National/Oaxaca: World Day Against Opencast Mining

August 2, 2016

Mining.pngPoster for international day of struggle against mega-mining in defense of life and water. (Photo:@OtrosMundos)

In the framework of World Day Against Opencast Mining, which is commemorated on July 22, several events were held in different parts of the country. In Oaxaca, for example, groups in the isthmus region took part in the forum for “Strategies of Struggle for the Defense of Mother Earth and Territory” in the capital of Oaxaca. This event was part of the national campaign in defense of Mother Earth, which gives voice to the experience of hundreds of people preyed upon by mining projects in Mexico. Other collectives, the Lawyers and Defenders of Public Interest Collective, Common Borders and Greenpeace Mexico presented the manual “Protection of Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (PESCER) of Peoples and Communities Against Mining Megaprojects in Mexico” as a tool to address the abuses of mining projects throughout the country.

One day before, in the framework of resistance, communal and agricultural authorities, communities and organizations in Oaxaca and other Mexican states, met in Oaxaca to launch the State Rebellion Against Mining Day. They released a statement in which they expressed their “decision to fight together to stop these abuses and to affirm our own ways of living and governing ourselves.” They were worried “because these violations cause immense damage to Mother Earth and rip apart the social fabric of communities causing divisions and confrontations.”

In accordance with data published in El Universal in 2014, it is currently estimated that at state-level there is a concession of an area for 793,525 hectares for metal mining. As such, a fifth of Mexico has been given over to the mining sector. Marisa Jacott, Common Borders director, explained that “the massive destruction of natural resources caused by mining activities are manifold, such as air, water and soil pollution on a large scale; violent dispossession, repression and crime against forms of territorial defense and community organization; deteriorating health of local residents of mines; as well as the impact suffered by miners for working in high-risk conditions and the intensive use of dangerous materials and chemical substances.”

Due to this, the PESCER manual deals with the relationships and tensions caused by mining, and proposes that it is “from overexploitation, deterioration and allocation of natural resources that the Mexican State favors the profit of private and foreign interests over social [interests] and in this way breaks collective rights.” However, the manual proposes the use of legal and non-legal tools for communities to strengthen their struggle for the defense of their territory, heritage and health from the increase of predator mining in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish

Crean en Oaxaca Día contra la Minería y denuncian saqueo de transnacionales (26 de julio de 2016Ciudadanía Express, 26 de julio de 2016)

Concesiones mineras acaparan 47 mil hectáreas en el istmo (Istmo Press, 23 de julio de 2016)

En México 300 conflictos mineros vulneran derechos de los pueblos (Desinformémonos, 22 de julio de 2016)

Se concesionó a mineras 12.7% del territorio nacional, alerta Greenpeace (Diario contra poder en Chiapas, 21 de julio de 2016)

Presentan manual para la defensa de las comunidades frente a impactos de la minería en México (Greenpeace México, 21 de julio de 2016)

Manual de defensa de derechos económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales de pueblos y comunidades frente a los megaproyectos mineros en México

Página de la campaña nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Se llevó a cabo Foro Regional “La minería en Oaxaca. Impactos sociales y ambientales” (29 de abril de 2016)

Oaxaca: Encuentro estatal de comunidades y organizaciones en resistencia a proyectos mineros (4 de febrero de 2016)

Nacional: Mitin ante Senado en el marco del Día mundial contra la minería toxica (25 de julio de 2013)


National: “Narco Violence” Has Displaced 281,000 People

July 25, 2016

Narco.pngViolence in the country has increased due to the presence of “narcos” (Photo:@Economia hoy)

According to research from the Center of Social Studies and Public Opinion (CESOP) of the Chamber of Deputies, the situation of generalized violence in which various zones of the country find themselves, has led to an increased number of people who have been forced to displace in the country. According to CESOP “the violence generated by drug cartels throughout the country” is one of the most recognized reasons people are forced to flee their lands. Despite discrepancies in the figures and not counting with official statistics, it is estimated that between 2011 and 2015 “281,418 people were forced to escape” from their homes. According to the results of the research, the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, among others, are the states with the highest number of displaced.

The “criminal organizations not only fight over drug trafficking routes now, but also aspire to control more and more territory in general.” According to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the UNO, forced displacement happens when “persons or groups of persons have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as result of or to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural disasters or [those] caused by humans, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.” In most cases, the families have been displaced within Mexico. While internationally there are extensive regulations and a legal basis for the protection of displaced persons in the area of forced internal displacement, there are no equivalent legal instruments.

