National: Historic Elections in Mexico – Historic Record of Political Violence

July 17, 2018

ElectionsPhoto @ Publimetro

On July 1st, the largest elections in the history of the country were held in Mexico. 3,400 positions were elected, among them, the President of the Mexican Republic. The election day was historic for the Mexican people, with a participation of 89 million voters, the largest in its recent history.

The Observatory of Democracies: Southern Mexico and Central America (ODEMCA in its Spanish acronym) underlines in its “2018 Preelectoral Balance of Mexico” that “the federal electoral process 2017-2018 is recorded as the most expensive in the history of Mexico.” The budget authorized by the National Electoral Institute (INE in its Spanish acronym) was 28 billion pesos.

Violence also reached a record in the pre-election process. The consultancy Etellekt, specializing in risk analysis and public policies, presented its “Sixth Report on Political Violence in Mexico 2018”, in which it reports that 133 politicians have been murdered since September 8th, 2017 until the end of campaigns on the 27th of June. According to Telesur, “48 of the murdered were candidates or pre-candidates for some political office. In addition to this figure, 50 relatives of politicians lost their lives in attacks.”

In Oaxaca and Guerrero Etellekt recorded 26 deaths in each state during their observation period, which makes them leaders at a national level. Puebla continues in second place with 13 registered victims. In total, 548 global aggressions were counted, including attempts of homicide and threats throughout Mexico.

The states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas went through conflicts of different kinds that made the elections take place in a context of high conflict. The pollster director Ruben Salazar mentions that, “at the local level some very impressive things happen, especially in an election where so many positions are disputed in such problematic states as Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla.”

The electoral process has generated a wave of violence in several states, which, based from a media monitoring by SIPAZ, ranging from the end of the campaign, the election day and post-election days of the most emblematic cases, is shown below for the States of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

Chiapas

The most serious case occurred on July 1st with the murder of Prisciliano Hernandez, a member of the Movimiento de Regeneracion Nacional (MORENA in its Spanish acronym) party, who was shot dead during a fight with a presumed militant of the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM in its Spanish acronym) in the municipal seat of Venustiano Carranza. Excelsior reported that “unofficial sources point out that the row started after the deceased tried to prevent vote buying by the PVEM.”

For its part, Chiapas Paralelo reported a clash in Santiago el Pinar in the highlands of Chiapas, where “militants of the local party Mover a Chiapas arrived at the kiosk where the polls were installed, destroyed the screens that allow the secrecy of the vote, and forced the population to vote openly, in favor of Sebastian Gomez Gomez, candidate for the municipal presidency of that party.” After complaints from the population, the aggressors reacted violently using projectiles such as sticks and stones. The note indicates that “this fact caused the suspension of the vote and left a toll of around 20 people injured, two of them with wounds that required hospitalization. (…) The militants of Mover a Chiapas were left with the ballot box, and according to the complaint, they filled out the remaining ballots. For this reason, they asked for the annulment of the election in the municipality.”

In the state, cases of intimidation, destruction of voting booths and ballot boxes stolen by armed groups in Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Huixtan and Mapastepec were reported. According to Chiapas Paralelo, “the electoral Prosecutor’s Office reported that it has initiated 38 investigations into violent incidents that occurred during the election day.”

Chiapas Paralelo reported two serious incidents on July 2nd; one in Ocozocuatla, where they killed two people with firearms in a post-electoral conflict. In Tapilula, “a group that carried high-caliber weapons whom the population identifies as members of the Chiapas Unido party, set fire to cars and fired at their political opponents.” During these events one victim lost his life.

Oaxaca

Animal Politico reported that on June 28th, in the community of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional on the Coast of Oaxaca, “Joaquin Andres Bernal Rojas, an official of the National Electoral Institute (INE in its Spanish acronym), was murdered outside his home.”

The note continues with the resignation of two officials of the State Electoral Institute and Civic Participation of Oaxaca (IEEPCO in its Spanish acronym) of the 25th District Council, based in San Pedro Pochutla, “after receiving death threats that ordered them to resign in a maximum period of 24 hours from their posts in the electoral body.”

In Oaxaca, several ballot thefts were recorded; only, with the monitoring of three sources, SIPAZ counted eight affected communities. One of the affected is San Pedro Ozumacin, belonging to the municipality of Ayotzintepec of the district of Tuxtepec, in the Papaloapan Basin, where Diario Oaxaca reported “the theft and burning of 1,800 papers of two ballot boxes.”

