Mexico: IACHR Demands Investigation into Case of Female Victims of Sexual Abuse in Atenco in 2006

October 10, 2016

mujeresPhoto @Regeneracion Radio

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will assess the case of “Mariana Selvas Gomez and others” this September, all Mexican and foreign women who were subjected to sexual violence by police in May 2006 in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State.

“Between May 3 and 4, 2006, in San Salvador Atenco, with Peña Nieto as Mexico State governor, three thousand police officers entered the community -by order of then Governor- to repress social protests arising from the proposal of President Vicente Fox Quesada to build a new international airport on ejido land. The fuse was lit on May 3, when several florists intended to relocate the local market; agents entered the town with excessive violence, raided homes and withdrew several blocks. The toll of the confrontation between villagers and the police was two dead, over 200 injured and 47 women raped and humiliated “.

Although the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) found that there were serious human rights violations and excessive use of public force, and the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN in its Spanish acronym) found that officials of the State Security Agency and the Government of the State of Mexico violated individual rights of the people, as well as finding beaten women, an indigenous Mazahua woman, two Spaniards, a Chilean and a German; so far there have been no consequences for any official.

“This week, the American newspaper The New York Times published the stories of the women who decided to take their case before the Court. The influential US daily said that, “the request by the Human Rights Commission to initiate an investigation to get to the top of the hierarchy is a blow to a presidency under siege. Corruption scandals and violence have already affected his approval ratings, the lowest for a Mexican president in a quarter century.”

For more information in Spanish:

La CIDH exige una investigación sobre el abuso sexual que sufrió un grupo de mujeres en Atenco en 2006, NYT, 22 de septiembre de 2016

Las mujeres de Atenco, NYT, septiembre 2016

Atenco, hace 10 años, mostró al país cómo sería la Presidencia de Peña, dice activista, Sinembargo, 25 de septiembre de 2016

México solicita a Corte Interamericana intervenir en caso de Atenco, Milenio, 17 de septeimbre de 2016

Remiten caso Atenco a Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, La Jornada, 17 de septeimbre de 2016

For more information from SIPAZ: 

Nacional: Irrupciones en territorios indígenas para la implementación de megaproyectos: San Francisco Xochicuautla y Atenco (14/04/2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)

Nacional: El FPDT de Atenco inicia movilizaciones después de anuncio de próximo aeropuerto (4 de septiembre de 2014)

Nacional: A 8 años de impunidad en Atenco, continúa amenaza de construcción del aeropuerto (8 de mayo de 2014)


National: Disturbances in Indigenous Territories over the Implementation of Megaprojects: San Francisco Xochicuautla and Atenco

April 14, 2016

Unrest.pngDemolition of one of the homes in Xochicuautla protected by the riot police. Photo: @FJXochicuautla.

In recent days there have been at least two major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects. In one case, some 700 members of the police forced entrance into the Otomi-Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, to permit the entrance of bulldozers of a construction company. This community has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and through popular mobilization and the granting of two legal decisions won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of their lands. Despite this, the police force entered the community offering protection to the company, which demolished the Peace and Dignified Resistance Camp and a number of houses which were on the planned highway route. According to statements from the spokesperson of the community, Jose Luis Fernandez, 25 people were evicted and beaten, among them a woman who is almost 80 years old.

As Proceso pointed out, the work “is carried out by Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, which belongs to Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, one of the main contractors of the Federal Government and whose financial dealings in tax havens were uncovered through the investigation of the Panama Papers.” Furthermore, the corporate group has been identified by various media sources as the main contractor of Mexico State since it was governed by the current President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, and as the “supplier of the luxury residences of the leader’s wife and of Luis Videgaray Caso, Minister of Finance and Public Credit”, according to La Jornada.

In another case, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra – FPDT) reported the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” Due to this, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero – CDHZL) stated: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.” It should be remembered that the struggle of the people of Atenco against the construction of an airport on their lands was violently repressed. In the protests, two youths lost their lives, more than 200 were arrested, and at least 26 women were sexually tortured by the police.

