Chiapas: Lawyer of the ejidal committee of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam arrested

November 19, 2015



On 21 October, state police arrested Arturo Ortega Luna, an activist opposed to the construction of the Chicoasén II hydroelectric dam and lawyer for the affected ejidatarios, “accused of the crime of mutiny following an investigation headed by the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).” This was the denunciation made by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in a communique from 23 October. The lawyer was arrested at a checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez and is currently being held in the El Amate prison in the Cintalapa municipality. According to the communique, the penal denunciation was submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which “seeks to criminalize protest amidst the arbitrariness perpetuated by the federal and state governments.”

Arturo Ortega Luna has joined the defense of the ejidatarios to prevent the construction of the dam, which would affect more than 180 hectares of ejidal lands used for agricultural purposes by Zoque indigenous people. Ecologists have denounced that “the project will deteriorate and fragment the Grijalva River, this only to satisfy the energy demand of the eastern region of Mexico.” According to a bulletin published by the CDHFBC following a press conference on “Violations of agrarian rights and the judicialization of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam” on 27 October, “the ejidatarios affected by the Chicoasén dam have carried out various peaceful and legitimate actions to avoid the progression of the construction of the hydroelectric project that would affect their lands.” On 9 October, the ejidatarios won a legal motion before the Collegiate Tribunal that demanded the suspension of the existing construction plan, though this ruling has gone ignored to date. 52 individual legal motions in process remain pending, and all involve the detained lawyer. The CDHFBC has held that his arrest “is an act of criminalization and harassment that corresponds to his actions in defense of the lands amidst looting […] which if carried out would imply the displacement of dozens of families.” The ejidatarios are confronting harassment due to their defense of their agrarian rights, though there exist formal agreements that were signed in July 2015 whereby the Chiapas state government committed itself to not prosecute those who defend their agrarian rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Criminalización a ejidatarios afectados por presa Chicoasén II (Frayba, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Violaciones de derechos agrarios y judicialización a afectados por la presa Chicoasén II (26 de octubre de 2015)

Exigen libertad inmediata a abogado de afectados por presa Chicoasen (Desinformémonos, 25 de octubre de 2015)

Aprehenden en Chiapas a activista opositor a la presa Chicoasén II (La Jornada, 24 de octubre de 2015)

Detienen a abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen (Frayba, 23 de octubre de 2015)

Encarcelan a abogado defensor de indígenas opositores a la presa Chicoasén II (Tiempo y Forma, 23 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated (24 March 2012)


Chiapas: Provisional return of displaced families from Banavil for Day of the Dead

November 19, 2015

Tumba de Antonia López Méndez.  Foto: @Sipaz

Gravesite for Antonia López Méndez. Photo: @Sipaz

From 30 October to 3 November, the four families displaced from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality, returned provisionally to their homes. During these days, they visited the gravesite of Antonia López Méndez, the daughter of one of the families, who died on 21 February 2015, 11 years of age.

It bears recalling that the families were displaced at the beginning of December 2011, following an attack carried out by militants from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) carrying firearms. During the events, Alonso López Luna was forcibly disappeared and, to date, his whereabouts remain unknown. In this way, the attack also cuased the death of Pedro Méndez López, while six others were injured. Beyond this, Lorenzo López Girón, the son of the disappeared, was arrested, as was Francisco Santiz López, a Zapatista support-base (BAEZLN). Both of these have since been released.

In a communique, the displaced families affirmed that “we returned well during our provisional return, though the bad governments (federal, state, and municipal) did not guarantee our security.” The displaced continue to hold the three levels of government responsable for the aggression that provoked the displacement, and they have demanded the revelation of the fate of Alonso López Luna, the carrying-out of ten arrest-orders against those responsible for the displacement and forcible disappearance, the return of families, the cancellation of two arrest-orders, the compensation of losses incurred, and the presentation with life of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familias tseltales en retorno provisional regresan a su desplazamiento forzado (Chiapas denuncia pública, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

“Nuestras exigencias al Estado mexicano: VERDAD, JUSTICIA, RETORNO Y PAZ”, tzeltales desplazados de Banavil Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

“No muere nuestra memoria aunque el mal gobierno lo quiere acabar nuestras raíces”, indígenas desplazados de Banavil, Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

[FOTOS][VIDEO]Retorno provisional de familias desplazadas de Banavil, Chiapas.

