Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike

March 24, 2019

Presos.png(@Chiapas Paralelo)

A group of seven indigenous prisoners, held in three prisons in Chiapas, joined the hunger strike that began on March 15th with another group of six prisoners. All of them demand their freedom, better prison conditions, and justice for acts of torture committed against them. Some have been imprisoned for 15 years, without receiving a sentence.

The lawyer of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights Center (Frayba), Gilberto Hernandez, explained that they have reviewed the files of dozens of inmates, and in at least 60 cases there is evidence of arbitrary detention and torture as a method to obtain a guilty plea to crimes that they may not have been committed. Even so, he stressed that in the majority of cases, judges issue condemnatory sentences, violating due process. The most vulnerable to this type of situation are the indigenous, since in many cases they are monolingual and have few economic resources, he stressed. For this reason, Frayba requested that “the right to protest, meeting and expression of indigenous people on hunger strike is respected, investigation is initiated for possible acts of torture within the prisons, and adequate conditions are guaranteed for the people on strike, taking allowing for physical space, medical review and visits of relatives and advisors.”

However, Alberto Patishtan Gomez, founder of the Prisoners and Ex- Prisoners of Solidatity of the Voice of El Amate of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym), denounced that the prisoners who are on hunger strike in the Center for Social Reintegration for Sentenced Persons (Cerss in its Spanish acronym) No. 5 have not been able to receive any visits.

He held the director of Cerss 5, Juan Jose Trujillo Cruz, responsible as he remembered months ago when other compañeros were in the same situation, he sent a group of shock troops to break up the peaceful movement, “it is not worth a thing that we are supposedly living in a state of the fourth transformation, we are seeing the opposite.” For the same reason, he and other former prisoners demanded the dismissal of the director of Cerss No. 5 as well as the intervention of the president of the Republic.

For more information in Spanish:

Ex presos solicitan destitución de director del Cerss número 5 (Reporte Ciudadano, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Suman 13 los reos indígenas en huelga de hambre (Chiapas Paralelo, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Siete indígenas chiapanecos realizan huelga de hambre; hay un preso sin sentencia tras 15 años (Video, Aristegui Noticias, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Niegan visitas a presos en huelga de hambre (Chiapas Minuto a minuto, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Presos indígenas, sobrevivientes de tortura, en huelga de hambre en el Cereso de Comitán (comunicado, 19 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate

(March 15, 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)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4, 2019)

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National: No Cancellations but No More Mining Concessions in Mexico – AMLO

March 24, 2019

Mining.pngPhoto @ Desinformemonos

In a press conference, the president of the republic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said “that the Federal Government will respect all the mining concessions in the country and the permits will not be revoked.” He announced that during his government no more agreements of this type will be signed, since more than 25% of the national territory has been given over in the past 36 years. He said that since his campaign he had made the commitment that the concessions would not be revoked. AMLO guaranteed however that the communities where mining is carried out will benefit from the taxes paid by the mining companies.

He also mentioned that “it will seek that mining companies, particularly those of Canadian origin, carry out clean exploitation and act as they are obliged to do in their country.” “That the miner is paid well, that they pay the amount of taxes they pay there, and that they do not pollute.”

The statements contradict others issued by AMLO, in the municipality of Minatitlan, state of Colima, in 2014, which were published through the official website of the president through which he said that when the National Regeneration Movement triumphed, the concessions would be thoroughly reviewed for the mining exploitation that had been given to foreign companies. That wasbecause, he said, the riches of Mexico would have to be for the benefit of Mexicans, not foreigners.

Several newspapers also stressed that in February, during the Mexico Mining Forum 2019, the Undersecretary of Mining of the Ministry of Economy reported that “the cancellation of more than five thousand mining concessions in the country is being analyzed.”

Meanwhile, Miguel Mijangos Martínez, spokesman for Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) stated that “the policy of the federal government has very mild nuances. If we see the problem of the extractive model as a whole, mining, water, biodiversity, fracking (hydraulic fracturing), gas … there are no significant changes. In REMA we think that the positions of power were reinforced, because now there are former entrepreneurs in public positions, (and that is) a position of advantage against the communities”, according to La Jornada. It stated that more than teo thousand rural communities in about 50 municipalities of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua and San Luis Potosi have declared themselves free of mining through legal actions.