For more information in Spanish:

Irrumpe Higa con fuerza pública a Xochicuautla; derriba viviendas pese a amparos (Proceso, 11 de abril de 2016)

Editorial / Xochicuautla, atropello a la legalidad (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Sociedad civil resiste en Xochicuautla e Higa se niega a detener las demoliciones ilegales (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 13 de abril de 2016)

Constata ONU violación de órdenes judiciales en obras de la autopista Naucalpan-Toluca (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Declaración de alerta máxima del CNI, ante la cobarde traición a la comunidad indígena Ñatho de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de abril de 2016)

Hay un acuerdo para suspender las obras en Xochicuautla: habitantes (Animal Político, 14 de abril de 2016)

Frente por la Libertad de Expresión condena desalojo de la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Noticias MVS, 12 de abril de 2016)

Policías en Xochicuautla y ayer, militares en Atenco; “nos están provocando”, dicen comuneros (Sin Embargo, 13 de abril de 2016)

Denuncian en Atenco que militares escoltan a trabajadores de constructora (Proceso, 12 de abril de 2016)

Ejército irrumpe en tierras ejidales de San Salvador Atenco (Desinformémonos, 12 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Comunidad de Xochicuautla denuncia proyecto carretero y se solidariza con pueblos indígenas de Chiapas que enfrentan despojo (20 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)

Nacional: El FPDT de Atenco inicia movilizaciones después de anuncio de próximo aeropuerto (4 de septiembre de 2014)

Nacional: A 8 años de impunidad en Atenco, continúa amenaza de construcción del aeropuerto (8 de mayo de 2014)

Chiapas/National: March in solidarity with the San Francisco Xochicuautla community

September 10, 2015

(@Sin Embargo)(@Sin Embargo)

Residents of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma municipality, Mexico State, mobilized themselves on 28 July in Mexico City of defend their sacred forest Otomí. The action was organized to protest the expropriatory decree imposed by the federal government that removes part of their territory from their control in favor of the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway.

Present at the march were many representatives from other social processes, including from the Nahua community of Ostula, Michoacán; Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; and San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State, among others.  The march expressed its solidarity with the Santa María Ostula community, which is struggling to exercise its right to autonomy as an indigenous population, and who have recently suffered an attack on the part of the Army that killed a girl and left ten others injured.  There were also demonstrations of solidarity with the demand for justice for Ayotzinapa.

It should be recalled that San Francisco Xochicuautla is an Otomí-ñatho community that for eight years has resisted the planned construction of the highway in question.  Recently, the central government published a decree expropriating 37 hectares to carry out the project, which would plunder the locals’ land.  The concession for the construction and maintenance of the highway was made in 2009 by the former Mexico State governor and current president, Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), to a firm associated with the Higa group.  The clear links between the head of state and this corporation have been made clear, as the firm has carried out projects involving millions of pesos during EPN’s administration in Mexico City.  In this way have been clarified its links with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), for it also built the polemical “White House” in the Chapultepec hills in Mexico City.

The expressions of support for the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla have been forthcoming through pronunciations and events.  In San Cristóbal de Las Casas there was planned an event to raise awareness and express solidarity to include projections of videos and talks about the attacks on the Xochicuautla and Ostula communities, as well as against the Autonomous Rebel Zapatista Municipalities (MAREZ).  As organized by adherents to the Sixth Declaration, it was to take place on 31 July in El Paliacate Espacio Cultural, starting at 5pm.

For more information (in Spanish):

Realizan manifestación en defensa de Xochicuautla (SIDIDH, 29 de julio de 2015)

Comuneros se movilizan en el DF contra “el despojo” de tierras para autopista Higa (Sin Embargo, 28 de julio de 2015)

Xochicuautla Abraza y Convoca a Marchar por sus Hermanos Indígenas de Ostula. (Frente de Pueblos Indígenas en defensa de la Madre Tierra, 27 de julio de 2015)

Embestida del ejército contra la comunidad nahua de Santa María Ostula (SubVersiones, 20 de julio de 2015)

Pobladores de Xochicuautla rechazan decreto expropiatorio por construcción de autopista (Aristegui Noticias, 10 de julio de 2015)

La casa blanca de Enrique Peña Nieto (investigación especial) (Aristegui Noticias, 9 de noviembre de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Nation: Denunciations of new attacks against indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán (10 June 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (30 December 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

December 30, 2014

Inauguración del Festival Mundial de las Resistencias (@Radio Zapatista)

First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (@Radio Zapatista)

On 21 December, the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion “Where those from above destroy, those from below rebuild” opened in the San Francisco Xochicuautla community, Lerma municipality, Mexico state.  At the invitation of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) which provided them space, the parents of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa led the event.  Before the stage, 43 chairs were erected with the faces of the disappeared students, to demand their presentation with life.  The event was attended by more than 80 organizations that comprise the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), which represents 35 indigenous peoples of Mexico, as well as adherents to the Sixth from 32 Mexican states and 26 countries.

