National/International: OECD Calls for Congruency on Environment from Mexican Government

May 15, 2019

OECD.png@Mexican Government

On May 3rd, as part of the presentation of the report “Financing climate futures. Rethinking infrastructure”, that took place in the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT in its Spanish acronym), the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Jose Angel Gurria Treviño Gurria, asked the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to be congruent with the commitments that Mexico has assumed in terms of respect for the environment and climate change. This, in particular before the start of works such as the Maya Train, the construction of the Dos Bocas Refinery in Tabasco, and the coal-fired power plant project.

He emphasized that, “climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The number of countries that are alarmed by the seriousness of this phenomenon increases every day. More than 180 nations ratified the Paris Agreement. They recognized the need to act immediately. However, efforts to achieve global climate goals remain insufficient.” “We are facing a global emergency, a historical emergency. We cannot advance “little by little””, he said.

While acknowledging that “there are national and local governments that have taken the lead, and I am very proud to say that Mexico has been one of them”, “through strong decisions at home and active participation in the multilateral sphere”, he expressed concern “for some of the infrastructure investment plans of the new administration, such as the plans for the construction of a coal-fired power plant, a new refinery in Dos Bocas and the Maya Train. This type of investment would point in the opposite direction to Mexico’s international climate commitments and the global effort to combat climate change.”

He also stressed that the tax burden in Mexico is still highly “petrolized” when “betting on fossil fuels is going against the planet, against the life and health of our citizens, against history. Reducing our emissions and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable growth is not only possible, it is the only intelligent development option we have.” He ended his speech affirming that “now is the time to turn the plans into norms and make investment decisions in infrastructure congruent with a sustainable future.”

For more information in Spanish:

Presentación del Estudio de la OCDE “Financiando los Futuros Climáticos” (OCDE, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Gurría pide a López Obrador congruencia de megaproyectos con medio ambiente (Proceso, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Secretario de la OCDE alerta impactos ambientales en Tren Maya y nueva refinería (Animal Político, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Alerta Gurría de impacto al ambiente por planes de infraestructura (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2019)

OCDE pide a AMLO congruencia en proyectos ambientales (Milenio, 3 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples (May 10, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13, 2018)

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Oaxaca: Ninth Anniversary of Murder of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola in San Juan Copala

May 11, 2019

Bety.png@La Voz de la Nahuac

On May 7th, in the framework of the ninth anniversary of Bety Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Antero Jaakkola (Finnish), human rights defenders killed in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca when they participated in a humanitarian caravan on April 27th, 2010, relatives and friends placed commemorative plaques on the Beam of Light and on the representation of the Oaxaca government in Mexico City. Omar Esparza Zarate, widower of Bety Cariño, said that “a plaque was installed symbolically on the victims of the country, and this monument has been considered by the victims of violence as the monument of corruption that was the scam of light, where the relatives of the victims and the members of the Movement for Peace and Justice have been placing plaques of their relatives who have been victims of insecurity, so this is a way of demanding justice.”

He denounced that nine years later, there is no interest from the authorities to solve the murders and that many inconsistencies have been detected in the investigations: “Until now we have nothing, we want to say that since November we have been looking for the approach with other bodies and we have not had an answer either.” He expressed his fear that the case be forgotten. He continues to demand that those responsible be punished, since two of those who had been arrested have already been released and six more have never been arrested. “They continue to walk around Oaxaca, and they are even in public office, such as the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples”, he said.

The lawyer David Peña, from the Action Group for Human Rights and Social Justice, explained that the two persons who were released were done so because “the federal and state governments have not specified the protection of witnesses and survivors of the attack, who have not been able to attend the hearings due to the risks that exist against them.”

