On June 4th, dozens of members of civil groups (including SIPAZ), women from Las Abejas Civil Society and members of the San Cristobal de Las Casas diocese, accompanied the Tzeltal sisters Ana, Beatriz and Celia Gonzalez Perez in the symbolic takeover of the military barracks in this city, to demand that justice be done for the torture and rape of those who were victims, 25 years ago, of the military in the municipality of Altamirano.
The lawyer, Gloria Guadalupe Flores Ruiz, member of the Gonzalez Parez Sisters’ Committee, recalled that the three indigenous women and their mother Delia Perez de Gonzalez, were detained at a Mexican Army checkpoint in Altamirano on June 4th, 1994, accused of being support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) and that “they were beaten, tortured and raped by the military, who forced the mother to witness the attacks” so that they would provide information about the Zapatistas.
In April 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled on the case and recommended that the Mexican State “investigate the facts in a complete, impartial and effective manner in the ordinary Mexican criminal jurisdiction to determine the responsibility and sanction of all authors of human rights violations.” No government wanted to attend to the case and impunity and oblivion have prevailed. On May 7th, however, a working group of the IACHR was held in Jamaica and the Mexican government undertook to comply “in a comprehensive manner” with the 2001 recommendation.
The demands of the victims and their defense include: “Investigation and punishment of the military responsible for the rape and torture; to hold a public acknowledgment of responsibility in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and with the presence of military commanders, and integral reparation for the damage caused, in accordance with the worldview of the Perez Gonzalez sisters.”
Flores Ruiz emphasized that “the Mexican State refuses to recognize that the perpetrators of serious violations of the human rights of the Gonzalez Perez sisters were the military. This has been the point that has stalled the case in the previous administrations, because they did not want to go out and say that the Army was responsible for this violence generated in the context of the low intensity war in 1994, but we hope that this government of the fourth transformation shows that the civilian command is above the military.”
For his part, the priest Marcelo Perez Perez, responsible for the social pastoral of the three dioceses of Chiapas, asked “the maximum commander of the Mexican Army, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, president of the Republic,” that justice be done in the case of the Gonzalez Perez sisters and their mother. “If there is no justice for the Gonzalez Perez sisters, they will be accomplices and traitors to the indigenous peoples,” he stressed.
Women of Las Abejas Civil Society stated that, “today we come here to join the demand for justice from compañeras Ana, Beatriz, Celia Gonzalez Perez and Delia Perez (…) and with all those hundreds, thousands and thousands of women who have been victims of the perpetrating army and violator of women and of human rights.” They also denounced that “we know that the Mexican army not only tortured and raped women 25 years ago, but, that they continued with their barbarism, they continued to humiliate women, either raping them or massacring them directly or indirectly as with the 21 women massacred by the PRI members from Chenalho, four of whom were pregnant, and after Acteal they followed, with the women of Atenco, compañeras of the Sierra Zongolica de Veracruz and, we can continue with an endless list. The Mexican Army is not an army that serves the Mexican nation, it is an army that is at the service of the capitalist system, which is trained to kill and exterminate the original peoples of Mexico and the women and men who criticize the bad government and the system of death.”
For more information in Spanish:
Exigen justicia a 25 años de la violación tumultuaria de tres hermanas cometida por militares en Chiapas (Proceso, 4 de junio de 2019)
A 25 años, hermanas violadas por militares en Chiapas exigen justicia (La Jornada, 4 de junio de 2019)
Mujeres indígenas de Chiapas acusan impunidad por violación de militares hace 25 años (Sin Embargo, 4 de junio de 2019)
Tzeltales en Chiapas exigen justicia por violación atribuida a militares (El Universal, 4 de junio de 2019)
El ejército mexicano no es un ejército que sirve a la nación mexicana, es un ejército que está al servicio del sistema capitalista. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 4 de junio de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Indigenous Tzeltal women raped by the Mexican Army accept “compensation” with conditions (October 25, 2010)