National: CEMDA Highlights Continued Danger for Environmental Defenders

March 24, 2020

agresiones-ambientalistas.jpg_1348255499@El Economista

On March 17th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) presented a report in which it reiterated the danger that environmental defenders face in Mexico.

Entitled “Report on the Situation of Environmental Human Rights Defenders,” the document highlights that between January 2012 and December 2019, there were 499 attacks against environmental defenders and 83 murders.

According to the report, of the violent actions against defenders, the authorities were responsible for 179 of the attacks – 114 by state governments, 42 by municipal authorities, and 22 by the federal government.

Regarding the role of the State and the conditions of danger, the report stresses that: “Despite the measures that the Mexican State has adopted, it is observed that no progress has been made in the country in a structural change that generates the appropriate and safe conditions for the exercise of the right to defend human rights. Currently, we still find discourses and narratives from the government that disqualify and stigmatize the defense of human rights, which polarizes the perception of society, managing to delegitimize and create a hostile environment so that other attacks can be committed against these people.”

29% of all attacks were related to energy projects. Therefore, it is not surprising that Oaxaca was the state with the highest number of attacks, with 79 cases. Sonora was the second with 49 attacks, and the State of Mexico the third, with 48.

During the year of 2019, the first full year of the Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) government, there were 39 attacks against environmental defenders, 15 of them being murders.

The report includes ten recommendations to guarantee the work of environmental defenders. One of them is to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs in Latin America (Escazu Agreement), an international treaty that seeks to establish rules for the protection of the environment. 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the agreement, including Mexico, but only 6 have ratified it.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe sobre la situación de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos ambientales CEMDA, marzo de 2020.

En México persiste el riesgo para defensores del medio ambiente: Cemda El Proceso, 17 de marzo de 2020.

Hubo 83 asesinatos a defensores ambientales entre 2012 y 2019: Cemda La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Death Threats against Defenders of Life and Territory in Chicomuselo Denounced (February 9, 2020)

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

National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA) (April 1, 2019)

National: Proposal to Reform Article 4 of the Constitution Regarding Social Programs

March 23, 2020


On March 16th, the Senate of the Republic reported that “the Ruling Board of the Senate of the Republic turned to the united committees of Constitutional Points; and of Legislative Studies, Second, the minute sent by the co-legislator that reforms Article 4 of the Constitution to elevate access to social programs to the constitutional level.”

With the reform, they seek “that the State guarantees the delivery of social programs to the population with permanent disabilities, to people over 68 years of age, scholarships for students in poverty, as well as to provide health services to those who do not have social security.”

The minutes establish that a National Health System for Welfare will be created, in order to have a progressive, quantitative and qualitative extension of these services.

“People over 68 years of age will receive a non-contributory pension from the State in the terms established by law; furthermore, in the case of indigenous people, this benefit will be granted from the age of 65. There will be a scholarship system for students at all school levels belonging to families in poverty to guarantee, with equity, the right to education, and deficiencies in health services will be addressed.”

For more information in Spanish:

Recibe Senado minuta para elevar a rango constitucional los programas sociales (Senado de la República, 16 de marzo de 2020)

Conservadores no podrán echar atrás programas sociales, celebra AMLO tras reforma constitucional (Proceso, 11 de marzo de 2020)

‘PAN no avalará reformas para cumplir caprichos’ (El Universal, 16 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: “Let’s Talk about Government Programs, Megaprojects and the Effects they Have on the Lives of Indigenous Campesina Women and Communities” Forum Held (February 28, 2020)

Chiapas: First State Assembly in Support of AMLO’s National Project Held in San Cristobal de Las Casas (February 28, 2020)

Oaxaca: People Demand Payment of Social Programs During AMLO’s Tour of State (October 14, 2019)

Chiapas: Prisoners Start Three-day Fast to Demand Freedom

March 23, 2020


The prisoners, members of the organization Solidarios de la Voz de Amate, announce three days of fasting to demand their freedom:

“Indigenous Prisoners “Solidarios de la Voz de Amate” adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN Lacandon Jungle, held in CERSS Number 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

Once again, we raise our voices because of the wave of injustices that exist in this state of Chiapas. Here we continue waiting for the “Fourth Transformation”, since we are still unjustly deprived of our freedom.

