Chiapas: “Sowing autonomy” for 32 years

November 21, 2015

@Paisà García

On 17 November, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) observed the thirty-second anniversary since its founding. Its creation occurred after the arrival of the National Liberation Forces (FLN) to the Lacandon Jungle and following the indigenous congress of 1974, as well as within the context of a struggle over land, upheaval by indigenous and campesino social organizations, as well as the ecumenical work of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese in accordance with liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor, as endorsed by Vatican Council II. It was not for another 10 years of a clandestine accumulation of strength that on 1 January 1994 the EZLN rose up in arms against the Mexican Army, demanding work, land, housing, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace.

Several groups released pronunciations congratulating the EZLN for its more than 32 years of struggle, such as the General Confederation of Work (CGT) Chiapas and the Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR). In this way, several collectives organized events to celebrate the date, both at the national and international levels.

For more information (in Spanish):

RvsR: Feliz cumpleaños EZLN: 32 años mirando un horizonte (Enlace Zapatista, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

CGT celebra el aniversario del EZLN. 32 años sembrando autonomía. (CGT Chiapas, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

EZLN: 17 de noviembre de 1983 (Rebelion, 17 de noviembre de 2012)

Las FLN-EZLN 42 años después (Alainet, 2 de octubre de 2011)

Declaración de la Selva Lacandona (EZLN, 1993)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats and physical attacks against the BAEZLN in the Tzakukum community (13 September 2015)

Chiapas/National: EZLN announces second level of the Zapatista School (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: Risks to the lives of Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN) (3 July 2015)

Chiapas: Denunciation of paramilitary attack on the El Rosario community, pertaining to the La Garrucha caracol (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: La Garrucha Good-Government Council (JBG) denounces two paramilitary attacks (17 May 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communiqué “Pain and rage” (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: Annual report from Frayba on “Human-Rights Insurgency”

November 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Participation by Estela Barco during presentation of report @ SIPAZ

On 5 November, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report that carries the title “The Human-Rights Insurgency,” which deals with the “perspective, questions, and situations” that the CDHFBC has documented and monitored in Chiapas from March 2014 to March 2015. During the presentation of the document, several members of the directive council of CDHFBC spoke, including Blanca Martínez Bustos, director of the Fray Juan de Larios Center for Human Rights; Jorge Santiago Santiago; Estela Barco Huerta, general coordinator for the Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans; and the president of the council, jtatik Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo.

The CDHFBC described the present context as a moment that “is a dark time, amidst the implementation of saddening repressive measures that constitute State terrorism, whereby military occupation and the state of siege are normalized. With this, the violations that make up crimes against humanity such as torture, forcible disappearance, extrajudicial executions, femicide, and forcible displacement, among other crimes, are daily occurrences in Chiapas and Mexico.”

The document proclaims the comprehensive defense of human rights that is the work of the CDHFBC. The questions it addressed include torture, impunity, defense of land and territory, as well as the ongoing war context, which in the report corresponds to four chapters: Torture, an implicit negation; A look at the cracks of impunity; War in Chiapas, territory, and peoples; and Reality of war-context.

The CDHFBC expressed that torture “is engrained and generalized in the Mexican justice system, and it is not only denied but even rationalized.” From the perspective of historical memory, remembrance is the principal pillar “of the struggle of victims and their families in the cases of crimes against humanity […]. They collectively protect and transmit memory against forgetting and impunity.” With regard to the “internal armed conflict in Chiapas,” the “communities and organizational processes persist and resist in defense of their autonomy and territory amidst State policies that seek to plunder land, spirit, and culture.” Lastly, the chapter on “Reality” is dedicated to the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014 in La Realidad, official municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos

Boletín Frayba presenta su Informe Anual: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos (CDHFBC, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Despojo territorial, espiritual y cultural, una constante en Chiapas: Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba” (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


Chiapas: Day of action for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal

November 21, 2015

Evento por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal. Foto: @Sipaz.

Event for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Photo: @Sipaz.

On 7 November there was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas an event for the release of political prisoners Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The event was organized by the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), together with the participation of relatives of prisoners who organize to affirm their rights in different Chiapas-state penitentiaries. At the event, there was read several communiques and an art-making activity was installed to express support for the liberation of both prisoners.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a U.S. journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party. He was incarcerated in 1982, accused of having murdered a police officer, though there is no evidence for this, and indeed considering testimony from witnesses who have come forward to declare that they were pressured into holding him responsible for the killing. Mumia was condemned by the judge “who is known to have condemned more Blacks to death than any other judge in the U.S.,” according to Nodo 50, in a country gripped by racism. During his 33 years in prison, Mumia has written nine books and produced more than 2,000 radio addresses. In March of this year, Mumia suffered serious health problems that were caused by a diabetic crisis, as the administration had denied him the necessary medical treatment. At present, he is slowly recovering.

