Guerrero: Murders and death-threats against candidates for June elections

May 17, 2015

Instituto Nacional Electoral (@redpolitica.mx)

National Electoral Institute (@redpolitica.mx)

On 1 May, a group of hitmen murdered Ulises Fabián Quiroz, the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) candidate for the mayorship of Chilapa in the forthcoming elections planned for 7 June.  José Santos Valdivia, the substitute choice for the PRI-Green alliance for the same office, refused to continue with the electoral campaign.  The candidate for the Movement for National Regeneration (MORENA), Laura Patricia Hernández Carrillo, had just announced days before that she would be suspending her candidacy for security reasons.

On 31 April, the New Alliance Party (PANAL) reported the murder of four of its members as they were returning from a campaign rally in Ixcapuzalco, the municipal center of Pedro Ascención, in the north of the state

Also in April, the gubernatorial candidate for the Citizens’ Movement (MC), Luis Walton Aburto, cancelled his proselytizing tour in the Mountain region, after he had been intercepted together with his cabinet by an armed group in the municipal center of Chilapa de Álvarez.

In mid-March, Aidé Nava González, candidate of the Party for Democratic Revolution (PRD) for the mayorship of Ahuacuotzingo, located below the Mountain region, was found dead in the surroundings of the Tecoanapa community, near where she had been taken by armed subjects days prior.

To date, the authorities believe these violent acts to be localized, and that there still exist the adequate conditions for elections next month.

In a communique published at the beginning of May, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights warned that the “violence has no limits, and the lack of capacity of the authorities to confront it is evident.  The political class finds itself trapped within its own labyrinth.  It fell into the same claws of the crow that gave birth to it, and it has had to submit itself to the very laws of barbarism which it has itself imposed.  Guerrero is a territory mined by violence.  There is no place there that escapes control by organized crime […].  The weakness of State institutions contrasts with the strength of criminal organizations, whose power has been demonstrated as being capable of executing local and state authorities.  This monster has set down its roots within the very same State structures.  It is a central part of the way in which power is exercised, and in which politics take place […].  Violence traps us, and what has disrupted the electoral process is what the authorities have not desired to see and address.  They prefer to focus their attention on the social organizations that openly have called for there not to be elections.  The State dismisses them for being bold enough to call into question the carrying-out of said elections.  It views them as a great threat, and among the most dangerous groups within this electoral situation.  The State has not attended to their demands in a profound way: that is, the situations that truly imperil the lives of the people.  Nor has it paid attention to the claims that within the political parties candidates develop which respond above all to the interests of organized crime.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Candidatos temen por su seguridad; suplente del PRI-Chilapa rehúye postulación (Excelsior, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Guerrero, en medio de la tormenta. (Centro de derechos humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Nueva Alianza lamenta el asesinato de cuatro miembros en Guerrero (CNN México, 4 de mayo de 2015)

Sicarios preguntaron por líder criminal antes de ejecutar a candidato en Guerrero (Proceso, 4 de mayo de 2015)

La violencia del narco amenaza las elecciones al sur de México (El País, 4 de mayo de 2015)

“Violencia en Guerrero, focalizada”, Ortega descarta crisis en elecciones(CNN México, 2 de mayo)

Grupo armado intercepta y encañona a Luis Walton en Chilapa (Proceso, 25 de abril de 2015)

Hallan decapitada a precandidata perredista a edil de Ahuacuotzingo (La Jornada, 12 de marzo de 2015)


International/National: Northern Command suspends part of its military assistance to Mexico

May 16, 2015

Seal_of_the_United_States_Northern_Command

Declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the U.S. that have been published in The Intercept provide access to an October 2014 report from the U.S. military’s Northern Command (Northcom); the document reveals that due to the extrajudicial executions carried out by Batallion 102 in June 2014 in Tlatlaya, Mexico State, Washington suspended some aid that had been earmarked for the Mexican Army.  The same report also addresses the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural School which took place in September 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, in which various public officials were involved: “[this case raises] alarming questions about the generalized character of the cartel violence in the region and the level of complicity with the State.”

The Intercept article notes that, since 2008, the U.S. government has transferred $3 billion in security assistance to Mexico, with much of this having been channelled through the Mérida Initiative, an anti-drug strategy inspired by Plan Colombia.  To this support is added the sale of arms and other police and military equipment (Mexico being the U.S.’s principal Latin American trade partner), which reached $1.15 billion last year.