Enough mistreatment and discrimination against all of us who demonstrate peacefully to demand justice! Today, Wednesday, March 18th, 2020, we celebrate exactly one year of fighting for our freedom.

Here we continue with our family members, compañeros, and different organizations that have dignifiedly accompanied us in search for our freedom. For a year, the government of the state of Chiapas pledged before them that there would soon be a clear solution for our freedom. This promise has not come to this day, but on the contrary, it is a mockery and a deception.

For this reason, starting today, Wednesday the 15th, we announce that we will be fasting for three days, to demand once again our immediate freedom from the governor of the state of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandon Cadenas, as he is aware of each case and he knows that we are innocent, he clearly knows the violation of our rights at the time of our arrest, as well as in the trials.

Furthermore, to remind the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of his promise of “No more political prisoners.” One year and three months of his government, we continue waiting for this promise.

Our families have gone out knocking on doors at the state and federal levels, they have witnessed false promises, so we have decided to carry out this action.

Our 29-day strike last year will not go unpunished.

We will never be silent!

Freedom, freedom!

Finally, we invite the different local, national and international organizations to unite to demand our freedom, as well as that of the country’s political prisoners.”

The prisoners are: Mariano Perez Velasco, Martin Gomez Lopez, Marcos Gomez Lopez, Mariano Gomez Lopez, Felipe Diaz Mendez, Mario Diaz Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez Perez, Mario Gomez Lopez held at the State Center for Social Reintegration for Sentenced Persons Number 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Exigen libertad para las 9 presos solidarios de la Voz del Amate, (6 /11/2019)

Chiapas:Presos del Cerss 5 son amenazados de ser reubicados si no detienen su protesta (6 de septiembre de 2019)

Chiapas: After over 100 Days on Hunger Strike, Prisoners Need Appropriate Medical Attention and Continue to Demand Freedom (June 27, 2019)

National: Huge Contrast between Study of Maya Train Commissioned by National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and Discourse of AMLO Government

March 19, 2020

N-A14-EU090320-11_DrupalMainImagennuevo.var_1583746322@El Universal

On March 9th, the findings of a study commissioned by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) on the social, economic, and environmental effects of the Maya Train project that were published raised conclusions that are quite different from what AMLO and his administration have expressed on the megaproject.

Titled “Mayan Territories in the Passage of the Train: Current Situation and Foreseeable Risks”, the 26-page document was sent in February to several members of the Federal and state governments involved in the implementation of the Train. On March 9th, the newspaper El Universal published it.

The study concludes among other things that the Mexican government did not comply with international rules regarding indigenous consultation, and that it did not share with the public the impacts that the Maya Train would have. The study also questions the quality of the jobs that the Maya Train will generate, and expresses concern that it could increase illegal activities that often go hand in hand with tourism – such as human trafficking and drug trafficking.

Regarding the government’s proposal to build cities at train stations, or “development centers”, the study states that this plan will generate dispossession of local populations. The research goes further, noting that the project represents a “commitment to the commercial use of the culture of the Maya peoples as an engine for the tourism industry.”

According to collaborators in the elaboration of the document, the study was to be delivered to federal government workers from December 2019, but that the date was delayed several times, until February 28th when they shared it.

Regarding the environment, the collaborators declared that “These ecosystems have been recognized for safeguarding high biodiversity (flora and fauna), having the state, national and international recognition that has allowed the creation of different conservation areas that will suffer alterations (degradation, fragmentation and deforestation) associated with the construction, circulation and development proposed by the Maya Train Project.”

For more information in Spanish:

Contrasta informe de Conacyt sobre Tren Maya con discurso gubernamental El Proceso, 9 de marzo de 2020.

Ocultaron estudio que revela riesgos del Tren Maya para áreas naturales El Universal, 9 de marzo de 2020.

