Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula

October 17, 2019

Migrants@Daniel Zacarias

On October 13th, 2019, elements of the National Migration Institute (INM in its Spanish acronym) as well as the Chiapas State Police and the National Guard launched an operation to stop a caravan of migrants, which started early in the evening.

Around five o’clock in the morning between 1,500 and 3,000 Central American, Caribbean and African migrants, including young people and children, left the “Miguel Hidalgo” central park of Tapachula, Chiapas, heading to Tijuana. They intended to make a stop in Mexico City and organize a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to ask for his help and accelerate their migration processes.

To date, the National Institute of Migration and the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR in its Spanish acronym) have not responded to their requests: they ask that they be granted an Office of Departure or regularize their stay one way or another. That is why thousands of migrants have been stranded for several months in the Tapachula immigration stations without employment and basic services.

The caravan moved rapidly along the state’s coastal highway that leads to the southern state of Oaxaca towards Huixtla, its first planned stop. It crossed two checkpoints guarded by State Police and the National Guard, one of them being the Viva Mexico bridge where they shouted “Goodbye, Tapachula!” in front of the public forces.

Around 4:30 p.m. 30 kilometers from the point of departure, at Xochiltepec community, the caravan was stopped by elements of the INM, the State Police and the National Guard. Migrants were surrounded by the authorities, causing them to flee among the bushes, pastures and agricultural crops. Before that, about 150 had been assured that they were behind the caravan and were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station in Tapachula.

Luis Garcia Villagran, lawyer and activist for the rights of migrants, who accompanied the caravan said: “They came on us like there was a war, rather there is a sordid war here. I was with my wife and about 200 agents arrived, between Migration and National Guard. We showed them that they all brought documentation, that they were all shelter applicants. Then the pulling began, the pulling changed to beatings. They even took children to the hospital.”

However, the official INM statement states that its officials “convinced” foreigners to return to Tapachula using trucks provided by the authorities, or on foot along the road. It says that “with full respect for human rights [the INM] carried out actions to invite foreign people who made up the contingent that left the city of Tapachula to go to the Institute to know the options to regularize their stay in the country.”

It also said that all the migrants who participated in the caravan were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station while the activist Irineo Mujica, president of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said that about 300 were locked in Siglo XXI, another 280 in Tuxtla Gutierrez and a small Group of 90 in Huixtla. Cases of family separation were also recorded.

This caravan was the first mass migration movement since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ratified an agreement with Donald Trump, president of the United States, which aims to contain illegal migration and occurred after numerous protests made by migrants in Tapachula, demanding that the authorities expedite their paperwork so that they can continue their journey to the United States.

For more information in Spanish:

Nueva caravana de migrantes sale de Tapachula, Chiapas (Multimedios, el 12 de octubre de 2019)

Frenan autoridades caravanas de migrantes (Cuarto Poder, el 13 de octubre de 2019)

Las autoridades mexicanas paran una caravana de casi 3.000 migrantes, incluyendo cubanos (14 y medio,l 13 de octubre de 2019)

Guardia Nacional bloquea caravana de migrantes africanos en Chiapas (Animal Político, 13 de octubre de 2019)

Migración detiene y encierra a solicitantes de refugio pese a tener papeles (Animal Político, el 14 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula (October 8, 2019)

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)

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Chiapas: Delimitation Conflict in Lacandon Jungle

October 16, 2019

LacandonPhoto @ Marcela Gonzalez

At a press conference that was held on October 7th, the authorities of Bienes Comunales Zona Lacandona “asked the federal government to resume the work of delimitation so that it is known how many of the 614,321 hectares established in the original decree of 1971 remain,” they said, with the aim of preserving the Lacandon Jungle.

They reported that “there have been three resolutions to date: the one obtained by the Lacandon community on November 26th, 1971, the second on November 23rd, 1982 with 558,037 hectares and the third on July 9th, 1988 where the agrarian body delivered only 501,106 hectares to the Lacandon community.”

The delimitation of the Lacandon Jungle, inside which is the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, “began in 2008, has advanced 444 kilometers and still to be delimited, 34 to close the polygon. More than 40 years have passed and the area has not been defined.”

They also mentioned that “there is also an agreement with the 52 ejidos that border with Bienes Comunales Zona Lacandona so that the lands are delimited, given that “if we do not have a common agreement, the forest cannot be conserved. That is why we seek dialogue with our neighbors, to take care of the interior and exterior (…), so that there is no conflict with the neighbors” and with members of organizations based in the surroundings,” La Jornada reported.

