Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission

June 29, 2015

(@ADN Sureste)

(@ADN Sureste)

On the ninth anniversary of the attempt to displace the teachers’ sit-in at the zócalo in Oaxaca de Juárez in 2006, on 14 June there was held a public session at the Oaxaca Truth Commission (CVO). 14 witnesses presented testimony, while members of the CVO, including its president Alejandro Solalinde, as well as the journalist Carmen Aristegui and the Mexican representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Javier Hernández Valencia, were also present.

The CVO is an autonomous organization that seeks to clarify the repressive historical events that took place in Oaxaca between 14 June 2006 and 30 May 2007, the time period covering the displacement of the teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) from the sit-in they had undertaken to demand better working and educational conditions. This police operation was ordered by the then governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and gave rise to the creation of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a social movement that opposed the PRI-led government.

According to an advance copy of the CVO’s report, there were at least 500 cases of torture and 26 executions of social activists and those connected to the struggle. The public session gave voice to the testimony of women who lost their husbands, families that continue to seek out their disappeared, and political prisoners. According to Solalinde, the gravity of the acts is reflected well in the various testimonies that were presented, even if many other victims did not share their experiences out of fear. The public audience, which Javier Hernández Valencia understood as “a first step toward justice,” affirmed words such as those of Carmen Aristegui: “What should happen in the near future must incorporate the truth and memory, but above all justice, as Oaxacan society has sought out now for nearly a decade.” The CVO will put together a final report, to be presented before the judiciary in March 2016. The aim is to pressure authorities to put an end to the impunity of the acts, which represent crimes against humanity, in the view of Solalinde and his lawyer and assessor, Cuauhtémoc Ruiz.

On the same day of the public audience, a march organized by the CNTE took place, with the participation of 10,000 people. Protestors sought to commemorate the attempted displacement of 2006 and repeated their call for justice, the cancellation of articles 3 and 73 of the Constitution, and the cancellation of the educational reforms. They also protested in favor of boycotting the assessment exams for teachers that have been announced by the Secretary for Public Education (SEP).

For more information (in Spanish):

Hubo 500 casos de tortura y 26 ejecuciones en Oaxaca: Comisión de la Verdad (La Jornada, 12 de junio de 2015)

Ciudadanos de Oaxaca exigen justicia por el desalojo policial de 2006(CNN México, 14 de junio de 2015)

Confirman 26 ejecuciones y 500 torturados durante movimiento magisterial en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 15 de junio de 2015)

Sesión Pública de Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca, ejercicio inédito e importante: Aristegui (Educa, 15 de junio de 2015)

CNTE rememoró intento de desalojo del zócalo en el 2006 (e-Consulta, 14 de junio de 2015)

Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca (16 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Commemoration of seventh annivesary of APPO (24 June 2013)

Oaxaca: Sixth anniversary of the beginning of the 2006 social conflict (20 June 2012)

Oaxaca: Presumed killer of Brad Will is detained (5 June 2012)


Oaxaca: Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting held in Juchitán

May 16, 2015

Quinto Encuentro Indígena, Campesino y Popular (@CODEP)

Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting (@CODEP)

On 2 and 3 May, the Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting was held in Juchitán City.  Approximately 500 members of more than 20 social organizations from Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas, Ciudad de México, Morelos, Michoacán, and Quintana Roo participated in the event, which was organized by the Campesino-Worker-Student Coalition of the Isthmus (COCEI), the Council in Defense of People’s Human Rights (CODEP), and the Committee for Popular Defense (CODECI).

Participants at the meeting analyzed the “death projects” implemented by transnational corporations and strategized about resistance to such.  At the close of the event, those in attendance demanded the appearance with life of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa who were forcibly disappeared on 26 September 2014, and they expressed their utter rejection of transnational projects.  They called for the construction of a large popular bloc that “will avert looting and accumulation by dispossession; arrest the barbarism and death-projects that that brings with it; unlearn the culture of being servile and overcome fear.  From our quantitative majority, let us become a political and counter-hegemonic majority that builds social and popular power from autonomy, making good laws, a new economy, and a new culture so that the people of Mexico win the country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

5° Encuentro Nacional Indígena, Campesino y Popular Por las Resistencias, los Derechos y las autonomías ( Declaración final, 3 de mayo de 2015)

Quinto Encuentro nacional indígena-campesino en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 2 de mayo de 2015)

No a proyectos trasnacionales y sí a la aparición con vida de los 43 normalistas: Quinto Encuentro Nacional Indígena (Página3, 5 de mayo de 2015)


Oaxaca: Attack on members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT) by construction workers tied to the Wind-Energy Firm of the South

May 14, 2015

índice

In a communique published on 4 May, members of the Mesoamerican Initiative of Human-Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), which is comprised of more than 690 human-rights defenders from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua denounced that the activists Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Rodrigo Peñaloza from the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT) were persecuted and intimidated by armed men who work in construction for the Wind-Energy Firm of the South on 16 April.

