Chiapas: Primero de Agosto Displaced Families Report Enclosure of their Lands

April 21, 2016

Primero.pngDisplacement camp at Primero de Agosto, Photo @ Radio Zapatista

On April 14, the displaced of Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas made a public statement denouncing the barbed wiring of part of the land of Primero de Agosto where they lived and from where they were displaced on February 23, 2015. According to their statement, they were provoked by ejidatarios from Miguel Hidalgo, members of the Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical (CIOAC-H) on April 7 and 8 “carrying firearms, machetes, and all uniformed with PRD yellow caps (sic).”

They also reported that intimidation around their camp continues. After the events of April 7 and 8, on the morning of April 9, the authorities of the region passed by performing violent acts on cows and a bull “eight meters from where we are displaced.” The displaced of Primero de Agosto blamed the three levels of government, noting that the members of CIOAC-H from Miguel Hidalgo are “protected and backed by the governments that don’t do anything, that don’t say anything.” It should be mentioned that on February 25 last year, the State Government of Chiapas committed itself to dividing the lands in equal parts. Nevertheless, the lands have not been divided one year later and the inhabitants remain displaced. They reported that to this date the state government “hasn’t fulfilled anything, on the contrary, it has allowed the situation to get worse. The Mexican State has ignored the case.”

For more information in Spanish:

CIOAC-Histórica cerca tierras de familias desplazadas de Primero de Agosto (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 14 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Desplazados del Poblado Primero de Agosto denunciaron escalamiento de hostigamiento, amenazas de muerte y desalojo (7 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: 8 meses de “amenazas y hostigamiento” a tojolabales en desplazamiento forzado del poblado Primero de Agosto (5 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Red por la Paz denuncia actitud omisa del gobierno de Chiapas ante caso de Primero de Agosto (16 de julio de 2015)


National: Senate Passes Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

April 17, 2016

SEZ.pngThe Special Economic Zones @Presidencia de la República

On Thursday, April 14, the Senate passed the Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) with 88 votes in favor and eight against. The purpose of this law is to reduce poverty, allow for the provision of basic services and broaden the opportunities for a healthy and productive life in the regions which have the greatest deficiencies in social and economic development, according to the judgment. It will do so through the promotion of investment, productivity, competitiveness, employment, and a greater distribution of income among the population. The law establishes preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies. It will give concessions for 40 years, renewable for 40 more, and will enjoy tax and customs exemptions for eight years, for example.

While the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), Ecologist Green Party (PVEM) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) endorsed the law, the PRD senator, Dolores Padierna, rejected it. She pointed out that the law does not provide for any social benefit but benefits “for the economic elite of this country and foreign companies.” Similarly, senator Layda Sansores San Ramon, Citizens Movement (MC), considers that “it auctions Mexico.” Sharing this idea, the coordinator of the Work Party (PT), Manuel Bartlett warned that the developers of the SEZ will become administrators of the states of the republic in which they operate and seek “to deepen the appropriation of national territory for big international finance companies.” In effect, the law plans the expropriation of all territories required to establish investment projects, which will be administered by businessmen, who will be able to operate their own surveillance and security companies. Bartlett concluded assuring that “this is not a Peña Nieto project, because Peña Nieto has no projects. This is a North American plan studied in its universities. It is a big lie that with growth there can be a distribution of wealth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Aprueba el Senado ley sobre zonas económicas especiales (Educa, 15 de abril 2016)

Con ZEE, Peña Nieto pretende terminar de rematar a México: Layda (Pagin@bierta, 15 de abril 2016)
Avanza ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales en el Senado (La Jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Senado votará el jueves por ley de Zonas Económicas Especiales (La jornada, 13 de abril 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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


National: Launch of National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory

April 15, 2016

EarthNational Campaign in Defense of Mother earth and Territory. @defensamadretierra

On April 10, the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory was launched in Mexico City to defend territory and combat the disinformation that exists in the country as regards dispossession. This campaign, made up of 179 organizations, collectives and associations, has three objectives for November 20 of this year: share struggles and stories of defense of Mother Earth to show how it is being destroyed and the importance of defending it; denounce how the destruction “is giving profits to the men of money, Mexican and foreign, and they call this predatory profit development and progress”; and also to make known alternative ways of life and government to show that “another way of life in society respecting Mother earth and our brothers” is possible.