El informe del Conacyt sobre el Tren Maya que el Gobierno intentó ocultar Libre Noticias, 10 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: Consultation on Maya Train did not Meet International Standards (January 4, 2020)

National: Indigenous Consultation Participants Accept Maya Train Project; Convention 169 of ILO not Respected (January 4, 2020)

National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples (May 10, 2019)

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

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)

National/Guerrero: Meeting on New Evidence in Ayotzinapa Case

March 9, 2020

ayotzinapa-focus-0-0-730-410Photo @ XeVT

On March 5th, a meeting was held in the National Palace in which relatives of the 43 students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa disappeared in Iguala in 2014, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), representatives of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office participated.

In this regard, the president reported that “today we signed an agreement with the Attorney General of the Republic, Alejandro Gertz Manero and the president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Arturo Zaldivar, to work together, with respect for our autonomies, with the purpose of clarifying definitively the case of the disappeared young people of Ayotzinapa and doing justice. It is not just for the State, but for the nation.”

The undersecretary of Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, detailed some findings from this week; “The Commission for Truth and Access to Justice for the Ayotzinapa case found six remains linked to the search of the 43 students (…) the remains found in the searches were sent to the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, for analysis. It said the University of Innsbruck has already begun evaluating the findings, although it did not estimate a date for possible results.”

In turn, “family members of the 43 disappeared student students from Ayotzinapa asked to create a court to deal with all the files of the process, in order to avoid delays in the delivery of justice. Today we have many criminal cases in several courts that decide with such different criteria that all this does is delay access to justice for the mothers and fathers”, the legal representative of the relatives from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, Vidulfo Rosales said.

They also requested “that the federal and municipal police of Huitzuco be investigated for the crime of forced disappearance and torture, in addition to criminal proceedings against those responsible for creating investigations with the use of torture.”

In recent days, through an information note, the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center stated that “the hope that the government of the fourth transformation will fulfill its commitment to find the whereabouts of the 43 students is running out.”

For more information in Spanish:

Convenio de colaboración que celebran el poder ejecutivo federal, la suprema corte de justicia de la nación y la fiscalía general de la república para el esclarecimiento de los hechos del caso Ayotzinapa (Presidencia de la República, 5 de marzo de 2020)

Ayotzinapa. Hallan nuevas pistas en caso de los 43; las analizarán en Austria (El Universal, 5 de marzo de 2020)

Hallan restos vinculados a caso Ayotzinapa; los analizarán en Innsbruck (Animal Político, 5 de marzo de 2020)

AMLO, FGR y Corte firman acuerdo por caso de Ayotzinapa (Debate, 5 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Guerrero: Two Police Officers Held for Attacks on Parents of the Ayotzinapa 43 Disapeared; Investigation of Students who Participated in Protest Continue (February 26, 2020)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Parents of Ayotzinapa 43 Attacked with Tear Gas in Tuxtla Gutierrez (February 17, 2020)

National/Guerrero: Agreement to Reintroduce Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts in Ayotzinapa Case. Number of Disappeared Increases in the Country (January 14, 2020)

National: #UnDíaSinNosotras – National Women’s Strike Convened amid Controversy

February 28, 2020

ERGH5WaWsAEViUwPhoto @MujeresdelMar

Amid the controversy surrounding different cases of femicide in the country, and following the massive response to the call for a national women’s strike by different feminist groups, the issue of violence against women in Mexico was placed in the center of attention, generating controversy nationwide.

On February 18th, the collective Brujas del Mar (Sea Witches) formalized the idea of ​​the national strike “On the 9th, No Woman Moves”, and launched an invitation to the national strike on March 9, 2020, in a Twitter a post.

“If we stop, the world stops,”






# UnDíaSinNosos #ParoNacional

The post began to go viral and generated a discussion on social networks.

The idea of ​​national strike is not new in the world and exists since 1975, the year in which the UN declared March 8th International Women’s Day. Since that date in different countries women have performed different actions around this date.

“On March 8th, 2018, Spain captured the world’s attention, especially in Europe, with a 24-hour strike of women and demonstrations of unseen proportions: around six million workers stopped, according to trade union organizations, and there were demonstrations in 120 cities, where the conveners spoke of up to one million attendees in Madrid and 600 thousand in Barcelona.” Similarly, in previous years, in the United States, Poland and Argentina, women held national strikes to highlight irregularities in relation to the gender issue.

