Chiapas: “Sowing autonomy” for 32 years

November 21, 2015

@Paisà García

On 17 November, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) observed the thirty-second anniversary since its founding. Its creation occurred after the arrival of the National Liberation Forces (FLN) to the Lacandon Jungle and following the indigenous congress of 1974, as well as within the context of a struggle over land, upheaval by indigenous and campesino social organizations, as well as the ecumenical work of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese in accordance with liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor, as endorsed by Vatican Council II. It was not for another 10 years of a clandestine accumulation of strength that on 1 January 1994 the EZLN rose up in arms against the Mexican Army, demanding work, land, housing, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace.

Several groups released pronunciations congratulating the EZLN for its more than 32 years of struggle, such as the General Confederation of Work (CGT) Chiapas and the Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR). In this way, several collectives organized events to celebrate the date, both at the national and international levels.

For more information (in Spanish):

RvsR: Feliz cumpleaños EZLN: 32 años mirando un horizonte (Enlace Zapatista, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

CGT celebra el aniversario del EZLN. 32 años sembrando autonomía. (CGT Chiapas, 17 de noviembre de 2015)

EZLN: 17 de noviembre de 1983 (Rebelion, 17 de noviembre de 2012)

Las FLN-EZLN 42 años después (Alainet, 2 de octubre de 2011)

Declaración de la Selva Lacandona (EZLN, 1993)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats and physical attacks against the BAEZLN in the Tzakukum community (13 September 2015)

Chiapas/National: EZLN announces second level of the Zapatista School (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: Risks to the lives of Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN) (3 July 2015)

Chiapas: Denunciation of paramilitary attack on the El Rosario community, pertaining to the La Garrucha caracol (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: La Garrucha Good-Government Council (JBG) denounces two paramilitary attacks (17 May 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communiqué “Pain and rage” (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: Annual report from Frayba on “Human-Rights Insurgency”

November 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Participation by Estela Barco during presentation of report @ SIPAZ

On 5 November, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report that carries the title “The Human-Rights Insurgency,” which deals with the “perspective, questions, and situations” that the CDHFBC has documented and monitored in Chiapas from March 2014 to March 2015. During the presentation of the document, several members of the directive council of CDHFBC spoke, including Blanca Martínez Bustos, director of the Fray Juan de Larios Center for Human Rights; Jorge Santiago Santiago; Estela Barco Huerta, general coordinator for the Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans; and the president of the council, jtatik Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo.

The CDHFBC described the present context as a moment that “is a dark time, amidst the implementation of saddening repressive measures that constitute State terrorism, whereby military occupation and the state of siege are normalized. With this, the violations that make up crimes against humanity such as torture, forcible disappearance, extrajudicial executions, femicide, and forcible displacement, among other crimes, are daily occurrences in Chiapas and Mexico.”

The document proclaims the comprehensive defense of human rights that is the work of the CDHFBC. The questions it addressed include torture, impunity, defense of land and territory, as well as the ongoing war context, which in the report corresponds to four chapters: Torture, an implicit negation; A look at the cracks of impunity; War in Chiapas, territory, and peoples; and Reality of war-context.

The CDHFBC expressed that torture “is engrained and generalized in the Mexican justice system, and it is not only denied but even rationalized.” From the perspective of historical memory, remembrance is the principal pillar “of the struggle of victims and their families in the cases of crimes against humanity […]. They collectively protect and transmit memory against forgetting and impunity.” With regard to the “internal armed conflict in Chiapas,” the “communities and organizational processes persist and resist in defense of their autonomy and territory amidst State policies that seek to plunder land, spirit, and culture.” Lastly, the chapter on “Reality” is dedicated to the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014 in La Realidad, official municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos

Boletín Frayba presenta su Informe Anual: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos (CDHFBC, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Despojo territorial, espiritual y cultural, una constante en Chiapas: Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba” (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


Chiapas: Ninth anniversary of the Viejo Velasco massacre

November 21, 2015


Beginning at dawn on 13 November, members of the XINICH organization, which pertains to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in their proper communities began a day of prayer and fasting that will last 13 Sundays in commemoration of the nine years since the Viejo Velasco massacre. Relatives of victims and survivors of the massacre called on “all brothers and sisters from civil society to join this action so that, with your families, organization, and communities, you carry out symbolic actions to accompany us.”

Nine years after the massacre, they manifested that they have not “found justice. The government has not punished those responsible, and there has been no effective or efficient investigation of those intellectually and materially responsible for these human-rights violations.” Beyond this, they denounced that the “bad government has not sought out and thus does not know the whereabouts of our brothers Antonio Peñate López and Mariano Pérez Guzmán, who continue to be forcibly disappeared.”

