Chiapas: Thousands of Faithful Hold Pilgrimage in Support of Teachers’ Movement

July 6, 2016

Profes.pngDuring the pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Photo:@SIPAZ

On July 1, people from more than 15 parishes from the southeastern region of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas marched with their parish priests to show their support for the teachers’ movement which has been on strike since May 15 to demand the repeal of the educational reform bill and for the Government Secretary, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, to open a negotiating table with the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE).

It was called by pastoral agents and the southeastern team of Believing People and parish priests and faithful from Tuxtla, Tapachula, San Cristobal, Chicomuselo, La Trinitaria, La Independencia, Comitan, Las Margaritas, Simojovel, Pueblo Nuevo, San Fernando and others took part, amounting to more than 15 parishes. The pilgrimage took place in Tuxtla Gutierrez, beginning at the eastern entrance of the state capital and marched several kilometers to the central square where a rally was held. The Catholics were met with applause by hundreds of teachers, thanking them for their solidarity with the movement. Several parishes and civil organizations spoke at the rally. One of them, Father Marcelo Perez Perez, said that, “they will take to the streets as often as it is necessary to demand that the government withdraws the educational reform and all those reforms that attack the rights of Mexican workers.” Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society Organization also expressed their solidarity with the teachers and said in a statement that, “we cannot stay on the sidelines of this system, we cannot remain with our arms folded. […] Brutal death, repression and violence have been the daily bread for us as Mexicans. Because of all the initiatives and structural reforms that the Federal Government has proposed. It is a project of death that does not benefit Mexican society (sic).”

At the same time, the acting general secretary of Section Seven of the National Union of Education Workers, Manuel de Jesus Mendoza Vazquez, stated that, “by agreement of the permanent state assembly, the highway blockades at various points of the state will be maintained to prevent the passage of delivery trucks of transnational companies.” He sustained that the blockades will be permanent until the Federal Government responds to their demand for the repeal of the educational reform bill.

For more information in Spanish:

Marchan párrocos y miles de feligreses en apoyo a la CNTE (Chiapas Paralelo, 2 de julio de 2016)

Se ha institucionalizado la represión, la tiranía y el despojo: Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 1 de julio de2016)

Parroquias realizan marcha en apoyo a magisterio en Chiapas (La Jornada, 1 de julio de 2016)

Realizamos ésta peregrinación, para solidarizarnos y apoyarnos con la lucha de los magisterios. (Las Abejas de Acteal, 1 de julio de 2016)

Paz, justicia, solidaridad: peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente equipo sureste en apoyo al movimiento magisterial (30 de junio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal se solidarizan con la lucha del magisterio (29 de junio de 2016)

Nacional/Internacional: Aumenta apoyo al magisterio al nivel nacional e internacional (23 de junio de 2016)

Chiapas: Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel sigue en defensa por la “vida, paz, justicia, libertad y democracia” (13 de noviembre 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: 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)


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)


Chiapas: Monthly commemoration of Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society

March 28, 2016

Abejas

During the commemoration. Photo @SIPAZ

On March 22, Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society commemorated the massacre at Acteal on their sacred ground, recording their word in a statement. After 18 years and three months they continue to denounce that “the pain and the memory are still present […]. There is no justice, because there is no peace in our country. As an organization, we always speak the truth and at the same time we denounce the most violent acts in our country. Our mission and our commitment is to work for peace.”

 According to their statement, the defense of the life of the people and of nature now seems to be a crime. “All those who rise to defend and protest their rights find just one response from the government: repression, murder and imprisonment.” They mentioned Berta Caceres from Honduras as a recent example, the social activist and defender who was murdered in her home on March 3 last, recalling that the Mexican environmental defender, Gustavo Castro Soto, was present and was wounded in the event. “Our world is upside down, with the laws and the authorities protecting the criminals and persecuting the citizens who struggle for justice. Our Political Constitution is out of date because the President of the Republic continues to make reforms that do not benefit the Mexican people. They only benefit the rich and foreign companies. An to the Mexican people whose rights it violates, it responds with crumbs and repression.” They ended the statement with a call “to take on a peaceful struggle because violence does not bring life. We hope to march united until peace triumphs.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado Las Abejas de Acteal (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de marzo de 2016)

Gustavo Castro en Honduras (Otros Mundos, 22 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Internacional: Nelson García, otro integrante del COPINH asesinado; Gustavo Castro, retenido por 30 días más (17 de marzo de 2016)

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

Chiapas: Nueva agresión en contra de integrantes de Las Abejas de Acteal (4 de enero de 2016)

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


Chiapas: Multiple events for International Women’s Day

March 19, 2016

Women.png

Pilgrimage of the women of Las Abejas de Acteal. Photo @SIPAZ

Multiple events were organized in Chiapas within the framework of International Women’s Day. In a state which ranks in the top ten as regards violence against women, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas – CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) published that “the right to life, personal integrity and safety, access to justice, to a life free from violence, among other fundamental rights is an outstanding subject in Chiapas, where women are the booty of war in the wide panorama of human rights violations that the Mexican State tolerates, perpetrates and reproduces, using terror as a strategy to detain multiple resistances.”

The Movement for Defense of Land and Territory and for the participation and recognition of women in decision making held an assembly, closing the encounter with a march and meeting. They published their agreements in a statement demanding the recognition and modification of Ejidal Rules and Statutes (Reglamentos Ejidales y Estatutos) to recognize women as co-owners of land and that their territories be declared free of megaprojects. Likewise, they rejected machismo and government programs “in the form of aid” aimed at women, they demanded that their right to health be met, the cancellation of the San Cristobal-Palenque and San Cristobal-Frontera Comalapa highways, recognition of the autonomy of Tila ejido and of Chimalapas, the declaration of Gender Violence Alert (Alerta de Violencia de Género – AVG) in Chiapas, and the removal of the armed forces from their territories.