(Koman Ilel, 5 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Displaced families from Banavil complete 3 years and 7 months of forcible displacement (July 21, 2015)

Chiapas: Death of Antonia, a displaced girl from the Banavil community, Tenejapa (March 8, 2015)

Chiapas: 3 years since the forcible displacement of the families from Banavil (December 16, 2014)


Guerrero/National: 13 months after the Ayotzinapa disappearances, relatives of the disappear continue to denounce impunity

November 19, 2015

Nos faltan 43 (@Desinformémonos)

“We are missing 43” (@Desinformémonos)

On 26 October, the 13-month anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 student-teachers from Ayotzinapa, parents of the disappeared marched in Mexico City from the Angel of Independence to the Benito Juárez monument to demand the return of their sons. Among others, students from different Rural Teachers’ Colleges, teachers from the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), public-school university students, and other representatives from civil society participated in the action. Protestors demanded that the government observe the recommendations made by the Group of Experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that has requested new investigations.

At the rally before the Juárez monument, parents of the disappeared demanded that “the federal government accept the [requested] interviews by the Group of Experts with soldiers and military commanders who were present during the events in Iguala.” Melitón Ortega, a relative of one of the disappeared youth, lamented that “the State authorities refuse to open lines of investigation that offer the chance for truth and justice.” As a parent of the disappeared, he said that “we cannot allow what happened 13 months ago to remain in impunity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

México: familiares de los 43 desaparecidos denuncian impunidad (RPP Noticias, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Padres de los 43 exigen aceptar entrevista de GIEI con militares (La Jornada, 26 de octubre de 2015)

A 13 meses de la desaparición de los normalistas, sus padres marcharán en el DF (Animal Político, 26 de octubre de 2015)

“No podemos dejar que lo ocurrido hace 13 meses quede impune”: padres de los 43 (Proceso, 26 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mobilizations within and outside the country for the first anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa (10 October 2015)

Chiapas: Actions for the one-year anniversary of the Ayotzinapa disappearances (8 October 2015)

Guerrero/National: “Fruitless” meeting between relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa and EPN (8 October 2015)

Guerrero: Group of Experts on Ayotzinapa case presents its report 6 months on (13 September 2015)

Guerrero: Tlachinollan dedicates its XXI activity report to parents of the disappeared of Ayotzinapa (11 September 2015)

National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced (3 July 2015)


National: IACHR closes visit to Mexico and presents preliminary conclusions

October 10, 2015


On 2 October, the last day of its visit to Mexico, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented its preliminary conclusions. During its visit to six states of the Republic, the delegation heard the testimony of victims of human-rights violations, held meetings with representatives of civil society as well as international organizations, academics, journalists, and interviewed officials from the three levels of government. In conclusion, the IACHR spoke to “the grave human-rights crisis experienced in Mexico, as characterized by an extreme situation of insecurity and violence and grave violations. The problems we have described are the result of a structural situation that Mexico has suffered now for decades.” With regard to the reasons for this crisis, the team indicated “the lack of access to justice” which has generated a structural situation of impunity which allows for the repetition of human-rights violations. The IACHR expressed its willingness to work with the Mexican State to seek solutions to protect basic rights and promote the observation of international standards in human rights. The IACHR will prepare and publish a report on Mexico next year.

After hearing these conclusions, Roberto Campa Cifrián, Subsecretary for Human Rights at the Ministry for Governance, reacted by saying this preliminary report “does not reflect the reality of the country,” as the conclusions were the product of “interviews and meetings” in “only six of the 32 states […] held over a course of five days.” Several non-governmental organizations condemned the response of the Subsecretary, holding it to be a dismissal of the international organizations and experts who have documented the reality of the country. The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center proposed in a communique that the government “take up the conclusions and recommendations made [by the IACHR] […] to then implement policies, programs, laws, and above all practices to allow for the effective access to truth, justice, compensation, and the decrease in human-rights violations throughout the country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Condenan ONG respuesta del Estado a informe de la CIDH (Centro ProDH, 7 de octubre de 2015)

El gobierno federal debe atender la crisis de derechos humanos que afecta a la población y dejar de rechazar con argumentos falaces las conclusiones de la CIDH (Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, 6 de octubre de 2015)

CIDH culmina visita in loco a México (Organización de los Estados Americanos, 2 de octubre de 2015)

Video: CIDH emite observaciones preliminares tras su visita In Loco (Centro ProDH/YouTube, 2 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: IACHR carries out visit to Mexico (10 October 2015)

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

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (21 March 2015)

Chiapas: Forum on “The Other Justice”

