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)


Nestora Salgado Launches Campaign to Demand Release of Political Prisoners

April 7, 2016

Nestora.pngCall to the campaign. Photo: @Regeneración

On March 18 last, Nestora Salgado, commander of the Olinala Community Police, Guerrero, member of the Regional Coordinator of Communitty Authorities (CRAC in its Spanish acronym), was released after two years and eight months in prison. On leaving prison, Nestora called on the Government of Guerrero to release the nine members of CRAC who are still prisoners and assured that she would begin a campaign “for the freedom” of her compañeros. For April 10, International Day of Political Prisoners, she called for actions within the framework of the national campaign “Put a Face and Name on the Political Prisoners in Mexico”, to give visibility to the situation of prisoners and demand their release. She stated that, “We are missing 500 political prisoners and I’m going to fight to get them out. I am going to get the release of my compañeros. I will go wherever I have to because I am with you in your struggle and in all the struggles of the people.

Nestora added that only together will the citizens be able to achieve change, justice and the freedom of their compañeros and of those in the rest of the country. She intends to travel to other countries to “exhume what has been buried and give voice to the silenced.” According to El Sur newspaper, social organizations also denounced “the grave crisis of human rights in Mexico and the criminalization of those who defend territory, education, land, water, the air and life. For this reason they have called [on people] to join Salgado’s movement and international tour. “We are aware that Mexico is suffering the most ruthless attack by the interests of foreign capital. Currently the territories of indigenous peoples are pillaged and (their inhabitants) are being displaced from their lands through the violence of paramilitary groups, by organized crime, or the territory is being militarized by soldiers and the state police” as is outlined on the call.

It is worth noting that the social leader returned to her home in Seattle, USA. In Washington she visited the International Clinic of Human Rights of the Faculty of Law of Washington University, where she started the campaign. The clinic played an important role in the struggle for the Nestora’s release. During her stay in the US, the commander from Olinala plans to visit Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington. She intends to return to Guerrero soon as she is the representative of the Community Police and due to her post in CRAC.

For more information in Spanish:

Nestora Salgado convoca a campaña “Ponle rostro y nombre a las y los presos políticos en México” (Regeneración, 30 de marzo de 2016)

Nestora y los presos políticos de la CRAC (La Jornada, 29 de marzo de 2016)

Lanza Nestora Salgado una campaña para exigir la libertad de los presos políticos de México (El Sur, 28 de marzo de 2016)

Video de la campaña “Ponle rostro y nombre a las y los presos políticos en México” (YouTube, 25 de marzo de 2016)

Emprende Nestora Salgado campaña en EU por presos políticos (La Jornada, 22 de marzo de 2016)

“Nos faltan 500 presos políticos y yo voy a luchar por sacarlos”: Nestora Salgado (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Nestora Salgado en libertad (18 de marzo de 2016)

Nacional/Guerrero: Exhorta ONU al gobierno mexicano a liberar a Nestora Salgado (24 de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Jornada nacional e internacional por presos políticos del 6 al 13 de diciembre (15 de diciembre de 2015)

Guerrero: presos de la Policia Comunitaria “son presos políticos”, según general Gallardo (16 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Denuncian CRAC y habitantes de Papaxtla allanamientos violentos y decomisos (1 de junio de 2015)


National: Xochicuautla obtains suspension of highway

March 21, 2016

Autopista.png

Photo: @Mexican Commission for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos – CMPDH)

After a decade of struggle for conservation of the natural wealth of their territory, the community of San Francisco, Xochicuautla, Mexico State, obtained the definitive suspension of the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway that threatened their forest. Following ten years of various strategies, political and legal, the suspension opposed the presidential decree of 2015 for the expropriation of 37 hectares of the ejido for the construction of the highway.

The infrastructure project was promoted by the then-governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. The company in charge of the construction of the highway, Autopistas de Vanguardia S.A., is part of the Grupo Higa, which sold the so-called “White House” to the wife of the current President of the Republic for seven million pesos, causing a huge scandal last year.

It is worth highlighting that the suspension is a “great step to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, the defense of life, water, the forest, and the countryside”, although they hadn’t yet obtained the definitive cancellation of the project, according to the statement from the community. In spite of the judicial ruling, the inhabitants of Xochicuaulta pointed out that machinery had recently arrived to their territories in violation of the said ruling. The comuneros demanded “that the state, federal and municipal authorities honor the suspension“, and that therefore, the companies “immediately vacate the territory of San Francisco Xochicuautla, removing machinery, workers and also that the state police who tend to accompany the works be removed.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunidad otomí de San Francisco Xochicuautla exige cumplimiento de decisión del Poder Judicial de suspender la autopista TolucaNaucalpan. (Frente de Pueblos Indígenas en defensa de la Madre Tierra, 11 de marzo de 2016)

Xochicuautla logra una gran victoria en la defensa de su territorio (Subversiones, 11 de marzo de 2016)

Ordena juzgado suspender obras de autopista de cuota en Lerma (La Jornada, 15 de marzo de 2016)

Xochicuautla logra suspensión del decreto expropiatorio de su territorio (Somos el medio, 11 de marzo de 2016)

Denuncian a Grupo Higa por posibles actos de corrupción (Aristegui Noticias, 16 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

Nacional: Anuncia Xochicuautla “contradecreto de reapropiación” (12 de agosto de 2015) Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)


Chiapas: Multiple events for International Women’s Day

March 19, 2016

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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/National: San Andres Accords unfulfilled 20 years later

February 29, 2016

ezln

Dialogue at San Andres. Photo @ Radio Zapatista

February 16 marked 20 years since the signing of the San Andres Accords between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the federal government. The accords were the result of five months of negotiations and dialogue about indigenous rights and culture in the Tsotsil municipality of San Andres Larrainzar, renamed San Andres Sakam’chen of the Poor by the Zapatistas.

