Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero/National: Criminalization of Social Protest

April 26, 2016

Protest.pngDuring the teachers’ mobilizations in Chiapas. Photo: @Cuartoscuro

On Friday April 15, the teachers began a day of mobilizations across the country as part of a “new struggle against educational reform, for the defense of public education, and employment stability”, which began with the blockade of highways, ports and border crossings in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Chiapas.

Teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) on the Tehuantepec Isthmus led two highway blockades as part of their actions against educational reform, the education law in Oaxaca, and to demand the release of political prisoners. In Guerrero, contingents of the State Coordinator of Education Workers in Guerrero (CETEG) blocked the lanes of the Sol Mexico-Acapulco motorway from morning as well as demonstrating on a number of streets of the capital. In Michoacan, at least three thousand members of CNTE, accompanied by trainee teachers of Arteaga municipality and some social organizations took control of the entrances to the industrial zone and blocked the exit to the Morelia motorway.

In Chiapas, the “disproportionate use of the security forces, arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments which characterize repression and criminalization of social protest” were committed and documented by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez during the actions of the teachers from CNTE and the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE). CDHFBC pointed out that elements of the Federal Police, the Gendarmerie, and the State Police took part and used “indiscriminately and unjustifiably tear gas and rubber bullets damaging the health of those who were protesting.” Also, they denounced that they physically injured the passersby or those who were at the site of the repression, including children, women, and seniors. In the two cities, elements of the police “arbitrarily detained and with inhumane and/or degrading treatment, without respect for personal guarantees nor mediating protocols that protect security and integrity, at least eight women teachers, ten male teachers and three passersby” who were removed to the maximum security prison at Tepic, Nayarit.

The Ministry of Public Education (SEP) made it known that it sanctioned “with discounts […] and with separation from service 13,700 teachers” who participated in the protests against educational reform in different states of the country. CDHFBC urged the Mexican State to “assume the obligation to protect, guarantee and respect human rights; cease repression and criminalization of social protest; guarantee life, integrity and personal security of those who exercise their legitimate right to free protest; immediately, effectively, seriously, thoroughly and impartially see to these events, sanctioning those responsible for the human rights violations described; and immediately release the people arbitrarily arrested and unjustifiably transferred accused of invented crimes as justification for the repressive actions.”  

For more information in Spanish:

Movilización de la CNTE contra la reforma educativa en 28 estados (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

SEP sancionará a más de 13 mil docentes por protestas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

Policías repliegan a maestros en Chiapas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2016)

Boletín: La represión del Estado mexicano criminaliza la protesta social en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 16 de abril de 2016)

Tortura y represión en operativos contra SNTE en Chiapas: Frayba (La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2016)

Criminaliza el Estado a los maestros en Chiapas: Frayba (Desinformémonos, 17 de abril de 2016)

Acusan golpes y torturas contra maestros detenidos en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de abril de 2016)

Con marchas y protestas, exigen la liberación de maestros detenidos en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de abril de 2016)

NotiFrayba:Criminalización de la protesta social en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 18 de abril de 2016)

For more information form SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero: Protestas del magisterio contra la reforma educativa en varios estados (25 de febrero de 2016)

Guerrero: Maestros en Acapulco lograron sabotear la evaluación de docentes (14 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Choques entre policía y magisterio en el bloqueo a la evaluación (21 de octubre de 2015)


Chiapas: Day of Action for the Liberation of Alejandro Diaz Santiz and Political Prisoners

April 23, 2016

Presos.pngDuring the cultural event in Plaza de la Resistencia y la Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Photo: @Work Group “No estamos todxs”

In the framework of International Political Prisoners Solidarity Day, relatives of Alejandro Diaz Santiz organized a cultural event, a sit in and press conference for the freedom of the unjustly imprisoned [man] together with collectives and sympathizers. Diaz Santiz, who has been deprived of his freedom for 17 years, is an adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and from prison has been organizing to denounce violations of his rights and those of other prisoners. Last September he was moved to the Federal prison at Villa Comaltitlan in Tapachula in spite of the fact that he had been sentenced for a local and not federal jurisdiction crime as well as not being a highly dangerous prisoner. According to his attorney, Leonel Rivero Rodriguez, he was transferred “in a totally arbitrary manner” and the move “had no type of basis.”

