Oaxaca: Fourth Encounter of Women Activists and Human Rights Defenders in Oaxaca

June 23, 2017

IMD.pngPhoto @: SIPAZ

On June 15TH and 16TH, the Fourth Encounter of Women Activists and Human Rights Defenders of Oaxaca took place in the capital city of the state. About 70 women from different regions of the state of Oaxaca, the Mixteca, the Sierra Norte, the Isthmus, the Cañada, the Coast, the Sierra Sur and the Central Valleys, as well as representatives of international support organizations and a representative of the European Union in Mexico were present. The meeting aimed at the design of a comprehensive feminist protection strategy promoted by the Oaxaca Consortium for the Parliamentary Dialogue and Equality (Consortium) and various organizations that are part of the Mesoamerican Women Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras in Spanish), under the premise of strengthening the defense of the human rights of the various feminist, civil and social movements as well as strengthening alliances between the different struggles of women. They are currently involved in a variety of struggles, ranging from the defense of Earth and Territory, water, migrants, rejection of “death” mega-projects of and high electricity charges to requests for freedom for political prisoners and those unjustly imprisoned.

According to IM-Defensoras, the context in the state of Oaxaca is “adverse and dangerous for the defense of human rights where attacks have risen alarmingly, where impunity and the acquiescence of the state are a pattern.” In 2012, for example, the Consortium registered a total of 48 attacks against defenders in Oaxaca, while in 2016, that number rose to 320. The attacks are of different types: assaults, harassment, threats, slander, defamation and feminicides.

 For more information in Spanish :

Se consolidan procesos de articulación de mujeres defensoras en Oaxaca (Educa, 16 de junio de 2017)

Inicia el 4º Encuentro Estatal de Mujeres Activistas y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca (Iniciativa Mesoamericana de mujeres defensoras de derechos humanos, 16 de junio de 2017)

 


Oaxaca: Civil Society Organizations Denounce Safety Levels in State

May 17, 2017

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In a statement issued on May 9th, more than 50 civil society organizations (CSOs) strongly urged the federal and state governments of Enrique Peña Nieto and Alejandro Murat Hinojosa to act against increased insecurity in the state : “We note with concern this situation of insecurity that according to the National Survey of Urban Public Security conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, notes that the percentage of people over the age of 18 that considers living in Oaxaca to be dangerous rose from 68.6 in March to 82.6 in December last year. The same survey indicates that 85% of Oaxacans think that the government was inefficient in dealing with problems of crime such as robbery, extortion, kidnapping, fraud, among other issues.”

They also pointed out that the official figures do not reflect the extent of the problem, since “most citizens do not report incidents of insecurity, according to a research study of the Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion (CESOP in its Spanish acronym) of the Chamber of Deputies. In 2015, the “black figures” of unreported crimes increased by 94.8% as they consider going to report it as a waste of time and they distrust authority.”

Furthermore, they indicated that “According to the National Citizen’s Observatory earlier this year it was reflected that in Oaxaca the crimes that registered increases were kidnapping, robbery with violence, vehicle theft, business theft and robbery. This reality sharpens the social and structural problems of the population through having economic and material losses, stops investment in the state and increases the closure of businesses that brings as a consequence job losses. Unfortunately, these events have become normal in Oaxacan society, a context that highlights the vulnerability in which we find ourselves, without the presence of a clear integral strategy from the different levels of government to improve the conditions of life of the population.”

 For more information in Spanish:

Urgente Mejorar las Condiciones de Seguridad que vivimos en el Estado de Oaxaca (OSC, 9 de mayo de 2017)

OSC de Oaxaca llaman a Peña y a Murat a garantizar seguridad ante alza de delitos (Proceso, 9 de mayo de 2017)

Violencia, un monstruo que crece en Oaxaca: ONG (NVI Noticias, 5 de mayo de 2017)

Con 211 homicidios dolosos, Oaxaca registra el primer trimestre más violento en siete años (Proceso, 26 de abril de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Registra Oaxaca 500 mujeres asesinadas durante el sexenio de Gabino Cué Monteagudo (12 de septiembre de 2016)

Oaxaca: Aumentan homicidios en Oaxaca (22 de abril de 2016)


Oaxaca: COPUVO Denounces Harassment by Municipal Authorities and Mining Company

May 15, 2017

COPUVO.pngValle Ocotlan (Photo @COPUVO)

In a statement issued on May 9th, the Coordinator of the United Nations Ocotlan Valley United Peoples Coordinator (COPUVO in its Spanish acronym) reported harassment and threats when it sought to hold a regional meeting against mining in San Jose del Progreso, “where for eight years [the inhabitants] have defended their territory against the “San Jose” mining project, promoted by the Cuzcatlan company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines.