For more information in Spanish:

Ataque en San Juan Copala, nueve años de impunidad (La Jornada, 7 de mayo de 2019)

Exigen justicia en la Estela de Luz (NVI Noticias, 8 de mayo de 2019)

PRONUNCIAMIENTO A 9 AÑOS DEL ASESINATO DE BETY CARIÑO Y JYRI JAAKKOLA (familiares y amigos de Bety Cariño, 27 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Suspect in Murder of Human Rights Defenders in San Juan Copola in 2010 Arrested (January 31, 2019)

Oaxaca: MEPs Highlight Lack of Political Will Regarding Murder of Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño (February 26, 2018)

Oaxaca/National: Another Suspect Implicated in the Murder of Defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakola Arrested (September 6, 2017)

Oaxaca: Seven Years of Impunity in Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola Case (May 4, 2017)

Oaxaca: European Parliamentarians Again Denounce Impunity in Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola Murder Case (March 6, 2017)

Oaxaca/International: Fifth Person Arrested in Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola Murder Case (October 19, 2016)


National/Guerrero: Disappearances Increasing in Mexico – CNDH. No Progress in Victor Ayala Tapia Case

May 11, 2019

VictorPhoto @ CCTI

In April, Ismael Eslava Perez, first visitor of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), reported that “the disappearance of people in Mexico has not stopped and on the contrary, continues to increase throughout the country, with about 30,000 missing persons, 1,306 clandestine graves found and 3,760 bodies or remains found to date (…) due to the complexity of this problem in Mexico, the official figures are not precise, ranging from 30 thousand to more than 40 thousand people disappeared today , however what is a fact, is that the numbers do not descend, do not stop, and what is more, continue to increase.”

Forbes said it is important that “the political will be reflected in channeling resources necessary for the search, location, investigation and punishment of those responsible from the federal authorities, but particularly the states because there the largest number is missing”

The Mexican government has announced that, “in this 2019 a budget of more than 400 million pesos will be applied for searches.”

Many of the cases of forced disappearance in the country remain unpunished. One example is that of Victor Ayala Tapia who disappeared on September 14th, 2010 in the community of Papanoa, municipality of Tecpan de Galena, in the state of Guerrero. Ayala Tapia belonged to the organization Hermenegildo Galeana Free Front, a campesino organization that promotes productive projects with its partners that negotiated with a mango processing factory to locate it in Papanoa.

According to information from the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI in its Spanish acronym), “eyewitnesses reported that approximately 100 meters from Victor’s home, a patrol car of the State Preventive Police was parked, moments before the van arrived that took Victor and continued circulating behind the colony to reappear when they took him.”

Nine years after the disappearance of Ayala Tapia there has been no progress in the investigation and the relatives remain in uncertainty.

For more information in Spanish:

Desaparición de personas aumenta en México: CNDH (Forbes, 19 de abril de 2019)

Caso: Víctor Ayala Tapia (CCTI, 4 de febrero de 2016)

De 2007 a 2016, alrededor de 30 mil personas desaparecieron en México (UnoTV, 19 de abril de 2019)

México: Detención-desaparición forzosa del Sr. Víctor Ayala Tapia (Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura, 8 de octubre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: briefs – Support is requested in Radio Ñomndaa case; SCJN assumes responsability in the case of Rosendo Radilla; 4 months of disappearance for activist Victor Ayala (January 24, 2011)

Guerrero: briefs – NGOs present amicus brief to Inter-American Court on case of environmentalists; activist is detained (September 23, 2010)


National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples

May 10, 2019

Train.png@CC News

On April 30th, the National Fund for Tourism Promotion (FONATUR in its Spanish acronym) published the bidding rules for the contracting of services for the basic engineering of the Maya Train, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government project that will connect several tourist sites of the southeast of the country. The tender published in Compranet is national and aims to contract the basic engineering of the seven railway sections that make up the 1,525 km of the project, Fonatur said.

