 27th, AMLO declared that it was not ruled out that the National Guard should have as a commander an active member of the military.

“It would be a militarization that does not dare to speak its name, a simulation and a betrayal of the meaning of the reform approved by Congress … it should already be clear that military structures have not served or will serve to address situations of public insecurity, especially when More than 90% of crimes committed in the country are not federal, but common law”, they said.

“It would also be an attack against the project of a democratic country that strengthens the rule of law and that places the defense of human rights as the highest priority”, they said.

“Mr. President, fulfill what you promised. No longer insist on militarizing the country, build a truly civil Guard, do not destroy the Federal Police and promote the development of our local police”, they concluded.

On the other hand, on April 3rd, Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, president of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), met with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and also urged that the command of the National Guard be civil.

For more information in Spanish:

La CNDH pide a AMLO un mando civil para la Guardia Nacional durante su reunión en Palacio Nacional (Sin Embargo, 3 de abril de 2019)

Construya una Guardia verdaderamente civil, no insista en militarizar, exigen organizaciones a AMLO (Animal Político, 1ero de abril de 2019)

ONGs advierte militarización en Guardia Nacional (El Universal, 1ero de abril de 2019)

Critican activistas conformación de la Guardia Nacional (MVS Noticias, 31 de marzo de 2019)
Guardia Nacional se convertiría en corporación militar, advierten ONGs (OSC, 31 de marzo de 2019)

Ahora sí, todo está listo para crear la Guardia Nacional; Presidencia publica decreto (Animal Político, 26 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National: Senate Will Not Approve National Guard Bill. Morena and #SeguridadSinGuerra Propose Alternatives (February 13th, 2019)

National: Deputies Approve National Guard amid Doubts in the Executive (January 24th, 2019)

National: Public Hearings to Debate the Creation of National Guard Begin (January 15th, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Asks Congress for Civil Controlled National Guard and that it Last Five Years Maximum (January 2nd, 2019)

National: Faced with Rejection of National Guard, AMLO Proposes New Consultation (December 12th, 2018)

National: Supreme Court Invalidates Security Law; AMLO Announces National Peace and Security Plan 2018-2024  (November 27th, 2018)

National: CNDH Asks SCJN to Declare Interior Security Law Unconstitutional (November 7th, 2018)

National: Reactions to Minister for Supreme Court’s Proposal on Interior Security Law (November 7th, 2018)

National: AMLO “The Army and the Navy will continue on the streets in internal public security tasks” (September 15th, 2018)


National/International: Contrasting Mexican and US Government Approaches to Central American Migration

April 2, 2019

Migration.pngAGENCIAS/LIBERAL Olga Sanchez Cordero

Mexico is preparing to stop the growing flow of Central American migrants and for this it will establish a kind of containment belt of federal forces in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the south of the country, and therefore the easiest to control.

This was announced on Wednesday by the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, a day after meeting in Miami with her American counterpart Kirstjen Nielsen. Sanchez Cordero stressed that the situation is especially complicated, because in Honduras the so-called “Mother Caravan” is forming, which could have more than 20,000 people.

“We are going to deploy the migratory, Federal Police and Civil Protection bodies and, harmoniously and with collaboration among all the federal government bodies, in such a way that we have the containment in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” she said. “That’s going to be the big change.”

Although she did not specify how many troops will be used for this plan or offer more details, Sanchez Cordero stressed that it will not mean the militarization of the border with Guatemala nor its hardening because it is not intended to affect the economic activity of that area, where people constantly flow on both sides of the border.

The flow of Central American migrants to the United States has multiplied since last year with the formation of caravans from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (the well-known Northern Triangle) that have put Mexican and US authorities in check by saturating the shelters and the systems to request asylum or refuge, especially at the northern border of Mexico.

The detentions at the US-Mexico border increased to 66,450 in February, 149% more than in the same period last year, given the increase in the arrival of Central American families in search of asylum, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP in its English acronym). That agency estimates there were about 100,000 arrests in March. More than 55,000 of these immigrants would have arrived as a family, including 40,000 children.

The president of the United States Donald Trump increased his rhetoric against countries that are sources of migrants to the US, and last Saturday announced cutting off economic aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, countries that he accuses of sending migrant caravans deliberately. Given this, he announced that he would close the border or large sections of it, if the Mexican government does not slow the flow of migration.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, caused a diplomatic dispute with Honduras, which rejected the US and Mexican accusations in relation to the “Mother caravan”.

In his morning press conference, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was reiterative in his plan to promote cooperation for development, he recalled that the Central American countries are the main producers of migratory flows, as he assured that only between 10% and 15% of Mexican citizens are the crossing to the United States, of the total migratory intake of the US: “I say, nothing else to know where we stand.”

