Mexico: 5 years since the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas

September 11, 2015

La 72 Hogar Refugio Para Personas Migrantes @VICE “La 72,” Refuge Home for Migrants @VICE

Five years ago, on 23 August 2010, 72 bodies of migrants appeared in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. 58 men and 14 women, principally from Central and South America, were kidnapped and executed in a ranch in San Fernando, close to the border with Texas. The indignation over the case was immediate. San Fernando recalled all those who are made invisible during their passage through Mexico in search of a new life. Since that time, the authorities have arrested a number of individuals but have not published information regarding whether anyone has been sentenced. Amnesty International (AI) has warned that the lack of investigation in the case “gives a green light to the criminal groups that terrorize and murder those who cross Mexico in search of security and a better life.” AI also hypothesizes that those responsible belong to criminal gangs, and it suspects that many of these worked in collusion with local security agents.

In Tenosique, Tabasco, the year after these events transpired, in honor of the 72 victims, there was founded the “72 Refuge Home for Migrants,” which provides housing for migrants en route to the U.S. AI specified that, since the massacre in San Fernando, hundreds of other men, women, and children who sought to reach the United States via Mexico have been harassed, disappeared, kidnapped, raped, forced into sexual slavery, and massacred.

For more information (in Spanish):

La historia de la 72: Un mensaje de esperanza frente a masacres de migrantes (VICE, 25 de agosto de 2015)

Masacre en San Fernando: lo que la PGR le oculta a las familias (Proceso, 22 de agosto de 2015)

A 5 años de masacre de 72 migrantes en San Fernando, caso sigue impune: Amnistía Internacional (Animal Político, 22 de agosto de 2015)

Falta de justicia a cinco años de una masacre convierte a México en una ‘zona de riesgo’ para migrantes (Amnistía Internacional, 21 de agosto de 2015)

Denuncia Amnistía impunidad a cinco años de la masacre de San Fernando (Proceso, 21 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Four years after the massacre of San Fernando, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Prisoner from San Cristóbal, Roberto Paciencia, denounces that his charges were fabricated

September 11, 2015

Foto del Cereso 5 de San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ Moysés Zúniga SantiagoPhoto of Cereso 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ Moysés Zúniga Santiago

On 7 August, the prisoner Roberto Paciencia Cruz, held in prison no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, denounced that he has been imprisoned unjustly for 2 years. He asserted that there were witnesses who saw him working on 18 May 2013, when the crime for which he is being held was committed, “but the corresponding authorities did not take into account the testimony of these witnesses.” In a public communique, Paciencia expressed “due to the unjust incarcerations that we continue to suffer each day, we grow isolated from our families. Many people are being held in different prisoners throughout the state and country for not knowing how to speak Spanish and not having resources to hire an adequate lawyer, as happened with me two years ago. I have spent this time imprisoned for a crime that was fabricated.” At the end of his declaration, Paciencia noted that “it is for this reason that I make this public denunciation. I request that the judges review my case, because it is unjust that they would hold me like this. They must release me as soon as possible, because my family is suffering.”

Para más información:

Roberto Paciencia Cruz, preso injustamente, exige su libertad (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 de agosto de 2015)

Guerrero: Representatives of municipalities in the Mountain and Costa Chica regions reject mining exploitation

September 10, 2015

2862421_n_vir1Photo @WRadio

The representatives of the Regional Council of Agrarian Authorities in Defense of Land (CRAADT) of the Mountain and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero have mobilized themselves for the definitive cancellation of the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources by transnational corporations, considering that instead of benefiting local communities, they damage the latter’s health. Beyond this, mining presents serious threats of pollution by cyanide to the Balsas and Papagayo rivers. In a press-conference on 22 July at the offices of the Prodh Center in Mexico City, attended by more than 15 commissioners from communities in the Mountain and Costa Chica Region, the region was declared as being free of mineral exploitation, and those present stressed that, if the planned project would be carried out, it would affect more than 187,000 hectares and more than 100,000 people.

They explained that, this same day, they would submit a manifesto to President Enrique Peña Nieto and the national congress that requests the cancellation of the mining project, beyond demanding respect for the human rights of the peoples who have historically cared for and preserved nature. They express that the struggle will continue, and they denounced that the National Agrarian Registry denies having recognizing the representative nuclei that by law correspond to it, according to the Constitution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran comisariados La Montaña y la Costa Chica territorio libre de minería (La Jornada de Guerrero, 23 de julio de 2015)

Carta abierta a Jaime Martínez Veloz (22 de julio de 2015)

Rechazan trabajos de minería en Guerrero (WRadio, 22 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce 6 years of release of paramilitaries

September 10, 2015

Integrantes de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal y el Frayba @KomanIlelMembers of the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal and Frayba @KomanIlel

On 12 August in a press-conference, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal denounced the construction of impunity through fear, on the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation’s (SCJN) release of the paramilitaries who killed 45 people and four unborn children in 1997 in the Acteal community, Chiapas. They denounced that, for them, “since this day the justice system in Mexico is rotten garbage. For 6 years it has been clear in our memory the ignominy toward the blood of our brothers and sisters massacred in Acteal.” They declare that they have decided to “construct another justice that is sane and human,” and they manifest that they are here “because the Other Justice is built with memory. We are here to denounce impunity.” They also denounce that the Special Prosecutorial office for Indigenous justice has not investigated those responsible for the murder of Manuel López Pérez, who was killed on 23 July with the complicity of local authorities from the municipality of Pantelhó, Chiapas. Beyond this, they distance themselves from the “Pacifist Council of Sowers of Peace” and clarify that this group does not belong to Las Abejas.