Currently in Mexico different public and private organizations, universities, civil society and women from different parts of the nation responded to the call. Similarly politicians and parties joined in and the call was “also shared by the president of the party, parliamentary coordinators and governors of PAN, the PRI Twitter account in the State of Mexico, the PRD governor of Michoacan, and supported by the governor Jalisco of Movimiento Ciudadano, among other known personalities,” the newspaper Animal Politico reported.

The dimension of the call and the diversity of players who disseminated it in turn generated confusion about who is really calling for the national strike. Thus there were accusations by public officials that the “right”, opposed to the current government, was behind the call. “Given this wave of accusations about the origin of the call,  Brujas del Mar themselves clarified that they were the authors of the purple background image and that they had nothing to do with the right.”

However, according to information from Animal Politico, after the clarifications of Brujas del Mar, the President of the Republic, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) stated during a press conference from La Paz, Baja California Sur, that he is in favor of the movement but recommended caution with the conservatives who also promote it.

“Just be very careful because now conservatives have already become feminists (…) the only thing is to be aware of the reason for this action, if it is a good thing that helps, and does not allow itself to be manipulated, be careful because conservatism, the right, it is very hypocritical and very given to manipulation.” He also stressed “of course the right is involved, conservatives. That is, as there are women who, out of conviction and freely, protest and will continue to do so, there are also opportunists. I’m seeing that even the political parties, out of respect, I’m not going to say which parties, but they overdo, they overdo it.” During the conference, in relation to the controversy he also referred to the coup d’etat against Salvador Allende in Chile.

The controversy still worsened after these responses from the president. Carmen Aristegui, addressed AMLO, asking him to “make no mistake” since the call itself for the national strike is not against his government. “Although many opportunists are undoubtedly wanting to use this strike for purposes of another nature … women have a very powerful reason for women and men in this country to demonstrate in this way.” For this reason she suggested to the president that it would be better if he joins the strike.

marchafeminista-focus-0-0-400-333Photo @ElHorizonte

Taking into consideration that the fact that “being a woman anywhere in the world is incredibly complex; but, undoubtedly, in Mexico the challenge has intense peculiarities. Especially since gender violence, despite the enormous awareness that already exists about it, continues to increase and is revealed in virtually all social spaces.”

The existing hard data in this regard are sometimes considered too hard, and moreso, “violence against women is not only in murder but in prosecutors who do not respond in time or at all to allegations of disappearance, in police officers who they do not intervene in calls for help, in the community that does not get involved in domestic problems because ‘dirty linen washed at home’”.

It is true that the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) and the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), under the Ministry of the Interior take account of figures in this regard. However, in spite of all these efforts, according to the organization Data Critica, “although we know a lot about homicides [murders of women], the reality is that there is still a lot to know. And this must be remedied for a simple reason: a problem that we do not understand is a problem that we cannot solve.” In other words, it is difficult to design a successful strategy that fights violence against women without concrete information.

Obviously, the current government, which has a little more than one year in power, cannot be held solely responsible for the high levels of violence in the country. However, the cuts made by the government (for shelters for women who have been victims of violence and to address maternal, sexual and reproductive health issues at the national level, or the reduction of the budget of two agencies aimed at combating violence towards women: the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women and the National Women’s Institute), were their responsibility. These decisions are considered counterproductive by organizations that work on the gender issue and have struggled for years to create governmental bodies that address the problem or ensure that sufficient resources are allocated for the corresponding bodies.

From the perspective of Data Critica, the most important lesson derived from the data analyzed by the study “Keys to understanding and preventing the killing of women in Mexico”, “in addition to demanding policies to address, punish and prevent, for example, domestic violence or to eradicate gender discrimination that persists in different spaces, we also have to demand policies that address the broader security crisis. Among them, policies that guarantee effective arms control; that promote the demilitarization of public security; and that they strengthen civil institutions so that they are really capable of responding to violence in an intelligent, focused, transparent and fair way, at local level and together with the community.”

For years, the promotion of the discussion on gender equality and violence in Mexico has been sought in different fields. The call for a national strike is a massive cry to call attention to these complex and urgent problems and to demand a concrete agenda that can lay the foundations of public policies and clear actions to begin to solve them.