For more information (in Spanish):

Suspende EU apoyo a batallón del Ejército implicado en el caso Tlatlaya: “The Intercept” (Proceso, 10 de mayo de 2015)

‘‘Preguntas alarmantes’’ de Northcom sobre matanzas y desapariciones en México (La Jornada, 13 de mayo de 2015)

El Departamento de Estado de EU suspende asistencia al Batallón implicado en el caso Tlatlaya (Sin Embargo, 13 de mayo de 2015)


Guerrero/Internacional: Prohiben a Eurocaravana por Ayotzinapa manifestarse en frente de la embajada de México en España

May 16, 2015

DSCF4180

Photo @SIPAZ archive

On May 7 in Madrid, police prohibited a protest that had been planned outside the Mexican Embassy in Spain over the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School Isidro Burgos from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.  Some 50 meters from the embassy, the police closed off access to the march attended by more than a hundred person, being a peaceful protest led by relatives and representatives of the disappeared youth who are visiting Europe to demand justice from the Mexican State and the return with life of the 43 students.  “The demand for the presentation with life of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural School who were disappeared by the Mexican State last September continues to be valid,” stressed Román Hernández, from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, during a press-conference held with members of the EuroCaravana43 in Madrid. Hernández added that in Mexico there is a “human-rights crisis” and he denounced that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto tends toward repudiation of international oversight in terms of human-rights violations.

Beyond this, parents of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa and people in solidarity have called on the world to sign a letter to the European Parliament calling for a review of the observance of treaties with Europe to which Mexico is a signatory.  The letter mentions that “the European Union and the member-states have signed a treaty of association with Mexico, and accordingly they must take responsibility for the complete execution of international law.  For this reason, we call for the creation of a Specialized Commission for the Investigation of the participation of the Mexican State in the murder of 6 individuals in Guerrero State and the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.”

The Facebook page “EuroCaravana 43 Ayotzinapa” denounces the responsibility of the German State for the disappearance of the students, given the illegal arms sale prosecuted by a German firm in Mexico.  Heckler & Koch, the corporation in question, sent thousands of weapons to Mexico illegally, as authorities from the surrounding region of Cologne have determined in an investigation that was published in local media on 7 May.  According to these findings, Heckler & Koch sold 9,472 G-36 rifles to Mexico between 2003 and 2011.  4,767 of these reached Jalisco, Guerrero, Chiapas, and Chihuahua states without official authorization.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impiden protesta por Ayotzinapa en Embajada Mexicana en España (UNO Oaxaca, 7 de mayo de 2015)

Invitación a firmar carta dirigida al Parlamento Europeo (change.org)

Confirma Alemania envío ilegal de armas a México (La Jornada, 7 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (28 de abril de 2015)

Guerrero/International: Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe (24 April 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


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

May 16, 2015

Quinto Encuentro Indígena, Campesino y Popular (@CODEP)

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

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

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

For more information (in Spanish):

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

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

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


National/International: International organizations call Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists into question

May 16, 2015

Mecanismo

In a communique published on 29 April, international human-rights organizations expressed their concern that the National Mechanism for the Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico is “leaderless,” putting at risk its beneficiaries and applicants.  This acephalous situation has to do with the resignations in February and March of 2015 of Víctor Manuel Serrato, former director of human rights, and Lía Limón, subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights at the Governance Ministry (SEGOB).

The groups warn that, “though Roberto Campa Cifraín has been named as the new subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights, nearly two months have passed since the departure of the director on human rights, and there is little clarity regarding when this position will be covered once again in a permanent fashion.  The absence of management within the institution puts the Mechanism under a great deal of pressure and makes difficult the function for which it was established, thus increasing risk to human-rights defenders and journalists (both beneficiaries and applicants).”

The International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Jass  (Associates for Justice), the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Peace Brigades International (PBI), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) have similarly expressed consternation amidst the serious lack of implementation of the Mechanism due to reduced budgets (according to members from the Consultative Council, the analysts within the Mechanism have themselves had to cover their travel expenses since October 2014), the lack of a physical space within the institute’s office to attend to beneficiaries and applications, the lack of follow-up training provided to the members of the Mechanism who work on temporary contracts.  They have also pointed to the lack of clarity in terms of criteria for review of cases, the lack of preventative measures, and the impunity in the cases of attacks on human-rights defenders and journalists.