It said that prior to this meeting, the current mayor of San Jose del Progreso, Servando Daaz Vasquez, “publicly threatened our organization, communities in the region and civil organizations” proposing “not to allow the population to enter to hold a forum.” He added that Diaz Vasquez asked the state and federal police “to place a ring of officers and a filter at the check point at the town so as to prevent the entrance of the organizations the following Mat 7th…”

Accordingly, the Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DPHPO in its Spanish acronym) requested precautionary measures in favor of human rights defenders from the various civil and community organizations that would attend said meeting “for which there was State Police Agents presence during May 6th and 7th in the community; it is important to note that the State Police was also protecting the mining project with security forces during these dates.”

COPUVO denounced that “behind the campaign of threats and harassment of our movement, the mining company Fortuna Silver Mines is involved, who in its intent to expand to other ejidos and communities in the region has criminalized and violated our rights to autonomy, to the territory, to the freedom of protest, among the most important. This company has irrationally extracted our common goods and caused violence, destroying the peace and harmony that existed among our peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

COPUVO denuncia amenazas por parte de empresa minera y autoridades de San José del Progreso (COPUVO, 9 de mayo de 2017)

Mineras generan conflictividad en Oaxaca y Chiapas (Contralínea, 11 de mayo de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Se exige justicia para el defensor comunitario Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, asesinado hace 5 años (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Comunidades afectadas por el proyecto minero “San José” toman oficinas de SEMARNAT (1 de marzo de 2017)

 


Chiapas: Meeting of Peoples to Exchange Experiences of Threats of Territorial Dispossession from Megaprojects

May 15, 2017

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From 4 to 6 May, the Peoples’ Meeting was held to exchange experiences facing threats of plunder of our territories by megaprojects in the municipal seat of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, which was co-convened by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center, the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) and the Samuel Ruiz Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life, under a joint project of Pax Christi International.

In a final statement, participants from Chiapas and Oaxaca denounced that the processes of defense of the Earth and Territory of which they are a part have brought them the “consequence of repression, intimidation, threat, persecution, Imprisonment and the murder of community human rights defenders. Those who have decided to defend life and Mother Earth are at constant risk under the threats of businessmen, organized crime and the State in its three levels of government that only favor the paths of impunity, injustice, inequality, plunder, exploitation, contempt for our native peoples, communities and ejidos.”

As a result they demanded:

  • “Respect for the autonomy and self-determination of peoples in Chiapas and Oaxaca based on Article 2 of the Constitution and international conventions, as well as guaranteeing the physical integrity of those who defend life, Mother Earth and nature.
  • The cancellation of death projects in our territories that only bring destruction, plunder, poverty, disease, community conflicts and divisions.
  • The cancellation of arrest warrants, criminal charges, legal proceedings against defenders of the Earth and the Territory, as is the case of compañeros from Acacoyagua, Chicoasen and Tecpatan.”

Finally, they invited “the peoples, communities, ejidos, grassroots organizations, the men and women of this country, to maintain their struggle, their resistance and to organize, not to surrender, not to sell out, and not to let themselves be cheated. It is important to join together our struggles in any geography against this capitalist system and the system of death. Land is an inheritance of our ancestors, and we must guard it and defend it. Our peoples and organizations have firmly decided to defend life, territory and the environment, because the future of our country is at risk. “

 For more information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento completo (Chicomuselo, 6 de mayo de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Pronunciamiento de participantes en Taller/Encuentro sobre la Transformación No-violenta de Conflictos en Defensa de Nuestros Territorios (19 de abril de 2016)

 


Oaxaca: Series of Threats against Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez

May 6, 2017

Bettina.pngBettina Cruz Velzquez, center (Photo@tierrayterritorio.wordpress.com)

The Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez, members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory (APIIDTT in its Spanish acronym) and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym), denounced a series of threats against them in recent months.

In the case of Rodrigo Peñaloza Flores, he has experienced surveillance on more than five occasions, a firearm assault while leaving work on February 10th, the arrival of an armed man to the same place repeatedly asking for him on February 24th, and on April 26th, he found a death threat on the windshield of his vehicle on leaving his home.

In the case of Bettina Cruz Velazquez, she also reported surveillance on at least two occasions and both were verbally assaulted last April 19th in a program broadcast by Juchitan radio station.

In a call for Urgent Action to guarantee their lives and physical integrity, there are several antecedents that could explain this series of threats and harassment: “[this] coincides with the intense mobilizations carried out to demand the clarification of the murder of Jose Alberto Toledo Villalobos from Chahuites, defender of the human right to electrical energy and ex- compañero of Rodrigo and Bettina; also active support for the defense of Cerro Iguú carried out by the Zapotec indigenous communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita de San Blas Atempa, before the construction of the electrical substation of SEDENA. It is also worth noting the recent presentation of the collective injunction filed before the Sixth District Court against the designation of the region as Special Economic Zone, the second phase of wind projects and mining concessions; and the recent fact that a minister has shown interest in taking the case of Eolica del Sur to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente | Peligro de vida e integridad física de los Defensores de DH Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza y Bettina Cruz Velázquez (OSC, 2 de mayo de 2017)

En Oaxaca, denuncian hostigamiento contra activistas que se oponen a Zona Económica Especial (Revolucion 3.0, 2 de mayo de 2017)

