National: Head of Special Economic Zones Appointed

July 18, 2016

SEZMap of zones affected by SEZ. Photo: @EDUCA Oaxaca

On July 8, “while public attention was focused on the teachers’ problem and its political and social consequences, Enrique Peña Nieto openly confirmed the intention to privatize much of the ‘backward’ south on appointing Gerardo Gutierrez Candiani head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic zones (AFDZEE).” The new official presided over the Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) from 2009 to 2011 and the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) from 2012 to 2015. Julio Hernández López ffom La Jornada said that Gutierrez Candiani “ran a pre-campaign for the title citizen seeking Los Pinos [the presidency] and that the PRI made him candidate for governor of his native Oaxaca (which failed)”. He also said that “the handing over of the delicate project of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to a representative of businessmen means an open conflict of interest and a threat to the legitimate interest of the nation, especially if you take into account that the plan may make domestic and foreign businesses virtual executive authorities in certain regions, politically above state and municipal governments. “

Gustavo Castro de Otros Mundos, Chiapas, explains in an interview the owrkings of the so-called of SEZ, which are “like a country within a country, breaking and crumbling national sovereignty”. The purpose of the SEZ, according to Castro, is “to ensure the transnational of everything they need for extraction, for example, from Mexico, a special visa will be required to enter the SEZ, they will have their own structure, their own laws, their own autonomy.”

For more information in Spanish:

Privatizar el sur: Nombran a Gutierrez Candiani titular de Zonas Económicas Especiales (EDUCA, 11 de julio de 2016)

Astillero (La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2016)

Gutiérrez Candiani liderará Zonas Económicas Especiales (El financiero, 8 de julio de 2016)

Zonas Económicas Especiales resquebrajan soberanía: Gustavo Castro (Educa, 1 de julio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

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)


Justice for Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia. Protection for Gustavo Castro Soto

March 30, 2016

Berta y Gustavo.png

Berta Caceres and Gustavo Castro

DECLARATION

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Mexico

March 23, 2016

The organizations of the International Network of Accompaniment and Observation (Red de Organizaciones de Acompañamiento y Observación Internacional) condemn the murder of the human rights defender Berta Isabel Caceres, Lenca indigenous, general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – COPINH) and winner of the Goldman Prize for the environment (2015).

Likewise, we repudiate the murder of the leader Nelson Noe Garcia, member of COPINH, that occurred only 12 days later, despite the global indignation that the violent death of an emblematic and inspiring defender has provoked.

On the night of March 2, 2016, in La Esperanza, the main town of the department of Intibuca, Honduras, armed persons entered the home of Berta Caceres and murdered her, despite having protective measures granted by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).

Berta Caceres and other leaders of the organization have been systematically targeted for murders, death threats and violence for their defense of human rights. The main threats to COPINH and to Berta Caceres derive from her struggle against the “Agua Zarca” hydro-electric project, promoted by the company Desarollos Energeticos S.A. (DESA) on the river Gualcaraque. Berta Caceres was criminalized and tried for her defense of the river and the Lenca communities of Rio Blanco.

Gustavo Castro Soto, Mexican and member of Other Worlds Chiapas, of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining, and of the Meso-American Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4), who was in Honduras to take part in the COPINH Forum on the Indigenous Vision on Alternative Energies, was at the scene of the murder. Gustavo Castro was wounded in the attack but managed to survive. We are concerned that, to this date, he has been denied the possibility of leaving Honduras although he has collaborated as a witness in the crime investigations and he could continue to do so from Mexico, in this way avoiding the situation of risk to his person that he is exposed to while he remains in Honduras.

In the context of the violent eviction carried out by state forces, another member of COPINH, Nelson Noe Garcia, leader of the Rio Chiquito community in the municipality of Rio Lindo, department of Cortes, Honduras, was murdered on March 15. We unite to the pain of the families of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia and to the call for solidarity with COPINH.

We highlight the psycho-social impact that these events are causing in the community of human rights defenders in the region. We recall the multiple alerts previously sent out by social organizations and international bodies and the worrying discovery, according to the 2015 Global Witness Report, that 75% of environmental activists murdered in the world work in Latin America, Honduras being the most dangerous country.

In the countries where we operate as organizations of international accompaniment, we observe a critical situation for persons who defend land and territory, who are often confronted with criminalization, intimidation, harassment, defamation, threats and even murders.

