Chiapas: Six Prisoners Resume Indefinite Hunger Strike in San Cristobal and Comitan Prisons

May 17, 2019

Hunger strike@SIPAZ

On May 13th, a press conference was held by the organizations The Voice of Indigenous in Resistance (La Voz de Indigenas en Resistencia), The True Voice of Amate (La Voz Verdadera del Amate) and Viniketik in Resistance (Viniketik en Resistencia), their families, the working group No Estamos Todxs and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights to announce the resumption of an indefinite hunger strike by six people “in the absence of an adequate response from the government.” Six indigenous prisoners had begun a hunger strike on March 15th this year, demanding their immediate release and denouncing the conditions of life inside the prison in terms of food, health, security and justice. Shortly after, another seven prisoners joined the strike.

In a subsequent press conference, on April 12th, they announced that their hunger strike became a partial fast while a negotiating table with the government was opened. However, this process did not prosper: “We make public that our relatives and we have been the object of mockery and object of lies on the part of the Government by named: Ismael Brito Mazariegos together with the President of the Reconciliation Table, because last April 15th they asked our relatives to lift the hunger strike in exchange for the review of our files and followed by our freedom, but we gave an “show of trust” demonstrating our trust by making the strike a fast, eating every three days, so that a period of 20 working days was given. The Reconciliation Board emphasized that it would take them ten days, but like any official they do not care about our physical health, but we have not seen satisfactory answers from them.” The prisoners added that “they have faced discrimination and have witnessed that the government did not comply with the necessary measures to guarantee access to justice” and that “they do not have an adequate defense, because they are in a situation of cultural, social and economic marginalization.”

In addition, they questioned the absence of an “in-depth investigation” of the accusations of torture and fabrication of files that is “an everyday practice” and “habitual with which it locks people up and that immediately dismantles all that discourse of ‘Rule of Law’ with which fill the mouth and bags (sic.).”” The State seeks to perpetuate torture with its denial,” they denounced.

The conference took place 18 days after the presentation of the “Alternative Report of Civil Society Organizations of Mexico” before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) on torture in Mexico. This report confirms that “there are structural causes, scale and specific characteristics of torture committed against indigenous people and peoples.” The UNCAT will present its conclusions on May 17th.

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado de regreso a la huelga de hambre ante la falta de respuesta adecuada del gobierno (Grupo de trabajo No estamos Todxs el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Inician presos huelga de hambre en Chiapas (El Universal el 13 de mayo de 2019)

Reos indígenas reinician huelga de hambre; alegan detención ilegal y tortura (El Proceso el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncias por tortura no se investigan en Chiapas (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas el 13 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)

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Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons

May 15, 2019

Hunger strikePrisoners’ relatives (@“No estamos todxs” Working Group)

On May 7th, the “No estamos todxs” Working Group published a statement on the situation of prisoners on hunger strike almost 60 days after starting it.

It recalled that on March 6th, six prisoners in different prisons of the State of Chiapas initiated this action demanding “justice and immediate and unconditional release,” with seven more inmates initiating an indefinite strike three days later. At the same time, relatives and friends, ex-prisoners and different civil and social organizations began “dissemination, accompaniment and denunciation activities, adding to the same demands.”

The Working Group again denounced that “the legal processes of these people are plagued by irregularities and serious violations of their human rights. Arbitrary arrests without arrest warrants, humiliation of dignity, fabrication of crimes, statements extracted under torture, lack of translator, loss of files, violation of the right to an adequate defense, delays of up to 14 years in obtaining a sentence, lack of presence of the accusatory party, among others.”

Before the strike, the state government opened a dialogue process between March 20th and 29th to address the following issues: review and study of the files and files; improvements in the conditions of the strikers (ending isolation, degrading treatment, threats and coercion); as well as investigation and immediate, effective and adequate documentation of the cases of allegations of torture. The relatives left the negotiating table after that, noting in a press conference “the discrimination they felt on the part of government interlocutors and the lack of real interest in solving the demand for freedom.” They demanded the state and federal government to create a “suitable space, with competent authorities and decision-making capacity that could fully meet the demands of this process of struggle”

On April 10th, a new process of dialogue began in which the state government asked to review the files without additional “pressure” from the strikers. By that time, 20 people were participating in the process, and “symbolically” agreed to give the authorities 20 days to show progress, a deadline that ends on May 13th. Meanwhile the strikers decided to eat food every third day “so that their agency has the capacity to return to the hunger strike in case their demands are not heard.”