The events took place as Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Rodrigo Peñaloza were heading home after participating in a meeting with the Council that was being held in Juchitán, where Katia Puga was also present, being a representative from the Energy Secretariat (SENER).  The activists were verbally attacked and followed by a group of construction workers linked to the Wind-Energy Firm of the South.

The communique stresses that “these events took place even as Bettina Cruz is a beneficiary of the precautionary measures awarded by the Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists, as put on by the Governance Ministry (SEGOB), and which, according to Bettina Cruz herself, failed her, for she pressed the ‘Panic Button’ provided by the Mechanism during the confrontation, but it malfunctioned […].  We should also not forget that Bettina Cruz has just finished with a prolonged process of criminalization on the part of the State, during which she was accused of fabricated charges for the sole reason of punishing and making difficult her work in defense and promotion of human rights in the communities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus that resist the imposition of the wind-energy megaproject that threatens their lands.”

The rights-defenders demanded that authorities “guarantee the security and physical and moral integrity of Bettina Cruz Velázquez and other members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory; prevent, prosecute, and sanction dutifully all acts of aggression, coercion, and threats directed against members of the Assembly; and guarantee the observance of free, prior, and informed consent to the indigenous peoples of Juchitán with respect to the institution of the wind-energy project being advanced by the Wind-Energy Firm of the South according to established international standards.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Eolica del sur, con hombres armados intimida a opositores (Regeneración, 6 de mayo de 2015)

Nueva agresión a defensora tensa conflicto con empresa eólica (CIMAC Noticias, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Defensoras de Derechos Humanos condenan agresión de activista a manos de empresa eólica (Oaxacatrespuntocero, 4 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Activist Bettina Cruz is exonerated from federal charges (1 March 2015)

Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz (26 de septiembre de 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (7 March 2012)


Oaxaca: More harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

March 22, 2015

Juchitán de Zaragoza, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Juchitán de Zaragoza, @ SIPAZ archive

Mariano López Gómez, member of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), Héctor and Gloria Sánchez López, directors of civil and political organizations from Juchitán, and David Henestrosa, a columnist covering the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have denounced that they have suffered harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation, which began on 3 March in Juchitán de Zaragoza.  They claimed that they were booed and insulted by people in attendance, but they indicated in particular Eduardo Centeno, the legal representative of the Southern Wind-Energy firm (previously, Mareña Renewables Capital), such that they will submit a penal denunciation holding the wind-energy firm responsible for whatever could happen to them and their families.  Mariano López added that the CTM construction union is bringing “yes-men” to the forum who “obey the interests of the PRI, some PRI property-owners, and other abusers.  They are not taking into account the women’s groups, artisans, or fisher-people.”

The consultation process for the installation of the wind-energy park has been gravely challenged since its start in November 2014.  The Assembly of Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), in a letter written to the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, affirmed that it does not oppose wind-energy, “but its use should be based in the form and means of life of the indigenous peoples and communities, promoting communal control,” as has been ignored byt he government and the firms that have installed 21 wind-energy parks by means of “injustice, abuse, and the illegal occupation of our communal lands.”

Beyond this, the organizations Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the Gobixha A.C. Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) documented in a second report from the Observation Mission the “worrying procedural vices” related to the observance of the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as the rights to participation and information on the part of indigenous peoples.  They detected more than 20 security incidents, including threatening phone-calls and text messages, vigilance, and acts of intimidation in homes, verbal aggressions, and threatening actions taken by armed persons.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian asistentes a consulta eólica hostigamiento de empresa eólica Del Sur (Página 3, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Foro de consulta indígena en Juchitán con tintes violentos (Romo Noticias, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Vicios procesales y violaciones a derechos humanos caracterizan consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Prodesc, 23 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepec Isthmus challenged on several fronts (16 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Oaxaca: Third anniversary of movement against wind-energy projects in San Dionisio del Mar

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ;  Parque eólico en el Istmo de Oaxaca

On 29 January, the Huave people of San Dionisio del Mar commemorated the third anniversary of their wind-energy resistance.  In this sense, there was held a march in which 500 people participated.  During a political act in the municipal auditorium, protestors reiterated their opposition to wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Arturo Lona Reyes, bishop emeritus of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and a representative of the Tepeyac Center for Human Rights, celebrated a mass and affirmed that “the communal assemblies are the light in the darkness.”  Members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), CIARENA, the Network Organization of Young Indigenous Women, the 21 June Mareños Mototaxi group, and the Mugier Ndyuck Civil Association were present at the action.

It should be recalled that in January 2012, following debate regarding the conditions under which a contract had been signed with the Preneal firm in November 2004, the communal assembly agreed to censure the mayor Miguel López Castellano after it was revealed that he had received 20 million pesos from the firm in exchange for an authorization of change in land use.  For the same reason, protestors decided to occupy the municipal palace.