The members of the campaign call on all towns, communities, neighborhoods and suburbs that suffer dispossession, destruction of Mother Earth caused by mining, petrol, and forestry projects, or that make water a merchandise; that struggle against agrochemicals, mono-cultivation, and preserve native seeds; that are being affected by pollution; that struggle against the privatization of beaches, mangrove swamps, lakes, forests and protected natural areas, to carry out actions as part of this campaign.

For more information in Spanish:

En defensa de la madre tierra (La jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Invitan a sumarse a la Campaña Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra (Regeneración, 12 de abril 2016)
Convocatoria Campaña en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio (Serapaz, 11 de abril de 2016)
Alistan campaña en defensa de la tierra; realizarán acto en el Monumento a la Revolución (Proceso, 8 de abril 2016)


National: Disturbances in Indigenous Territories over the Implementation of Megaprojects: San Francisco Xochicuautla and Atenco

April 14, 2016

Unrest.pngDemolition of one of the homes in Xochicuautla protected by the riot police. Photo: @FJXochicuautla.

In recent days there have been at least two major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects. In one case, some 700 members of the police forced entrance into the Otomi-Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, to permit the entrance of bulldozers of a construction company. This community has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and through popular mobilization and the granting of two legal decisions won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of their lands. Despite this, the police force entered the community offering protection to the company, which demolished the Peace and Dignified Resistance Camp and a number of houses which were on the planned highway route. According to statements from the spokesperson of the community, Jose Luis Fernandez, 25 people were evicted and beaten, among them a woman who is almost 80 years old.

As Proceso pointed out, the work “is carried out by Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, which belongs to Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, one of the main contractors of the Federal Government and whose financial dealings in tax havens were uncovered through the investigation of the Panama Papers.” Furthermore, the corporate group has been identified by various media sources as the main contractor of Mexico State since it was governed by the current President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, and as the “supplier of the luxury residences of the leader’s wife and of Luis Videgaray Caso, Minister of Finance and Public Credit”, according to La Jornada.

In another case, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra – FPDT) reported the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” Due to this, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero – CDHZL) stated: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.” It should be remembered that the struggle of the people of Atenco against the construction of an airport on their lands was violently repressed. In the protests, two youths lost their lives, more than 200 were arrested, and at least 26 women were sexually tortured by the police.

For more information in Spanish:

Irrumpe Higa con fuerza pública a Xochicuautla; derriba viviendas pese a amparos (Proceso, 11 de abril de 2016)

Editorial / Xochicuautla, atropello a la legalidad (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Sociedad civil resiste en Xochicuautla e Higa se niega a detener las demoliciones ilegales (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 13 de abril de 2016)

Constata ONU violación de órdenes judiciales en obras de la autopista Naucalpan-Toluca (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Declaración de alerta máxima del CNI, ante la cobarde traición a la comunidad indígena Ñatho de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de abril de 2016)

Hay un acuerdo para suspender las obras en Xochicuautla: habitantes (Animal Político, 14 de abril de 2016)

Frente por la Libertad de Expresión condena desalojo de la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Noticias MVS, 12 de abril de 2016)

Policías en Xochicuautla y ayer, militares en Atenco; “nos están provocando”, dicen comuneros (Sin Embargo, 13 de abril de 2016)

Denuncian en Atenco que militares escoltan a trabajadores de constructora (Proceso, 12 de abril de 2016)

Ejército irrumpe en tierras ejidales de San Salvador Atenco (Desinformémonos, 12 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Comunidad de Xochicuautla denuncia proyecto carretero y se solidariza con pueblos indígenas de Chiapas que enfrentan despojo (20 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)

Nacional: El FPDT de Atenco inicia movilizaciones después de anuncio de próximo aeropuerto (4 de septiembre de 2014)

Nacional: A 8 años de impunidad en Atenco, continúa amenaza de construcción del aeropuerto (8 de mayo de 2014)


Chiapas: Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice Reaches San Cristobal de Las Casas

