Oaxaca: CODEDI Denounces Military Harassment and Persecution

August 13, 2018

CODEDI.pngMembers of CODEDI (@CDH Fray Bartolom de Las Casas)

On July 26th, the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples (CODEDI in its Spanish acronym) denounced in a statement that a group of soldiers installed a checkpoint 500 meters from the entrance to the Alemania for one hour, where their center is located in Santa María Huatulco, to later retreat to Santiago Xanica, Miahuatlan. It reported that on questioning the military about what they were doing without authorization, the military responded that they were there under the firearms and explosives law.

It recalled that this happened just five months after the ambush and murder of three of its members (on February 12th) in the Sierra de Miahuatlan at the hands of an armed commando when they returned from a meeting convened by the state government; and just days after the assassination of Abraham Hernandez Gonzalez, CODEDI Regional Coordinator in the Sierra Sur, after hooded armed men dressed in military clothes entered his home and took him away on July 17th. Between these two events, several members of that organization suffered surveillance, threats (including death), house searches and arbitrary arrest. All this “without any progress in the judicial investigation to date.”

For CODEDI, the background of all this violence against their organization and the peoples of the region is the construction project of three hydroelectric dams on the Copalita River, called Copalita, Alemania and San Miguel by the federal and state governments. It urgently asked “to all organizations, communities, groups, civil society organizations in resistance against megaprojects and teachers of Section 22 to publicly demonstrate against the militarization and paramilitarization of the coastal region, to impose the megaprojects of dispossession of the federal and state government, and demand the immediate departure of the Army from Santiago Xanica.”

Given these latest denunciations, Espacio Civil de Oaxaca, composed of several civil organizations of the state said, “we reject and warn against the militarization of Oaxacan territory, a few months after the promulgation of the controversial Law of Internal Security, which institutionalizes the militarization of public security and, as the UN and the IACHR have pointed out, represents a serious danger to human rights. In Oaxaca, this is being translated into the military occupation of the territories where the peoples struggle against the exploitation of natural resources. We also hold the State and Federal Government responsible for repeated and particularly serious attacks against CODEDI. We condemn the excessive increase of the aggressions against all the defenders and members of the Oaxacan social movement; we denounce the lack of interest in and lack of response from the Government of the State in this situation.”

For more information in Spanish:

Espacio Civil de Oaxaca condena hostigamiento militar y persecución a CODEDI (Espacio Civil, 30 de julio de 2018)

Como una piedra en el zapato – Documental sobre el CODEDI y la ocupación de tierras en la Sierra Sur de Oaxaca (Radio zapatista, 29 de julio de 2018)

Cinco activistas fueron asesinados este año por oponerse a proyectos extractivos en Oaxaca: ONG (Sin Embargo, 27 de julio de 2018)

Acusan militarización en pueblos indígenas de la Costa de Oaxaca (El Despertar de Oaxaca, 27 de julio de 2018)

Denuncia CODEDI impunidad en crímenes y acoso del ejército (El Universal, 27 de julio de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca : impunidad y amenazas a tres meses del asesinato de 3 integrantes de CODEDI (16 de mayo de 2018)

Oaxaca : CODEDI denuncia « allanamiento, intimidación, acoso y violencia política » (9 de marzo de, 2018)

Oaxaca: Emboscan y asesinan a tres integrantes de Codedi (20 de febrero de 2018)

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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)


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)


Chiapas: Violence increases in the Highlands of Chiapas, 747 displaced and 3 dead in Aldama

May 10, 2018
100_7673

Photo @SIPAZ


Armed violence by armed groups with paramilitary characteristics in the Highlands of Chiapas, which forced more than 5,000 people to flee their homes in recent months, intensified with the murder of three peasants and the forced displacement of more than 700 people in the municipality of Aldama.

A peasant and his two minor children were murdered on April 2 when they were walking around their land near one of the alleged meeting points of “paramilitary groups” that operate from Manuel Utrilla, Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalhó, firing at the civil population in the neighboring municipality of Aldama supposedly due to a territorial conflict of 60 hectares.

During a press conference held on April 3 at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, the 115 Communal Property Owners of Aldama demanded to respect the agreement ratified by the Agrarian Tribunal on December 1 2009, where the inhabitants of Santa Martha, Chenalhó, recognized that the 60 hectares in conflict belong to the municipality of Aldama.

The current situation we are experiencing in our community of Aldama is that we are being attacked in our communities by armed groups from Santa Martha. Every night they are shooting with high caliber firearms against the communities that have already been displaced and other communities of Aldama that are neighbors of Santa Martha. They have also attacked the county town, as well as people who are going to theirs lands; they do not allow us to work, where they see us quickly they attack us, that is why we are very afraid because anyone they see will be shot“, said one of the inhabitants of Aldama.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center pointed out that the impunity with which armed civilian groups operate in the Highlands of Chiapas has intensified forced displacement in communities of Tsotsil peoples, in the municipalities of Aldama, Chalchihuitán and Chenalhó.

“Armed civilian groups, of paramilitary nature, linked to organized crime networks, attack communities with firearms, with the permissiveness and protection of authorities of the government of Chiapas. Old agrarian conflicts are managed according to political interests, in an electoral environment of manipulation and control to operate renewed counterinsurgency strategies”, it affirmed.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Exigen desarticulación de grupo armado que opera en la región de Chenalhó, Proceso, 3 de abril de 2018

Impunidad aumenta muertes y desplazamiento forzado en Chiapas, CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 3 de abril de 2018

Se recrudece violencia en Chiapas con asesinato de campesinos y más desplazamientos forzados, Animal Politico, 3 de abril de 2018

Frayba pide seguridad para familias de tzotziles desplazados, La Jornada, 28 de marzo de 2018

For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas: 4000 Displaced Return Home in Insecure Conditions n Chalchihuitan January 22, 2018

Chiapas: Humanitarian Aid for Displaced Demanded December 4, 2017

Chiapas: Agrarian Conflict between the Municipalities of Chenalho and Chalchihuitan Reignites November 19, 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)