Many of these communities continue with their demands for the cancellation of concessions in their territories, among them the Zapotec peoples of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca and the Wixarikas of San Luis Potosi. The latter hope to be able to engage in dialogue with the president on a final judgment given the injunctions that were processed in 2012 against the 78 concessions granted to two Canadian mining companies during the Felipe Calderon administration, which cover 70% of the 140,000 hectares of the protected natural area of Wirikuta.

For more information in Spanish:

Prevén otra ola de despojos de mineras y petroleras en México (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Al triunfo de MORENA, se revisarán las concesiones de explotación minera en México, asegura AMLO (Lopez Obrador, 21 de marzo de 2014)

No se otorgarán nuevas concesiones mineras: AMLO (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Impuestos por extracción minera llegarán a comunidades, asegura AMLO (La Jornada, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Wixárikas esperan diálogo con AMLO para proteger su territorio de mineras (Vanguardia, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Exigen a AMLO la cancelación inmediata y definitiva de las concesiones mineras en Oaxaca (El Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco “20 de junio” (FPDS) exige que se decalre el municipio de Acacoyagua “Territorio Libre de Minería” (26 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Zoque People’s Assembly against extractivism (September 20, 2018)

Oaxaca: Here we say “Yes to Life, No to Mining” – Magdalena Teitipac is still fighting for its territory (April 7, 2018)

Chiapas: No to Mining Press Conference (September 30, 2017)

 


Chiapas: 30th Anniversary of “Frayba”

March 24, 2019

Frayba.pngPhoto @ SIPAZ

On March 19th, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC in its Spanish acronym, better known as Frayba) presented on its 30th anniversary the report “Facing Violence, the Spiral of Struggles and esistance”. The report gives a historical perspective of the journey of Frayba and the panorama of struggle of the peoples in Chiapas in defense of their human rights. It details among other topics the serious situation of violence against women, the process of defending the Zoque territory and the municipality of Chicomuselo, and a systematization on the subject of torture.

“To the women and men who, with their path, have flooded life with dignity, and given meaning of the path of Frayba, that next to/beside you, pulsates the earth, with its resistances that make the light and the rebellions that summon us not to desist from the new world that is emerging,” Frayba recalled.

Frayba was created in 1989, at the invitation of the then bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruiz García, and with the passage of time became an indespensable reference for the defense of human rights, in particular indigenous peoples, not only locally, but nationally and internationally.

On the 27th and 28th of this month, as part of the anniversary, a “Festival of Human Rights” will also take place in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

For more information in Spanish:

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas cumple 30 años en defensa de pueblos y comunidades indígenas (Chiapas Paralelo, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Frente a la violencia, la espiral de luchas y resistencias: Informe Frayba (Frayba, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Festejan en Chiapas los 30 años del Frayba; clérigos resaltan legado de Samuel Ruiz García (Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Frayba entrega informe de derechos humanos (Cuarto Poder, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Crisis de derechos humanos, legado de Peña y Velasco en Chiapas: Frayba (La Jornada, 20 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Frayba Presents its Annual Report “Paths of Resistance” (December 28, 2016)

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


National: CNI, EZLN and Indigenous Organizations Announce “Zapata Lives, Samir Lives, The Struggle Continues”

March 21, 2019

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In a communiqué published on March 16th, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym), the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) and several indigenous organizations called for days of struggle called “Zapata Lives, Samir Lives, the Struggle Continues” taking place on April 9th and 10th, within the framework of the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata “by the political regime that, despite its “transformations “, continues to govern us to this day.”

More specifically, they convened a National Assembly between the Indigenous Peoples of the National Indigenous Congress / Indigenous Council of Government and the adherents of the Sixth, Support Networks for the Indigenous Council of Government and Collectives and Organizations that fight and organize against capitalism, to be held on April 9th in Amilcingo, municipality of Temoac, Morelos. Similarly, they called for a national and international mobilization 100 years after the assassination of General Emiliano Zapata Salazar, in Chinameca, Morelos, on April 10th.

