Chiapas: Zoque Activist, Silvia Juarez Juarez, Released

April 9, 2017

Zoque.pngSilvia Juarez Juarez (photo @OMCT)

On March 28th, Silvia Juarez Juarez, a community human rights defender and member of the Movement in Defense of Zoque Territory, was released having been held for 35 days. This movement has been developing a process of civil and peaceful resistance against exploration, extraction of hydrocarbons and mining projects in the municipality of Tecpaan, Chiapas and in the Zoque region. Silvia had been arrested on February 21st in Tuxtla Gutierrez on charges of mutiny, harassment and kidnapping – allegedly against municipal officials – in the framework of a protest in which she did not participate, on February 13th.

On March 28th, the head of the State Attorney General’s Office, Raciel Lopez Salazar, withdrew from the criminal action for the crimes that were charged “considering that the agent of the Public Prosecutor’s Office lacked elements to prove the aforementioned crimes.” Therefore, the activist was released from the State Center for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 14, El Amate, in the municipality Cintalapa de Figueroa.

Nevertheless, Silvia Juarez is still subject to prosecution, “with the obligation to sign before the Court every two weeks, because Judge Cesar Rodriguez Robles, Supervisory Judge, considered that there are elements to prove the crime of damages. Facing threats of risk to her integrity and repeated harassment against the defenders of Zoque territory, Silvia Juarez cannot return home with her family.”

It is also worth mentioning that on the day Silvia Juarez Juarez was released, “the municipal president of Tecpatan, Armando Pastrana Jimenez, filed for an injunction for the withdrawal of the PGJE to prevent the community defender from leaving prison” and also maintained his complaint against 29 other community defenders.

In a statement on the case, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (FRAYBA),  expressed concern that “despite changes in the criminal justice system, in Chiapas, practices of violations of judicial guarantees and judicial protection, including presumption of innocence, continue, which result in arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

For more information in Spanish:

Libre activista zoque, tras desistimiento de denuncia de PGJ Chiapas (Proceso, 5 de abril de 2017)

Liberan a indígena zoque Silvia Juárez (Expreso Chiapas, 6 de abril de 2017)

Silvia Juárez Juárez, defensora del territorio, en libertad (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de abril de 2017)

Libre Silvia Juárez, defensora zoque (Primera edición Chiapas, 5 de abril de 2017)

Condena el Frayba encarcelamiento de Silvia Juárez (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 5 de abril de 2017)

Luego de 35 días en prisión, la activista Silvia Juárez Juárez es liberada (Aqui Noticias, 6 de abril de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : denuncian criminalización de defensores de la Madre Tierra en zona zoque (1 de marzo de 2017)

Chiapas : comunidades zoques se oponen a extracción de hidrocarburos en el norte de Chiapas (20 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas: Silvia Juárez Juárez anima a sus compañeros a seguir en la defensa de la tierra desde la cárcel (27 de marzo de 2017)

 


Oaxaca: Communities Affected by “San José” Mining Project Occupy SEMARNAT Offices

March 5, 2017

Communities affected by mining project occcupy SEMARNAT Photo @EDUCA

On February 28, commissions from various communities of the Ocotlan Valley United People’s Coordinator (COPUVO) and the Magdalena Ocotlan Defense Committee against Mining, demanded a halt to the work of the Fortuna Silver Mines (FSM) mining company in a demonstration at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). They managed to be received by the SEMARNAT delegate, Tomas Gonzalez Illescas, who assured them that the body that he directs “has not granted any permission to the mining company and that therefore the establishment of an investigation would correspond to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and, if applicable, sanctions that could lead to the cancellation of the concession.” For their part, a representative of the community of San Martin de los Cansecos warned: “The communities and ejidos are organizing, and we will not allow them to make explorations and expand the mining project.”

It should be noted that since 2014 the mining company FSM, through its subsidiary Cuzcatlan, “carries out illegal exploration for the “San José” mining project, as SEMARNAT has assured that it has not granted permits for these actions.” For this reason, on November 8, 2015, at a regional assembly, their territories were declared free of mining and they decided not to allow any exploration and mining work on their ejidos. In spite of this, on November 24 last, “the WSF company proposed a technical study to SEMARNAT with the objective of conducting direct mining explorations in zones of agricultural use within the mining concession Progreso II.” The area where the mining company intends to conduct explorations is also an area for recharging aquifers, so permitting exploration permits constitutes a serious environmental threat. Faced with such a situation, the affected communities submitted a letter to SEMARNAT on December 1, “demanding that said authority deny authorization … because of the impact that such work would have on our communities”, which has not yet received a response.