Alejandro Díaz Santiz is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle issued by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), being the only member of those in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who continues behind bars. Incarcerated since 1999, “he has not given up and while in prison he politicized himself and organized […] by participating in hunger strikes. To date, he has lent his voice to denounce the abuses that the authorities commit in the prison,” notes the GTNET. On 10 September, Alejandro was transferred without warning to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) in Villa Comaltitlán, close to Tapachula. GTNET theorizes that “this forcible transfer is political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners. This brutal way of changing one’s prison, after having remained many years in the same place, is psycho-physical torture because it distances the prisoner from his family and network of friends.”

During the event, the conditions experienced at the state and national levels were also denounced, given that, according to a report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), “there is at present a 25.4% over-crowding of the prisons,” meaning that Mexican prisons hold more than 51,000 people beyond their capacity. In this way, the third visitor general of the CNDH argued that the crowding of prisons “is the result of the unmitigated use of imprisonment” amidst “excessive penal sentences,” leading to “violence, torture, abuse, and lamentable states of health and hygiene.”

For more information (in Spanish):

En Solidaridad con Alejandro Díaz Sántiz: nos organizamos contigo (CGT Chiapas, 9 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Jornada por la libertad de Alejandro Diaz Santiz y Mumia Abu Jamal (Amigos de Mumia México, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Expresiones de solidaridad por Alejandro Díaz Santiz, preso injustamente y trasladado a un penal de máxima seguridad (Kaos en la Red, 16 de sepiembre)

Nuevo penal viola garantías de chiapanecos; “Velasco no quiere contradecir a su jefe EPN”: abogado (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 14 de abril de 2015)

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

El Estado hace uso excesivo de las cárceles: CNDH; hay un 25.4% de sobrepoblación, alerta (Sin Embargo, 14 de octubre de 2015)

La historia de Mumia (Nodo 50, sin fecha)

El lento asesinato de Mumia Abu-Jamal (Ojarasca, abril de 2015)

Carta abierta por la vida, salud y libertad de Mumia Abu-Jamal (SubVersiones, 14 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis fasting to demand justice (11 October 2014)

Chiapas: 13 days of fasting and praying by Alejandro Díaz Santís to demand his release (14 July 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)


Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal remember Manuelito

November 21, 2015


Three years after his death, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal commemorated Manuel Vázquez Luna (Manuelito), who died on 10 November 2012 in the “badly named ‘Hospital of the Cultures’ in San Cristóbal de Las Casas Chiapas, after having suffered 18 days of discrimination and victimization by medical negligence.” The commemoration took place in Acteal, “House of Memory and Hope.”

“Manuelito left us to reunite with his parents, sisters, grandmother, and uncle,” who were killed on 22 December 1997 “by PRI and Cardenist paramilitaries from the official municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas.” Las Abejas of Acteal recalled that “that day of the Acteal massacre, Manuelito remained below the bodies of those killed and was bathed in blood. He saw how the paramilitaries opened fire against women and children.” Despite having experienced the pain of the near-total loss of his family, he decided “not to life in pain, but rather to convert pain and cries into hope and joy […] by means of stories, jokes, songs, and riddles.”

Las Abejas assured that Manuelito “is now in all parts of Acteal. He is in the clouds that rest on the mountains of Acteal, in the air that embraces us upon arriving here to Acteal, in the wind that blows and refreshes our memory and hope. He is in each raindrop that falls on the sacred lands of Acteal, and in each tree-leaf and in the foliage that grows around Acteal, House of Memory and Hope. He is in all parts of the cosmos. He is in our heart.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado en Memoria de Manuelito (Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de noviembre de 2015)

A un año de la muerte de nuestro hermano Manuelito por irresponsabilidad médica (10 de noviembre de 2013)

Manuelito deja de existir de esta Tierra para vivir por siempre en nuestra memoria, lucha y esperanza (Las Abejas de Acteal, 12 de noviembre de 2012)

Manuelito siempre fue una luz fuerte en Las Abejas, ahora guiará más con su brillo nuestro camino (Koman ilel, 11 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)

Chiapas: Believing People of Simojovel continue to defend “life, peace, justice, freedom, and democracy” y democracia”

November 21, 2015

Cabeza blog 2013

On 3 November by means of a public denunciation, the Believing People from the San Antonio de Pádua parish in Simojovel expressed gratitude for the accompaniment by all those who have walked beside them, reviewing the different meetings of the past few months as well as the mass-pilgrimage from Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Furthermore, they reported on the present situation that they are experiencing, noting that they are “disappointed with the different levels of government” and that despite their “peaceful actions, the situation remains the same” amidst their demands. They denounced that “the number of bars has actually increased,” and furthermore that “these firms have more power than state and federal officials, such that it is clear that the governors are not governmental but rather financial […].”