It was opened without having carried out an environmental impact study or consultations with nearby indigenous populations as proposed by both national legislation and several other international treaties signed by Mexico, including Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In press conference, AMLO affirmed, however, that it is valid to begin this process, without taking into account these factors. He declared “that there is no problem because citizens want the train to be built” and that “of course there is dissidence and it must be respected, but in democracy it is the majority that decides, minorities are respected, but it is the majority opinion that should have the ability to decide at the end. That is what is being done”, he emphasized. In this same conference, AMLO also explained that the Maya Train, the Trans-isthmus corridor, among other “regional development projects” will serve as “curtains” to “capture the migratory flow in transit” to the United States and “anchor those fleeing from the poverty” in these regions.

A week before, Josefa Gonzalez Blanco, head of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT in its Spanish acronym) acknowledged that the projects of the Mayan Train, the Trans-isthmus Train, the Dos Bocas Refinery in Tabasco and the New Mexico International Airport in Santa Lucia, still do not have environmental impact studies.

For more information in Spanish:

Fonatur lanza licitación para diseño del Tren Maya (La Jornada, 30 de abril de 2019)

Válido proceso de licitación aún sin consulta : AMLO (El Universal, 1ero de mayo de 2019)

AMLO defiende licitación del Tren Maya sin consultar a pueblos indígenas (El Sol de México, 1ero de mayo de 2019)

Abren licitación del tren maya, sin previa consulta a pueblos indígenas (Chiapas Paralelo, 2 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13th, 2018)

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)

Mexico: proposal from future AMLO government – Mayan Train to tour the southern states of the country and attract more tourism  (September 15th, 2018)


Oaxaca: Rights Defender Shot Dead in Center of Capital

May 9, 2019

Shot(@MX Politico)

On April 12th, Juan Quintanar Gomez, 53, a lawyer and human rights defender who advised indigenous communities in various agrarian conflicts (including Villa Sola de Vega), was shot dead near his office in the center of Oaxaca City.

The Center for Human Rights and Advice to Indigenous Peoples (CEDHAPI in its Spanish acronym) reported that Quintanar was transferred to a hospital in the capital in serious condition after receiving at least eight bullet wounds. It noted that in recent days he had received death threats.

CEDHAPI demanded an immediate investigation of the attack and identification of those responsible. It also demanded from the authorities the immediate protection of the life and physical integrity of the lawyer, and other people from his work and family environment. It finally demanded that the government of Oaxaca guarantee the work of the human rights defenders in the state.

For more information in Spanish:

Intentan asesinar a abogado y defensor de derechos humanos (NSS Oaxaca, 12 de abril de 2019)

Atacan a balazos a defensor de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (El Universal, 12 de abril de 2019)

Condena Cedhapi agresión a defensor (NVI Noticias, 13 de abril de 2019)

Balean a Juan Quintanar, defensor de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (SDP Noticias, 14 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: asesinan a defensor del territorio e integrante de Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo (12 de abril de 2019)

Oaxaca: COOA inicia jornada de lucha ante “graves atropellos del Estado” contra los pueblos y organizaciones indígenas (9 de abril de 2019)


National: Multiple Mobilizations on Centenary of Death of Emiliano Zapata

April 15, 2019

ZapataCNI march in Chiapas (@SIPAZ)

On April 10th, as part of the centenary of Emiliano Zapata’s death, indigenous people, campesinos and teachers mobilized in seven states: Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero, Aguascalientes and Morelos.

In Chiapas, approximately 3,000 members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym) marched in San Cristobal de Las Casas. They denounced that the president’s development plan “brings dispossession and the destruction of our territories”, with projects such as the Maya Train, which, they warned, “will not happen, whatever the cost, we will not allow their rotten ideas, with their megaprojects, enter and strip us of our territory, because the bad government will not come to command, to silence or to intimidate in our houses, even if they are thinking of doing it with their national Guard.” In a pronouncement they stated that, “those who dressed up as the left have only put on masks of good faces, but of very bad intentions. They wear clothes of other colors and call themselves by other names, but they do not deceive us the original peoples in struggle and resistance, because they are the same foremen who want to impose plans of death with their lying and rigged consultations.” They also said that the government “does not ask us in their consultation if we want to live, but in what way we want to die. There are many wars that we face, but we are not afraid of them.”