The EZLN members who attended the event, as had been announced in a 19 December communique, participated for their part “with their faces uncovered so that they do not identify us.  Or, better, so that they identify us as yet another one of you our comrades of the Sixth.”

During the launch of the festival, participants warned that the government would not silence their voices, “even when they disappear our sons and our identities.”  José Luis del Frente, from Indigenous Peoples in Defense of Mother Earth CNI, expressed that they would continue in their mission “to reconstruct our lands, no matter the time it would take.  The trees that have been destroyed will flower once again.”

The “sharings” of the festival will be held in the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma municipality, and in Amilcingo,  Temoac municipality, Morelos, on 22 and 23 December.  From 24 to 26 December, the Grand Cultural Festival will be celebrated in Mexico City.  On 28 and 29 December the sharings will continue in Monclova, Candelaria municipality, Campeche, and from 31 December to 1 January, the Festival for Anti-Capitalist Rebellion and Resistance will take place in the Oventik caracol, located in the Chiapas highlands.  Finally, on 2 and 3 January there will be held a plenary meeting for conclusions, accords, and pronunciations at CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del EZLN “La víspera del Festival” (EZLN, 19 de diciembre de 2014)

Confirman familiares y normalistas de Ayotzinapa participación en Festival Mundial de Resistencias (La Jornada, 20 de diciembre de 2014)

Padres de normalistas encabezan festival contra el capitalismo (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2014)

Inauguración del Festival de las Resistencias y Rebeldías [Audios] (Radio Zapatista)

Comenzó el Festival Mundial de las Resistencias y las Rebeldías (Koman Inlel, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

El gobierno actúa como fiador de la impunidad, dicen padres de normalistas (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Mexico: EZLN to cede its place to relatives and disappeared students of Ayotzinapa (19 December 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)

National: Lack of confidence and strong criticisms of the Second Governmental Report presented by EPN

September 15, 2014

Foto @ Cuartoscuro

On 1 September, President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) presented to the Congress his second governmental report after 21 months of management that have seen the approval of 11 structural reforms and negative results in terms of security, economic growth, and employment rate, according to official statistics and experts.

The Movement More than 131 together with Youth Amidst the National Emergency, Migration Table 132, Services and Assessment for Peace (SERAPAZ), the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, and Article 19 launched a video to expose “the questions that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s report omitted” using the hashtag #MexicoHasNoPresident.  SERAPAZ warned that, two years into his administration, more than 23,640 murders have been registered, in addition to 22,322 victims forcibly disappeared.  For its part, Migration 132 stressed that the Southern Border Strategy recently launched by EPN’s government “seeks only to militarize the border.”  Furthermore, Mexico has no official data regarding disappeared migrants. Article 19 reported that during EPN’s government, seven journalists have been murdered, possibly due to the exercise of their profession; that in 2013, 330 attacks on the press were observed in Mexico, with more than 150 journalists assaulted during the first half of 2014.  It noted that “public resources of the State are used to control the editorial line of the communication media.”

Édgar Cortez, from the Mexican Institute on Human Rights and Democracy, indicated that the content of the governmental report is poor, because “it only presents a series of laws and programs as successes, when these are not translated into concrete actions and results” that would result in the observance of these guarantees.  “Neither does it say anything about the great question which has existed since the beginning: impunity.  Nor does it present any strategy for how to combat it,” adding that “it does not deal with serious problems that continue to present themselves in the country,” such as the practice of torture as a means of investigation.  He said that there still are no indications that the government has an effective policy in terms of human rights. José Antonio Lara Duque, coordinator of the Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights, noted that cases of forcible disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and other human-rights violations continue unabated, since the government has not modified its strategy against organized crime.  Lara Duque observed in addition that, following the approval of the energy reform, a policy will be applied for the imposition of megaprojects that will degrade the rights of ejidtarios and indigenous peoples.