Guerrero

Sara Castro Chamun was abducted by an armed group in the community of San Cristobal on July 1st. Castro is the representative of the MORENA party before the Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC in its Spanish acronym), which several days earlier had received several threats by followers of the PRI candidate for mayor of Ajuchitlan del Progreso, El Universal reports.

El Sur reported the presence of several armed groups in the Tierra Caliente region and the Northern Zone of the State that prevented the installation of ballot boxes.

In the State of Guerrero, SIPAZ observed from the media that there were isolated cases of political violence during the election day, where the fear of civil society affected the participation of citizens in the elections of some municipalities with a high level of violence as reported by El Universal: “In voting centers in the municipalities of, Chilapa, Pedro Ascencio de Alquisiras and Zitala, there was little attendance of voters for fear of suffering some aggression, since the area is considered a region of dispute between organized crime gangs.”

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Andrés Manuel López Obrador nuevo Presidente electo de México. (3 de Julio de 2018)

Chiapas/Oaxaca/Guerrero: Resultados preliminares. Elecciones 2018 (3 de Julio de 2018)

For more information in Spanish:

Suman 4 personas asesinadas por conflictos electorales en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de julio de 2018)

Violencia en 2 municipios, saldo de jornada electoral (Adiario Oaxaca, 2 de julio de 2018)

La democracia en Oaxaca está bajo fuego con asesinatos, amenazas a candidatos, robo de casillas, compra del voto: Flavio Sosa (Página3, 1 de julio de 2018)

No se ha instalado una casilla en Ixcapuzalco por el secuestro de una persona (El Sur, 1 de julio de 2018)

Guerrero registra incidentes aislados durante jornada electoral (El Universal, 1 de julio de 2018)

Asesinan a balazos a militante de Morena en Chiapas (Excelsior, 1 de julio de 2018)

Se presenta robo de material electoral en diferentes municipios (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de julio de 2018)

Hechos violentos marcan la jornada electoral en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de julio de 2018)

La víspera de la elección se intensifican actos de violencia, compra y coacción del voto (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de junio de 2018)

Asesinan a funcionario del INE en Oaxaca afuera de su domicilio (Animal Político, 29 de junio de 2018)

Más de 130 políticos asesinados en campaña electoral de México (Telesur, 28 de junio de 2018)

Acaban campañas con récord en el nivel de violencia (El Universal, 28 de junio de 2018)

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National: 20,390 Forcibly Displaced in 2017 – Over 329,900 in the Last 12 Years

May 11, 2018

Displaced(@CMDPDH)

On May 2nd, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH in its Spanish acronym) published a report on forced internal displacement in Mexico that indicated that in 2017, the climate of violence that prevails in the country caused 25 internal forced mass displacement events in nine states of the Republic, which affected 20,390 people. In the last 12 years at least 329,917 people have had to flee their homes, a figure that is “extremely conservative” as it only includes the cases in which entire communities have had to move. The CMDPDH estimates the figure could exceed one million people, although it affirms that the government has not published figures due to not wanting to “recognize the scale of the problem and the existence of an armed conflict.”

The report states that the states of Guerrero (seven cases), Sinaloa (five), Chihuahua (three), Chiapas (three) and Oaxaca (three) concentrated practically all mass displacement episodes registered in 2017. Chiapas was the entity where the phenomenon affected the largest number of people: 6,090, most of them originating in the municipalities of Altos de Chalchihuitan and Chenalho. 60.44% of the people affected were indigenous and the vast majority lived in rural areas

Of all the factors that led to forced displacement, the majority of them were caused by armed organized groups. Other causes were political violence, social conflict and territorial disputes and, to a lesser extent, the implementation of extractive mining projects.