The president of Mexico was hopeful that the expulsion of Mexicans would stop, insisting on not wanting to fall into a dynamic of confrontations, particularly with the president of the United States, who has not shown prudence with his foreign policy.

Since his arrival in power in December, the Lopez Obrador government opted for the development of the countries of origin and for facilitating work visas for Central Americans, but shortly after opted to stop handing over humanitarian visas, which were granted more than 15,000 and with which the majority of caravan members crossed the country.

Now he is opting for more controlled visitor permits that, in addition, only allow the migrant to live and work in southern Mexico.

According to Sanchez Cordero, the United States will not contribute money to the new containment plan on the Isthmus but will have the technology and intelligence to detect who is behind the caravans and who is involved with organized crime or haa a criminal record.

“We are going to establish order for those who enter our country,” she said.

While Sanchez Cordero was making such statements in Mexico, a caravan of approximately 2,500 migrants crossed the southern part of the country and the US National Security Secretariat was in Tegucigalpa, where she held a six-hour meeting with internal security officials from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

In a meeting with the press after that meeting, Nielsen was satisfied with the agreements reached before what she described as “an unprecedented migration crisis.”

The US official did not give details about the agreements, but she sent a clear message: “We are united, we are committed, we are operating jointly and this is our message to the criminals: they will be captured and brought to justice.”

For more information in Spanish:

Ante amenazas de Trump por migrantes, “prefiero ser prudente”, reitera López Obrador (Proceso, 1 de abril de 2019)

Centroamericanos serán “contenidos” en el Istmo (Milenio, 28 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Internacional: Secretaria de Gobernación se reúne con funcionarios del gobierno de Donald Trump para abordar el tema Migración (5 de marzo de 2019)

International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)

National: Judge Recognizes Migrant Caravan Children and Adolescents as Refugees (March 6, 2019)

International/Mexico: Xenophobic Violence Erupts Against Migrants in Tecun Uman (February 1st, 2019)

National/International: Sanchez Cordero Warns Migrant Caravan Will Only Have “Orderly Access” to Mexican Territory (January 16, 2019)


National: CNI Spokesperson Marichuy Says Asking Spain for Apology is “Simulation”

April 1, 2019

MarichuyMaria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, Marichuy (@SIPAZ)

In the framework of her visit to the mountain communities of Chihuahua at the end of March, the spokesperson for the National Indigenous Council (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and former candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, Marichuy, said that the request for an apology from Spain by the President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) for the grievances to the indigenous peoples during the Conquest of Mexico, is a “simulation.”

She affirmed that with this approach the federal government deceives the citizenship because meanwhile it continues the dispossession and displacement of the indigenous peoples to seize their territories and impose megaprojects on them. Marichuy Patricio Martinez said that the peoples will not stop fighting and will seek an organization from below, against the destructive actions of the megaprojects.

At the beginning of March, in the context of its third Assembly, the CNI stated that “the neoliberal government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has its sights set on our peoples and territories, where, with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, a network of cooptation and disorganization, which opens the way to a war that has an industrial name, made of projects and violence, which, together with the other wars and networks of war, spread a dark web of death among the native peoples of the country.”

In the immediate term, the publication of the letter sent by AMLO to Spain has sparked controversy both in Mexico and in Spain with expressions of both support and rejection of the proposal.

For more information in Spanish:

Pedir perdón a España, una simulación, mejor detengan el despojo a comunidades: Marichuy (Proceso, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Lo que AMLO tiene que hacer “es dejar de despojar de la tierra a las comunidades”: Marichuy (Desinformémonos, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy en desacuerdo con AMLO sobre petición a España (Regeneración, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy, Vargas Llosa, Pérez-Reverte… llueven críticas a perdón que pide AMLO (ADN Político, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy a AMLO: carta a España es simulación, mejor detenga despojo (Político.Mx, 27 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Second National and International Encounter of Women Held in Mexico City (March 26, 2019)

National: CNI, EZLN and Indigenous Organizations Announce “Zapata Lives, Samir Lives, The Struggle Continues” (March 21, 2019)

National: Third Assembly of National Indigenous Congress and Indigenous Council of Government (CNI-CIG) in Mexico City (March 14, 2019)

National: Controversy between EZLN and AMLO Supporters Floods Social Networks    (January 18, 2019)


National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed

March 31, 2019

Mechanism.png

At the morning press conference on March 25th, the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Migration and Population of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, presented their diagnosis of the functioning of the mechanism of protection for journalists and human rights defenders, and announced new measures.

