Chiapas: Civil society organizations publish report “Generalized violence in Venustiano Carranza”

August 20, 2013

Venustiano Carranza, mayo de 2013 (@CDHFBC)

On 6 August, civil organizations published the report “Generalized violence in Venustiano Carranza” which, according to information collected during a civil observation mission, “seeks to clarify the violent acts which took place in Venustiano Carranza on 5 Mayo 2013″ between campesinos from the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-Casa del Pueblo, associated with the National Front for the Struggle toward Socialism (OCEZ-CP-FNLS), and the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-Chiapas (OCEZ-Chiapas).

The organizations indicate that these acts derived from the “lack of interest on the part of the state government in resolving these demands from both sides.  The government’s actions before, during, and after 5 May have generated polarization and a wave of violence in the municipality.”

The report recalls that “the result of these [factors] are the following: the murder of two persons, Sebastián Martínez Gómez and José Luis Gómez Gómez; the displacement of 49 families, who to date live in a highly vulnerable situation without the government working to guarantee conditions for their return or relocation; damage to 42 homes, 22 vehicles, and 8 shops; the arbitrary detention of 19 campesinos by the State Police and Public Ministry under the orders of the General Secretary of Governance; nine persons arbitrarily incarcerated; two tortured persons; and 167 arrest-orders which are still to be carried out.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: Violencia generalizada en la cabecera municipal de Venustiano Carranza (OSC, 6 de agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Worsening of situation in Venustiano Carranza (24 June 2013)

Chiapas: 5 are arrested for violence in the Venustiano Carranza municipality (7 June 2013)

Chiapas: Conflict erupts in Venustiano Carranza, with two dead and several injured (17 May 2013)

Chiapas: Denunciation of residents of Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza regarding the “El Desengaño” territory (25 March 2012)

Chiapas: Conflict erupts in Venustiano Carranza, with two dead and several injured

May 17, 2013

On 5 May in Venustiano Carranza, there were seen confrontations between members of the campesino organizations Casa del Pueblo and the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Chiapas (OCEZ-Chiapas), resulting in several injured and two dead.  According to information provided by the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the confrontation began during the early morning of Sunday 5 May, when masked persons entered into different residences firing guns and burning homes.  In their respective communiques, both groups blamed the opposing organization for having initiated the conflict.  During the course of the happenings, which engulfed nearly the entire urban zone of Venustiano Carranza with the exception of two neighborhoods, two persons died and several more were injured.  For its part, the OCEZ-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) distanced itself from the events.

Following the confrontations, the state government indicated that it all had to do with an agrarian conflict, and for this reason it did not consider itself competent to attempt resolution of the problem.  Regardless, on 7 May, toward the end of seeking a solution to the conflict Noé Castañón, General Secretary for Governance, Raciel López Salazar,  state Attorney General, and Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca, head of the Secretary for Public Security and Citizens’ Protection, visited the area to try to find a solution to the conflict, in accordance with media reports.  It was proposed that families belonging to OCEZ-Chiapas, which presently find themselves outside the offices of Citizens’ Protection, that they be relocated to the Berriozabal municipality, a proposal they rejected.  The same journalistic source indicated that a military check-point had been established at the entrance of a community of the municipality, with several fly-overs reported.

For more information (in Spanish):

Proceso: Enfrentamientos entre pobladores dejan tres muertos en Chiapas (05/05/2013)

Proceso: Pasividad del gobierno de Manuel Velasco causa violencia en Chiapas: ONG (06/05/2013)

Proceso: Campesinos de Chiapas temen más agresiones de supuestos paramilitares (08/05/2013)

Comunicado de la OCEZ-FNLS

Comunicado de la OCEZ-Chiapas

Comunicado de la OCEZ-RC

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciation of residents of Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza regarding the “El Desengaño” territory (25 March 2012)

Chiapas: new public denunciation from the Candelaria El Alto community (16 January 2012)

Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza (28 September 2011)

Chiapas: OCEZ-RC, prisoners released and the initiation of a process of goodwill

December 15, 2009

On Nov. 23, José Manuel Chema Hernández Martínez, José Manuel de la Torre and Roselio de la Cruz González, leaders of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC), were released on bail after being accused of criminal association and causing damages.

After their detention, members of the OCEZ-RC held a sit-in at the San Cristóbal cathedral and on Oct. 30 they occupied the UN offices located in the same city. After the release of their leaders, the OCEZ-RC informed that they had accepted the proposal presented by Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero through Diego Cadenas, director of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, to open mediation

In the early hours of Nov. 27, the State Government and the OCEZ-RC signed an agreement that will bring attention to the demands of the OCEZ-RC insisting that the government cancel the 11 arrest warrants out against the organization’s leaders and members in addition to the militarization of Venustiano Carranza.

Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, who was present for a portion of the meeting, assured that in Chiapas “there is rule of law, but this does not mean that the State is an oppressor, on the contrary, this government is eager to defuse the situation. I do not hold political prisoners, currently no one can call themselves a political prisoner in Chiapas; we want to be sure that no-one is being persecuted that there is the social responsibility necessary to build a climate of lasting social peace. We want to make sure there is no inconformity, no fear and that the campesinos dedicate themselves to agricultural production.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Liberan bajo fianza a dirigente de la OCEZ (La Jornada, 24/11/09)

Dirigente de la OCEZ condena represión (La Jornada, 25/11/09)

OCEZ demanda cancelar aprehensiones (El Universal, 26/11/09)

OCEZ y Estado firman minutas (Cuarto Poder, 28/11/09)

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: The OCEZ-RC sit-in, twelve days later (6/11/09)

Chiapas: The OCEZ-RC sit-in, twelve days later

November 13, 2009
@Expreso de Chiapas

Since Monday October 26th about 150 members of OCEZ-RC (Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization, Carranza Region) have maintained a sit-in in the center of San Cristobal de Las Casas to denounce intimidation by the military and police in their region, and to demand the release of their members: Jose Manuel Chema Hernandez Martinez was arrested on September 30th, while Jose Manual de la Torre and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez were apprehended on October 24th. All three are accused of stealing, causing damage and criminal association, among other charges.

On October 29th Amnesty International asked the Mexican government to investigate the complaints against the Chiapas police, who are accused of torturing OCEZ leaders. Amnesty International also asked for the guarantee of a fair trial for Jose Hernandez Martinez who remains unable to communicate since being transferred to a maximum-security prison 2000 kilometers from Chiapas.

On October 30th in “a desperate measure to call attention and obtain the release of our fellow members,” participants from the sit-in occupied the offices of the United Nations (UN) in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The OCEZ members explained that the occupation was a “peaceful act related to international rights against forced internal displacement.” They said they were afraid police and soldiers would conduct raids in their communities in Venustiano Carranza.

UN official Arnaud Peral said “the UNDP has determined the peaceful nature of the protest up until now, despite the imposition of having their headquarters occupied, and has asked the authorities not to proceed with any forced removal based on the principal of respect for the inviolability of United Nations offices.” However, he stated that the UN would join “the negotiation process once the offices were vacated, and once the framework for dialogue as well as representation of the occupying group had been clarified.”

On November 4th prisoners Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez asked that those occupying the UNDP offices vacate the building. That same day the National Front in the Struggle for Socialism (Frente Nacional de Lucha hacia el Socialismo, FNLS) denounced the “fact that the last two OCEZ-RC members who were arrested (Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio Cruz Gonzalez) had agreed to change their lawyer Lic. Marcos Lopez Perez, are spreading the news that they weren’t tortured and now ‘ask’ their fellow members to vacate the UNPD offices is undeniably proof of the terrorism of these supposed state authorities. It’s obvious they were subject to pressure and threats to take these positions.” They also pointed out “the FNLS doesn’t rule out that the repressive strategy being used against the OCEZ-RC – which has been used to facilitate the militarization of their region – is part of the declared intentions of the Governor Juan Sabines in the sense that he is going to create the ‘social conditions’ necessary to give access to transnational mining extraction in Chiapas.”

On November 5th the OCEZ announced that they had proposed that the Government Secretary of Chiapas, Noe Castanon Leon, set up a working group “to ease tensions and show good faith” in order to find a solution to their demands and the occupation of the United Nations offices. This initiative may take place as early as this weekend.

For more information:

Acción Urgente de Amnistía Internacional

– Solicita AI que se indaguen denuncias de tortura contra líderes de la OCEZ (La Jornada, 29 de octubre)

– Toman oficinas de la ONU (Cuarto Poder, 31 de octubre)

– Descartan líderes de la OCEZ-RC toma del PNUD (Milenio, 4 de noviembre)

Posición del FNLS antes el conflicto de la OCEZ-RC (Carta abierta, 4 de noviembre)

– Propone la OCEZ mesa de distensión (La Jornada, 6 de noviembre)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice (octubre 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)

Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice

October 31, 2009

On Monday October 26th, 2009, the Cathedral Square in San Cristobal de Las Casas was the scene of much activity and mobilization as three organizations and social movements arrived in the center of town, one after another. The three groups – the “community of Faith (Pueblo Creyente)–Tzotzil Region, The Other Campaign, and the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) – each had distinct demands that came down to the same basic message: there is no justice in Chiapas. Some demanded that “paramilitaries” charged in the Acteal Massacre remain in jail, while others asked for the release of social leaders who have been “arbitrarily detained.”