Although it was not present here or in Morelos, where the CNI also called a march, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published a statement in which he explained that his absence has a “simple” reason: “in our mountains and valleys the military presence has increased, police, paramilitary, and spies, ears and informants (…), the threat of death travels by air and land to indigenous communities who have decided to remain in resistance and rebellion to defend the land.” Although it noted a continuity with the previous governments, it pointed out that “today the persecution, harassment and attack against our communities is “for the good of all” and is done under the banner of the supposed “IV Transformation.” The EZLN also said that the new government seeks to appropriate the image of Zapata “so that, with his death, the defense of the land also dies.” However, “the original peoples will continue in rebellion and resistance,” it said.

In Morelos, social organizations from various states of the Republic arrived in Chinameca, where Zapata was murdered, and criticized President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for “the incongruity with which he seeks to legitimize his government by trampling on the rights of the people.” Jorge Zapata Garcia, grandson of the revolutionary, said that “100 years ago Madero betrayed Zapata and now 100 years later, the same government again betrays the ideals of Zapata. For me it is a mockery what he did to decree 2019 the year of General Emiliano Zapata and to commemorate it by handing over the water of the ejidos to the transnational companies. In addition, it is a provocation because the peoples have already shown that the thermoelectric plant is not going to be allowed.” For its part, the People’s Front in Defense of the Land and Water for Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala denounced the lack of action in the case of the murder of Samir Flores on February 20th, and demanded that Lopez Obrador announce the suspension and cancellation of the gas pipeline in Morelos.

The members of the CNI present at the event declared themselves on alert to the megaprojects that the federal government intends to impose on their territories and against the criminalization of social protest. They warned that “today 100 years after the betrayal and the lie that cowardly ended life of General Emiliano Zapata, that lie and betrayal returned with a supposed face of democracy, but, as then, that word, when it comes from above, only means war, impersonation and deception of the whole nation.” They announced that they would continue an organizational process that articulates the different expressions of struggles and agreed on a second national assembly on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, with a date to be defined.

In Veracruz, the demonstrations also denounced the projects of transnational companies, in particular Nestlé, which intends to grow coffee for a plant it wants to establish in the state. In Oaxaca, professors of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE in its Spanish acronym) demanded the abrogation of the educational reform. They also raised demands regarding reconstruction after the 2017 earthquakes and rejection of the federal megaprojects based on the Special Economic Zones and the Program for the Isthmus of the Tehuantepec Region. In Michoacan, the teachers also marched. In Guerrero, teachers and students of Ayotzinapa marched and took over highway tollbooths and reiterated their request that their 43 disappeared in Iguala in 2014 companions reappear. Finally, in Aguascalientes, the offices of the Welfare Secretariat were occupied to demand the delivery of programs.

For more information in Spanish:

PRONUNCIAMIENTO DE LOS PUEBLOS DEL CONGRESO NACIONAL INDIGENA, CONCEJO INDIGENA DE GOBIERNO EN CHIAPAS (CNI Chiapas, 10 de abril de 2019)

Mensaje del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional en los 100 años del asesinato del General Emiliano Zapata (EZLN, 10 de abril de 2019)

Recuerdan a Zapata con protestas contra autoridades en seis estados (La Jornada, 11 de abril de 2019)

El gobierno actual quiere secuestrar la imagen de Zapata: EZLN (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2019)

Más de 3 mil indígenas marchan en Chiapas en memoria de Zapata (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2019)

“Así como Madero quiso comprar a Zapata, el mal gobierno quiso comprar a Samir y a los pueblos que resisten”: EZLN a cien años del asesinato de Emiliano Zapata (Desinformémonos, 10 de abril de 2019)