Antonio Diaz Velasco, Alejandro’s father, stated in the press conference that, in spite of the fact that his son’s visual health is deteriorating, he is not receiving medical attention in prison. “I saw that he is ill, his eyes are discolored, I asked him what was wrong, he said that they don’t give him medication, little food, beans and five tortillas.” He confirmed that the transfer is making family visits difficult because the distance from his community to the prison is long and they do not have the economic resources to pay for transport. Pedro Lopez Jimenez, member of the Supporters of the Voice Amate organization, added that they hope that “the authorities fulfill their promises and free Alejandro” as the State Government signed an agreement in February for the liberation of Diaz Santiz. For his part, Rivero pointed that Alejandro was subjected to an irregular trial, having “a bad or no defense” following his arrest. It should be recalled that Diaz Santiz is a Tsotsil indigenous who “at the time of his arrest did not speak Spanish, was tortured, never had access to an interpreter, and did not have enough money for an adequate legal defense”, the Work Group “No Estamos Todxs” (GTNET) statement said.

According to the attorney, Alejandro would currently have the right to parole for partial remission of the sentence – a reduction of his sentence for good behavior and participation in social reinsertion activities – for which a legal protection was lodged and is awaiting verdict. Lopez Jimenez announced that they expect the legal protection move to be successful and if it is not, they will continue with actions to demand the immediate release of their compañero. The release of Roberto Paciencia Cruz was also called for, unjustly imprisoned in the State Center for Social Reinsertion of Prisoners (CERSS) No. 5 at San Cristobal de Las Casas, and the San Bachajon prisoners at Amate CERSS, municipality of Cintalapa.

For more information in Spanish:

Conferencia de Prensa 18 de Abril ¡ Libertad Inmediata para Alejandro Diaz Santiz¡ (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todxs, 18 de abril de 2016)

17 de abril: Día Internacional de los Presxs Políticxs (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todxs, 18 de abril de 2016)

Exigen libertad de preso polìtico (Mural Chiapas, 19 de abril de 2016)

No pueden cerrar la voz: libertad para Alejandro Díaz Santis (Agencia SubVersiones, 10 de abril de 2016)

17 de Abril dia internacional de solidaridad con lxs presxs politicos (Europa Zapatista, 17 de abril de 2016)

Recibió CNDH mil 151 quejas en 2015 por falta de atención médica en penales (Proceso, 29 de marzo de 2016)

La crisis en las cárceles de México: 10 problemas urgentes sin atención (Animal Político, 13 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Exigen la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Santiz (11 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas: Toman acuerdo Solidarios de la Voz del Amate para liberación de presos y reparación del daño (9 de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas: Jornada por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal (9 de noviembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Trasladan a Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, junto a 386 presos, a penal de alta seguridad (15 de septiembre de 2015)


Chiapas: Primero de Agosto Displaced Families Report Enclosure of their Lands

April 21, 2016

Primero.pngDisplacement camp at Primero de Agosto, Photo @ Radio Zapatista

On April 14, the displaced of Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas made a public statement denouncing the barbed wiring of part of the land of Primero de Agosto where they lived and from where they were displaced on February 23, 2015. According to their statement, they were provoked by ejidatarios from Miguel Hidalgo, members of the Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical (CIOAC-H) on April 7 and 8 “carrying firearms, machetes, and all uniformed with PRD yellow caps (sic).”

They also reported that intimidation around their camp continues. After the events of April 7 and 8, on the morning of April 9, the authorities of the region passed by performing violent acts on cows and a bull “eight meters from where we are displaced.” The displaced of Primero de Agosto blamed the three levels of government, noting that the members of CIOAC-H from Miguel Hidalgo are “protected and backed by the governments that don’t do anything, that don’t say anything.” It should be mentioned that on February 25 last year, the State Government of Chiapas committed itself to dividing the lands in equal parts. Nevertheless, the lands have not been divided one year later and the inhabitants remain displaced. They reported that to this date the state government “hasn’t fulfilled anything, on the contrary, it has allowed the situation to get worse. The Mexican State has ignored the case.”