The Community of Faith–Tzotzil Region had organized a “Pilgrimage for Peace and real Justice” in solidarity with the Acteal Abejas. Together they called on the Supreme Court of Mexico to refrain from freeing any more of the prisonners accused as material perpetrators of the Acteal massacre of 1997. Five hundred people from the Highlands of Chiapas participated. At the end of the pilgrimage, mass was celebrated in the Cathedral by the Bishop of San Cristobal, Father Enrique Diaz Diaz, along with parish priests from the area.

According to journalists’ sources the Supreme Court of Mexico is expected to make a decision in the cases of 31 prisoners in jail for their participation in the Acteal Massacre of December 22nd, 1997. The media has reported that some of the prisoners could be released for violations to their human rights during the court process, despite the fact that Abejas members have identified them as material perpetrators of the crime. If the prisoners are released, they would add to the 20 persons who were already released August 12th as a result of another Supreme Court decision.


During the morning of October 26th about 200 Other Campaign followers – the majority indigenous – gathered at the San Cristobal bus terminal to begin a march into the city. They demanded the release of political prisoners, referring in particular to prisoners from the Front for the People in Defense of the Land (FPDT) in San Salvador Atenco (Estado de Mexico), the Civil Resistance Movement of non-payment for electric energy from Candelaria (Campeche), two tseltal members of the Other Campaign from San Sebastian Bachajon (Chiapas) and Alberto Patishtan, from the Voice of El Amate (Chiapas). The march, which was carried out as part of a national mobilization organized by the Other Campaign, came to an end in the Cathedral Square after the mass of the Community of Faith. Residents of the communities of San Sebastian Bachajon and Jotola, among others, also took the opportunity to speak to those gathered.


While Other Campaign followers were still carrying out their meeting, 100 members of the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata – Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) arrived at the Cathedral. They demanded the release of three of their “compañeros” who are presently jailed, as well as a stop to all harassment by the state government toward their organization. They announced the beginning of a sit-in in the Cathedral Square as a pressure tactic to resolve their demands, beginning October 26th for an indefinite period of time.

OCEZ said that ever since the arrest of one of their leaders, Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez, on September 30th, the harassment in their communities has been relentless. At dawn on October 24th the Attorney General of State Justice (PGJE) arrested other members of their group: Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez and Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez were arrested without being served arrest warrants. On October 25th a joint military and police search for drugs and firearms was carried out in Laguna Verde. Laguna Verde, along with neighbouring community 28 de Junio, are communities where members of OCEZ-RC live. Out of fear for their lives the residents had asked for the presence of human rights observers who were witnesses during the raid and concluded that no illicit objects were found.

For more information:

On the Pilgrimage of the Community of Faith and ‘Las Abejas’

Comunicado de Las Abejas de la conferencia de prensa del 22 de octubre 2009

La SCJN resolverá este miércoles sobre los recursos pendientes del caso Acteal (La Jornada 27/10/09)

Se manifiestan contra la SCJN… (Expreso de Chiapas 27/10/09)

On the Other Campaign March

ONG exigen la liberación de los presos políticos en el país (La Jornada (27/10/09)


Comunicado de la OCEZ-RC: En la madrugada detienen a dos miembros de la OCEZ Carranza la policía

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas

Exige la OCEZ libertad para 3 de sus dirigentes (La Jornada 27/10/09)

For more information from SIPAZ

Journey of the “Community of faith”: Reflection and action on a changing reality (August 2009)

Special Report on the Case of Acteal (August 30, 2009) – The Supreme Court (SCJN) Ruling: an irreproachable ruling judicially, a highly questioned decision based in the historical and actual context

Chiapas: The Abejas Denounce the Harassment of the Chiapas Government (october 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit

October 26, 2009

On October 16th Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez (“Don Chema”) was unexpectedly transferred to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit. The transfer was done with a strong police presence, with state and federal police assisting in moving him from El Amate, the prison in Chiapas where he had been held since his detention on September 30th.

The Chiapas government sub-secretary, Nemesio Ponce Sanchez, confirmed the transfer to the prisoner’s family and friends, who had not been informed in advance. The sub-secretary said the transfer of Hernandez Martinez was “for his own security.” The sub-secretary also said anybody wishing to visit him in the far-away state would be eligible for airline tickets paid for by the government.

