Oaxaca: Ejidos and communities from the Central Valleys declare their territories free of mining operations

December 26, 2015

Conferencia de prensa declarando territorios libres de minería Foto: @EDUCA

Press-conference declaring territories liberated from mining
Photo: @EDUCA

On 8 November, 9 ejidos and communities from the Central Valley region of Oaxaca declared ta ban on mining operations in their territories. These communities and ejidos of the Ejutla, Ocotlán, and Tlacolula communities committed themselves to “organized regional defense of our lands using peaceful legal means from our ejidal lands and communities, declaring it prohibited in this land conduct mining operations.”

Through this declaration, they demanded that the state and federal government cancel the 18 mining projects, because, as they claimed these projects pollute their cultivated lands. The same document estimates that 90% of the concessions that the government has given to mining companies in the last 10 years have been “conducted without any consultative process incorporate free prior and informed consent in good faith with us peoples who live here.” To support this declaration the peoples called on Convention 169 of the ILO, the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights, the Mexican Constitution, and communal assemblies, exercising their right to autonomy.

The communities agreed to promote peaceful actions to respect the accord to free their lands of mining operations. The undersigning authorities rejected the violence which took place in San José del Progreso between 2010 and 2012, in which 4 people were killed, 8 injured, and 5 others facing arrest-orders.

For more information (in Spanish):

9 ejidos y comunidades de Ejutla, Ocotlán y Tlacolula declaran su territorio prohibido para la minería (EDUCA, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Emiten declaratoria sobre “territorios libres de minería” en Oaxaca (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Comunidades del los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca no dejarán entrar a mineras (DesInformémonos, 1 de diciembre de 2015)

DECLARACIÓN DE TERRITORIO PROHIBIDO PARA LA MINERÍA (Radioteca, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Comunidades exigen parar la minería en sus territorios (Despertar de Oaxaca, 1 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Declaration of rejection of hydroelectric and mining projects in the Coastal region (21 November 2015)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (28 March 2014)

Mexico: Murder of MAPDER member in Veracruz (20 August 2013)

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


Chiapas: SIPAZ event – 20 years accompanying lights of hope

December 26, 2015

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SIPAZ Forum “20 years Accompanying Lights of Hope”

Photo @SIPAZ

On 27 and 28 November was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas the Forum “20 years Accompanying Lights of Hope” to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ). Those participating in the event included women and men from communities, organizations, human-rights centers, the academy, as well as activists, both from Mexico and other countries. By means of panels, the invited speakers shared reflections regarding their experiences, situating them also within an historical analysis incorporating the principal tendencies, challenges, and obstacles. The event stressed concern for the present situation in the country, given that participants agreed that we are in a war situation.

Two media based in the lessons learned through SIPAZ’s years of work in Mexico were presented at the event. One was a documentary, entitled “That the Heart Not Break. Non-Violent Struggles for Justice and Defense of Land,” produced in collaboration with the Koman Ilel community media collective. The video was presented with the participation of the involved communities and organizations: communities displaced below Tila and the Las Abejas Civil Society, based in Chiapas, along with the Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Green River (COPUDEVER), from Oaxaca. In parallel, the book Struggle with a Woman’s Heart: The Situation and Participation of Women in Chiapas (1995-2015), was presented and discussed. This volume brings together the major experiences and lessons from women’s struggle to participate and for gender equality.

For more information (in Spanish):

SIPAZ: 20 años acompañando luces de esperanza (EDUCA, 1 de diciembre de 2015)


Oaxaca: Low participation in teachers’ performance evaluation

December 26, 2015

Foto @NVI noticias

Photo @NVI noticias

On 28 November was held the performance evaluation of Oaxacan educators, a process characterized by strong militarization of the state, with 8,000 to 10,000 elements involved. The statistics regarding teachers who participated in the evaluations are not clear: according to the State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca (IEEPO), 2,981 participated, while the Secretary for Public Education (SEP) claimed 2,600 participants. It bears noting that the higher estimate would only represent about 60% of the 4,900 initial registrations among the 6,000 who had been invited, as compared with the approximate 60,000 teachers in the state. Beyond this, the head of the SEP, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, declared that “the most important thing is that we had the participation of teachers from Oaxaca who slowly are beginning to overcome the pressure and yoke that Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) had had, and instead they increasingly join the educational reform that favors the development of children in Mexico.”

In parallel terms, there was a protest march against the evaluation that incorporated around 20,000 people. Using slogans like “if evaluation is necessary, it must begin with Peña,” the dissident magisterium showed the strength it still has in the state. It should be mentioned that two confrontations between teachers and police took place, with Section 22 distancing itself from these acts, claiming them to have been the work of infiltrators. For the past six months there has been worsening persecution of the dissident teachers, incorporating actions like the deep reforms to the IEEPO, which traditionally had been managed by the CNTE, and the arrest of 4 teacher leaders from Section 22, who were transferred to a maximum-security prison in Altiplano, Mexico State. Beyond this, there still remain about thirty arrest-orders against other teachers that are still to be completed. In this way, members of Section 22 announced that they would continue with their actions in opposition to the evaluation.