The Working Group affirmed that to date “beyond the administrative management of the conflict itself, there has been no progress in concrete responses. Alluding to the workload, the holiday period, the difficulty of the agenda and communication problems with other agents necessary for progress, they have been delaying the processes and avoiding giving concrete answers about the real situation of the evolution of the procedures to find a solution to the conflict.”

It is worried that, “there is nothing to suggest an exit other than the extreme action of a hunger strike demanding justice and freedom. Everything points to the integrity, health, safety, life of these people, as well as their freedom, it is not something that is on the agenda of the government. The changes, of which they boast so much in their speeches, do not seem to coincide with the reality of their actions and that the only alternative in the search for justice is to risk life to try to achieve it.”

For more information in Spanish:

A casi 60 días del inicio de la huelga de hambre en los penales del Estado de Chiapas y sin respuestas concretas en la resolución del conflicto (Grupo de Trabajo “No estamos todxs”, 7 de mayo de 2019)

Sin respuesta, presos indígenas se mantienen en huelga de hambre (Sie7e de Chiapas, 8 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)


Guerrero: CNI Denounces Kidnapping and Murder of Two Members

May 11, 2019

CNI.png@Aristegui Noticias

On May 5th, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) denounced “the kidnapping and murder of the Nahua council member of the Indigenous Council of Government Jose Lucio Bartolo Faustino and of the delegate of the National Indigenous Congress Modesto Verales Sebastian, of the Nahua indigenous communities of Xicotlan and Buenavista respectively.” The two victims participated on May 4 in a meeting with the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ) in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, at approximately 3 pm. On their return trip they were attacked “by narco-paramilitary groups that operate in the region with the complicity and protection of the three levels of bad government, which with contempt and lies pretend to meet the demands of security and justice of the indigenous communities.”

The identities of the deceased were confirmed by the Prosecutor’s Office that initiated an investigation into the murder by firearm as the vehicle of Jose Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastian was found with bullet entry holes.

Both participated in the collection of signatures for the CNI presidency candidate, Maria de Jesus Patricio, Marichuy, as well as in mobilizations and meetings of the CNI/EZLN. In addition, they organized the Community Police in their communities “to resist violence, extortion and the imposition of the poppy cultivation by two criminal groups, Los Ardillos and Los Rojos, who control the municipal presidencies of the region with the complicity of the Mexican Army and the state and municipal police and even succeeded in imposing, at some point, one of its leaders as president of the Congress of the state of Guerrero.”

“We denounce the intensification of neoliberal repression against the peoples, nations and indigenous tribes that do not agree with their death plans in Guerrero and throughout Mexico, nor with the violence they use to impose them and repress, kidnap, disappear and assassinate those of us who decide to plant a new world from the indigenous geographies that we are”, the statement concluded.

For more information in Spanish:

COMUNICADO DEL CNI-CIG Y EL EZLN ANTE EL COBARDE SECUESTRO Y ASESINATO DE LOS COMPAÑEROS DEL CONCEJO INDÍGENA Y POPULAR DE GUERRERO – EMILIANO ZAPATA (Enlace Zapatista el 5 de mayo de 2019)

Dos activistas indígenas son asesinados en Guerrero; el CNI, vinculado al EZLN, culpa a AMLO (Sin Embargo el 5 de mayo de 2019)

“Narcomilitares” emboscan y asesinan a líderes del CNI en Guerrero (Grupo Fórmula el 6 de mayo de 2019)

Asesinan a dos activistas indígenas del CNI en Chilpancingo, Guerrero (Político el 5 de mayo de 2019)

Matan a dos integrantes del Congreso Nacional Indígena en Guerrero (Aristegui Noticias el 5 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: denuncian dos comunidades choles de Salto de Agua amenazas, persecución y hostigamientos (El 22 de abril de 2019)

National: Third Assembly of National Indigenous Congress and Indigenous Council of Government (CNI-CIG) in Mexico City (March 14, 2019)

Chiapas : CNI denuncia amenazas y agresiones en la zona Norte (El 16 de agosto de 2018)