The CMDPDH regretted that in Mexico the issue of forced internal displacement remains an issue without diagnosis, without public policies or official responses: “Internally displaced people do not have a framework of protection, they are like a kind of legal limbo where nobody confers them rights. The displaced people are left at the mercy of the will of local governments.” In addition, although it acknowledged the existence are two local laws, in Chiapas and in Guerrero, lack of regulations has prevented their proper enforcement to date.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe 2017 : Desplazamiento interno forzado en México (CMDPDH, informe completo, 2 mayo de 2018)

La violencia provocó el desplazamiento forzado de 20 mil 390 personas en 2017: CMDPDH (Proceso, 2 de mayo de 2018)

Más de 20 mil desplazados en México durante 2017; la mayoría, indígenas: Informe (Aristegui Noticias, 2 de mayo de 2018)

En 12 años, 329.9 mil víctimas de desplazamiento forzado en el país (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Los conflictos territoriales y la violencia llevan al éxodo a más de 12.000 indígenas en México (El País, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Por la violencia, más de 325 mil personas han dejado sus hogares a la fuerza en México (Animal Político, 3 de mayo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Persiste riesgo a la vida de indígenas tsotsiles en Aldama, denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (26 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: SIPAZ visitó a personas desplazadas de Chalchihuitán (20 de abril de 2018)

Guerrero: De la civilidad truncada a la desaparición de la razón, informe final de la Misión de Observación al Estado de Guerrero (16 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Plantón desplazados ejido Puebla, Chenalhó (10 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Otro conflicto agrario en los límites de Chenalhó provoca desplazados en el municipio de Aldama [blog incluye antecedentes] (27 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas: desplazados de Chalchihuitán denuncian condiciones en las que se siguen encontrando(23 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas : sin condiciones de seguridad regresan a casa más de 4000 desplazados en Chalchihuitán (4 de enero de 2018)

SIPAZ: BOLETÍN URGENTE – Reactivación del conflicto agrario entre Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán : violencia generalizada e impunidad (16 de diciembre de 2017)


International/National/Oaxaca: Fox, Calderon and over 100 Former Officials to be Denounced before International Criminal Court for Crimes against Humanity

April 24, 2018

Fox.pngPhoto @ impacto.mx

On April 5th, 2018, the ombusman of Oaxaca Arturo Peimbert, confirmed in an interview with La Jornada that in July he will present a complaint before the International Criminal Court against former presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, the former governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and a dozen senior officials of the Mexican State for crimes against humanity committed during the socio-political conflict of 2006 and 2007 in Oaxaca.

Peimbert told La Jornada that the actions of the government followed a “systematic and generalized pattern of low and medium intensity warfare, as a strategy to contain social protest.” The magazine Proceso specifically reports “serious crimes, particularly murders, tortures and forced disappearances”, committed by federal, state and municipal police bodies, which after 12 years “are in absolute impunity.”

La Jornada said that, “according to the final report of the Truth Commission for the case of Oaxaca 2006-2007, 30 civilians were killed during the attacks of armed groups against the barricades”, as well as containing “a list of more than one hundred officials, deemed responsible” during this conflict.

In his interview Peimbert added that “to take this case before the Criminal Court, we are inspired by the one presented by Michael Chamberlin, of the Fray Juan de Larios Human Rights Committee, on Coahuila. Therein the concerted action of the Zetas criminal group with the governors Humberto and Ruben Moreira is documented, and consequently the proven disappearance of more than a 1,800 people and the massacres of Allende and Piedras Negras. Because they are not isolated cases, but a pattern of systematic and widespread violence, the ICC admitted it in June of last year. “

For more information in Spanish:

Estado sigue patrón de guerra de baja intensidad contra protesta social: Peimbert (La Jornada, 5 de abril de 2018)

Denunciarán a Fox, Calderón y Ruiz ante la Corte Penal Internacional por crímenes de lesa humanidad (Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2018)

Denunciarán a Felipe Calderón ante Corte Penal Internacional (La Jornada, 21 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: denuncian amenazas contra integrantes de la Comisión de la Verdad conformada para investigar el conflicto político-social del 2006 (23 de abril de 2015)

Oaxaca: A 8 años del conflicto de 2006, sigue la impunidad. Se conforma Comisión de la Verdad (27 de noviembre de 2018)


National: Amnesty International: Extreme Violence Increased Throughout Mexico

March 1, 2018

AmnestyPhoto @ DesdeAbajo

On February 22nd, Tania Reneaum, Executive Director of Amnesty International (AI), presented her annual report on Mexico and denounced that violence increased throughout the country during 2017. She mentioned that, in the last year of the presidency of President Enrique Peña Nieto, there were 42,583 homicides between January and November, a figure that according to the report could be higher, since some crimes are not reported to the police and not all cases led to official measures.