For this reason, and in order to continue adding to the analysis of this problem, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) published the “Special Report on Forced Internal Displacement (FID) in Mexico” in May of this year. It says that, “the Federal Government recognized that among the factors that most influenced the increase in violence, disputes in and between criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking stand out.” “However the importance of the protection of human rights and displaced persons stands out,” the research concludes. Having recognized that there is no global figure for internal displacement generated by the violence of the drug cartels, it warns that “the Mexican authorities have downplayed or ignored the problem” to date. The CESOP document stresses that as happens with the information included in reports of kidnapping of migrants, the Mexican State has discredited figures on internal displacement.

For more information in Spanish

Violencia del narco ha desplazado a 281 mil (Milenio, 18 de julio de 2016)

El gobierno minimiza el creciente problema de las personas desplazadas, afirma el Legislativo (La Jornada, 18 de julio de 2016)

Los desplazados del narco (Vanguardia, 15 de julio de 2016)

El Estado mexicano se contradice ante el desplazamiento interno forzado (Animal Político, 4 de julio de 2016)

Informe Especial sobre Desplazamiento Forzado Interno (DFI) en México (CNDH, 1 de mayo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Nacional: CNDH lamenta más de 35 mil víctimas de desplazamiento forzado interno en el país (16 de mayo de 2016)


National: Head of Special Economic Zones Appointed

July 18, 2016

SEZMap of zones affected by SEZ. Photo: @EDUCA Oaxaca

On July 8, “while public attention was focused on the teachers’ problem and its political and social consequences, Enrique Peña Nieto openly confirmed the intention to privatize much of the ‘backward’ south on appointing Gerardo Gutierrez Candiani head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic zones (AFDZEE).” The new official presided over the Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) from 2009 to 2011 and the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) from 2012 to 2015. Julio Hernández López ffom La Jornada said that Gutierrez Candiani “ran a pre-campaign for the title citizen seeking Los Pinos [the presidency] and that the PRI made him candidate for governor of his native Oaxaca (which failed)”. He also said that “the handing over of the delicate project of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to a representative of businessmen means an open conflict of interest and a threat to the legitimate interest of the nation, especially if you take into account that the plan may make domestic and foreign businesses virtual executive authorities in certain regions, politically above state and municipal governments. “

Gustavo Castro de Otros Mundos, Chiapas, explains in an interview the owrkings of the so-called of SEZ, which are “like a country within a country, breaking and crumbling national sovereignty”. The purpose of the SEZ, according to Castro, is “to ensure the transnational of everything they need for extraction, for example, from Mexico, a special visa will be required to enter the SEZ, they will have their own structure, their own laws, their own autonomy.”

For more information in Spanish:

Privatizar el sur: Nombran a Gutierrez Candiani titular de Zonas Económicas Especiales (EDUCA, 11 de julio de 2016)

Astillero (La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2016)

Gutiérrez Candiani liderará Zonas Económicas Especiales (El financiero, 8 de julio de 2016)

Zonas Económicas Especiales resquebrajan soberanía: Gustavo Castro (Educa, 1 de julio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)


Chiapas: Opening of Photographic Exhibition of Banavil Displaced Families

July 13, 2016

BanavilPhoto from the exhibition (retaken from Faces of Dispossession)

July 5 saw the opening of the photo exhibition “20 Windows on Forced Displacement in Chiapas” in Palicate cultural center in San Cristobal de Las Casas. They invited the Banavil displaced families, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and Melel Xojobal. The exhibition is the result of an action of the Faces of Dispossession campaign and the four displaced Banavil families, who were expelled from their land after an attack by a group of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) carrying firearms the December 4, 2011 in the municipality of Tenejapa. The exhibition contains 20 photos, 20 photographic windows that are “our memory that will not break and will never be broken”, the families at the event said. The photos represent a selection made and titled by the families themselves in “an exercise in self-recognition and a return of the solidarity received from those who also have provided security in the three provisional returns in 2015 and to those who have walked with them for more than four years”. The photographs are mostly anonymous, born of the lens international observation and free media accompaniment.