 For more information in Spanish:

NIEGAN SEMARNAT Y PROFEPA PROTEGER TERRITORIOS EN OCOTLÁN Y EJUTLA FRENTE A PROYECTO MINERO (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Toman SEMARNAT comunidades afectadas por proyecto minero San José (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Denuncian zapotecos indolencia oficial frente al avance de proyectos mineros en Oaxaca (Proceso, 28 de febrero de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

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

Oaxaca: presentan el informe “Justicia para San José del Progreso” (11 de marzo de 2014)

Oaxaca: Misión Civil de Observación a San José del Progreso (Noviembre de 2012)

Oaxaca: Asesinato del vocero de la Coordinadora de los Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán (17 de marzo de 2012)

 


Chiapas: FDPS Suspends Dialogue with Government until El Puntal Is Closed and Other Concessions Repealed

March 1, 2017

FDPS.png(@Otros Mundos)

In a communiqué issued on February 16, the Popular Front in Defense of the Soconusco June 20 (FDPS in its Spanish acronym) reported its decision to suspend the working tables maintained with representatives of the government of Chiapas since October 2016 for breach of agreements reached. This will be until the “Casas Viejas” (titanium) mine of El Puntal company is closed and 13 other mining concessions in the municipality are repealed.

For 143 days, members of the FDPS have established a camp in Acacoyagua (where the “Casas Viejas” mine is located) “seeing that the mayor of Acacoyagua, Mr. Patricio Eli Matias, was not complying with the Declaration of the Municipality Free of Mining, which he had signed in August 2015. This document commits him to revoke the “Casas Viejas” license and the two other active mining projects in the municipality, in addition to not granting licenses to the remaining ten mining concessions in Acocayagua.”

On suspending the process, the FDPS denounced that “the role of government institutions is to act in favor of the rights of the inhabitants in the face of their violation; it should not be to promote deterrence techniques for the benefit of companies, nor to find solutions that allow the mining company to evade its responsibilities.” They explained that, “we will not participate in work spaces with the government of Chiapas that foment community division and the defamation of our movement and our members. We will not lend ourselves to political games that dilate the attention of our demands for the violation of our rights by the mining companies and by government institutions, such as SEMARNAT, which through its environmental policy permits the exploration, exploitation And pollution of our natural assets, of water and the land.”

They concluded by the same token that, “We will continue to call for the demands of the population: a municipality free of mining, dams and geothermal projects; a territory with free rivers and land, healthy, where we can sow and produce; a territory with families without diseases, without conflicts, without the purchase of consciences and where the project of development and of life is decided by the organization and the self-determination of the peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

A 143 días de campamento, el FPDS salimos de las mesas de trabajo con el gobierno por ignorar nuestras exigencias (Comunicado del FPDS, 16 de febrero de 2017)

Sin mesas de trabajo con el gobierno: FPDS (Somoselmedio, 17 de febrero de 2017)

Gobierno de Velasco Coello, protege a empresas mineras y fomenta división comunitaria: FPDS (Revolución 3.0, 18 de febrero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas : desde hace más de 15 días, habitantes del Soconusco mantienen bloqueo carretero contra proyectos mineros(12 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas: nueve municipios declaran sus territorios libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (11 de diciembre de 2015)


Chiapas: “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” Declares itself against Presence of Environmental Gendarmerie in Lacandon Jungle

December 16, 2016

Forum.pngForum in Amador Hernandez (Photo@Noe Pineda)

On December 5, the “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” was held in the ejido of Amador Hernandez, in the Municipality of Ocosingo, Lacandon Jungle. About 1,000 people from communities in the region analyzed the problems they are experiencing, including several agrarian conflicts.

In their final declaration, they said: “We are against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie and their entry into our territory. From now on we state that in the case that the corresponding authorities do not take our disagreement into account … we will carry out more actions against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie until we are heard.”

They questioned whether the presence of the Environmental Gendarmerie “for the supposed care and conservation of the environment” responds to other objectives: “We know that the true objective of this security force is a strategy for the destruction of our communities, our cultures and our organizations, it represents the violation of our rights and that its true intention is to guarantee the entry of transnational corporations dedicated to the extraction of natural resources for the benefit of big capital.”

According to the authorities, the Environmental Gendarmerie will “have the mission of preventing administrative crimes and faults in environmental matters, due to its security and police operational model.” It is envisaged that it will be installed in 61 points of the country, among others, the Lacandon Jungle, Montes Azules and the monarch butterfly reserves, Pico de Orizaba, Nevado de Toluca and Tulum.