Consequently:

  • We ask the Government of Honduras and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), within the framework of fulfilling measures of protection, for the immediate signing of an agreement of technical assistance, for the purposes of nominating a commission of persons who are experts, independent and have the trust of COPINH and of the family, with the aim that they supervise, support and participate in the investigations of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, which are currently being carried by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
  • We ask the international community in accordance with the declarations released in the framework of the murder, to vigilate the situation of defenders in the Latin American region and to urge the governments of the countries of the region to guarantee the protection of defenders of land and territory.
  • We ask the Government of Honduras to carry out a speedy, deep and independent investigation of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, that those guilty be brought to justice and that the lives and personal integrity of members are guaranteed.
  • We ask the Governments of Honduras and Mexico to take the necessary measures to guarantee the life, integrity and personal security of Gustavo Castro Soto.

International Network Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation

ACOGUATE; Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Colombia

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Honduras

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Mexico

Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, A.C. (Frayba); Mexico

FOR – Present for Peace; Colombia

Social Thought and Action (PAS); Colombia

PROAH; Honduras

Protection Desk; Colombia

International Service for Peace (SIPAZ); Mexico

Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR); Mexico


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)


Oaxaca: San Dionisio del Mar marks four years in resistance against wind farm

February 9, 2016

San Dionisio.png

(@Noticiasnet)

On January 29, the community of San Dionisio del Mar on the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca, marked four years of resistance in its struggle against the installation of a wind farm on its territory. Pedro Orozco, member of the People’s Assembly of San Dionisio del Mar (Asamblea del Pueblo de San Dionisio del Mar – APSDM), stressed that they celebrated this day because they managed “to stop the wind farm at Mareñas. The achievement of this resistance was that public opinion could clearly see that it was not a political conflict between the PRI and PRD but that it was resistance against the pillage of territory; that we were an assembly of campesino fishermen citizens who were defending their lands. We managed to break the media siege.”

San Dionisio del Mar was the first indigenous community on the Tehuantepec Isthmus that achieved the suspension of the wind farm project. Orozco also mentioned that the wind farm companies on the Isthmus “advanced for a long time without any resistance, the people didn’t know about consultation – which should be prior – that’s why the companies could buy land rights.” The APSDM representative, Elmi Gallegos, recalled that four years ago the then municipal president Miguel Lopez Castellanos tried to cheat them by giving the use of the land over to the company Mareña Renovables. “Then the general assembly of communal landholders decided not to allow this deceit and we began a campaign of struggle which led us to investigate everything related to this kind of project to defend our territory.” He lamented the fact that the company Mareña Renovables had divided the community in San Dionisio. “There are families, relatives, godparents who are in conflict; in these three years the municipal authority hasn’t been designated, there is a tense calm in the municipality, but the majority is convinced that our struggle is just and is for our children.”

During the planning of the fourth anniversary of their struggle, they confirmed in their assembly that neither money, nor political pressure, nor corruption of the authorities will change them. “We don’t want a free, prior and informed consultation to which we are entitled, because we know that the businessmen will buy the people’s votes, so, no to wind farms, to mining and to consultation.”

For more information in Spanish:

“¡Sí! a mar y tierra; ¡no! a eólicas en Oaxaca” (Noticiasnet, 8 de febrero de 2016)

San Dionisio del Mar celebra 4 años de resistencia (Código DH, 1 de febreo de 2016)

San Dionisio del Mar, Oaxaca, festejará el triunfo contra parque eólico que afectaría a pescadores (Desinformémonos, 26 de enero de 2016)

Cumple San Dionisio del Mar 4 años en resistencia (Noticiasnet, 25 de enero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Pobladores de Juchitan ganan amparo para suspensión de obras de parque eólico (14 de ocutbre de 2015)

Oaxaca: Tercer aniversario del movimiento contra los proyectos eólicos en San Dionisio del Mar (30 de enero de 2015)

Oaxaca: Conflictos por elecciones extraordinarias en San Dionisio del Mar (19 de diciembre de 2014

 


Oaxaca: State meeting of communities and organizations in resistance to mining projects

February 6, 2016

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Authorities of the communities that attended the meeting @ SIPAZ

On January 29 and 30, representatives of 48 communities, 30 social organizations, two research centers, and three community radio stations took part in the State Encounter of Communities and Organizations against Mining (Encuentro Estatal de Comunidades y Organizaciones contra la Minería), in Cerro de Las Huertas community, in the municipality of Ejutla de Crespo. The meeting had the aim of generating a space for reflection at a state level on the advances and challenges of movements against mining, strengthening the resistance and defense of communities and organizations in Oaxaca, analyzing how to improve movements in struggle against mining projects, and the coordination of activists to confront foreign companies. In a statement agreed by the participants in the event, they demanded the cancellation of all mining projects in state by the state and federal governments. There are more than 400 mining concessions in the territory of Oaxaca, “none of which was subjected to consultation.” They recalled that apart from environmental violations and effects, the companies create internal conflicts in each location. The participants in the encounter showed the close relationship that exists between mining magnates and federal and state government representatives to strip the peoples and indigenous communities of their territories.