In light of a situation that “does not improve,” the Believing People will continue to organize themselves “so as to find the true freedom for our people, as we see clearly the complicity due to the omission of the authorities at the three levels of governance in terms of the beer-making firms and the drug-traffickers.” They assured that “true change does not come from a political party, because the major problem is the governmental and political-economic system,” adding that they will not “keep silent, because to do so would be to become complicit.” The principal demand made by the Believing People continues to be “the closure of all bars, legal and clandestine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel continúa la lucha por la vida, paz, justicia, libertad y democracia. (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Cries of liberty from the Believing People in Simojovel (23 de septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against the priest and members of the Believing People (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Believing People of El Bosque march for a halt to violence in their region (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest (23 April 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: Family of José Rolando, murdered through torture, demands justice and cessation of death-threats

November 19, 2015

José Rolando @ Chiapas Denuncia

José Rolando @ Chiapas Denuncia

On 29 October, the 20-month anniversary of the murder of José Rolando Pérez de la Cruz by municipal police from Acala (who beat him and tortured him to death on 1 March 2014), his relatives published a communique demanding justice, guarantees of non-repetition, and security guarantees for the family and lawyer in the case, as they have been the objects of death-threats and harassment.

Beyond this, they expressed gratitude for the support and solidarity they have received on the national and international levels, as well as the intervention by the organization Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture in France (ACAT-France) toward the Chiapas state government.

“We will continue to demand justice and truth from this bad government headed by Velasco Coello, who has demonstrated his lack of interest, incompetence, and inefficiency for investigating and incarcerating all those who obstruct [justice] and participated directly or indirectly in the murder of José Rolando,” they declared in front of the palace of governance in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de José Rolando muerto por tortura exigen verdad y justicia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Chiapas: como en Iguala, la muerte de Rolando Pérez de la Cruz fue “bajo custodia y tortura de la policía municipal” (Radio Zapatista, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Policías municipales de Acala privan arbitrariamente de la vida al joven Rolando Pérez (CDHFBC, 15 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Torture and murder of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (28 March 2014)


Chiapas: Lawyer of the ejidal committee of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam arrested

November 19, 2015



On 21 October, state police arrested Arturo Ortega Luna, an activist opposed to the construction of the Chicoasén II hydroelectric dam and lawyer for the affected ejidatarios, “accused of the crime of mutiny following an investigation headed by the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).” This was the denunciation made by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in a communique from 23 October. The lawyer was arrested at a checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez and is currently being held in the El Amate prison in the Cintalapa municipality. According to the communique, the penal denunciation was submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which “seeks to criminalize protest amidst the arbitrariness perpetuated by the federal and state governments.”

Arturo Ortega Luna has joined the defense of the ejidatarios to prevent the construction of the dam, which would affect more than 180 hectares of ejidal lands used for agricultural purposes by Zoque indigenous people. Ecologists have denounced that “the project will deteriorate and fragment the Grijalva River, this only to satisfy the energy demand of the eastern region of Mexico.” According to a bulletin published by the CDHFBC following a press conference on “Violations of agrarian rights and the judicialization of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam” on 27 October, “the ejidatarios affected by the Chicoasén dam have carried out various peaceful and legitimate actions to avoid the progression of the construction of the hydroelectric project that would affect their lands.” On 9 October, the ejidatarios won a legal motion before the Collegiate Tribunal that demanded the suspension of the existing construction plan, though this ruling has gone ignored to date. 52 individual legal motions in process remain pending, and all involve the detained lawyer. The CDHFBC has held that his arrest “is an act of criminalization and harassment that corresponds to his actions in defense of the lands amidst looting […] which if carried out would imply the displacement of dozens of families.” The ejidatarios are confronting harassment due to their defense of their agrarian rights, though there exist formal agreements that were signed in July 2015 whereby the Chiapas state government committed itself to not prosecute those who defend their agrarian rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Criminalización a ejidatarios afectados por presa Chicoasén II (Frayba, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Violaciones de derechos agrarios y judicialización a afectados por la presa Chicoasén II (26 de octubre de 2015)

Exigen libertad inmediata a abogado de afectados por presa Chicoasen (Desinformémonos, 25 de octubre de 2015)

Aprehenden en Chiapas a activista opositor a la presa Chicoasén II (La Jornada, 24 de octubre de 2015)

Detienen a abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen (Frayba, 23 de octubre de 2015)

Encarcelan a abogado defensor de indígenas opositores a la presa Chicoasén II (Tiempo y Forma, 23 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated (24 March 2012)



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