For more information in Spanish:

CIOAC-Histórica cerca tierras de familias desplazadas de Primero de Agosto (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 14 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Desplazados del Poblado Primero de Agosto denunciaron escalamiento de hostigamiento, amenazas de muerte y desalojo (7 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: 8 meses de “amenazas y hostigamiento” a tojolabales en desplazamiento forzado del poblado Primero de Agosto (5 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Red por la Paz denuncia actitud omisa del gobierno de Chiapas ante caso de Primero de Agosto (16 de julio de 2015)


National: Senate Passes Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

April 17, 2016

SEZ.pngThe Special Economic Zones @Presidencia de la República

On Thursday, April 14, the Senate passed the Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) with 88 votes in favor and eight against. The purpose of this law is to reduce poverty, allow for the provision of basic services and broaden the opportunities for a healthy and productive life in the regions which have the greatest deficiencies in social and economic development, according to the judgment. It will do so through the promotion of investment, productivity, competitiveness, employment, and a greater distribution of income among the population. The law establishes preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies. It will give concessions for 40 years, renewable for 40 more, and will enjoy tax and customs exemptions for eight years, for example.

While the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), Ecologist Green Party (PVEM) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) endorsed the law, the PRD senator, Dolores Padierna, rejected it. She pointed out that the law does not provide for any social benefit but benefits “for the economic elite of this country and foreign companies.” Similarly, senator Layda Sansores San Ramon, Citizens Movement (MC), considers that “it auctions Mexico.” Sharing this idea, the coordinator of the Work Party (PT), Manuel Bartlett warned that the developers of the SEZ will become administrators of the states of the republic in which they operate and seek “to deepen the appropriation of national territory for big international finance companies.” In effect, the law plans the expropriation of all territories required to establish investment projects, which will be administered by businessmen, who will be able to operate their own surveillance and security companies. Bartlett concluded assuring that “this is not a Peña Nieto project, because Peña Nieto has no projects. This is a North American plan studied in its universities. It is a big lie that with growth there can be a distribution of wealth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Aprueba el Senado ley sobre zonas económicas especiales (Educa, 15 de abril 2016)

Con ZEE, Peña Nieto pretende terminar de rematar a México: Layda (Pagin@bierta, 15 de abril 2016)
Avanza ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales en el Senado (La Jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Senado votará el jueves por ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales (La jornada, 13 de abril 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)


Chiapas: Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice Reaches San Cristobal de Las Casas

April 10, 2016

Caravan.png

The event in Plaza de la Paz, San Cristobal de las Casas, Photo @ SIPAZ

On April 7, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice reached Plaza de La Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where it held a discussion with representatives of various civil organizations which expressed their accompaniment and solidarity. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from different nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs.” On their journey, the Caravan has joined a group of some 35 people from seven countries. It left Honduras on March 28 and will arrive to New York on April 18. According to Otros Mundos, “the route reflects the commitment to raise the voice of the victims and of the heroes of the war on drugs, and it turns out they are the same. From their pain, the victims are becoming in an organized way the people who struggle for peace and justice, for an exit from the war.” On their way through Mexico, the Caravan entered through the border of Guatemala – Mexico at La Mesilla – Ciudad Cuauhtemoc on April 6. There they held an event in which they listened to the words and struggles in the region of the southern border of Mexico, “invaded by a growing militarization which worsens the human rights situation of the peoples in defense and care of the earth as well as migrants from Central America and Chiapas year after year.” The participants in the Caravan proposed a compilation of testimonies of violations of human rights committed combatting drugs with the aim of presenting it at the special session on narcotics at the General Assembly of the United Nations, to be held from April 19 – 21.