In their statement they emphasized that, “They are violating the people’s right to information as there are already mining concessions given by the government without the consent of our community assemblies. The mining companies violate our rights using a range of strategies and mechanisms to divide and confront communities, while on the other hand the federal and state governments make legislative and institutional changes to benefit the interests of the transnational companies, such as Fondo Minero, and these changes have as their aim taking territories away from the indigenous peoples and communities. At the same time, the work of defenders of territory is criminalized, they are persecuted, imprisoned, and in the worst of cases their lives are taken away.”

Those gathered called on communities, peoples and organizations to defend land and territory against “death projects” and declared July 22 of each year as “State Day of Resistance against Mining”.

For more information in Spanish:

Exigen cancelación de 400 concesiones mineras en Oaxaca (Desinformémonos, 2 de febrero de 2016)

La Minuta de EDUCA con audios del evento (EDUCA, 2 de febrero de 2016)

Comunidades y organizaciones exigen cancelar proyectos mineros en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 1 de febrero de 2016)

DECLARATORIA DE CERRO DE LAS HUERTAS EJUTLA DE CRESPO OAXACA (EDUCA, 30 de enero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Encuentro Chiapaneco de afectadas y afectados por represas y minería (2 de febrero de 2016)

Oaxaca: Ejidos y comunidades de Valles Centrales declaran sus territorios libres de minería (4 de diciembre de 2015)

Oaxaca: En la Costa declaran el rechazo a proyectos hidroeléctricos y de minería (18 de noviembre de 2015)

Oaxaca: A 3 años del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez, Fortuna Silver espera mayores ganancias (26 de marzo de 2015)

 


Chiapas: Meeting of those affected by dams and mining

February 4, 2016

On January 21 and 22, more than 70 delegates from 20 municipalities, representatives of 12 organizations, movements and parishes of the state met in Boca del Cielo, Tonala, Chiapas, at the seat of the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas to share experiences in the “Chiapas Meeting of the Affected by Dams and Mines.” At the meeting, called by the Mexican Movement of the Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos – MAPDER) and the Mexican Network of the Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería – REMA), they defined a strategy of common defense in the face of the multiplication of mining projects, dams and other infrastructure projects imposed in the state “without consulting the people.”

In the declaration that the participants produced, they voiced their analysis of the “grave situation that the country and the campesino communities, fishermen and indigenous of Chiapas are passing through due to the imposition of a development model and projects that threaten land and territory.” They denounced, “the advance of mining projects, with irreversible costs to the environment and the health of the people, imposed by cheating, buying out authorities, community division, among other tactics.” On another note, they condemned “the imposition of green capitalism which is reflected in wind farm projects, projects of Reduction of Emissions caused by Deforestation and Destruction of Forests (REDD) and payment for environmental services.” They assured the strengthening of “the organization and resistance proposing alternatives to the model of commercialization of life and corporate appropriation, despite the criminalization and persecution experienced by the defenders of land, territory and human rights” of the peoples, ejidos, organizations and movements who were present.

They called on the people to participate in a state-wide campaign in defense of water, against the privatization of water and dams, and for free rivers which will be held from March 14 to 22 under the banner “Rivers for life, not for companies.” They also invited people to “continue to create local and regional organization processes to confront the imposed projects, inform about the consequences of the model, protect land and territory, and defend all those forms of life which continue to give us sustenance and permanence on Mother Earth.” According to Otros Mundos A.C., “the role which violence plays is fundamental to understanding the imposition of mining projects and the control of territory.” In an interview, Gustavo Castro, a member of Otros Mundos, explained the complexity of extensive mining in Chiapas, saying that, “violence increases in the measure that communities decide to defend their territories […] movements in defense of territory not only have to confront the state or the companies, but they also have to deal with drug traffickers. It appears that we are in an armed dispute for territory.”  

For more information in Spanish:

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectad@s por Represas y Minería (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 25 de enero de 2016)

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectados y Afectadas por Represas y Minería (Centro de Medios Libres, 26 de enero de 2016)

“En minería, la utilidad pública es un título perverso porque esconde la utilidad privada” (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 27 de enero de 2016)

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectad@s por Represas y Minería (MAPDER, 28 de enero de 2016)


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