It should be noted that on the same day, President Enrique Peña Nieto was in the Lacandon Jungle in the framework of an activity, which was part of the COP (Conferences of the Parties) 13 under the heading “Integrating Biodiversity for Wellbeing”. In that context, he instructed the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development to prevent the regularization of irregular settlements; and the Secretariats of Energy and Economy, to ensure that there are no hydrocarbon or mining explorations or holdings in the region.

For more information in Spanish:

Con la amenaza de la instalación de la Gendarmería Ambiental se realiza Foro sobre Defensa de la Tierra en Amador Hernández, Chiapas (Serapaz, 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Pueblos de Chiapas dicen no a la Gendarmería Ambiental (Somos el Medio, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Se pronuncian en contra de la Gendarmería Ambiental comunidades de la Selva Lacandona y Montes Azules (Desinformémonos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Peña Nieto destaca acciones para preservar la Selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 5 de de diciembre de 2016)

Los de abajo (Artículo de opinión, La Jornada, 10 de diciembre de 2016)

COP 13- Conservación y áreas de salvaguarda, la cara más reciente del modelo extractivo en México (Otros Mundos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Despliegue de elementos de la División de Gendarmería en 6 estados de México (3 de septiembre de 2014)


Chiapas: Zoque Communities Oppose Hydrocarbon Extraction in Northern Chiapas

October 24, 2016

reservesHydrocarbon reserves. Photo @Chiapas Paralelo

According to information published by Chiapas Paralelo, on October 18, the Secretary of Energy began a consultation process with the Zoque people of the municipalities of Francisco Leon, Ixtacomitan and Pichucalco, in the north of the state to open twelve hydrocarbon (oil and gas) wells that are currently up for bid and would cover around 80,000 hectares. According to the same source, the Center for Zoque Language and Culture, the presence of observers and specialists has not been permitted. The Center reported that “first they must report so that the ejidatarios analyze and consult on the impact with trustwortyh people, so they would have a period of internal consultation. Under these conditions a free and informed consultation is not being carried out.”

A week earlier, on October 12, the Movement of Indigenous Peoples in Resistance (MOPOR) said that most communities in the municipalities of Tecpatán and León Francisco oppose such exploitation. They reported that on October 7 a forum was held in Tecpatán, in which presidents of commissions and municipal officers expressed their opposition to the process. They held that in Tecpatán 60% of the communities are against mining and in Francisco León, 90%.

Juan Guerrero Hernandez, a member of MOPOR, demanded respect for the land and the indigenous peoples of Zoque ethnicity, and stressed that they are willing to defend their territory against this new attempt at dispossession.

For more information in Spanish:

Buscan autorización de pueblos zoques para abrir pozos de hidrocarburos en norte de Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de octubre de 2016)

Comunidades se oponen a extracción de petróleo (Cuarto Poder, 13 de octubre de 2016)

Pobladores de 2 municipios de Chiapas se oponen a 12 pozos petroleros (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2015)

Pueblos indígenas de Chiapas denuncian despojos de territorio por licitaciones para la extracción de hidrocarburos (m.x, 12 de octubre de 2016)

 

 


Oaxaca: Front Formed against Mining and Wind Farms on the Tehuantepec Isthmus

October 18, 2016

Tehuantepec.jpgMining in the Isthmus (@Diana Manzo)

At the end of a meeting held in San Pedro Tapanatepec, more than 500 people from seven municipalities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus (Chahuites, Tapanatepec, Ixhuatán, Reforma, Niltepec, San Francisco del Mar and Zanatepec) declared themselves against open pit mining that Canadian companies intend to install in 30,000 hectares of the eastern part of the Isthmus, including 19 thousand hectares of forest in Chimalpas. Given the predicted effects, they unanimously agreed to form a Regional Defense Committee Against Mining. They denounced that the government sold the permits without asking, violating rights.

It should be recalled that between 2005 and 2013 the federal government awarded five grants for a period of 50 years to three Canadian mining companies, including Minaurum Gold Inc., in the municipalities of Zanatepec, Chahuites, San Pedro Tapanatepec and San Miguel Chimalpas .

“It is not only the mines, we should not forget that wind farm company officials have reached the ejidos, from Arriaga to Salina Cruz, who want to convince [people]; there are already companies trying to install their wind farms on our land, but there is also a regional movement of compañeros in resistance,” said one participant.