Ong denuncia amenazas en contra de defensor de la tierra y territorio en el Istmo (Istmo Press, 29 de abril de 2017)

Defensor de Derechos Humanos en el istmo es amenazado por la defensa del territorio (IstmoPress, 28 de abril de 2017)

DENUNCIA URGENTE. Amenazan al compañero Rodrigo Flores de la APIIDTT, APOYO y de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil. (APIIDTT, 27 de abril de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Agresión contra integrantes de la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIIDTT) a manos de constructores ligados a la Empresa Eólica del Sur (8 de mayo de 2015)


Oaxaca: Three Community of San Blas Atempa Begin Blockade against Illegal Megaproject

May 4, 2017

San Blas.png“Puente Madera Burns”, Photo@Educa Oaxaca

On April 24th, three communities started a road blockade on the Tehuantepec-Juchitan stretch in the Ithmus, due to the non-compliance with the commitments acquired by the authorities on April 12th. The communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita, in the municipality of San Blas Atempa, oppose the imposition of a wind farm by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) on communal lands, extraction of stone material in the Cerro Iguu’, one of their ancestral ceremonial centers, as well as the sanitary landfill in the Pitayal.

 Due to this, they demanded negotiations to resolve the question the compliance by the state government, with the minutes of agreementsof April 12th, 2017. In a statement, the General Assembly of the Binniza People denounced that the exploitation of their resources is happening without their consent. It pointed out that “the only culprits of the political-social situation currently being experienced in the Zapotec municipality of San Blas Atempa are the municipal government, the state government and the federal government, for wanting to impose above the will of the indigenous peoples, their plots of pillage and plunder, both neoliberal and militaristic.”

For its part, the Tepeyac Human Rights Center issued an alert to warn that “Puente Madera Burns” in which it denounced that “municipal agent David Hernandez Salazar and the comunero Jorge Rasgado Lopez, were threatened with death by the hitmen and attackers Cesar Morales Toledo and Victor Ramirez (mercenaries at the service of the city council), characters who have also burned grasslands of the community in the vicinity of the blockade to intimidate the people in struggle.”

As regards context, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Oaxacan Isthmus in Defense of the Territory to which San Blas Atempa belongs has denounced that the second phase of wind farm expansion in the Isthmus aims to almost triple the current wind energy production in the region, with some 1,900 wind turbines on 22 wind farms. It pointed out that, for several years, it has seen how wind farms have been imposed in their communities which have seriously affected their life, culture and natural assets, violating the social fabric of communities.

 For more information in Spanish:

Se profundiza conflicto en San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca (Contralínea, 26 de abril de 2017)

Pronunciamiento de comunidades de Puente Madera, Rancho Llano y Loma Bonita, San Blas Atempa (Radio Pozol, 24 de abril de 2017)

Arden terrenos comunales de Puente Madera para exigir suspensión de parque eólico de la SEDENA (Página 3, 24 de abril de 2017)

Se agudiza en el Istmo de Tehuantepec inconformidad por proyectos eólicos (Despertar de Oaxaca, 3 de abril de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: comunidades del Istmo presentan amparo ante la ZEE (17 de noviembre de 2016)


Oaxaca: Eleven Ejidatarios Arrested in Eviction of French EDF Wind Farm

May 4, 2017

Wind farm.png(Photo@Noticias, Voz e Imagen)

On April 23rd, some 80 members of the State Police and the State Investigation Agency (AEI) arrested 11 ejidatarios from Santo Domingo Ingenio who had been blockading the Cinco Palmas wind farm belonging to the French electricity company EDF Energies Nouvelles for two months for alleged “extortion”, and at the request of said company. The blockade, organized in demand of 30 thousand pesos for each of the 214 people who rent their land to the project, put 52 towers out of a total of 80 installed out of service. In response, Zapotec inhabitants of this locality initiated the blockade of the federal highway that communicates to Oaxaca with the state of Chiapas to demand the liberation of its ejidatarios.

EDF’s regional manager, Rafael Cacho Lopez, had previously stated that the company does not have the subsidy requested by the comuneros in its contracts, and that the sum of this resource is earmarked annually for social support, such as the rehabilitation of classrooms, among other things.

For their part, the protesters denounce that, since 2013 when the project started, successive municipal governments have kept these millions.

For her part, the head of the office of the General Secretariat of the Government of Oaxaca (SEGEGO), Carmelita Ricardez Vera, said that “Institutions must guarantee the rule of law; they, as ejidatarios, signed an agreement that is in force and does not stipulate any extra resources, as they claim. That is why we say that it is the leaders and not the ejidatarios who want to blackmail the companies.”

 For more information in Spanish:

Acusan a líderes de ejidatarios de extorsionar a empresas eólicas (La Jornada, 25 de abril de 2017)

Detienen a 11 ejidatarios por bloqueo a parque eólico en Oaxaca (Proceso, 23 de abril de 2017)

Detienen a 11 personas en desalojo de bloqueo a parque eólico en Oaxaca (Radio Formula, 23 de abril de 2017)