It should be remembered that the Lacandon Area is inhabited by Mayan Lacandones, Tzeltals and Choles and is made up of six locations: Naha, Metzaboc, Lacanja, Ojo de Agua Chankin, Palestine and Corozal Border.

In recent days through another press conference in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Lacandones indigenous people denounced that “there are serious tensions in the Lacandon Jungle, so the government’s intervention is urgently required to avoid a confrontation (…) rights of the Lacandon ethnic minority are at risk; its territory and the conservation of its jungle too.”

They mentioned that the new authorities of communal property are unknown “because, they said they were promoted and imposed with the advice of old corrupt leaders and voted only by the Chol and Tzeltal ethnic community members, without the participation of the Lacandon ethnic group (…) and now intend to draw a new polygon different from that recognized by the community, thus affecting the territorial rights of the Lacandons, without being consulted for such purposes and jeopardizing, by deforestation, the integrity of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve” Proceso magazine reported..

For more information in Spanish:

Lacandones piden intervención de AMLO para rescatar la Reserva de la Biosfera Montes Azules (Proceso, 8 de octubre de 2019)

Autoridades comunales de Zona Lacandona solicitan respeto a DH (La Jornada, 11 de octubre de 2019)

Piden que se delimite área para preservar Selva Lacandona en Chiapas (La Jornada, 7 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Pemex to Provide Resources in Perpetuity to Preserve the Lacandon Jungle (September 16, 2017)

Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state governments announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandon Jungle (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandon Zone (May 3, 2014)

Chiapas: Residents of the Lacandona Jungle on alert in light of advancing delimitation work (March 16, 2014)


Chiapas: Second Suspected Leader of Armed Gang in Santa Martha, Chenalho Arrested

October 14, 2019

ChenalhoPhoto @ Gaby Coutinho

After the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym) arrested Mr. Efrain Ruiz Alvarez last month, another alleged leader of an armed group of the Santa Martha community, Chenalho was arrested by ministerial policemen, Enrique Lopez Perez, in recent days.

The arrests are related to the old agrarian conflict between residents of the Santa Martha community and the municipality of Aldama. Both alleged leaders are accused “of firing heavy caliber guns against residents of villages in Aldama.” In the case of Lopez Perez, he is accused “of the crime of attacks on peace (…) in October 2015 shooting with a firearm towards the community of Tselejopotoptic, which caused the displacement of families from Aldama.”

It should be remembered that on June 4th, in Tuxtla Gutierrez, constitutional and traditional authorities of Aldama and Chenalho, accompanied by Governor Rutilio Escandon Cadenas and the federal undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez, signed a non-aggression pact that they expected would put an end to an initially agrarian conflict over 60 hectares of territory between both municipalities that has lasted more than four decades, which has caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of displaced families.

Despite signing of the pact, different sources reported that attacks followed by both parties.

According to information from La Jornada residents of Aldama “commented that since Ruiz Alvarez was arrested, firing of high-caliber firearms from Santa Martha to places in that municipality has reduced.” But that the situation remains tense since “after the arrest of the leader, representatives of Santa Martha have threatened to hold their neighbors from Aldama to exchange them for the detainee.”

For more information in Spanish:

Detienen a líder de grupo armado de Santa Martha en Chenalhó  (La Jornada, 6 de octubre de 2019)

Detienen a líder del grupo armado Santa Martha en Chiapas (La Jornada, 13 septiembre de 2019)

Detienen a presunto líder de grupo armado de Chenalhó (Diario de Chiapas, 8 de octubre de 2019)

Detienen a presunto dirigente de grupo armado de Chenalhó, Chiapas (El Universal, 13 de septiembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Sigue la violencia entre Aldama y Chenalhó a pesar de pacto de no agresión. (8 de junio de 2019)

Chiapas: Firman pacto de no agresión autoridades de Aldama y Chenalhó (5 de junio de 2019)

Chiapas: encuentran cuerpo del síndico de Aldama quien fungía como alcalde de dicho municipio (6 de mayo de 2019)


National/International: CSOs Denounce Poor Conditions in Provisional Migration Centers in Chiapas

October 13, 2019

Migrants.pngLa Mosca Entrance (@Human Rights Observation and Monitoring Collective of Southeast Mexico)

On October 3rd, the Human Rights Observation and Monitoring Collective of Southeast Mexico issued a statement denouncing that the permanent authorization of the provisional center between Tuxtla Gutierrez and Chiapa de Corzo “El Cupape 2- La Mosca” since last June “ignores the minimum conditions to keep migrants and shelter applicants detained.” After visiting the detention center the day before, it noted that, “migrants and detained shelter applicants are without access to basic services, drinking water, sanitation, toilet paper, food and medical care.” It also reported that, “the general conditions of the place are a total lack of communication, misinformation and isolation.”