During the event in San Cristobal de Las Casas, some civil organizations, among them Otros Mundos, The Civil Society of Las Abejas of Acteal, and Mesoamerican Voices shared their words. They demanded “that justice be done for the killing of the coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH), Berta Caceres, murdered on March 3 last in Honduras.” The Colombian Alex Serra, who coordinated the passage of the Caravan through Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala reiterated that, “one of our principal demands is that justice be done because she was part of the Caravan and with her murder, we are in mourning.” In commemoration of the Honduran leader, there was a minute of applause during the event. Las Abejas de Acteal underlined that if “there is insecurity for the life of the population of Honduras, migration and pillage of our mother earth, it is not only in Honduras, there is also a wave of violence and injustice here in Chiapas and in Mexico, the youth of Ayotzinapa being a clear example.” Marco Castillo of the Popular Assembly of Migrant Families and coordinator of the Caravan in Mexico, sustained that, “it would appear that the great gain of the war is not security but the control of territory, terrorism in the population, such that it is undeniable that the security policy has failed.”

The Caravan left at noon on the same day to Oaxaca, from where it will travel to Morelos to have a meeting with Javier Sicilia, leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. From there it will continue its way to the seat of the United Nations Organization (UNO) in New York to demand justice and dignity.

For more information in Spanish:

Página Web de la Caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia

La Caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia, en la ruta de la violencia y la resistencia (Otros Mundos, 8 de abril de 2016)

Arriba Caravana por la Paz y la Justicia (Cuarto Poder, 8 de abril de 2016)

La caravana por la paz llegó ayer a San Cristóbal (La Jornada, 7 de abril de 2016)

Acogida a la Caravana por La Paz, la Vida y la Justicia en su entrada al país y en su paso por Chiapas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 7 de abril de 2016)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal: “La sangre de la compañera Bertha podría expandir en todas partes del mundo. “ (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Justicia para Berta Cáceres y Nelson Noé García. Protección para Gustavo Castro Soto (29 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Internacional: Asesinan a defensora hondureña (Berta Cáceres) en presencia de defensor mexicano (Gustavo Castro) (7 de marzo de 2016)

Nacional/internacional: La CIDH expresa su preocupación ante el endurecimiento de las autoridades mexicanas hacia los migrantes y sus defensores en la frontera Sur© SIPAZ Mural de migrantes, Chiapas (17 junio de 2015)


Chiapas: Legal Protection Granted Against the San Cristobal-Palenque Highway Project

April 10, 2016

Highway.pngThe San Cristobal-Palenque super-highway has been met with massive rejection, Photo @ Espoir Chiapas

On April 3, the inhabitants of the Tsotsil communities of Los Llanos and San Jose El Porvenir in the municipality of San Cristobal de Las Casas, made known in a statement that on January 18 of this year they were granted legal protection against the San Cristobal-Palenque highway project. In the sentence for legal protection 16/2014, the judge orders the cancellation of the outlines of the construction project or any other program for the highway on the stretch between the municipalities of San Cristobal-Huixtan, in particular on the lands of the communities, by the Secretariat of Communications and Transport and the Secretariat of Infrastructure of the State of Chiapas.

In the statement, the ejido demanded that, “the authorities should respect our community’s right to free consultation, previous and informed through its representatives and traditional authorities, providing information in good faith, including the possible environmental and health risks resulting from the construction of operation of the highway project.” They also underlined that their “land is not for sale, now or in the future, and we completely reject the San Cristobal-Palenque highway project because it dispossesses the indigenous communities of the most sacred thing in this life which is land.” It should be mentioned that since its beginning, many communities and those possibly affected expressed their concern about the construction of the highway, whose cost would be around ten billion pesos and would reduce the journey from San Cristobal to Palenque, two of the zones most visited by overseas and domestic tourists, from five to less than two hours

For more information in Spanish:

Dan a conocer amparo contra proyecto de autopista San Cristóbal de las Casas-Palenque (Desinformémonos, 4 de abril de 2016)

Existe amparo sobre proyecto autopista San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque (Diario de Chiapas, 4 de abril de 2016)

Se otorgó el amparo contra el proyecto de la #autopista #SanCristóbal de Las Casas-#Palenque al Ejido Los Llanos y San José El Porvenir (Koman Ilel, 3 de abril de 2016)