There was a pilgrimage called for by the women of the Civil Society of Las Abejas de Acteal, who have maintained their opposition to the militarization of their territory since the massacre of 45 people in 1997. In their statement they recalled the murder of “21 women, 15 children, and nine men; as well as 26 wounded and four pregnant women who had their wombs opened, their babies taken out and cut up” and made a call “to resist but not to take on [the path of] violence” because “it is time to open the ears, it is time to awaken all those who have been in a deep sleep.”

On their part, the women of Simojovel, who through People of Faith (Pueblo Creyente) have been struggling against alcohol, for the closure of cantinas, and against drug trafficking in the region, protested “for so many injustices, ambition, delinquency, prostitution, etc., that we are living through.”

It should be noted that in the majority of the events the recent murder of Berta Caceres, Lenca indigenous defender of human rights, land and and territory in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras, was condemned, and they expressed solidarity with Gustavo Castro and demanded that his safety be guaranteed and his immediate return to Mexico.

For more information in Spanish:

Nosotras también tenemos planes, proyectos, nuestro movimiento tiene pies y es nuestro trabajo comunitario, Movimiento de Mujeres en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (Casa de la Mujer Ixim Antsetik, 7 de marzo de 2016)

Por la defensa de la Madre Tierra y por la participación de las Mujeres (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 9 de marzo de 2016)

Palabra de las Abejas en el día internacional de la mujer (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 9 de marzo de 2016)

Si no existiera la mujer, no existiera la vida (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 9 de marzo de 2016)

Pronunciamiento ¡8 de marzo, nada que celebrar y mucho que denunciar! (Campaña popular contra la violencia hacia las mujeres y el feminicidio en Chiapas, 10 de marzo de 2016)

Conmemora Unich Día Internacional de la Mujer (Prensa Libre Chiapas, 8 de marzo de 2016)

FOTÓGRAFAS CELEBRAN DÍA INTERNACIONAL DE LA MUJER EN SCLC (Revista Enheduanna, 5 de marzo de 2016)

Violencia hacia las mujeres, violación sistemática y estructural de derechos humanos (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 8 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: En 2016 continúan los feminicidios (25 de febrero de 2016)

México: Quinto aniversario de la Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en México (RNDDHM) (14 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas denuncia amenazas (8 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Eventos en el marco del Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra las Mujeres (2 de diciembre de 2015)


Chiapas: 18 years since the Acteal massacre

December 27, 2015

20151222_140601

Acteal, 22 December 2015 (@SIPAZ)

On 22 December 2015, 18 years since the massacre of 45 indigenous persons in Acteal, Chenalhó municipality, the Las Abejas Civil Society (organization to which the victims had pertained) carried out a pilgrimage and a commemoration of the events to denounce the impunity that continues to prevail in the case. In a communique, Las Abejas stressed that, “the bad government investigating the intellectual authors of this crime through the badly named ‘Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation,’ that is to say, the ‘Supreme Court for the Rich and Criminals,’ has ordered the massive release of the paramilitaries who performed the massacre. As far as we can tell, only 2 are left incarcerated, and at any moment will they also be released. Thus it remains clear to us that justice will not be granted by the government, because the Mexican State is the one that gave the order for the massacre, such that it is a criminal party and cannot rightfully be judge in the case. The Mexican justice system is expired and rotten. It is very clear that, if we wish to have true justice, we organized peoples of Mexico must construct a true, dignified, thorough, and humane justice.” Las Abejas ended the communique stressing that “Memory is an act of Justice!”

For his part, the director of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), Pedro Faro Navarro, denounced that in the Acteal case, “there has been no justice, and the wall of impunity persists.” He added that “state officials, including Ernesto Zedillo, clearly knew what was happening in Chenalhó, in terms of the precedents and the moment at which the massacre was happening, due to reports from the Mexican Army which had been deployed in the Highlands region, thus confirming the direct participation of the Mexican State in the Acteal massacre. The national context shows us that justice will not come from above, nor from those in power or those who administer the State, let alone the existing power-groups or anyone who manipulates and corrupts [the people], who are the owners of the justice system in Mexico.” He noted that for this reason, the Las Abejas Civil Society “is building through its steadfastness another justice,” such that “one possible conclusion is that the future of the people who have been degraded and discriminated against will need no justice from the State.”

For more information (in Spanish):

La memoria es un acto de Justicia – XVIII Conmemoración de la masacre de Acteal (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de diciembre de 2015)

Boletín 18 aniversario de la masacre de Acteal (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 22 de diciembre de 2015)

Impune, el “crimen de Estado” en Acteal: Las Abejas (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2015)

Acteal: 18 años de violencia (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre de 2015)

Conmemoran 18 años de matanza de Acteal (El Universal, 23 de diciembre de 2015)

Acteal: 18 años de impunidad (Desinformemonos, 22 de diciembre de 2015)

A 18 años de la matanza de Acteal persiste la impunidad: Frayba (Proceso, 23 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas reject ‘friendly solution’ with Mexican State (25 October 2015)

Chiapas: Monthly commemoration by Las Abejas de Acteal (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce 6 years of release of paramilitaries (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: A member of the Las Abejas Civil Society is murdered (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: TPP pre-audience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)

 


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