Nearly two months after the fact, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights identifies that “there are no significant advances in the investigation and there exists little interest on the part of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Indigenous Justice to identify the perpetrators of these acts.” They also denounce that the justice system in Mexico is “inefficiency, complicit, and profoundly corrupt, in light of the crimes against humanity committed in the country, as has occurred with the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the crimes in Tlatlaya, the murders perpetrated by organized crime and the Mexican State with its Army in Ostula, Michoacán, the femicides that go unpunished in Mexico, the displaced peoples, and the dozens who have been executed extrajudicially, as well as the disappeared who make our lands mourn in pain.”

For more information (in Spanish):

La Otra Justicia se construye con memoria: Abejas de Acteal (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 12 de agosto de 2015)

Sin avances en la investigación por el asesinato de integrante de Las Abejas de Acteal (Boletìn de Frayba, 12 de Agosto de 2015)

[VIDEOS] Conferencia de prensa de “Las Abejas de Acteal” a 6 años de la excarcelación de paramilitares. (Koman Ilel, 12 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: A member of the Las Abejas Civil Society is murdered (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Las Abejas announce that they will not vote in the mid-term elections (9 June 2015)

Chiapas: Civil Society Las Abejas denounce human rights violations in the country and show solidarity with various processes (24 April 2015)

National: Tensions in Ostula in light of possible transfer of Commander Cemeí

September 10, 2015


Tensions in the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Aquila municipality, Michoacán, have not ceased since an Army group entered on 19 July to arrest the commander of the communal police, Cemeí Verdía Zepeda, as it attacked a communal blockade, in an act that left a girl of 12 years of age dead, and 10 others injured.

According to Ojarasca, the government announced that it would enter to disarm the communal police (PC).  In light of this threat and the four arrest-orders against the PC commanders, Ostula strengthened its communal defense.  “There are communal-defense patrols all day.  New support commissions are being organized, and the assemblies are determining the way forward,” declared Gregorio Santos García, spokesperson of the community.  Different sources documented testimony regarding the presence of shock-groups and Navy in the region surrounding Ostula.  Santos García added that “we are not confronting them, and we will not do so.  We will instead dialogue.  They are soldiers, and we are not.  What they seek is for us to respond with violence, but we will not.  We will respond with organization.”  In declarations made by Germán Ramírez Sánchez, the substitute commander of the communal police during the absence of Cemeí: “I am saddened because instead of going after the criminals, they come against a community and its self-organization, when all we seek is justice.”

Beyond this, there were developments in the case of the arrest of Commander Cemeí Verdía. He was absolved of the accusation of homicide and bearing of arms for the exclusive use of the Army but then immediately accused of robbery.  This change could lead to his being transferred to the Lázaro Cárdenas prison in Michoacán, where members of the Knights Templar cartel are held.  This is the precise group that the Ostula PC has been organizing against.  The residents of the community fear for the life of the commander, in case the transfer is carried through.

In a communique, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) manifested its concern regarding the allegations of the participation of public forces in grave acts of violence in Mexico, including the events of 19 July in Ostula.  In this way, it reiterated that the affairs that have to do with citizen security should be the sole task of civilian police forces, given that the armed forces are trained for national defense against an external aggressor, and so lack the training to observe the law.  “Moreover, the history of the region shows that the intervention of the armed forces in internal security questions generally is accompanied by human-rights violations.”  It should be stressed that the murder of the Hidilberto girl and the damages incurred by the other 10 injured persons continue to go unpunished, thus contradicting the agreements made with the government.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ostula, en Michoacán, no puede bajar la guardia (Ojarasca, 8 de agosto de 2015)

Comunitarios de Ostula se niegan a desarmarse (La Jornada, 7 de agosto de 2015)

Tensión en Ostula tras movimientos y bloqueos de grupos de choque (DesInformémonos, 7 de agosto de 2015)

CIDH expresa su preocupación respecto de alegaciones de participación de la fuerza pública en hechos de violencia en México (CIDH, 7 de agosto de 2015)

Ostula exige que Cemeí Verdía Zepeda no sea trasladado al penal de Lázaro Cárdenas porque temen por su vida (DesInformémonos, 4 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Nation: Denunciations of new attacks against indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán (10 June 2015)