Opositores a carretera San Cristóbal-Palenque presentan documento en contra (La Jornada, 9 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Nuevo comunicado de San Sebastián Bachajón (18 de febrero de 2015)

Chiapas: Nuevo encuentro en Los Llanos en contra de la carretera SCLC-Palenque (14 de octubre de 2014)

Chiapas: Movilizaciones en contra del proyecto de autopista SCLC-Palenque (18 de septiembre de 2014)

Chiapas: Los Llanos y San José El Porvenir rechazan paso de autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque por sus comunidades (10 de febrero de 2014)


Oaxaca/Chiapas/National: Oxfam Presents Inequality Report

April 9, 2016

Oxfam.pngPhoto @ Oxfam

According to the international NGO Oxfam, the growing inequality crisis has become a recurring theme on international agendas due to the effects that this has on the world population. Mexico, Oaxaca and Chiapas are examples of this. On March 31, a group of researchers from the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH in its Spanish acronym), from the Isitame Collective and from Oxfam Mexico presented the report “Inequality and Social Exclusion in Chiapas, a Long Term View.” Specifically, the document seeks to “find a reason for the inequalities in Mexico that different regions of the country experience, from territorial to local constructions as well as the solutions that can be locally outlined.” The report points out that Chiapas is considered to be “the state with the highest concentration of population in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty. As a result of a historical process of high rates of population growth, recurring crises and economic stagnation, a vicious circle of poverty and inequality has been generated, which reports the highest levels in all areas of poverty and inequality in the entity.” Jorge Alberto Lopez Arevalo, one of the researchers, commented that between 1995 and 2014 almost 40 million dollars have been invested in Social Development in Chiapas, a shocking figure, but poverty has not diminished. On the contrary, it is on the increase. ” We can say that this is the failure of social policy”, he said.

Extreme Inequality and Development Tendencies. The Case of the Oaxaca State” was also presented in the report, produced in collaboration between Services for an Alternative Education (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa A.C. – EDUCA) and Oxfam Mexico in Oaxaca State on March 29. According to the report, Oaxaca not only suffers from income poverty but also lack of social rights, which prevents equal access to development opportunities for the population. According to the study carried out, “this poverty and inequality favored the growth of drug addiction and alcoholism among the inhabitants.” Although the report does not specifically address inequality among women, it reveals that some elements of social policy, such as those aimed at empowering women, in fact increase work duties for them while other programs also increase their responsibilities. It also evaluates mega-projects and points out that the refinery at Salina Cruz, for example, has not had an impact on the welfare of the population and that wind farm projects have resulted in the dispossession of lands in the region of Tehuantepec Isthmus.

Ricardo Fuentes of Oxfam Mexico said that there is a growing tendency of inequality and that it is a world phenomenon that Oxfam has been warning about since 2014, when they revealed that 85 people possess more wealth than half of the population of the world. As a result of their analysis they published the document “Extreme Inequality. Concentration of Economic and Political Power” in June 2015, in which they warned about the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing.

For more information in Spanish:

Más de 20 años de millonaria de derrama económica y Chiapas sigue igual de pobre (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de abril de 2016)

Presentaron diagnóstico de desigualdad social (Cuarto Poder, 1 de abril de 2016)

Millones de dólares y la pobreza sigue en Chiapas: OXFAM (Areópago, 1 de abril de 2016)

Megaproyectos, desigualdad en Oaxaca: OXFAM (IstmoPress, 31 de marzo de 2016)

Oaxaca un estado de desigualdad extrema (SEM México, 30 de marzo de 2016)

Informe Desigualdad Extrema y Tendencias de Desarrollo. El Caso del Estado de Oaxaca, México (EDUCA, 29 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Nacional: Múltiples críticas a la presentación del Tercer Informe de Gobierno de Peña Nieto (8 de septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Foro “Defendiendo la esperanza y la autonomía desde el Sureste mexicano” (28 de junio de 2013)

México: crece pobreza en el país, en particular en zonas urbanas. Oaxaca, Chiapas y Guerrero con mayor índice de pobres. Campaña por la ratificación del PF PIDESC (9 de diciembre de 2011)


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