For more information (in Spanish):

Documento: 2º Informe de Gobierno 2013-2014 (septiembre 2014)

EPN habló más de promesas que de logros en 2do informe: PAN y PRD(Aristegui Noticias, 3 de septiembre de 2014)
Muestra Segundo Informe retrocesos en procuración de justicia(Quadratín Oaxaca, 2 de septiembre de 2014)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Submission of First Governmental Report amidst protests and mass-disturbances (13 September 2013)

National: Polemical ascension of EPN (7 December 2012)

National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico”

September 15, 2014

(@Amnistía Internacional)

On 4 September, Amnesty International published a new report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico.”  The organization affirms that “torture and other abuses are out of control in Mexico.  In 2013, the number of denunciations (1505) increased 600 per cent with respect to 2003, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).  However, the real statistics may be well higher.”

Speakers at the public presentation of the report indicated that torture lives on due to the unwillingness of national authorities to admit that it exists, not only because it a structural part of the justice system, but also because to eradicate it would require the unmasking of high-ranking officials implicated in the practice.

Furthermore, with regard to the mechanisms designed to avoid this type of situation, Rupert Knox, an AI special investigator, noted that the CNDH “does not act in favor of victims,” and especially in terms of torture, it is “part of the problem and not the solution.”

The document covers a ten-year period during which the CNDH registered 7,164 complaints, with 275 in 2003 and 1,505 last year.  All these denunciations led to nothing more than 4 recommendations from the CNDH.  “If it is not recognized that there is a truly persistent and generalized problem here; if one speaks, as the subsecretary of Governance did, of only four cases from the CNDH and claims that they [the CNDH] has no greater mandate, it is easy for the government, and all is lost, because the CNDH does not mandate the needed mechanisms to receive complaints, quantify them, and later investigate them as they should be investigated,” Knox said in an interview with media.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura en México: 14 datos (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

“Fuera de control: Tortura y otros malos tratos en México” (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Peña debe comprometerse a abordar la cuestión de la tortura (Salil Shetty, Secretario General de Amnistía Internacional, CNN México, 5 de octubre de 2014)

CNDH, “parte del problema en casos de tortura”: Amnistía Internacional(Proceso, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Tortura, parte estructural del sistema judicial del país: ONG (LA Jornada, 7 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January, 2014)

National: FPDT of Atenco initiates mobilizations following announcement of new airport

September 15, 2014

Foto @ Blog del Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT) de San Salvador Atenco

Photo @ Blog del Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT) de San Salvador Atenco

The Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land (FPDT), based in the ejidos of San Salvador Atenco, started mobilizations on 2 September against the construction of a new airport in the Texcoco zone, as announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto in his second government report.  The mobilizations included marches, roadblocks, and other protests, beyond the request for judicial support to nullify the authorization of change of use of land, as approved by ejidal groups in assembly on 1 July.  Said assembly, according to the FPDT, was carried out “illegally, because it was manipulated; the necessary quorum was not observed.”

The first action was taken with the symbolic occupation of construction machinery belonging to the Virgo form as hired by the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), which carries out work to maintain a canal that moves waste-water.  These works were being performed within the ejidal zone, thus constituting a “provocation.”  The FPDT assured that the lands in question had been taken by CONAGUA “illegally, by coopting the [ejidal] commisisoners and carrying out fraudulent assemblies.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Con “toma” de maquinaria, Atenco inicia protestas contra aeropuerto(Blog del Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT) de San Salvador Atenco, 3 de septiembre de 2014)

Habitantes de San Salvador Atenco inician movilizaciones contra el nuevo aeropuerto (La Jornada, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Rechaza el FPDT que se erija el nuevo aeropuerto en Texcoco (La Jornada, 3 de septiembre de 2014)

Tema ambiental, la parte débil del nuevo AICM (El Economista, 3 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: After 8 years of impunity in Atenco, threat to build airport continues (16 May 2014)

Mexico: Atenco five years on, raped women continue demanding justice (6 May 2011)

Atenco: repression in San Salvador Atenco, 4 years on (11 May 2010)