On signing the accords, the government promised the creation of a judicial framework which would recognize the rights of indigenous communities and peoples, not only in Chiapas but throughout Mexico, among them the right of self-determination of the original peoples, recognizing their autonomy according to the cultural, social, political and economic characteristics of each group and place. The agreement on right of access to natural resources in the territory of indigenous peoples and communities was also relevant. The government promised to take these accords to Congress to convert them into reforms and additions to the constitution to guarantee their application, although the resulting proposal omitted a number of the signed accords. This was interpreted by the EZLN as a betrayal, a fact which led to the interruption of dialogue of the Zapatista commission with the federal government, ending the negotiations in the second round of six planned encounters.

“Already 20 years, in which the Government of Mexico has refused to fulfill [the San Andres Accords]; and at the same time they have been put into practice for 20 years in Zapatista territories, with their own forms of self-governance”, according to the declarations of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in Proceso. In spite of this, “it is important to note that the counterinsurgency policy of the Mexican State continues against the EZLN and the peoples of Chiapas who build different paths to neoliberal capitalism. It is evident the militarization in indigenous zones, the drive to conflicts in communities with Zapatista presence, the use of campesino organizations to confront the Support Bases of the EZLN, and the use of government aid programs to control and co-opt the population that resists. Moreover, forced displacement and impunity for crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican Army and paramilitary groups persist”, CDHFBC noted.

For more information in Spanish

Los acuerdos de San Andrés. 20 años de traición (La Jornada, 18 de febrero de 2016)

San Andrés: 20 años después (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2016)

A 20 años de los Acuerdos de San Andrés, siguen violentado los derechos indígenas: Frayba (Proceso, 17 de febrero de 2016)

El zapatismo y el uso estratégico del silencio (La Jornada, 23 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Foro impulsa reformas legislativas para el cumplimiento de los Acuerdos de San Andrés sobre derechos y cultura indígenas (27 de febrero de 2014)

Chiapas: a 18 años de la firma de los Acuerdos de San Andrés sobre Derechos y Cultura Indígenas, estos continúan sin ser reconocidos por el estado mexicano (19 de febrero de 2014)


Chiapas: 18 years since the Acteal massacre

December 27, 2015

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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)

 


National/International: WOLA presents new report: “Human-rights violations against migrants continue”

December 27, 2015

On 18 Novembrer 2015, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) published a report on the human-rights situation of migrant and refugee persons in Mexico from 2014 to present, with a focus on the changes implemented since the start of the Southern Border Program.  Compiled by nine civil organizations based in Mexico and the U.S., the report “An uncertain path: Justice for crimes and human-rights violations against migrants and refugees in Mexico” exposes the problem of security and access to justice for migrants.  Since the implementation of the Southern Border Program, the operations, arrests, and deportations of migrants in Mexico have increased significantly, and so have human-rights violations.  Migrant homes have observed a rise in the abuses and crimes committed by organized and State agents against this population, including kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and trafficking of persons.  In the case of girls and women, more sexual violence has been reported.  As a result of these measures, the number of arrests of foreigners rose 73% between July 2014 and June 2015, relative to the same period the previous year.  “If the indicator for the Southern Border Program is the arrest of persons, obviously it has been very successful, but if it is placed within the context which it was developed, that is to protect the human rights of migrants, it has failed […].  In Mexico, where there are migrants, there is violence,” observed Maureen Meyer, member of WOLA. Beyond this, the civil groups have demanded that the Mexican State “guarantee access to justice, compensation for damages incurred, humanitarian visas, and refuge for the migrant population.”

According to the report, the U.S. government has offered political and economic support for Mexico to carry out the Southern Border Program since the burgeoning number of arrivals of unaccompanied children and adolescents to the U.S. border.  This support has to do with especially with activities related to border security in southern Mexico.  In light of this situation, the civil organizations made nine recommendations to the U.S. and Mexican governments to address the problem.  Among these is one directed at the National Institute for Migration, calling on it to strengthen internal control and to prevent violations of human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe “Un camino incierto. Justicia para delitos y violaciones a los derechos humanos contra personas migrantes y refugiadas en México” (Oficina de Latinoamérica en Washington, WOLA, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

Sin desagregar por sexo denuncias de agresiones a migrantes (Cimac Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

Siguen violaciones a DH de migrantes: WOLA (El Universal, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

ONG: crecieron detenciones de migrantes, pero también abusos (La Jornada, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

“Un camino incierto: Justicia para delitos y violaciones a los derechos humanos contra personas migrantes y refugiadas en México” (Fundar, 11 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/international: The IACHR expresses concern before hardening of Mexican authorities toward migrants (30 June 2015)

Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of migration agents, says La 72 (22 March 2015)

Chiapas/National: Bishops of southern Mexico pronounce themselves on the “drama of migration” (8 February 2015)


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