It also should be noted that the body of the teacher Marjorie Xolio Meléndez, from Jalapa del Marqués and an affiliate of Section 22, has recently been found. In response, residents and teachers protested before the Municipal Palace and carried out a roadblock, demanding a forthright investigation of the feminicide and punishment of those responsible. “We demand before the authorities justice for this crime, because there is more concern for saving the head and protecting Peña Nieto and the federal police behind an evaluation, rather than the truth of the people,” declared protestors.

The performance evaluations have been held in all states of the Republic other than Chiapas, where it is expected that they will be carried out in the next few days. In this way, one can expect the implementation of special security operations to prevent the dissident teachers from inhibiting the evaluation as a means of blocking implementation of the educational reform.

For more information (in Spanish):

Asesinan a profesora en Oaxaca; maestros exigen cese a feminicidios (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Repudian la prueba maestros de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

En medio de protestas, 60% de maestros de Oaxaca que se registraron fueron evaluados (Sin Embargo, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Sección 22 reporta “infiltrados” en marcha a Ciudad Administrativa (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

La SEP presume buena convocatoria a la evaluación docente en Oaxaca (CNN México, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Protestas en DF, Edomex y Chiapas en apoyo a maestros de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Aprehenden a 4 maestros de la CNTE y los trasladan al penal del Altiplano (Animal Político, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Cué cede educación de Oaxaca a la federación: desaparece el IEEPO; PF vigila instalaciones (Sin Embargo, 21 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Teachers in Acapulco successfully sabotage educational evaluation (26 December 2015)

Guerrero: Teacher from Acapulco dies after violent repression of a protest by the Federal Police (10 March 2015)

National: Thousands of teachers march against the educational reform (4 October 2013)


Chiapas: Center for Women’s Rights in Chiapas denounces threats

December 26, 2015

CDMCh

On 2 December, the Center for Women’s Rights in Chiapas, A.C. (CdmCh) publicly denounced threats it had received. That same day, “at 4:20pm, we received a telephone call from a man calling himself ISIDRO LARA or NICANDRO DÍAZ, who identified himself as commander of the Zetas cartel and extorted the General Coordination, adding that he knew where we live, and that if we did not pay there would be consequences, and that the workers and their families would be targeted.”

The CdmCh added that “this incident joins other acts of intimidation that have occurred in the last month, given that on 26 November, around 1:00pm, one of the comrade defenders received a call to her cell phone from a woman who extorted her by saying she had kidnapped one of her relatives. Beyond this, it has been observed that outside the central office […] two vehicles without licenses patrol the zone. One of the vehicles was carrying three men who hid their faces.”

One element that worsens alarm amidst these threats has to do with the fact that, as the CdmCh affirmed, those who have made the calls have known the private information of workers at the organization.

Since 2004, CdmCh has been working to advance human rights, without discrimination based on gender, class, or ethnicity, and it has investigated and analyzed the human-rights violations of women.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia completa del Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas (2 de diciembre de 2015)

Denuncian defensoras en Chiapas intento de extorsión (CIMAC Noticias, 3 de diciembre de 2015)

Boletín: Preocupación por la intimidación, vigilancia y amenazas al Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas (CDHFBC, 4 de diciembre de 2015)

Exigen protección para Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: During International Women’s Day on 8 March, a meeting, a march, and a rally (10 March 2015)

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (2 March 2014)


Guerrero: 4 years since the forcible disappearance of ecologist peasants from the Costa Grande

December 26, 2015

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Photo @EDUCA Oaxaca

On 7 December, four years passed since the forcible disappearance of the leaders of the Organization of Ecologist Peasants from Sierra of Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán, Eva Alarcón Ortiz and Marcial Bautista Valle. The daughter of Eva, Coral Rojas Alarcón, said, “I am convinced that they have been killed, but they deserve a burial. I want to find my mother and Marcial.” Marcial Bautista and Eva Alarcón were forcibly disappeared on 7 December 2011 in the Grand Coast of Guerrero by a group of armed men that according to eyewitnesses were being protected by the Army and agents from the ministerial police. The activists had dedicated themselves to the management, conservation, and sustainable use of the forests. The defense of the forests led them to denounce abuses committed by the Army and the illegal work in which police had been involved.