In a public statement the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ), based in the Carranza region, brought attention to the transfer of Don Chema and the deaths of two cooperative landowners who were present during the arrest of their leader (the first died immediately, the other on October 17th.) According to OCEZ “the saddest part of this situation is that from the beginning our organization signed agreements of political civility and governability… and during this process they detained Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez. We started a series of actions against the state government because for us, his arrest was a betrayal of the agreements signed.” The statement concluded by saying, “Given the situation, we place responsibility on Governor Juan Sabines because this is a blow to our organization and to social struggle in the state of Chiapas.”

For the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, this transfer represents a “way to punish him and his family.” They denounced this action and said “the State violated the Principles and Best Practices for People Deprived of Freedom in the Americas, which states that transfers of incarcerated people should be authorized and supervised by competent authorities who will respect, in all circumstances, dignity and fundamental rights and who will take into account the need for incarcerated people to be in locations near their families, communities and legal representatives… Transfers should not be done with the intention to punish, reprimand or discriminate against incarcerated persons, their families or friends.”

In a communiqué the National Front for the Fight for Socialism reported Hernandez Martinez’s transfer “is due to political revenge and wanting to put him in solitary confinement like they did in CERSS 14 El Amate, which goes against his constitutional and human rights as well as due process.”

For more information:

Boletín de prensa de la OCEZ-Región Carranza

Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas: Traslado Forzoso de José Manuel Hernández Martínez, líder de la OCEZ

Boletín informativo del FNLS sobre traslado arbitrario de José Manuel Hernández Martínez (Chema) al penal de máxima seguridad de Nayarit.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured

Chiapas: OCEZ Leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region Captured

October 17, 2009

Plantón de la OCEZ-RC en San Cristóbal en julio de 2009 Fuente:

On September 30, 2009, José Manuel Hernández Martinez, also known as “Don Chema”, was taken captive under arbitrary circumstances in the 28 de Junio community of Venustiano Carranza. Hernández Martinez is one of the main leaders of the Emiliano Zapata Peasant Organization (OCEZ) in the Venustiano Carranza region. At the moment, he is held in the State Centre for Social Reintegration of the Convicted(CERSS) No. 14, “El Amate”, in Cintalapa.

According to various sources, a group of people wearing Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) uniforms entered the 28 de Junio community, on September 30, asking residents if they were having problems with their electricity. When they located José Manuel Hernández Martinez, the men in disguise kidnapped him in their van, which appeared to be a CFE vehicle, and fled the community. Supporters of Hernández Martinez went in pursuit of the van in an attempt to rescue him, however, they were attacked by firearms and their vehicle crashed. Jordán López Aguilar was killed in the crash and José Santos López Aguilar, Juan Jiménez Zepeda and Ballardo Hernández de la Cruz were injured.

Late that night, it was confirmed that Hernández Martinez was held in the CERSS No. 14, “El Amate” and that the operation had been conducted by agents from the Federal General Attorney’s Office(PGR, Procuraduría General de la República)and from the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Chiapas (PGJE, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Chiapas). According to local accusations made after he was taken into custody, Hernández Martínez was not presented with any warrant for his arrest. However, according to the federal government, there were previous inquiries and warrants against José Manuel Hernández Martínez for such crimes as criminal conspiracy or aggravated damages.

The National Front to Fight for Socialism (FNLS, Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo) denounced the detention as arbitrary, arguing that only a few weeks ago, José Manuel Hernández Martínez and the OCEZ were holding ongoing negotiations with the state government, at which time his kidnapping could have easily been accomplished. They declared in their press release that this captureg was an act of repression and criminalization of social protest. According to the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas (Frayba), Hernández Martínez was interrogated in the office of the PGJE “about: whether he was a member of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR, Ejército Popular Revolucionario) and theZapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional)”

It must be acknowledged that the capture of José Manuel Hernández Martínez occurred during a period of increased hostility regarding the efforts of human rights defenders and of criminalization of social protest. In the last three months, there has been a smear campaign against Frayba, which included an armed attack against one of their members and the adherants of The Other Campaign of San Sebastián Bachajón and Jotolá, as well as acts of harassment against members of the FNLS. A few days prior to the capture of José Manuel Hernández Martínez, a stranger set fire to the K’inal Antsetik A.C. facilities, a feminist organization that is affiliated with Yolanda Castro, local leader of the FNLS.

For more information (in Spanish):

More information from SIPAZ:

– Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Criminalization of Human Rights Work (September 2009)

– Chiapas: Members of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ) organize hunger strikes (August 2009)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 923 other followers