For more information in Spanish:

No permitiremos minería en nuestro territorio: istmeños (EDUCA, 10 de octubre de 2016)

Integran frente contra mineras y eólicas en el istmo de Tehuantepec (NSS Oaxaca, 12 de octubre de 2016)

Crean movimiento de resistencia contra mineras y eólicas en el istmo de Tehuantepec (Regeneración, 12 de octubre de 2016)

Conforman alianza contra minera canadiense (NVI Noticias, 13 de octubre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Se llevó a cabo Foro Regional “La minería en Oaxaca. Impactos sociales y ambientales” (29 de abril de 2016)

Oaxaca: Encuentro estatal de comunidades y organizaciones en resistencia a proyectos mineros (4 de febrero de 2016)

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

Oaxaca: Presenta ONU publicación sobre derecho a la consulta y megaproyectos (29 de junio de 2011)

 


National: March for Resignation of Enrique Peña Nieto

September 28, 2016

epnCall for march for resignation of Peña Nieto

On September 15, the symbolic commemoration day of “El Grito” – the cry for the Independence of Mexico – thousands of people responded to the call launched on social networks for a march to demand the resignation of Enrique Peña Nieto.

#RenunciaYa, is the hashtag with which this non-partisan demonstration was called for on social networks since September 2, just after the publication of the Government’s fourth report. Led by parents of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, followed by farmers from Atenco, machete in hand, about 4,000 citizens, mostly young, began the #RenunciaYa protest, according to Animal Politico. The protesters left the Angel of Independence monument with the aim of reaching the Zocalo to face the president. However, at the Palace of Fine Arts, thousands of riot police, deployed by the Ministry of Public Security of Mexico City, blocked their passage. However, in the Zocalo, a small group of protesters who had managed get through started whistling and shouting slogans against the president just as President Enrique Peña Nieto appeared. According to La Jornada, “a young man showed a poster criticizing the federal administration and was immediately surrounded by elements of the Federal and Presidential Police. Some people demanded that the police allow the youth to express himself, to which they responded “we are only following orders.” Federal Police kept the young man surrounded until the fireworks ended, he was photographed and they made video of the youth and finally two policemen said they would accompany him to the exit.”

In Chiapas, the governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, did “El Grito” from an alternative site to the square of Tuxtla Gutierrez, as it was occupied by teachers opposed to the education reform bill.

For their part, the Las Abejas of Acteal Civil Society Organization, in their last statement, give several examples of why, according to them, “there is no longer independence.” They claim that, “this heroic and historic struggle for the independence of Mexico […] has been betrayed by the PRI governments and other political parties in Mexico who have been in power.” Because “The idea of the struggle, independence in 1810, meant that Mexico was independent, sovereign, democratic. […] However, the edge of that independence began to end with the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari with agreements and commercial, political and military treaties with neoliberal and capitalist countries, one of them is: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada.”

In addition, the Xinich’ Coordinator of Social Organizations remembered September 15 with a statement in which it demands the removal of Enrique Peña Nieto as an “incompetent” in addition to “delivering our nation into the hands of foreigners.” It also expressed support for the struggle of the teachers against the so-called educational reform and demanded “the repeal of structural reforms, justice for the people massacred at Viejo Velasco, Acteal, for the 43 disappeared student teachers of Ayotzinapa, for Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, compliance with the San Andrés agreements signed between the federal government and the EZLN…”

 In Oaxaca, in the state capital, the governor, Cué Monteagudo, did his sixth and last “Grito” from the balcony of the government palace amid shouts of “murderer” and “traitor”. According to Educa, “elements of the State Police prevented the entry of teachers from Section 22 into the square to give their alternative ‘Grito’ with teargas, sparking a confrontation”. At least 20 people sustained minor injuries.

For more information in Spanish:

En méxico ya no existe independencia, es por las mal llamadas reformas constitucionales (Las abejas de Acteal, 22 de septembre de 2016)

#Chiapas Xinich’ recordó el “15 de Septiembre” exigiendo la renuncia de EPN, la abrogación de las reformas estructurales y el cumplimientos de los “Acuerdos de San Andrés” (Koman Iles, 20 de septiembre)

Marchan para exigir la renuncia de Peña Nieto (La Jornada, a 16 de septiembre 2016)

15 de septiembre: Policías repliegan marchas en Oaxaca y Chiapas (Educa, a 15 de septiembre 2016)

Miles de personas dan el Grito en el Zócalo (La Jornada, a 15 de septiembre 2016)

Renuncia ya y los acarreados: dos marchas rumbo al Zócalo (Animal político, a 16 de septiembre 2016)

Hay apertura para la crítica, dice presidencia sobre posible rechifla a Peña durante el Grito (Animal político, a 14 de septiembre 2016)

15 razones para marchar y gritar #RenunciaYA (Animal político, a 6 de septiembre 2016)

Ciudadanos convocan a marchar hoy 15 de septiembre para exigir renuncia de Peña (Animal político, a 2 de septiembre 2016)

 For more information from Sipaz:

Nacional : cuarto informe del gobierno de Peña Nieto (12 de septiembre 2016)