In the audiovisual event, visitors were actually included in the exhibition. Through an activity where testimonies and descriptions for each photo were told, people better understood the value of each photo. Looking for the story of each of the photos, one participant said that, “due to the testimonies, I felt a closer relationship to the photos and the story that is behind all that.” One example is the testimony of Maria, where she speaks about how they support their families: “We were embroidering the cloth, that’s how we started working. It was not the work we did before when we were in Banavil. This is very different, the work that is done. Now we embroider cloth to get money to keep our daughters and sons too … It is to survive in this displacement we are in right now, that’s the work we do, the women ” (see photo on this post). The documentary “Justice, Truth and Return for Banavil Displaced  Families” (2015) from the Koman Ilel collective was also shown. At times, recordings of the voices of members of families in Tzotzil were heard, telling stories of everyday life and the daily challenges they face in their temporary homes where they live since their displacement four years and seven months ago.

Faces of dispossession analyzes that “forced displacement in a context of counterinsurgency warfare to eliminate experiences of autonomous organization in Chiapas is a daily violation of human rights”. These are the same families in forced displacement, and their support networks, who do not cease in their path of dignity to demand return, justice and truth so that the human rights violations committed against them do not go unpunished and the events are not repeated. The Banavil families also sympathize with other displaced families in Chiapas such as in Shulvo, Zinacantán and Primero de Agosto in the Municipality of Margaritas.

For more information in Spanish

Chiapas: Se inauguró exposición fotográfica “20 ventanas al desplazamiento forzado” (Rostros del Despojo, 11 de julio de 2016)

Invitacion Expo Fotos Banavil (Familias Desplazadas de Banavil, 4 de julio de 2016)

Documental “Justicia, verdad y retorno para las familias desplazadas de Banavil “ (YouTube, 17 abril de 2016)

20 ventanas al desplazamiento forzado en Chiapas (Rostros del Deposjo, 15 de enero de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Desplazados y desplazadas de Banavil, 4 años de impunidad (9 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Retorno provisional de las familias desplazadas de Banavil para Día de MuertosTumba de Antonia López Méndez (9 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Desplazados de Banavil retornan temporalmente a su comunidad (12 de agosto de 2015)

 


Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal Request Collection for Displaced Families

June 15, 2016

Acopio.pngCollection during the displacement of Colonia Puebla in 2013. Photo: @Koman Ilel.

On May 26, a group of 14 families from Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society, residents of Colonia Puebla, Chenalho municipality, Chiapas, were displaced fleeing the violence caused by the conflict after the elections in that municipality. The displacement happened after violent incidents between sympathizers of the recently dismissed mayor, Rosa Perez Perez of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), and supporters of the new mayor, Miguel Santiz Alvarez, causing the death of two people, one of them a minor, who died from a bullet wound. The Chenalho Pedrano Movement, opponents of Perez Perez, said in a statement that they were attacked with “firearms, sticks, stones and machetes, in an ambush that was orchestrated by sympathizers of the ex-mayor.” Furthermore, there were “two houses burned, two destroyed, three vehicles destroyed and six people wounded”, according to the statement from Las Abejas.

Las Abejas noted that “until now, there are no conditions to return”, so that the displaced are currently in the headquarters of the organization. In another letter they outlined that, “the displaced from the colony are living through suffering. Therefore we ask you the favor of helping with supplies.” To this end, they have opened two collection centers for clothes in San Cristobal de Las Casas and they ask for financial support to be deposited in a bank account. According to La Jornada, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) “requested the government of Chiapas to apply cautionary measures and guarantee the rights of the people who have been displaced.” The measures are aimed at guaranteeing rights to food, health, a home, physical integrity and the lives of the displaced.

It is worth noting that the disagreement following the result of the municipal elections in Chenalho, with the victory of PVEM, gave rise to the Chenalho Pedrano Movement in rejection of the elected mayor, accusing her of “corruption, abuse of power and diverting resources.” This group organized a takeover of the town hall and a number of government offices, it took over the State Congress for some hours, and it kidnapped three civil servants who were negotiating a solution to the disagreement, among them the President of the State Congress and a deputy. Having put them on public show, one dressed as a woman, Congress accepted the resignation of the mayor.

It is also worth mentioning that 17 families of Colonia Puebla were displaced by in August 2013 in the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in dispute over the land where Catholic hermitage was located. Almost 100 displaced people returned after eight months off their lands, denouncing the lack of law enforcement for their aggressors.