Amnesty International also indicated that the Mexican authorities failed to clarify the location of 34,656 people reported in the national registry of missing persons. It also lamented the problem of extrajudicial executions and that “the authorities did not publish the number of people killed or injured in clashes with the police and the military.”

Regarding the issue of migrants traveling to the United States, Amnesty expressed great concern, especially about their treatment during their journeys and the policies implemented by President Donald Trump.

The executive director stressed that “2017 has to be remembered as the year in which the Senate of the Republic and the President of the Republic ignored the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and from NGOs, to carefully review the Internal Security Law.”

Despite the serious human rights crisis, the organization also noted that there is “a growing movement of resistance, led by both new and experienced activists, which really allows us to hope to reverse the tendency to oppression and fear.”

For more information in Spanish:

América Latina en alerta por “altos niveles” de violencia: Amnistía Internacional (El Imparcial de Oaxaca, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Se agravó la violencia en México en 2017: Amnistía Internacional (Proceso, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Amnistía Internacional: 2017, año de nuevos récords de violencia en México (Noticieros Televisa, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Surge nueva ola de activismo en AL por crisis de derechos humanos: AI (El Economista, 22 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: feminicidios a la alza en 2017 (11 de enero de 2018)


Oaxaca: Three Members of CODEDI Ambushed and Murdered

February 26, 2018

CODEDI

On February 12th, three members of the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples (CODEDI) lost their lives and two were injured after an armed attack. One of the injured was the co-founder of CODEDI, Abraham Ramirez Vasquez.

The armed attack occurred when the members of the Committee traveled on the federal highway that connects the City of Oaxaca de Juarez with Puerto Angel after a meeting between CODEDI and government authorities in the capital.

The CODEDI blamed the state and federal government and the next day held a protest in Huatulco with a march and taking control of federal highway 200.

More than 100 social and civil organizations condemned the murder of the three indigenous defenders and demanded guarantees for Abraham Ramirez Vasquez. In addition, they called on the national and international community so that human rights defenders can carry out their work in conditions of security and equality. They also asked civil society to join the collective demand for the immediate clarification of these extrajudicial executions and to punish the material and intellectual authors.

For more information in Spanish:

CODEDI denuncia ataque armado, fallecen 3 jóvenes indígenas (Educa, 13 de febrero de 2018)

Denuncia sobre asesinatos a compañeros de CODEDI (CNI, 13 de febrero de 2018)

Marchan en Huatulco por asesinato de tres activistas (Quadratin, 14 de febrero de 2018)

Organizaciones sociales y civiles condenan la ejecución de 3 defensores indígenas en Oaxaca (Educa, 14 de febrero de 2018)

Matan a un hombre y dos niños en emboscada a comitiva indígena tras reunión con colaboradores de Murat (Proceso, 13 de febrero de 2018)

 


Guerrero: Conflict at Mine of Canadian Company Torex Gold Resources

February 17, 2018

GoldPhoto @ Proceso

Since November 3rd, 2017, according to information from Proceso, a group of workers of the Media Luna mining company, part of the Canadian company Torex Gold Resources, have been on strike to “demand the change of ownership of their collective work contract, which is currently held by the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM in its Spanish acronym).” The dissatisfied workers would like to join “the Napoleon Gomez Urrutia Union.”

Several newspapers reported that due to the problem that exists between the quarry workers and the mining company, three murders of employees of the mining company Media Luna have occurred to date. First on November 18, 2017 “Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla were murdered and on January 24, Quintin Salgado, one of the leaders of the strike against the mining company Media Luna, was assassinated when he left his house in Nuevo Balsas, municipality of Cocula in Guerrero.”

According to the newspaper La Jornada de Guerrero, the national leaders of the National Mining Union, Sergio Beltran Reyes and Benito Melo Gonzalez, later denounced Salgado’s murder; “Comrade Quintin Salgado of the Media Luna mine, was cowardly murdered by the CTM of Guerrero and organized crime and we hope that the government of Canada, which is more interested in solving this situation, can put a stop to this company which, in addition to allowing them to take away our wealth, our authorities also allow you to assault, murder and violate the rule of law in our country, our workers and our organization Miners of Mexico.”