It stressed that there were “approximately 370 people of different nationalities from countries in Central America, Africa and Asia, who have been detained, some for more than two months”, and that the space is shared by “everyone without differentiating between women, men, families, girls, boys and adolescents and LGBTQ+ population”.

It urged the Mexican State to “respond with total respect and guarantee human rights towards the migratory and refuge crisis that exists in the country, especially on the southern border, including the definitive solution to overcrowding and inhuman conditions within the Migration Stations and Centers that are functioning in total disregard for regulations and disrespect for the rights of men, women, children, adolescents and LGBTTTI community detained”; and to seek greater linkage between the public agencies involved towards “a migration and refuge policy with a real and effective approach to human rights, and not criminalization and repression towards the migrant population, and consequently, towards the defense and promotion of rights humans in this context.”

For more information in Spanish:

“La Mosca” sin servicios básicos para migrantes (Cuarto Poder, 5 de octubre de 2019)

Denuncian condiciones insalubres de migrantes en albergues de Chiapas (Proceso, 4 de octubre de 2019)

Denuncian precariedad en servicios básicos para migrantes en Chiapas (La Jornada, 4 de octubre de 2019)

Alarmante situación en la nueva estancia provisional de Chiapas “CUPAPE 2 – LA MOSCA”: COMDHS (Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos del Sureste Mexicano, 3 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

National/International: Mexico and US Reevaluate Migration Agreement after Three Months; Disagreement over Desired Outcomes (September 23, 2019)

International/National: UNO Calls for Evaluation of National Guard as Migratory Control in Mexico (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Nuevas medidas gubernamentales buscan contener el flujo migratorio 26 de junio de 2019.

Nacional/Internacional: Acuerdo sobre migración entre EUA y México cancela imposición de aranceles al segundo 8 de junio de 2019.

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)


National: Mexico Sixth Most Dangerous Country for Environmentalists According to Global Witness; 12 Activists Killed in 2019

October 13, 2019

Environment@Cuartoscuro

According to data from the human rights organization Amnesty International, at least 12 environmental activists were killed in Mexico since the beginning of the year to date. Seven of those murders were carried out in the month of January alone. With five attacks in Oaxaca and four in Chiapas, these two states have become the most dangerous regions for environmentalists.

A similar process can be observed worldwide. After the Philippines (30 defenders killed in 2018), Colombia (24), India (23), Brazil (20) and Guatemala (16), Mexico with 12 is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders, according to Global Witness NGO reports. In 2017, 15 defenders were killed and in 2018 another 14.

The first victim of the year was Sinar Corzo Esquinca, a water, housing and health rights activist, who also defended the victims of the 2017 earthquake in Oaxaca and Chiapas. He died on January 3rd from gunshot wounds in Arriaga, Chiapas, after he was shot.

Among the other victims were the environmentalists Noe Jimenez Pablo, Jose Santiago Lopez, Rafael Murua Manriquez, Gustavo Cruz Mendoza, Samir Flores, Eulalia Lilia Diaz, Luis Armando Fuentes, Telosforo Santiago Enriquez, Jose Luis Alvarez Flores and the human rights lawyer Juan Quintanar Gomez, who was killed in the center of the city of Oaxaca on the way to his office.

“These attacks (against indigenous people) are almost 80% of the cases. In the case of Oaxaca, Puebla and Michoacan, 100% of those attacked are indigenous,” said Gustavo Sanchez, the director of the Mexican Network of Forest Farmers Organizations (MOCAF in its Spanish acronym).

Of the 14 activists killed in 2018, eleven were people from native villages according to Antonio Medina, representative of the Indigenous Tourism Network of Mexico (RITA in its Spanish acronym), given that 50% of Mexican territory belongs to indigenous peoples, meaning that a large part of the mines, material banks, water reserves and biodiversity of the country are part of their heritage and they are particularly affected by the megaprojects of the Mexican State.

In the face of the great aggression against environmentalists, the NGO Amnesty International recently launched the “No More Murders: Raise your Voice for Environmentalists in Mexico” campaign. According to its website, “it will be based on petitions, events and the dissemination of information and audiovisual materials through social networks, to denounce the murders of environmental defenders in Mexico.”