For more information in Spanish:

AMLO asegura que los conservadores están infiltrados en #UnDíaSinNosotras (El Economista, 21 de febrero de 2020)

La derecha está metida en protestas de mujeres, dice AMLO y les pide no dejarse manipular (Animal Político, 21 de febrero de 2020)

Cuál es el origen del paro nacional del 9 de marzo #UnDíaSinMujeres (animal Político, 22 de febrero de 2020)

Claves para entender y prevenir los asesinatos de mujeres en México (Data Crítica)

Presidente AMLO, no se equivoque; paro feminista no es contra su gobierno: Aristegui | Video (Aristegui Noticias, 21 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Olimpia Law Used for First Time (February 17, 2020)

Oaxaca: Femicide Violence Worsens as Year Begins (February 5, 2020)

Oaxaca: 126 Femicides One Year after Declaration of Gender Violence Alert (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas: Groups Denounce Increase in Femicides and Transfemicides in the State (August 27, 2019)

National: Over 424,000 on Mexican #Me Too (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: “Let’s Talk about Government Programs, Megaprojects and the Effects they Have on the Lives of Indigenous Campesina Women and Communities” Forum Held

February 28, 2020

IMG-20200224-WA0020@Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas

On February 20th and 21st, the “Let’s Talk about Government Programs, Megaprojects and the Effects they have on the Lives of Indigenous Campesina Women and Communities” Forum was held at the CIDECI-Unitierra facilities in San Cristobal de Las Casas. More than 120 people from the Highlands, Plains, Jungle and North of Chiapas regions participated

In a final pronouncement, the participants commented that during the Forum they analyzed “the situation that we live in our territories against the implementation of megaprojects undertaken by the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in complicity with the large transnational companies.” They expressed that they managed to “map the military presence in the territories, the social programs present, the arrival of officials in search of information about our families: number of children, amount of land, number of young people in our homes, among others; which puts us in a situation of uncertainty because we don’t know the purpose of that data.”

They expressed their “total rejection of the megaprojects of destruction and death such as the San Cristobal-Palenque super highway, the privatization of water, mining, as well as the hydroelectric plant, the Maya Train, agricultural programs such as Sembrado Vida that combined with other social programs and the militarization of Chiapas, aim to break the social fabric, divide communities, families and weaken social movements that fight and resist in defense of life, land and territory.”

Women denounced that “assistance programs and projects are reaching our communities, specifically agroindustrial projects aimed mostly at men, excluding us for the simple fact of being women,” in particular the Sembrando Vida Program and other programs aimed at the countryside. “They grant financial support only to men and do not solve family needs; On the contrary, they strengthen male chauvinism, the consumption of alcohol and drugs, generating a significant increase in violence against women and the abandonment of family plots. By prioritizing the programs of the countryside that submit, control, manipulate and decide for the lives of the people, the government manipulates the situation of poverty experienced by hundreds of indigenous and campesino families, turning them into slaves and waiters of the capitalist government. In this way we see how neoliberalism is disrupting community structures, breaking the processes of self-determination and autonomy of the original peoples,” they declared.

They concluded by telling the government that “we are not afraid of their military, that we declare our territories free of megaprojects and military. Despite the criminalization of our partners and social advocates, we will not abandon our struggle, quite the opposite, we will unite our voice, our resistance and rebellion, our anger and our hearts in our struggle that is for life.”

For more information in Spanish:

PRONUNCIAMIENTO EN EL MARCO DEL FORO: “Hablemos sobre los programas de gobierno, megaproyectos y los efectos que tienen en la vida de las mujeres campesinas indígenas y en las comunidades” (23 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : se lleva a cabo la asamblea Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio, en la comunidad de Amilcingo, Morelos (February 24, 2020)

National: EZLN and CNI Hold Events on the First Anniversary of the Murder Samir Flores (February 25, 2020)

Chiapas/Mexico: EZLN, CNI and CIG Convene Actions in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth “We Are All Samir” (January 14, 2020)

Chiapas/National: Fourth Assembly of CNI-CIG Held in San Cristobal de Las Casas (January 13, 2020)