October 10, 2015

On 10 and 11 October will be held the Forum “The Other Justice” in the community of Acteal, Chenalhó municipality. The event was organized by the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal, which on its Facebook page expressed that “the justice of the bad government in Mexico is rotten, expired, and it smells. For this reason the organized and conscious peoples will construct Another Justice that is true, dignified, just, and righteous, which we call: Lekil Chapanel. In other words: The Other Justice.” The objective of the Forum is for “indigenous peoples from Chiapas to meet in Acteal to continue advancing The Other Justice and reconstruct our memory due to the pain we have confronted as victims of the counterinsurgent war. We will share our experiences from our cultures within a context of impunity that allows the Mexican State to commit crimes against humanity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Las Abejas invitan a un foro “La Otra Justicia” en acteal, el 10-11/10 (Espoir Chiapas, 5 de octubre de 2015)

Chiapas: Cries of liberty from the Believing People in Simojovel

October 8, 2015

(Durante la misa @ChiapasDenunciaPública(During mass @ChiapasDenunciaPública)

During the night of 15 September 2015, when President Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed his “Cry of Independence” in the Zócalo of Mexico City, the Believing People from Simojovel made their own cry. Following a Catholic mass at the San Antonio de Pádua parish, the group called into question the spectacle, asking, “What are we celebrating as Mexicans? Are we free and sovereign? If we are free, why are there so many dead? Why is social protest criminalized? Why in Chiapas are there so many displaced? Why so much corruption from the authorities? Why does organized crime have so much power, slowly taking over increasingly more communities? Why is there so much poverty—rising, indeed, with more than 2 million impoverished?” They recognized that “Viva Mexico” cannot be proclaimed if each year brings more poor living under the boot of institutionalized violence and the concentration of wealth among a small minority. They demanded a new face and heart for Mexico, and a change to the system.

The Believing People noted that there exists a generalized cry within the country, as expressed by the Mexican bishops: “Enough! We do not want more blood to be spilled. We do not want more dead. We do not want more disappeared. We want neither more pain nor more shame […]. We unite ourselves to the general cry for a Mexico in which truth and justice provoke a profound transformation of the institutional, judicial, and political structures that will assure that events such as these will never recur.” For this reason, they proposed cries that come increasingly from organized communities that are struggling for truth. Beyond this, they invited all the people of Chiapas to organize themselves to defend and protect the lives of their communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gritos de libertad en Simojovel (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Creyentes “celebran” Fiestas Patrias (Diario de Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel (Vida Nueva, 24 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against the priest and members of the Believing People (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Believing People of El Bosque march for a halt to violence in their region (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest (23 April 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison

October 8, 2015

Foto de archivo @ Revolución Tres Punto CeroArchive photo @ Revolución Tres Punto Cero

In the morning of 10-11 September, the political prisoner Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, being held at Jail No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, being a member of the Voz del Amate and an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, was transferred together with 386 other prisoners from 13 state jails to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) No. 15 in Villa Comaltitlán, close to the city of Tapachula. According to the Diario del Sur and other media, despite the risks posed to the prisoners due to ongoing construction at the CEFERESO, located on unstable ground, and the intense popular mobilizations opposed to the construction of the prison, the unit opened its door just days before the mass-transfer. It is capable of holding 2,500 prisoners. According to the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), the transfer was carried out by more than 2,000 police. During the operation, “high-risk” prisoners were prioritized for transfer, a claim that the GTNET characterized as “political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners,” given that Alejandro had carried out a work in favor of the defense of human rights within the prison’s walls. The GTNET indicated that “during this transfer the laws and codes of the proper System were violated, for Alejandro Díaz’s crime is not federal, and his life in prison cannot be considered as justifying the label of ‘high-risk.’”

Beyond this, prisoners from the San Cristóbal, including Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Lucio Hernandez Patishtán, and Juan de la Cruz Ruíz, have denounced the transfer and called on the “independent state organizations, national and international, to add your voices to our demand for the return of our comrade in struggle to this center.”

Beyond this, Alejandro Díaz, while on a 13-day hunger strike in July 2015, recalled Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco Coello that he had two years prior committed himself to “finding those means or links with the authorities from Veracruz to obtain my release, a promise which to date” he has not observed. “Once again I ask the governor to fulfill his word.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

Trasladan a reos a nuevo penal (Diario del Sur, 11 de septiembre de 2015)

Presos injustos del CERESO 5 denuncian traslado de Alejandro Diaz Santiz, Solidario de la Voz del Amate (Koman Ilel, 10 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena tsotsil es trasladado a penal de máxima seguridad, pese a “compromiso” de Velasco por obtener su libertad (Pozol Colectivo, 13 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs “La lucha en las cárceles sigue“ (CGT Chiapas, 12 de septiembre de 2015)

Desde Europa: Solidaridad con Alejandro Diaz Santiz y los 400 presos que fueron trasladados a las prisiones de máxima seguridad (CGT Chiapas, 15 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)


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