For more information in Spanish:

CONVOCATORIA A LAS JORNADAS DE LUCHA “ZAPATA VIVE, SAMIR VIVE, LA LUCHA SIGUE” A 100 AÑOS DEL ASESINATO DEL GENERAL EMILIANO ZAPATA SALAZAR (CNI, 16 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

National: Controversy between EZLN and AMLO Supporters Floods Social Networks    (January 18, 2019)

Oaxaca : CODEDI denuncia hostigamiento militar ; CNI exige que cese la represión en su contra (November 1, 2018)

Chiapas: Second Assembly of National Indigenous Congress (CNI) (October 22, 2018)


National/International: UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Calls on AMLO Government to Comply with International Standards on Indigenous Consultation for Megaprojects in their Territories

March 19, 2019

UN.pngVictoria Tauli Corpuz (@UNO)

In her “Technical Note on Consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico” published on March 5th, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, called on the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to comply with the international standards of the indigenous consultation regarding megaprojects in their territories. Given the “investment projects announced by the Government that could affect the rights of indigenous peoples and in particular, the intention to conduct citizen consultations to gather the opinion of the national population in general on the execution or not of those projects”, she said, “there is a lack of clarity on how the planned consultations will take into account the obligations of the Mexican State to implement specific processes of prior consultation with the potentially affected indigenous peoples in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent.” She stressed that “the processes of citizen consultation designed for the national population in general do not guarantee the safeguards of the rights of the indigenous peoples enshrined in the international standards of rights of the indigenous peoples”; specific rights “that derive from the distinct nature of the cultural models and histories of indigenous peoples, and because current democratic processes are usually not enough to address the particular concerns of peoples, who are generally marginalized in the political sphere.”

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz added that “through the publication of the technical note, I would like to contribute to the understanding and due implementation, by representatives of the State and indigenous peoples, of the international standards of human rights contained in the Declaration of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples, whose adoption in 2007 was decidedly driven by Mexico, Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization and other international instruments and jurisprudence regarding the rights of indigenous peoples to consultation and prior informed consent that bind the State of Mexico.”

She said she would visit Mexico from March 11th to 16th, and that she was willing to meet with representatives of the federal government to address the issue.

For more information in Spanish:

Nota técnica sobre la consulta y el consentimiento libre, previo e informado de los pueblos indígenas en México (ONU, 28 de febrero de 2019)

Relatora de la ONU recuerda al gobierno federal que consulta indígena es obligatoria (Desinforménonos, 16 de marzo de 2019)

Consultas ciudadanas de Federación no garantizan derechos de pueblos: ONU (Ángulo 7, 14 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples Presents Report in Mexico City One Year after her Visit (October 22nd, 2018)

National / International: Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations presents report on Mexico in Geneva, Switzerland (25/09/2018)

National/International: UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Publishes Report after Visit to Mexico (21/08/2018)

National/International: Visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Mexico Ends (23/11/2017)

National–Mexico: Visit of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (12/11/2017)

 


Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate

March 15, 2019

Diego.png

On July 18th, after six years and eight months in prison, Diego Lopez Mendez, an indigenous Tseltal native from San Juan Cancuc, was released after an intense national and international campaign by his relatives, friends, activists and human rights defenders, who alleged that he was tortured to incriminate himself for a crime he did not commit. Lopez Mendez was part of the organization “Solidarios de la Voz del Amate”, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and in the last stage, he was imprisoned in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

In 2018, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights documented thirteen complaints of torture of six Tseltals, six Tsotsiles and one Chol, who are in prison. It affirmed that Diego’s case makes visible a recurrent practice of the ministerial authorities of trying to legitimize arbitrary arrest carried out in a context of torture as well as the “disinterest of the judicial authorities of being a counterweight in charge of reviewing the ministerial actions.”