On January 27th, state and federal agents as well as soldiers took control of the facilities of the Canadian mining company Media Luna and practically broke the strike that the workers held. The military operation resulted in “the release of the security chief of the mining company Media Luna and seven workers who had allegedly been retained by the workers,” Proceso reported.

In a statement, the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) mentioned that “this problem has a framework, and it is the current federal and state policy of delivery of resources and unrestricted and servile support to domestic and foreign companies that impose this type of exploitation, affecting the territories irreversibly in environmental, social and health terms. Once installed, the companies, as part of the multiple devastation they generate, place their local workers in conditions of intensive exploitation, violating their rights with government support. It is important to point out that the above once again highlights:

  1. The clear link between these companies and the criminal groups’ “gunmen” that they finance for their protection, and
  2. That at the request of a transnational company, the state sends its army and its police not to put the project at risk with greater direct foreign investment in the state of Guerrero.”

It should be recalled that, since March 2016, “Proceso warned about the risk of mining projects promoted by the government of Hector Astudillo in a strip of the state where the narcos [drug cartels] control everything.”

For more information in Spanish:

Quintín Salgado Salgado fue ultimado a balazos en las inmediaciones de su casa en Cocula, Guerrero. (Regeneración, 24 de enero de 2018)

Empleados de firma canadiense, hermanos asesinados en Guerrero: Sindicato Minero (La Jornada, 23 de noviembre de 2017)

Asesinan a prestador de servicios de Media Luna que simpatizaba con los paristas (La Jornada de Guerrero, 25 de enero de 2018)

Rescatan 8 personas privada de su libertad en Minera Media Luna (Debate, 27 de enero de 2018)

Ejército y agentes toman el control de minera Media Luna en Guerrero (Proceso, 27 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: ONG emite Acción Urgente para proteger Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito y Félix Rodríguez Navarrete (10 de agosto de 2015)

Guerrero/México/América Latina: Graves cuestionamientos a Goldcorp y empresas mineras canadienses (29 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas/México/América Latina: Violación de derechos por empresas mineras (25 de abril de 2012)


Chiapas: 4000 Displaced Return Home in Insecure Conditions n Chalchihuitan

January 22, 2018

ChenalhoDisplaced Chalchihuitan (@Sin Embargo)

On December 2nd, nearly four thousand indigenous people from Chalchihuitan returned to their communities of origin after almost two months of forced displacement, despite not having secure conditions to do so due to the presence of groups that have not been disarmed, so they blamed the state and federal governments for what might happen to their families. 1,165 people refused to leave Kanalumtik camp where they are located for the same reason.

According to the parish priest of Chalchuitan, those who returned did so because of the conditions of forced displacement that caused the death of 11 people due to hunger and cold in this region of the Highlands of Chiapas.

Municipal, state and federal authorities met in this framework and agreed to continue with humanitarian aid, maintain close public security with the participation of state and federal forces, and continue to seek lasting solutions that guarantee peace in the region.

It should be recalled that there has been an agrarian conflict over boundaries between the two municipalities of Chalchihuitan and Chenalho since 1973, as a result of the works of recognition and titling of communal property by the extinct Secretariat of Agrarian Reform. They have resulted in a dispute over more than 900 hectares located between the two places.

For more information in Spanish:

Segob establece tres acuerdos con representantes de desplazados de Chalchihuitán (Aristegui Noticias, 4 de enero de 2018)

Peligroso retorno a Chalchihuitán (La Jornada, 3 de enero de 2018)

Segob refuerza ayuda en el regreso de desplazados a Chalchihuitán (La Jornada, 3 de enero de 2018)

Retornan a sus comunidades casi 4 mil indígenas desplazados de Chalchihuitán (Proceso, 2 de enero de 2018)

Sin condiciones de seguridad, desplazados en Chiapas retornan a sus casas (Regeneración, 2 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

SIPAZ: BOLETÍN URGENTE – Reactivación del conflicto agrario entre Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán : violencia generalizada e impunidad (16 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas : Conflicto agrario: fallo en favor del municipio de Chenalhóc(13 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas: últimos acontecimientos del conflicto agrario entre Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán (8 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas: Urge ayuda humanitaria para personas desplazadas (29 de noviembre de 2017)

Chiapas: Otra vez resurgió el conflicto agrario entre los municipios de Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán (14 de noviembre de 2017)