“This campaign is our way of highlighting the violence faced by environmental defenders in Mexico and recognizing their invaluable contribution to the health of the planet and the wellbeing of its inhabitants given the the disastrous effects of extractive exploitation, industrial pollution and climate change,” explained Erika Guevara Rosas, Director for the Americas of Amnesty International.

For more information in Spanish:

12 ambientalistas y defensores han sido asesinados este año; Oaxaca y Chiapas, los estados más peligrosos (Animal Político el 7 de octubre de 2019)

El 80 % de los activistas ambientales asesinados en México son indígenas (Infobae el 1 de agosto de 2019)

México, el sexto país más peligroso para defensores del medio ambiente; hubo 14 asesinatos en 2018 (Animal Político el 29 de julio de 2019)

México: Amnistía Internacional lanza campaña para urgir al Estado que proteja a las personas defensoras del medio ambiente (Amnistía Internacional el 1 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Environmentalist Nora Lopez Murdered in Palenque (August 27, 2019)

Chiapas: denunciation of criminalization against environmental activists in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (January 4, 2019)

Chiapas/Tabasco: Ecologist Jose Luis Alvarez Flores Murdered (June 17, 2019)

Chiapas: Denuncian ataque contra defensor de los derechos humanos en San Cristóbal de las Casas (10 de junio de 2019)

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

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26, 2018)


Chiapas: Destruction Vineketik in Resistance Organization Camp Denounced

October 8, 2019

PresosPhoto @ SIPAZ

On October 4th, members of the Vineketik in Resistance Organization, currently imprisoned in the CERSS No. 10 at Comitan de Domínguez, announced through a public statement that on the same day they were attacked by the “Wolf [Lobo] group (…) they moved us for an alleged revision but instead it was robbery because they destroyed the camp where we were carrying out the protest that we started last March 15th of this year.”

They denounced that “they stole our canvas with which we protected ourselves from the sun’s rays and the rain during the day and stole our blanket and $500 that one of our compañeros had left in his wallet they left the wallet but they took the money “ [sic].

The prisoners reported that this attack on them had to do with the allegations they have made in recent days against the director of the prison on alleged cases of “corruption that have been carried out within this center along with his accomplices the representatives to extort the families of the new inmates and multiple tortures within this center.”

For more information in Spanish:

Destruyen campamento de presos en plantón: Viniketik en Resistencia(Grupo de trabajo no estamos todxs, 5 de octubre de 2019)

Organizacion VINIKETIK en resistencia. (CGT Chiapas)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

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

Chiapas: Plantón y Ayuno en Solidaridad con Presos en Huelga de Hambre (a 84 días de su inicio), (June 6th, 2019)

Chiapas: Indigenous Prisoner Released after 16 Years Awaiting Sentencing and 60 Days Hunger Strike (May 26, 2019)

Chiapas: Six Prisoners Resume Indefinite Hunger Strike in San Cristobal and Comitan Prisons (May 17, 2019)

Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons (May 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (March 15, 2019)


Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula

October 8, 2019

Migrants@Isabel Mateos / Cuartoscuro.com

Late at night on October 2nd, an African migrant accused a member of the Federal Police of robbery and violence, although the versions of the event vary and some people attribute it to a municipal police officer.

According to the migrant from Angola named David, he was assaulted, beaten and stripped of his cell phone, a ring and money when he left the Siglo XXI migratory station in Tapachula to go to the bathroom. “We were sleeping in the tent, but my husband went out to do his necessities here nearby and suddenly policemen passed by, they started beating him,” said his wife.

After the event, indignant migrants protested demanding justice for the alleged attack on their colleague and clashed with the elements of the National Guard. After more than an hour and a dialogue between the federal authorities with the spokespersons of the migrants, the protests calmed down. The African migrant allegedly attacked was transferred to the Mexican Red Cross.

Some days previosly, on September 30th, around 350 migrants from the same immigration station held a march, for the sixth time since they began more than a month ago, to demand the delivery of ex officio exit documents that give them the authorization to transit through Mexican territory towards the border with the United States. Migrants mostly from African countries have been waiting for at least two months for immigration authorities to address their situation.

For more information in Spanish:

Migrante denuncia robo y agresión de policías en Chiapas; se desata enfrentamiento (Noticieros Televisa el 3 de octubre de 2019)

Migrantes y Guardia Nacional se enfrentan en Tapachula (El Sol de México el 3 de octubre de 2019)

Migrantes africanos y Guardia Nacional chocan en frontera sur (El Imparcial el 3 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)