Chiapas: denuncia aumenta de violencia en los municipios de Sitalá y Chilón (El 6 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas: A year since the “unjust” incarceration of communal defender from Salto de Agua: Chiapas Denuncia Pública (October 8, 2015)


National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples

May 10, 2019

Train.png@CC News

On April 30th, the National Fund for Tourism Promotion (FONATUR in its Spanish acronym) published the bidding rules for the contracting of services for the basic engineering of the Maya Train, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government project that will connect several tourist sites of the southeast of the country. The tender published in Compranet is national and aims to contract the basic engineering of the seven railway sections that make up the 1,525 km of the project, Fonatur said.

It was opened without having carried out an environmental impact study or consultations with nearby indigenous populations as proposed by both national legislation and several other international treaties signed by Mexico, including Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In press conference, AMLO affirmed, however, that it is valid to begin this process, without taking into account these factors. He declared “that there is no problem because citizens want the train to be built” and that “of course there is dissidence and it must be respected, but in democracy it is the majority that decides, minorities are respected, but it is the majority opinion that should have the ability to decide at the end. That is what is being done”, he emphasized. In this same conference, AMLO also explained that the Maya Train, the Trans-isthmus corridor, among other “regional development projects” will serve as “curtains” to “capture the migratory flow in transit” to the United States and “anchor those fleeing from the poverty” in these regions.

A week before, Josefa Gonzalez Blanco, head of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT in its Spanish acronym) acknowledged that the projects of the Mayan Train, the Trans-isthmus Train, the Dos Bocas Refinery in Tabasco and the New Mexico International Airport in Santa Lucia, still do not have environmental impact studies.

For more information in Spanish:

Fonatur lanza licitación para diseño del Tren Maya (La Jornada, 30 de abril de 2019)

Válido proceso de licitación aún sin consulta : AMLO (El Universal, 1ero de mayo de 2019)

AMLO defiende licitación del Tren Maya sin consultar a pueblos indígenas (El Sol de México, 1ero de mayo de 2019)

Abren licitación del tren maya, sin previa consulta a pueblos indígenas (Chiapas Paralelo, 2 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13th, 2018)

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)

Mexico: proposal from future AMLO government – Mayan Train to tour the southern states of the country and attract more tourism  (September 15th, 2018)


Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Increased Militarization in Zapatista Territories

May 10, 2019

zapatistas.png

In a bulletin published on May 2nd, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) reported that “since December 2018, the Mexican state increased the militarization of the territories of indigenous peoples bases of support of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (BAEZLN in its Spanish acronym) especially in the region of the Lacandon Jungle as part of the continuation of the counterinsurgency strategy to erode autonomy projects in Chiapas.” It considered that this increase shows that “the Mexican State reaffirms its commitment to war in a region where Indigenous Peoples build a Life with Dignity.”

It indicated that the Center, through the documentation compiles by the Civil Observation Brigades (BriCO in its Spanish acronym), registered that since the end of 2018, the number of incursions by the Mexican Army through the headquarters of the Good Government Council (JBG in its Spanish acronym) to La Esperanza, in La Realidad Caracol (official municipality of Las Margaritas) had doubled. It documented that there were “19 land patrols, (with soldiers armed with machine guns) and five flights by helicopters, from January to April 2019. Of concern is the regularization of flights over communities and the increase in military movements in the last month.”

It affirmed that “the military incursions constitute acts of intimidation and harassment against the Zapatista Original Peoples in resistance, they represent an aggression against their right to autonomy and represent a risk to the life, integrity and security of the entire population.” It also reported that “so far this year, Frayba recorded two acts of espionage against the BriCo, in the international observation camp located in La Realidad”, [an] action [that] violates the integrity and personal safety of those who monitor human rights violations in the region and whose work is based on the Declaration on the Right and Duty of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Human Rights and Universally Recognized Fundamental Freedoms of the United NationsOrganization”.

This complaint coincides with the one published by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) in a statement on April 10th: “In our mountains and valleys the military, police, paramilitary, and spies, ears and informants have increased. The flights of military aircraft and helicopters have reappeared, as well as artillery vehicles.”

Finally, Frayba called for national and international solidarity “to strengthen the path of peace and respect for human rights facing the risk of a new military offensive to the Zapatista territories.”