Regarding the functioning to date, Encinas acknowledged several deficiencies, among them, its bureaucratic and fundamentally reactive nature: “the preventive part is not taken care of not only of those who are subject to the Protection Mechanism, but journalists defenders in general”, he stressed. He also presented as a limitation the fact that the person in charge of “all the application of the mechanisms for each one of the persons who are subject to protection and who report deficiencies in the operation, particularly in their technological equipment and in their personnel” is a private company.

He said that the services of the company will be maintained, but “under a much more direct control mechanism” until the State can assume this responsibility “that cannot be delegated to a private person … We will rethink everything, which will even involve a saving of at least 15%, more than 30 million pesos currently channeled to a private company”, he explained.

He also questioned the use of panic buttons: “Of the 792 buttons, 209 of the users have turned off the button for more than 150 days a year; 100 more have it off between 61 and 150 days of the year. And although an important number, 230, have it on practically permanently, it is very unequally used.”

Currently, there are 790 beneficiaries of the mechanism: 292 journalists and 498 human rights defenders. Since December 1st (when AMLO came to power) to date there have been six murders of journalists, of which only one was under the protection of the mechanism, and in four cases there have been arrests. In the case of the defenders, nine homicides have been reported and only two have been clarified.

For more information in Spanish:

Mecanismo de protección a periodistas y defensores es reactivo, no preventivo: Encinas (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Presenta AMLO mecanismo de protección para periodistas (Video; Aristegui Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

El Gobierno anterior entregó a empresa privada la protección de periodistas y defensores: Encinas (Sin Embargo, 25 de marzo de 2019)

AMLO reconoce el asesinato de seis periodistas y ocho defensores en lo que va de su gobierno (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)

National: Defenders and Journalists Denounce Insufficient Resources for Continuity of Protection Mechanism (September 26th, 2018)

National: UN-DH urges Mexico to guarantee resources for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders (September 17, 2018)


Oaxaca: New Consultations in Tehuantepec Isthmus Questioned

March 28, 2019

Isthmus.png(@La Cronica)

On March 20th, dozens of organizations and the Security without War Collective (composed of more than 300 organizations and individuals) published a letter addressed to the President of the Republic, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in the framework of his visit on March 21st. March, to the town of Guelatao de Juarez, Sierra Juarez Region, in Oaxaca. In it they raised a series of concerns regarding the rights of indigenous peoples, including the right to consultation and underlining that Mexico “holds 80% of the planet’s biodiversity, the Sierra Juarez shelters seven of the eight national ecosystems national.” They denounced that, “despite the existence of international standards under the guidelines of “free, prior and informed consultation”, there have been no legally adequate mechanisms to guarantee self-determination, autonomy, environmental governance, and transparency in the decision-making process for the native peoples over their territories. On the contrary, as the United Nations pointed out in recent days, the consultations carried out by the federal government would seem to be rituals of political legitimacy, but not a legal act, such that this exercise cannot substitute the right to indigenous consultation in the context of years of resistance to extractivism and dispossession, both in the Sierra Juarez, as well as the Morelos Integral Project, the Maya Train, among others.”

It should be noted that the federal government has already published the call for indigenous consultation on the Program for the Development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which includes as a priority the so-called Transoceanic or Trans-isthmus Corridor, which proposes, with the Panama Canal as a reference, a connection between the two oceans. If carried out, it would include “the rehabilitation of railways, the Salina Cruz and Minatitlan refineries, the expansion of roads and the modernization of ports and airports“; while “throughout the Isthmus, free zones will be created to attract private sector investments”, according to Rafael Marin Mollinedo, the head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic Zones (AFDZEE in its Spanish acronym) and Interoceanic Corridor. The consultation on the trans-isthmus corridor and other projects related to the Special Economic Zones of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos will take place on March 30th, simultaneously in five communities in Oaxaca and in three others in Veracruz on March 31st. The next day, it is expected that a tender will be issued to rehabilitate the railways located between Medias Aguas and Salina Cruz, Marin Mollinedo reported.

On March 22nd, the Network of Defenders and Community Defenders of the Peoples of Oaxaca (REDECOM in its Spanish acronym) and other organizations also expressed their concern for this express method, which could result in a “simulated consultation.” “Due to the urgency with which the federal authorities act, when organizing the consultation forums, it gives the impression that the consultation is a simulation, given that no information is presented in the mother tongue of our communities, besides that in its convocation neither does it raise the exposure of the environmental, cultural and social effects that these projects will bring”, they said.