For more information in Spanish:

Los desplazados y desplazadas de la colonia puebla están viviendo bajo el sufrimientos. Entonces le pedimos un gran favor a que nos puedan colaborar en las despensas. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de junio de 2016)

Hace apenas 8 días, jueves 26 de mayo, los miembros de la organización de la sociedad civil de las abejas de Acteal, en la colonia puebla se desplazaron 14 familias un total de 81 personas porque en esa misma colonia surgió nuevamente una gran violencia y balaceras a las 13:45pm hora normal. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 3 de junio de 2016)

Piden proteger a desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2016)

For more information in SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Riesgo de más violencia en Chenalhó después de secuestro y cambio de alcalde (31 de mayo de 2016)

Chiapas : jóvenes denuncian violencia, impunidad y ausencia de justicia para Puebla (30 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas: regresan a su comunidad los desplazados de Ejido Puebla (15 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas:Incremento de la violencia en Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (22 de julio de 2013)


Chiapas: Zinacantan against the Privatization of its Water and the Dispossession of its Spring

May 31, 2016

Z.pngStart of the pilgrimage at San Lorenzo Church @ Koman Ilel

On May 15, 2016, the catechists of the parish of Zinacantan called a pilgrimage to protest against the privatization of its water and the dispossession of its spring. Indeed, according to a documentary by the collective Koman Ilel, a privatization project for Zinacantán spring with the aim of installing some hydroelectric plants is threatening the people. Today, the people of Zinacantan have free access to spring water and use pipes to bring water from the spring to their homes. The privatization project will involve collecting a “tax” on water use. “We have never paid tax for water, water belongs to everyone. Whatever your religion, political party or thinking; no one is forbidden to take water from here”, said one of the catechists interviewed.

Catechists of the parish of Zinacantan are organizing to inform the other inhabitants of the town that the water must be defended so that the spring is not privatized.

For more information in Spanish:

Zinacantán se moviliza contra la privatización del agua (El ciudadano, 23 de mayo 2016)

Zinacantán se moviliza contra la privatización del agua (Koman Ilel, 20 de mayo 2016)


Chiapas: Monthly Celebration of Las Abejas de Acteal

May 30, 2016

Abejas.pngWomen of Las Abejas de Acteal in their May monthly celebration. Photo: @Las Abejas de Acteal.

As on each 22nd, Las Abejas of Acteal Civil Society Organization held its monthly celebration commemorating the Acteal massacre (1997). On this occasion, they recalled in a statement that, “18 years 5 months [have already passed] living the most difficult moments in our lives […] because there is no authority that cares about justice, that agrees with the rule of law”.

They said that the discontent and protests that have taken place in recent months in Chiapas, in towns like Oxchuc, Simojovel and Chenalhó, “is not a true struggle to defend the rights of the people; it is only a struggle of political parties for the power and money of the town halls”. They also denounced that in “Chicomuselo transnational companies are offering people money to accept their projects”, where someone has already been killed due to this conflict. In addition, they mentioned several examples of injustice: the murder of Berta Caceres, the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the repression of the Otomi people of San Francisco Xochicuautla and the Tlatlaya massacre.

Following this, the statement noted that, “peace cannot be established while those above continue to promote violence. They just try to cheat the people with their strategies of giving crumbs while they have no will to resolve conflicts. They just impose their own decision to generate more violence and deaths.” Las Abejas of Acteal made a call for conflict resolution without resorting to violence from below, without political parties, through consistency, dialogue and mutual understanding, recalling the example of the struggle of Mahatma Gandhi.

Finally, they added that “you cannot use the name of our organization, the photographs and logos to distort the meaning of our peaceful and active organization, but they do not stop deceiving” referring to the Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz (Sowers of Peace Pacifist Council). It should be recalled that the Consejo Pacifista appeared publicly in March 2015, disowning the Board of Directors as the governing body of Las Abejas but using the same stamp and logo of the organization.

For more information in Spanish:

Ante la inestabilidad social, tenemos que resistirnos, no hay que olvidar la lucha del gran maestro Mahatma Gandhi (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de mayo de 2016)

Presentación pública del CONSEJO PACIFISTA SEMBRADORES DE LA PAZ. (Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz, 29 de marzo de 2015)

Triste conflicto en Las Abejas de Acteal (Desinformémonos, 21 de mayo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncian Las Abejas de Acteal usurpación de nombre, sello y logotipo por parte del Consejo Pacifista (22 de abril de 2016)

Chiapas: Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz, conformado por sobrevivientes de la Masacre de Acteal, realiza acción en caseta de cobro entre Tuxtla Gutiérrez y San Cristóbal de Las Casas (25 de marzo de 2015)

Chiapas: a 18 años de la masacre de Acteal (23 de diciembre de 2015)


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