For more information in Spanish:

Liberan a Diego López, indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse en 2012 (Proceso, 12 de marzo de 2019)

COMUNICADO A PROPÓSITO DE LA LIBERACIÓN DE DIEGO LÓPEZ MÉNDEZ (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todos, 12 de marzo de 2019)

Celebran libertad de Diego López Méndez (Cuarto Poder, 13 de marzo de 2019)

Dan libertad a indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse (Regeneración, 13 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4th, 2019)

Chiapas: Voice of Amate Supporter Moved to High Security Prison (November 27th, 2018)


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

March 14, 2019

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On the first weekend of March, the third assembly of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym) took place in Mexico City, with 288 participants among delegates, councilors and guests from various towns in Campeche, Mexico City, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Sonora, Tabasco and Yucatan.

In the final pronouncement, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym), the CNI and the CIG considered that the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is nothing more than the “continuity” of the neoliberal governments that have held power since Miguel de la Madrid. They even stated that the current government “deepens neoliberalism”, even “with more brutality and cynicism if possible.”

They also denounced that “the neoliberal government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has its sights set on our towns and territories, where, with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, a network of co-optation and disorganization is laid, opening the way to a war that has an industrial name, made up of projects and violence, which, together with the other wars and war networks, spread a dark web of death in the original peoples of the country.”

They said that, with their “simulated consultations”, the new government only intends to impose megaprojects throughout the country. They made it clear that “our people, in exercise of their fundamental rights of autonomy and territory say NO to policies and megaprojects of dispossession, death and destruction, as well as to the consultations organized by bad governments to obtain the consent of our peoples to said policies and said megaprojects.” They said that, “in the exercise of our territorial rights and autonomy, we say that these megaprojects will be faced with the will of our peoples.”

They affirmed that the supposed transformations are taking place “in function of the interests of the oligarchies and those that have the power, which are increasingly smaller and bigger, that do not cease to live off the oppression, exploitation, and destruction of the same ones as always.” Instead, they stressed that “for the indigenous peoples the only ‘true change’ is the increase in lies, deceit, persecution, threats, imprisonment, dispossession, assassinations, ridicule and contempt, human exploitation and the destruction of nature; in sum: the annihilation of the collective life that we are.”

Among other more specific denunciations, they condemned the murder of Samir Flores in Morelos who was fighting against the Huexca thermoelectric plant: “Samir was killed by the neoliberal regime; we do not know if the government, if the entrepreneurs, if their criminal cartels, or, if the three together. The offers made by AMLO, not to those below, but to the owners of money and power, the veiled threats against those who defend life, laid the foundations of the murderous assassination.”

They finally expressed that “below, in all the geographies that the original peoples are, we continue to sow autonomy, we build and deploy power from below in what are also networks of networks, but of resistance and rebellion, which are also the mirrors not only of the peoples that we are the CNI – CIG and the EZLN, but many others that sow the hope and of which this is our mirror, our third national assembly.”

For more information in Spanish:

La Cuarta Transformación es más brutal que los anteriores gobiernos: EZLN (Radio Formula, 8 de marzo de 2019)

El gobierno de AMLO “profundiza” el neoliberalismo, acusan el EZLN y el CNI (Proceso, 7 de marzo de 2019)

Megaproyectos se toparán con voluntad de pueblos: EZLN y Congreso Nacional Indígena (El Universal, 7 de marzo de 2019)

¡SAMIR VIVE, LA LUCHA SIGUE! PRONUNCIAMIENTO DE LA TERCERA ASAMBLEA NACIONAL DEL CONGRESO NACIONAL INDÍGENA, EL CONCEJO INDÍGENA DE GOBIERNO Y EL EZLN (Comunicado CNI y EZLN, 6 de marzo de 2019)

El Congreso Nacional Indígena: balances y desafíos (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Controversy between EZLN and AMLO Supporters Floods Social Networks    (January 18th, 2019)

Oaxaca : CODEDI denuncia hostigamiento militar ; CNI exige que cese la represión en su contra (1 de noviembre de 2018)

Chiapas: Second Assembly of National Indigenous Congress (CNI) (October 22nd, 2018)

Chiapas/Mexico: Invitation to the Second National Assembly of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG) (September 18th, 2018)