It bears mentioning that on 13 November 2006, at 6am, in the community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, adjacent to the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle, a group of 40 persons from the New Palestine community accompanied by 300 units from the sectorial police invaded the community and attacked its indigenous Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol residents, leaving four dead, four others disappeared, and 20 men, 8 women, and 8 children forcibly displaced, being survivors of the assault.

For more information (in Spanish):

Noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Frayba, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Rostros de Despojo, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Chiapas “Civiles armados, policías, funcionarios y servidores públicos, cometieron la Masacre de Viejo Velasco en Ocosingo”, DDHH. (Radio Pozol, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

A nueve años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco, pobladores anuncian jornada de oración y ayuno (14 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (CGT Chiapas, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Palenque, eight years after the Viejo Velasco massacre; beginning of “Faces of looting” campaign (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)


Oaxaca: Declaration of rejection of hydroelectric and mining projects in the Coastal region

November 21, 2015

Durante el Foro @ SIPAZ

During the Forum @ SIPAZ

On 14 November, some 400 people representing 51 communities of the coastal and southern mountainous regions of Oaxaca as well as civil organizations met for the regional forum “Imperiled Rivers and Mountains” – Peoples and their Right to Land, held in Tataltepec de Valdés, Juquila. During the Forum, a declaration was developed that denounces the existence of “at least 14 hydroelectric projects in the coastal region of Oaxaca, as well as several mining projects. Many of these we reject in unison, but now they have been relaunched by federal authorities together with the Oaxacan state government.” Beyond this, they indicated “in a unanimous voice” their repudiation of the “projects of hydroelectric dams and mines that threaten our indigenous lands,” given that “new risks have been reactivated” following the “energy reform approved by the local and federal governments.”

Lastly, they concluded that “the dam- and mining-projects create great damages in our territories and environments by devastating the water supplies and thus putting at risk the continued existence of our lives as peoples. They also create social and cultural problems by dividing us over the question of whether to invite transnational corporations in. They further destroy the environment as they seek to flood our lands, and they use chemicals that contaminate the water, the land, the soils, and even the very air we breathe.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Declaratoria del Foro Regional “Ríos y Montañas en Peligro” – Los Pueblos y su Derecho al Territorio (Educa, 14 de noviembre de 2015)

Nuevos proyectos mineros e hidroeléctricos amenazan la Costa de Oaxaca (Educa, 10 de noviembre de 2015)

Al menos 14 proyectos hidroeléctricos en la Costa oaxaqueña; ONGs se oponen (NSS Oaxaca, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

National: IX National Intercultural Meeting of MAPDER in Presidio de los Reyes (15 October 2013)

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)


Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Chicoasén initiate hunger-strike against Chicoasén II dam-project

November 19, 2015

Huelga de hambre contra construcción de la CFE (@Educa)

Hunger-strike against the construction of the CFE (@Educa)

On 3 November, elder males and females who have been affected by the construction of the Chicoasén II dam in the Chicoasén municipality undertook a hunger-strike to demand the release of their lawyer Arturo Ortega Luna, who was arrested on 21 October. In an urgent communique, the campesinos reported that “those who will be on hunger strike are at risk of having charges fabricated against them by the government, as it did the last time with the State Attorney General’s Office, given that municipal and state police and the Mexican Army are patrolling through our streets.” They indicated that the detained lawyer, who was assisting them in their defense against the construction of the dam-project, “was arrested unjustly, accused of a mutiny by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).” The ejidatarios demanded that the more than 10 arrest-orders against other members of the ejidal committee and associated lawyers be suspended.

With their hunger-strike, the ejidatarios denounced the judicial persecution and threat against their agrarian rights, in light of the looting of land implied by the project. They have demanded just reparations for the loss of their lands as well as respect for the legal motion affirmed by a federal judge in May 2015 mandating the suspension of the dam-project. Avisaín Solís López, an ejidatario who has been affected by the dam’s construction, added that the state governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, “said that he would not allow the construction of any more dams that would violate the rights of peasants in Chiapas, but now we defend our rights, having received only lies.” Those affected seek to maintain their hunger-strike until the government attends to them, releases their lawyer, and respects their rights as indigenous people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos de Chicoasén inician ayuno por liberación de abogado (La Jornada, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Inician ancianos zoques huelga de hambre contra hidroeléctrica Chicoasén II (Educa, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Ejidatarios de Chicoasen inician huelga de hambre (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

Adultos mayores inician ayuno contra hidroeléctrica de CFE en Chiapas (Proceso, 3 de noviembre 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)


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