Nation: A minor murdered and ten others wounded in Santa María Ostula (16 August 2015)

Guerrero: NGO releases Urgent Action to protect Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete

September 10, 2015

P1010904Landscape of the Mountain region of Guerrero. Photo @SIPAZ archive

On 2 August, the José María Morelos y Pavón Human Rights Center (Morelos Center) released an Urgent Action (UA) to protect the life of the Iguala activists Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, who have been threatened with death after having led a struggle against the Media Luna mining corporation in defense of the territory on which the Tlachinollan community finds itself located.  The communique incorporating the UA establishes that in 2007, Bahena García undertook together with her father a struggle against the Media Luna company in the communities of Real de Limón and La Fundación, Cocula municipality, for which she received death-threats, with three of her comrades being imprisoned.  On 30 July, close to 7:30pm, she received a threatening phonecall during which a man warned her that she, her comrade Diana Carolin, and the lawyer for the Morelos Center, Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, needed to “leave this place” or, if not, “I will split you in two.”  After she hung up on the call, she received a text message telling her that they know of her husband and family, insisting that she should abandon the place.

The Morelos Center considers it to be evident that Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete are at risk of losing their lives or being attacked.  For this reason, its UA demands the respect of the lives and physical integrity of Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, calls on the Mexican State to respect, observe, and implement all the mechanisms and actions related to the precautionary measures to protect the physical and psychological integrity of Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, and demands that the Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) launch a timely and exhaustive investigation to arrest and punish those responsible for these threats.

For more information (in Spanish):

AU_Centro_Morelos (2 de agosto de 2015)

Pide ONG al gobierno proteger a activistas de Iguala amenazados de muerte (La Jornada, 5 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Indigenous from Mountain region request legal motion against British mining corporation (7 December 2013)

Guerrero: PGR’s investigation into Iguala case continues to be lacking: CNDH (10 September 2015)

National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women

September 10, 2015

Foto @ Cuartoscuro

Photo @ Cuartoscuro

The photojournalist Rubén Espinosa Becerril, who specialized in covering social movements and militated against attacks on the press in Veracruz, was killed together with four women in Mexico City after having decided to move to the nation’s capital given that, since June, he had noted that armed persons were following him and taking pictures of him.  The photographer, who worked freelance for Proceso and Cuartoscuro, warned of his situation to Article 19, the international NGO that defends journalists, and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) based in New York.  “I have no faith in any State institution.  I do not have faith in the government.  Instead, I fear for my comrades and for myself,” he said.  The Proceso magazine expressed that he had “become a problematic photojournalist for the government,” given that Espinosa took the very photo of the Veracruz governor, Javier Duarte, which was published on the cover of the 1946 issue (15 February 2014) of Proceso, which bothered the potentate.  In Veracruz, the state government reportedly bought up a multiplicity of the issue.

Veracruz is considered the most dangerous state to conduct journalism in Mexico, as 13 journalists have been murdered and three disappeared since 2011, when Javier Duarte began to govern.  In July, Rubén Espinosa had been severe with the Veracruzan state government: “It is saddening to think of Veracruz.  There are no words to say how bad that state is, with that government and the state of the press, and how well-off is corruption.  Death seeks out Veracruz.  Death has decided to install itself there,” he observed in an interview.

The prosecutor Rodolfo Ríos said that “the bodies presented each with a gunshot wound in the head and excoriation in various parts.”  Espinosa and the four women were killed by coup de grace.  Beyond this, sources consulted by Sin Embargo added that the bodies showed signs of having been tortured for a prolonged period, while other media indicated that the women could have been raped.

The identity of the four women who were murdered has not been published in official media, but the names of two of them have been released.  One was a friend of Espinosa’s, named Nadia Vera Pérez.  She was an activist with the student movement #IAm132.  The other was Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, 18 years of age, originally from Mexicali, Baja California.  Another could have been a Colombian woman of 29 years of age, but her name has yet to be released.  The fourth woman was identified as a domestic worker of 40 years of age.  She hailed from Mexico State.

On 2 August, hundreds of journalists, relatives, friends, and citizens carried out a rally at the Angel of Independence and a mobilization before the offices of the Veracruzan government, where they hung a black bun and images of the executed journalist.

For more information (in Spanish):

Rubén Espinosa, un fotógrafo ‘incómodo’ para el gobierno de Duarte (Proceso, 2 de agosto de 2015)

Hemeroteca de la revista Proceso sobre Rubén Espinosa

“La muerte escogió a Veracruz como su casa y decidió vivir ahí”, dice fotógrafo en el exilio (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)

Rubén Espinosa y las cuatro mujeres recibieron cada uno un tiro de gracia (El País, 3 de agosto de 2015)

Con tiro de gracia, fotoperiodista y 4 mujeres asesinados en la Narvarte (La Jornada, 3 de agosto de 2015)

La evidencia deja en ridículo la versión de “robo” de la PGJDF y pone en la mira a Javier Duarte (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

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)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)


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