However, the head of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI in its Spanish acronym), Adelfo Regino Montes, rejected that the consultations will be carried out “Fast Track”: “It is a process, there will be two types of consultation, a general one in relation to the program where seven regional assemblies are summoned with five towns that are in Oaxaca and two in Veracruz. We are talking about seven regional consultative assemblies to consult the program in general terms and others will be held when the lands or territories of indigenous communities are at risk.”

For more information in Spanish:

No hay consulta indígena, sino legitimación política, reprochan a AMLO desde Oaxaca (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Consulta simulada, violenta derechos colectivos en el Istmo (Pronunciamiento completo, organizaciones Civiles y Sociales, 22 de marzo de 2019)

Cuestionan “consultas exprés” del gobierno de AMLO para proyectos en el Istmo, podrían ser “simuladas”: REDECOM (Página3.mx, 22 de marzo de 2019)

AMLO conmemorará en Guelatao el natalicio de Benito Juárez ante indígenas molestos (Proceso, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Sin transformación para pueblos indígenas (La Jornada, 19 de marzo de 2019)

PROTOCOLO CONSULTA INDÍGENA PROGRAMA DESARROLLO ISTMO TEHUANTEPEC (corredor transoceanico) (pdf, 19 pág.)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Ruling on Revocation of Mandate and Consultations (March 21, 2019)

National/International: UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Calls on AMLO Government to Comply with International Standards on Indigenous Consultation for Megaprojects in their Territories (March 19, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13, 2018)


National: No Cancellations but No More Mining Concessions in Mexico – AMLO

March 24, 2019

Mining.pngPhoto @ Desinformemonos

In a press conference, the president of the republic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said “that the Federal Government will respect all the mining concessions in the country and the permits will not be revoked.” He announced that during his government no more agreements of this type will be signed, since more than 25% of the national territory has been given over in the past 36 years. He said that since his campaign he had made the commitment that the concessions would not be revoked. AMLO guaranteed however that the communities where mining is carried out will benefit from the taxes paid by the mining companies.

He also mentioned that “it will seek that mining companies, particularly those of Canadian origin, carry out clean exploitation and act as they are obliged to do in their country.” “That the miner is paid well, that they pay the amount of taxes they pay there, and that they do not pollute.”

The statements contradict others issued by AMLO, in the municipality of Minatitlan, state of Colima, in 2014, which were published through the official website of the president through which he said that when the National Regeneration Movement triumphed, the concessions would be thoroughly reviewed for the mining exploitation that had been given to foreign companies. That wasbecause, he said, the riches of Mexico would have to be for the benefit of Mexicans, not foreigners.

Several newspapers also stressed that in February, during the Mexico Mining Forum 2019, the Undersecretary of Mining of the Ministry of Economy reported that “the cancellation of more than five thousand mining concessions in the country is being analyzed.”

Meanwhile, Miguel Mijangos Martínez, spokesman for Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) stated that “the policy of the federal government has very mild nuances. If we see the problem of the extractive model as a whole, mining, water, biodiversity, fracking (hydraulic fracturing), gas … there are no significant changes. In REMA we think that the positions of power were reinforced, because now there are former entrepreneurs in public positions, (and that is) a position of advantage against the communities”, according to La Jornada. It stated that more than teo thousand rural communities in about 50 municipalities of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua and San Luis Potosi have declared themselves free of mining through legal actions.

Many of these communities continue with their demands for the cancellation of concessions in their territories, among them the Zapotec peoples of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca and the Wixarikas of San Luis Potosi. The latter hope to be able to engage in dialogue with the president on a final judgment given the injunctions that were processed in 2012 against the 78 concessions granted to two Canadian mining companies during the Felipe Calderon administration, which cover 70% of the 140,000 hectares of the protected natural area of Wirikuta.

For more information in Spanish:

Prevén otra ola de despojos de mineras y petroleras en México (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Al triunfo de MORENA, se revisarán las concesiones de explotación minera en México, asegura AMLO (Lopez Obrador, 21 de marzo de 2014)

No se otorgarán nuevas concesiones mineras: AMLO (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Impuestos por extracción minera llegarán a comunidades, asegura AMLO (La Jornada, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Wixárikas esperan diálogo con AMLO para proteger su territorio de mineras (Vanguardia, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Exigen a AMLO la cancelación inmediata y definitiva de las concesiones mineras en Oaxaca (El Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco “20 de junio” (FPDS) exige que se decalre el municipio de Acacoyagua “Territorio Libre de Minería” (26 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Zoque People’s Assembly against extractivism (September 20, 2018)

Oaxaca: Here we say “Yes to Life, No to Mining” – Magdalena Teitipac is still fighting for its territory (April 7, 2018)

Chiapas: No to Mining Press Conference (September 30, 2017)