Entre consignas contra el “mal gobierno”, lanzan vivas a Zapata en Chinameca (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2019)

Congreso Nacional Indígena, en alerta contra los megaproyectos del gobierno de AMLO (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2019)

En ceremonia por Zapata, Blanco justifica consulta de AMLO sobre termoeléctrica en Huexca (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2019)

En ceremonia por Zapata, Blanco justifica consulta de AMLO sobre termoeléctrica en Huexca (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2019)

Con ausencia de nieto de Zapata “decepcionado” de la 4T, AMLO conmemora centenario luctuoso del caudillo (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: CNI, EZLN y organizaciones indígenas convocan a las jornadas de lucha “Zapata vive, Samir vive, la lucha sigue” (19 de marzo de 2019)

Nacional: Se lleva a cabo la tercera asamblea del Congreso Nacional Indígena y el Concejo Indígena de Gobierno (CNI-CIG) en la Ciudad de México (8 de marzo de 2019)


National/International: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Mexico

April 11, 2019

UNHCHR.pngMichelle Bachelet (@CINU)

At the end of her official visit to Mexico, which took place between April 5th and 9th, the United Nations Organization High Commissioner of the for Human Rights (UN-DH), Michelle Bachelet, said she was surprised by the levels of violence and the dimension of the human rights crisis in the country. “It was a surprise to me what I found. Without a doubt, the case of Ayotzinapa is well known by the press, but the 40 thousand disappeared was not something that was so clear, of the 26 thousand bodies without identification (in the forensic services). Or ten women murdered a day. I knew very well about the violence, but I had no idea of ​​the dimension (…) The data are terrifying.” She pointed out that Mexico has figures for violent deaths equivalent to a country at war: 252,538,000 since 2006.

She highlighted outstanding human rights issues in different areas, in particular regarding forced disappearances, femicides, violence against defenders and journalists, torture, abuses against migrants, as well as high poverty rates -especially in indigenous communities- and the need to carry out consultations in accordance with international standards, among others, in order to undertake megaprojects.

The High Commissioner also signed a collaboration agreement on the National Guard and another on the collaboration of the agency in charge of the investigation of the forced disappearance of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa (Guerrero, 2014).

The former president of Chile stressed that the new authorities of the country “have recognized that Mexico has a human rights crisis,” that there is political will to move forward with the pending issues and that “President Lopez Obrador has expressed his willingness to implement a change of paradigm.” She stressed that in the case of the National Guard, the Mexican government is talking about “accountability, transparency, human rights indicators that allow us to see if the National Guard is indeed going in the right direction or is deviating.” “The office will not hesitate to raise the alarm if it sees that there is any type of situation that does not correspond to the spirit of what is sought and the spirit of the agreement”, she said.

In the Ayotzinapa case, she said: “My office will be an ally that will not hesitate to contribute to progress and at the same time will raise the alarm in case of non-compliance. We request to know the whereabouts of the boys”, she added.

For more information in Spanish:

Enfrentar las desapariciones forzadas es el problema central en México, insta Michelle Bachelet (ONU México, 9 de abril de 2019)

México tiene cifras de muertes violentas propias de un país en guerra: Bachelet (Proceso, 9 de abril de 2019)

La ACNUDH asesorará la creación de la Guardia Nacional (Proceso, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet defiende a la sociedad civil: Es importante para la democracia, le dice al gobierno de México (Animal Político, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet se va desolada de tanto horror en México: “No sabía de todo lo que me he encontrado…” (Sin Embargo, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet: como una guerra, las muertes violentas en México (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Consultative Council on Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (April 11, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National / International: UN-DH denounces that 10 Human Rights Defenders have been murdered in Mexico until now in 2018

September 21, 2018

National / International: UN-DH denounces that 10 Human Rights Defenders have been murdered in Mexico until now in 2018 (September 21, 2018)