Since the disappearance of her mother, Coral has sought justice and become a human-rights defender, collaborating with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the federal police (PF) to seek out clandestine graves and to identify victims. She reported that they had found bodies in Michoacán and Guerrero, “and I believe that each identified person is a triumph.” She shared that the judicial process in the case of Eva and Marcial continues, with the last “declaration saying that they were killed. This is the only line of investigation from the PGR.” She refers to the declarations made by a hitman who was arrested by the Army in February 2012 in Tecpan de Galeana, who supposedly confessed to his participation in the forcible disappearance of the social activists. According to unofficial information obtained in recent days, the hitman José Jhonny López Galván, “El Güero,” had made these statements to the federal public ministry and had driven the soldiers to the site where the burned remains of the community leaders were found. According to preliminary investigation, these remains did not belong to Eva or Marcial, and to date, “there is no scientific evidence showing they have been killed.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Autoridades apuestan al olvido” en desaparición de campesinos activistas ¨(La Jornada, 3 de agosto de 2013)

La única línea en el caso de los dirigentes ecologistas, desaparecidos hace 4 años, es que los mataron (Sur Acapulco, 3 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: two nephews of ecological leadership are murdered (16 November 2012)

Guerrero: Urgent Action for disappeared ecologists (8 February 2012)

Guerrero briefs: Two ecologists are kidnapped by armed men in the Sierra de Petatlán (14 December 2011)

Guerrero: violence in the Sierra de Petalán (17 October 2011)

Guerrero: Lucio Cabañas’ widow and her sister are murdered (17 July 2011)

Guerrero: Second murder of ecologists in the Sierra de Petatlán (9 June 2011)

Guerrero: The ecologist campesino Javier Torres Cruz is murdered (6 May 2011)


Chiapas: La Pimienta protest over lack of observance of agreements made after the death of two infants due to negligence

December 26, 2015

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March by La Pimienta in Simojovel. Photo: @Chiapas Paralelo (Cortesía)

Close to a thousand residents of La Pimienta, Simojovel municipality, Chiapas, occupied City Hall and marched in protest due to the failure of justice for the deaths of two infants and the sequelae suffered by another 29 following the application of expired immunizations by the Mexican Institute for Social Insurance (IMSS) last May.

Following this tragedy, locals from La Pimienta demanded that the state government clarify the events, and it responded by committing itself to offering “medical attention, rehabilitation of the clinic, changes in institutions, improved functioning, supply of medicines, and the finishing of the asphalt road to Simojovel from La Pimienta, beyond constructing two vehicular bridges and the rehabilitation of schools and other educational institutions,” according to Revolución Tres Punto Cero. Despite having signed the agreement, the government has not followed through to date. In the words of a resident from La Pimienta, “we realized that the accords that were signed are only commitments, because six months after the deaths of the two infants and the 29 others who continue to suffer sequelae, the government has not intention of observing any of its ‘promises.’”

After six months of failure to observe the accords, residents of La Pimienta mobilized to express their repudiation of the Chiapas state governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, as well as the mass media, “because they have offended and hurt us, beyond attacking our human dignity, by assuring that the authorities have in fact observed their word. For this reason we call on the government to implement its agreements, but above all to guarantee the health of the 29 infants and to compensate damages incurred,” noted the spokespeople.

For more information (in Spanish):

Incumple gobierno con afectados por vacunas contaminadas aplicadas por el IMSS en La Pimienta (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de diciembre de 2015)

Velasco es un gobernador racista y asesino; PVEM-PRI se fusionaron para erradicarnos: pobladores de Simojovel (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 4 de diciembre de 2015)

Pobladores de Simojovel marchan por sus 2 bebes muertos por negligencia del IMSS (Espoir Chiapas, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Situación de vacunas en Simojovel “no es un caso aislado”, señalan (La Jornada, 14 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 2 children perished and 6 gravely injured following immunizations in Simojovel (17 May 2015)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel to demand justice and truth amidst deaths of infants (9 June 2015)


Chiapas: Public proclamation on the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power in San Cristóbal

December 26, 2015

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Public proclamation in San Cristóbal of the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power (@SIPAZ)

On 5 December, more than 15,000 people, the majority of them indigenous, as well as representatives from seven countries in Central and South America, marched and held a rally in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to proclaim the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power. This initiative seeks to establish the basis for a new political Constitution in Mexico, which would refound the nation and lead to a new social contract.

Raúl Vera López, former assistant bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and present bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, led the event at which the indigenous protestors gave him a command scepter. The bishop acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising of 1994 represented the “ferment” of a new constitutional power, but that at present “it it not just our Mayan brothers and sisters who seek a new social contract, but rather all Mexicans.” He asserted that “we do not want this deviation of power whereby the authority we delegate in a government becomes perverse, placing our resources and lands in the hands of multinational corporations and their home governments and states. Instead, these must be placed at the service of all Mexicans who want peace with justice and development with dignity.”

The Council of the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power in Chiapas stressed that “today is an historical day that will be remembered throughout Chiapas and Mexico, because the presence of thousands of people is a clear demonstration that the people have recognized how disastrous our living conditions are, and have armed themselves with valor and dignity, taking on the responsibility of transforming this reality.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan miles en Chiapas para proclamar una nueva Constitución (La Jornada, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Tribunal Permanente de Pueblos urge a la refundación del país (Proceso, 6 de diciembre de 2015)

Presentan indígenas su constituyente ciudadana (El Universal, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Sitio de la iniciativa: constituyenteciudadana.org


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