An Ikjoot communard said in an interview with La Jornada that “the threat against our territory persists because the concession for the wind-energy park has no end-date.  Beyond this, now the PRI would like to open the door to more mining.  We know that there are six mining concessions for gold, salt, and other metals in San Dionisio, in the La Riqueza park, where they are attempting to build an open-pit mine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblos impulsan su autonomía tras evitar construcción de parque eólico en Oaxaca (La Jornada 28 de enero de 2015)

Lucha por la autonomía en San Dionisio del Mar (Video Subversiones, 28 de enero de 2015)

Frente al extractivismo capitalista, San Dionisio del Mar lucha por la autonomía (Subversiones, 29 de enero de 2015)

Las asambleas comunitarias son esperanza en el Istmo: Lona Reyes(Quadratin Oaxaca, 29 de enero de 2015)

Cumple San Dionisio tres años de resistencia (Noticiasnet.mx, 29 de enero de 2015)

Huaves conmemoran tres años de “resistencia eólica” en el Istmo de Tehuantepec (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Conflicts over extraordinary elections in San Dionisio del Mar (30 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months on, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended

February 8, 2015

índice

On 21 January, Elías Cruz Merino, leader of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and official of San Juan Copala, was arrested as one of the presumed murderers of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish).  Both were killed in April 2010 as they participated in a humanitarian caravan headed to San Juan Copala.  Cruz Merino is accused of the premeditated murder of the two activists.

Since April of last year, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers denounced that those responsible for the murders had been plainly identified, but that the government had refused to implement the corresponding arrest-orders.

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño and leader of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), affirmed that this arrest constitutes an advance, but he observed that 10 other arrest-orders remain unobserved.  He noted: “For us it is clear that they continue to be protected by certain power-groups in Oaxaca.  Still, we will continue to demand that justice not be delayed but instead expedited.”    Esparza Zárate also announced that European parliamentarians will carry out a visit to Mexico in February to pressure the Mexican State and continue demanding justice.

For more information (in Spanish):

Capturan a policía implicado en crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola (Proceso, 22 de enero de 2015)

Encarcelan a dirigente del MULT por homicidio de ‘Bety’ Cariño y de finlandés (Radio Formula, 22 de enero de 2015)

Capturan a presunto homicida de Bety Cariño (Noticias.net, 23 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damián Gallardo

December 30, 2014

Damian_Gallardo_Martinez

In August 2014, the UN Work-Group on Arbitrary Detentions called on the Mexican government to release the indigenous human-rights defender Damián Gallardo Martínez, who is being held in a maximum-security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, and so “put an end to this situation of multiple rights-violations,” as well as “provide appropriate means of compensation for this person.”  The resolution was also sent to the Unitary Tribunals based in El Salto, Jalisco, which cover legal motions regarding kidnappings and organized crime

The Committee of Relatives and Friends of Damián Gallardo, the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH-Oaxaca), Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca, the New Women’s Collective, and the Oaxacan Citizens’ Initiative make public a communique in which they stress that “both motions [in his favor] are in progress, such that in this strict sense, the resolution is adequate for Damián Gallardo Martínez to be released immediately.  If he continues to be held, the responsibility for his illegal privation of liberty will be in the federal judicial power, for having violated the principles of control of conventionality against the rights-defender.”  Furthermore, they denounced “the permissibility of the actions of the Mexican State, which beyond systematically violating human rights, demonstrate a marked lack of interest in observing its international obligations and repeatedly guard silence in light of the indications and challenges that have been targeting it.  In this sense, we demand the immediate release of Damián Gallardo Martínez.”  They added that the case “effectively shows the systematic practice of criminalizing social protest and imprisoning social activists, practices that each day become more common and evident in the country, as well as the the practices of torture, arbitrary detention, and abuse of the justice system” against human rights-defenders.”

It bears mentioning that Damián Gallardowas arrested on 18 May 2013, accused of having participated in a group of kidnappers supposedly comprised of members of Section 22 and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).  However, in accordance with information provided by the UN Work-Group, it has been shown that “the arrest and detention of Damián Gallardo Martínez are arbitrary” on three distinct levels.  The document also stresses that “the arrest of this person seems to be motivated by the activities in which he has been engaged in service of the indigenous peoples to whom he belongs,” and it notes that the defender signed a confession after “having been subjected to threats, acts of intimidation, and torture.”  As regards the denunciations and evidence presented about other abuses, the experts determined that the allegations of torture must be forwarded to the UN Special Rapporteur.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Prensa (Educa Oaxaca, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

Llama ONU a Peña a poner en libertad a activista oaxaqueño (Proceso, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

ONU pide a Peña Nieto liberar a Damián Gallardo para poner fin a violaciones múltiples (Página 3, 17 de diciembre de 2014)

Confirma la ONU tortura en contra de profesor oaxaqueño (W Radio, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damián Gallardo, and following call from UN, there is no response from the Mexican State (12 October 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damián Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (13 June 2014)


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