April 10, 2016

Caravan.png

The event in Plaza de la Paz, San Cristobal de las Casas, Photo @ SIPAZ

On April 7, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice reached Plaza de La Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where it held a discussion with representatives of various civil organizations which expressed their accompaniment and solidarity. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from different nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs.” On their journey, the Caravan has joined a group of some 35 people from seven countries. It left Honduras on March 28 and will arrive to New York on April 18. According to Otros Mundos, “the route reflects the commitment to raise the voice of the victims and of the heroes of the war on drugs, and it turns out they are the same. From their pain, the victims are becoming in an organized way the people who struggle for peace and justice, for an exit from the war.” On their way through Mexico, the Caravan entered through the border of Guatemala – Mexico at La Mesilla – Ciudad Cuauhtemoc on April 6. There they held an event in which they listened to the words and struggles in the region of the southern border of Mexico, “invaded by a growing militarization which worsens the human rights situation of the peoples in defense and care of the earth as well as migrants from Central America and Chiapas year after year.” The participants in the Caravan proposed a compilation of testimonies of violations of human rights committed combatting drugs with the aim of presenting it at the special session on narcotics at the General Assembly of the United Nations, to be held from April 19 – 21.

During the event in San Cristobal de Las Casas, some civil organizations, among them Otros Mundos, The Civil Society of Las Abejas of Acteal, and Mesoamerican Voices shared their words. They demanded “that justice be done for the killing of the coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH), Berta Caceres, murdered on March 3 last in Honduras.” The Colombian Alex Serra, who coordinated the passage of the Caravan through Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala reiterated that, “one of our principal demands is that justice be done because she was part of the Caravan and with her murder, we are in mourning.” In commemoration of the Honduran leader, there was a minute of applause during the event. Las Abejas de Acteal underlined that if “there is insecurity for the life of the population of Honduras, migration and pillage of our mother earth, it is not only in Honduras, there is also a wave of violence and injustice here in Chiapas and in Mexico, the youth of Ayotzinapa being a clear example.” Marco Castillo of the Popular Assembly of Migrant Families and coordinator of the Caravan in Mexico, sustained that, “it would appear that the great gain of the war is not security but the control of territory, terrorism in the population, such that it is undeniable that the security policy has failed.”

The Caravan left at noon on the same day to Oaxaca, from where it will travel to Morelos to have a meeting with Javier Sicilia, leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. From there it will continue its way to the seat of the United Nations Organization (UNO) in New York to demand justice and dignity.

For more information in Spanish:

Página Web de la Caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia

La Caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia, en la ruta de la violencia y la resistencia (Otros Mundos, 8 de abril de 2016)

Arriba Caravana por la Paz y la Justicia (Cuarto Poder, 8 de abril de 2016)

La caravana por la paz llegó ayer a San Cristóbal (La Jornada, 7 de abril de 2016)

Acogida a la Caravana por La Paz, la Vida y la Justicia en su entrada al país y en su paso por Chiapas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 7 de abril de 2016)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal: “La sangre de la compañera Bertha podría expandir en todas partes del mundo. “ (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Justicia para Berta Cáceres y Nelson Noé García. Protección para Gustavo Castro Soto (29 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Internacional: Asesinan a defensora hondureña (Berta Cáceres) en presencia de defensor mexicano (Gustavo Castro) (7 de marzo de 2016)

Nacional/internacional: La CIDH expresa su preocupación ante el endurecimiento de las autoridades mexicanas hacia los migrantes y sus defensores en la frontera Sur© SIPAZ Mural de migrantes, Chiapas (17 junio de 2015)


Guerrero: 3,000 Members of the Council of Affected Communities of Guerrero Mountain March against Hunger and Oblivion

April 6, 2016

Oaxaca block.png

Image of the blockade of one of the entrances to Tlapa. Photo:@Tlachinollan

On March 30 last, more than 3,000 indigenous from the High Mountain zone of Guerrero marched to demand reparations for damages caused by hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in September 2013. More than two and a half years after the damages caused by the storms, 185 communities organized under the Council of Affected Communities of Guerrero Mountain denounced the lack of attention to the commitment that the State Government gave in support of their demands for the reconstruction of their homes and of their productive base. Until today, “dozens of families are still living in the hills under tin roofs as the government still hasn’t rebuilt their homes”, Sintesis de Guerrero said. Taking the main entrances of the city of Tlapa de Comonfort they demanded “immediate attention from the State and Federal Governments and to demand that they meet their unfulfilled [agreements]according to the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre.