For more information in Spanish:

Estado mexicano incrementa militarización en territorios zapatistas (CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 2 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncia Frayba estrategia contra pueblos originarios y EZLN (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Incrementa militarización en territorios zapatistas (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Los de abajo (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncian vigilancia militar en Chicomuselo (27 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Centro de derechos humanos denuncia riesgos ante militarización de Chilón (25 de enero de 2019)


Oaxaca: Rights Defender Shot Dead in Center of Capital

May 9, 2019

Shot(@MX Politico)

On April 12th, Juan Quintanar Gomez, 53, a lawyer and human rights defender who advised indigenous communities in various agrarian conflicts (including Villa Sola de Vega), was shot dead near his office in the center of Oaxaca City.

The Center for Human Rights and Advice to Indigenous Peoples (CEDHAPI in its Spanish acronym) reported that Quintanar was transferred to a hospital in the capital in serious condition after receiving at least eight bullet wounds. It noted that in recent days he had received death threats.

CEDHAPI demanded an immediate investigation of the attack and identification of those responsible. It also demanded from the authorities the immediate protection of the life and physical integrity of the lawyer, and other people from his work and family environment. It finally demanded that the government of Oaxaca guarantee the work of the human rights defenders in the state.

For more information in Spanish:

Intentan asesinar a abogado y defensor de derechos humanos (NSS Oaxaca, 12 de abril de 2019)

Atacan a balazos a defensor de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (El Universal, 12 de abril de 2019)

Condena Cedhapi agresión a defensor (NVI Noticias, 13 de abril de 2019)

Balean a Juan Quintanar, defensor de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (SDP Noticias, 14 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: asesinan a defensor del territorio e integrante de Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo (12 de abril de 2019)

Oaxaca: COOA inicia jornada de lucha ante “graves atropellos del Estado” contra los pueblos y organizaciones indígenas (9 de abril de 2019)


Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike

May 7, 2019

Hunger strike.png@SIPAZ

On April 12th, 30 days after the beginning of the hunger strike by 13 prisoners in several prisons in Chiapas, a press conference took place in the cathedral square of San Cristobal de Las Casas, which was convened by the working group “No Estamos Todxs”, the relatives of the prisoners and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.

After a month of consuming only water and honey, the state of the health of the participants on the strike is getting worse. To date, all have lost “between seven and 12 kilos”, some suffering from “prolonged diarrhea” for the quality of honey “at least questionable” according to the families of the prisoners. “We have witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional deterioration of our colleagues. (…) How their faces was transformed, their expression, how their skin was losing color and each time they felt colder due to lack of calories and how each time the fatigue was stronger and more devastating”, informs the working group “No estamos todxs”

They also report several repressive measures suffered by the prisoners. The detainees in the CERSS # 14 are in “semi-isolation” that “does not allow them access to the internal visits of other prisoners, or go out to the patio to take the sun or walk.” In addition to denouncing the lack of attention to several health problems, they also pointed out that several attempts have been made to “persuade prisoners on hunger strike to give up their action, even with repression and beatings, as on March 30th, when the striking prisoners Marcelino Ruiz Gomez and Valdemar Gomez Hernandez of CERSS # 10 suffered an aggression after sewing their mouth.”

Regarding their demands, the prisoners have proposed “to have direct and effective dialogue with a resolutive capacity that could meet the demand for immediate freedom that our colleagues request (…) And it is 20 days that our colleagues want to give so that this negotiating table can carry out the task of studyig the case files.” For the moment, “they are going to turn the hunger strike into a partial fast while waiting for the results, staying even firmer, if that is possible, in the struggle for their freedom”, but “they will return, if needed, with all the strength and determination that is necessary (…) they will not stop, they will not give up, they will not surrender.”

For more information in Spanish:

Palabras de la conferencia de prensa (No estamos todxs, 12 de abril de 2019)

Trece indígenas presos en Chiapas suman 26 días en huelga de hambre (Animal Político, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Presos en Chiapas cumplen tres semanas en huelga de hambre (El 5 de abril de 2019)

Chiapas: Ya suman 13 los presos en huelga de hambre, 21/3/2019

Chiapas : seis presos indígenas inician huelga de hambre (16 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Liberan a Diego López Méndez, preso de la organización Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (13 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)