To address these problems, the organizations make the following recommendations: to find a replacement director on human rights, to guarantee greater transparency within the operations of the Mechanism, in terms of the criteria that are used to accept or reject cases, and considering the follow-up that is done when precautionary measures are provided, as well as to improve the means by which the analyses of risk are carried out, to respond in a timely fashion to applications, and to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human-rights defenders and journalists “who are at risk as a result of their legitimate work, and who find themselves in high-risk situations during this latest crisis of leadership and the other problems that have been identified in terms of the implementation of the Mechanism for Protection.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Acéfalo” el mecanismo de protección a activistas y comunicadores, denuncian ONG (Proceso, 30 de abril de 2015

Mecanismo de protección acéfalo pone en alto riesgo a defensores y periodistas: Brigadas de Paz (Página3, 30 de abril de 2015)

Comunicado conjunto: Organizaciones internacionales identifican fallas preocupantes en la implementación del Mecanismo Nacional de Protección a Personas Defensoras y Periodistas en México (OSC, 29 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)


National: Mexico, second-worst country in terms of impunity

April 24, 2015

Presentación IGI 2015 (@UDLAP)

IGI 2015 presentation (@UDLAP)

On April 20, the results of the 2015 Global Impunity Index (IGI) were presented, by the University of the Americas in Puebla (UDLAP).  The study’s authors concluded that Philippines, Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, and Russia are the worst countries in terms of impunity–in this order.  It should be stressed, nonetheless, that the analysis of official data regarding security, justice, and human rights was applied to only 59 countries, not the 193 member-nations of the United Nations, given that 134 lack the requisite systematic information.

The report establishes a series of recommendations: for example, the need to have more judges in the justice system (the index estimates an average of 17 judges per 100,000 citizens, while Mexico has only 4 per 100,000), or the fact that “it is not necessary to invest more resources to expand the number of police, but rather this should be focused on the effective guarantee of their actions,” especially when “a deficiency is seen in nearly half of the population arrested without charge (46%).”

For more information (in Spanish):

México ocupa el lugar 58 de 59 países en materia de impunidad (UDLAP, 20 de abril de 2015)

Alertan por niveles de impunidad en México (El Universal, 21 de abril de 2015)

México es el segundo país con mayor impunidad en el mundo, según informe(CNN México, 21 de abril de 2015)

La Impunidad en México (El País, 21 de abril de 2015)

México, el segundo país con más altos índices de impunidad (sólo debajo de Filipinas) (Animal Político, 20 de abril de 2015)

México, segundo lugar en Índice Global de Impunidad (La Jornada, 20 de abril de 2015)


Guerrero/International: Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe

April 24, 2015

image1-1024x965-e1429152230320

Photo @animalpolitico.com

After holding a meeting with Stravos Lambardini, representative for human rights from the European Union, the father of a normalist student, an Ayotzinapa student, and a member of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights departed on 15 April to Europe.  Between that time and 19 May, the brigade plans to visit 18 cities in 13 countries to inform the European community about the continuing struggles of the parents for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.  Meetings will be held with student communities, collectives, social organizations, and unionists, while there will also be held marches and rallies in front of Mexican embassies and consulates.  Talks will also be given at universities.

In a communique, Tlachinollan explains that “included within the objectives of the European brigade is support for the demands of the parents that investigative liens be opened regarding the responsibility of the Mexican Army and the federal police in the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, as well as to stress the international responsibility of the European governments for the grave human-rights violations committed against the students, for they have signed bilateral security and trade agreements with Mexico.  This has meant the sale of arms and training of the Mexican police and military, despite the fact that human rights are so violated in Mexico.”

“We seek real guarantees of non-repetition.  These we must construct among ourselves, with the peoples and communities, together with social organizations and collectives.  We cannot ask for these guarantees from the very same governmental institutions that contribute to human-rights violations,” says Omar García, a member of the Ayotzinapa Student Committee and a survivor of the 26 September attack.  He indicated as well that the tour seeks to bring the movement to the global sphere: “on this occasion, our counterparts in Europe are social and human-rights organizations, collectives, autonomous media (or however they are called), and organized civil society.  We come to express our gratitude for all the support, and to insist that it is necessary for us from below to continue to organize ourselves toward the transformation of this entire system of power and corruption that is based on looting, racism, exploitation, and repression against our peoples.  We must do this together, from our countries of origin, coordinated and organized.  This way, while the powerful have globalized plundering, we have the sacred right of globalizing resistance, dignified rage, and joyful rebelliousness.”

For more information (in Spanish):

COMUNICADO | Recorre Europa brigada de Ayotzinapa (México) por la presentación con vida de los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos ( Tlachinollan, 15 de abril de 2015)

Brigada por Ayotzinapa viaja a Europa; visitarán 13 países para exigir justicia (Animal Político, 15 de abril de 2015)

Comisión de Ayotzinapa denunciará en 13 países de Europa la crisis de derechos humanos en el país (El Sur, 16 de abril de 2015)

Padres de los 43 viajan a la Unión Europea para informar caso Aytozinapa en embajadas de 13 países (Revolución 3.0, 16 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (6 de marzo de 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


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