According to the same source, “given of the grave crisis of production that the indigenous families are facing, the people whose economy is based on seasonal agriculture and the sale of coffee, they are on the brink of a serious situation.” In spite of that, “the State and Federal Governments have insisted on postponing basic solutions to a structural problem”, such that the Council of Affected Communities proposed the “Raining Maize in the Mountain” program. This proposes the compensation of the deficit of production of basic grains, which has forced dozens of families to migrate to work mostly as casual agricultural workers, and also that homes are built. It is worth remembering that the Guerrero Mountain region is one of the poorest in the country and that around 4,250 homes were damaged by the hurricanes. According to declarations of a member of the Council, “more than two years have passed and the primary still hasn’t been built, we are still missing 13 houses for families that had to leave the community because the town was buried.”  

As Tlachinollan indicated, the process of the Council of Affected Communities is carrying out a “struggle against discrimination, the abuse of the authorities and the selective and corrupt practices that are used in this forgotten region […] and to make the authorities promise to fulfill their commitments.” The Council asked to begin dialogue again with the State and Federal Governments to complete the building phase of homes in the “Raining Maize in the Mountain Program.

For more information in Spanish:

BOLETÍN | Mas de 3 mil Indígenas de la Montaña se movilizan contra el hambre y la discriminación (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 31 de marzo de 2016)

Exige el Consejo de Damnificados de La Montaña que se amplíen los apoyos de granos básicos (El Sur Acapulco, 31 de marzo de 2016)

Exigen familias indígenas de La Montaña al gobierno cumpla con la entrega de granos (La Jornada de Guerrero, 31 de marzo de 2016)

Cierran carreteras en Tlapa damnificados de la montaña (Síntesis de Guerrero, 31 de marzo de 2016)

For more information form SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Marcha de familias damnificadas a un año de la tormenta Manuel y el huracán Ingrid (15 de septiembre de 2014)

Guerrero: Se logra acuerdo para implementación de un programa de abastecimiento de granos básicos para los damnificados de la Montaña (22 de febrero de 2014)

Guerrero: Damnificados de la Montaña realizan “Peregrinación del Hambre” por falta de apoyo gubernamental (5 de febrero de 2014)

Guerrero: Damnificados de las tormentas migran para poder subsistir (22 de octubre de 2013)

 


Chiapas: Indigenous leader murdered in San Cristobal de Las Casas

March 30, 2016

SC

Commemoration in Peace Square. Photo: @El Universal

On March 24, Juan Carlos Jimenez Velasco, leader of the Independent Confederation of Organizations of Civil Association (Confederación Independiente de Organizaciones Asociación Civil – CIO-AC) and member of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), was found dead in San Cristobal de Las Casas. According to a CNTE report, the 35-year-old teacher was murdered by a group of hooded persons while in his vehicle. Jimenez Velasco “led the struggle of 50 families expelled from the Santa Catarina Colony in San Cristobal de Las Casas, by members of the Association of Leaseholders of the Traditional Market of that city (ALMETRACH) and the Coordination of Organizations for the Environment for a Better Chiapas (COMACH).” The CNTE indicated that the expulsion of the families was the result of an order from the Town Hall. Jimenez Velasco took part in the takeover of some 20 hectares of land of the former Indigenous National Institute (INI) more than three years ago. This resulted in a dispute over these lands and some months ago the victim and his family received various death threats. According to official sources, “the authorities had set up a negotiating table to try to find a solution to the dispute over the lands, but the groups against Jimenez Velasco broke [the dialogue] and threatened him with death, so they had him in their sights until they killed him.”

The Attorney General for Justice for the State has made no arrests nor identified the killers to date. Teachers from Chiapas blamed ALMETRACH along with the Town Hall of San Cristobal and the state and federal governments for the events. Rebeca Silvia Perez Lopez, widow of Jimenez Velasco and who is seven months pregnant, blamed the crime on members of COMACH. While demanding justice, she said that she feared for her safety. On March 26 last, social organizations, democratic teachers from the region, and the family of Jimenez Velasco said their last goodbyes to a teacher who demanded justice and protested against all types of violence.

For more information in Spanish:

Asesinan en San Cristóbal de Las Casas a líder indígena (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2016)

Despiden a maestro asesinado en Chiapas (El Universal, 26 de marzo de 2016)

Exigen justicia por muerte de luchador social en San Cristóbal, Chiapas (Quadratin Oaxaca, 26 de marzo de 2016)

Asesinan a líder indígena en San Cristóbal de las Casas (SDP Noticias, 26 de marzo de 2016)

Asesinan a líder social (Artículo 7, 25 de marzo de 2016)


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