Chiapas: Cries of liberty from the Believing People in Simojovel

October 8, 2015

(Durante la misa @ChiapasDenunciaPública(During mass @ChiapasDenunciaPública)

During the night of 15 September 2015, when President Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed his “Cry of Independence” in the Zócalo of Mexico City, the Believing People from Simojovel made their own cry. Following a Catholic mass at the San Antonio de Pádua parish, the group called into question the spectacle, asking, “What are we celebrating as Mexicans? Are we free and sovereign? If we are free, why are there so many dead? Why is social protest criminalized? Why in Chiapas are there so many displaced? Why so much corruption from the authorities? Why does organized crime have so much power, slowly taking over increasingly more communities? Why is there so much poverty—rising, indeed, with more than 2 million impoverished?” They recognized that “Viva Mexico” cannot be proclaimed if each year brings more poor living under the boot of institutionalized violence and the concentration of wealth among a small minority. They demanded a new face and heart for Mexico, and a change to the system.

The Believing People noted that there exists a generalized cry within the country, as expressed by the Mexican bishops: “Enough! We do not want more blood to be spilled. We do not want more dead. We do not want more disappeared. We want neither more pain nor more shame […]. We unite ourselves to the general cry for a Mexico in which truth and justice provoke a profound transformation of the institutional, judicial, and political structures that will assure that events such as these will never recur.” For this reason, they proposed cries that come increasingly from organized communities that are struggling for truth. Beyond this, they invited all the people of Chiapas to organize themselves to defend and protect the lives of their communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gritos de libertad en Simojovel (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Creyentes “celebran” Fiestas Patrias (Diario de Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel (Vida Nueva, 24 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against the priest and members of the Believing People (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Believing People of El Bosque march for a halt to violence in their region (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest (23 April 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: Bishop Felipe Arizmendi presents his resignation to the Pope

May 14, 2015

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

On 1 May, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, reported that he has sent in his letter of resignation to Pope Francis, now that he has reached 75 years of age.

During the homily of the mass he celebrated on his birthday, the bishop announced that the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Christope Pierre, has told him that “Rome has indicated its desire for me to continue at this pastoral ministry, but it has not specified how long this extension would be.  We leave this up to divine providence.”

The bishop added that he has “no problem with accepting this request that is made of me,” insofar asGod, by means of the Pope, does not tell me to stop my service in this diocese, we will continue working together toward the consolidation of the Church’s project, which was well-expressed in the Third Diocene Synod: following the example of the beloved Tatik Samuel Ruiz García, we must be oppositional, liberatory, evangelizing, communal, and service-oriented, under the guidance of the holy spirit.”

Since 15 May 2014, the Pope had accepted the bishop’s proposal to designate Monseñor Enrique Díaz Díaz as a joint bishop, such that he will be next in the succession.  Felipe Arizmendi expressed that his desire is to return to his original diocese, Toluca, once his resignation has in fact been accepted.

For more information (in Spanish):

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi presenta su renuncia al Papa (la Jornada, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi envía renuncia al papa (El Universal, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo de San Cristóbal anuncia su retiro (Proceso, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Chiapas: Beginning of grand pilgrimage of the Believing People from Simojovel

April 10, 2015

Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente, Simojovel, marzo de 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Pilgrimage of the Believing People, Simojovel, March 2015 (@SIPAZ)

On Monday 23 March, more than 5,000 members of the Believing People from Simojovel–an organizational process associated with the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese–undertook a grand pilgrimage (Easter Via Crucis), leaving from this city to arrive in the Chiapas state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, on 26 March.  Through this peaceful mobilization, they seek to obtain greater security in the region, the closure of cantinas and brothels, an effective campaign against alcoholism and drug abuse, and an end to corruption.  Equally, they have pronounced themselves in defense of their priest, Marcelo Pérez Pérez, and the members of the parish council who have received threats due to their support of these demands.  In this sense, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to guarantee their protection.

This first day, the pilgrims covered approximately 45 kilometers, stopping to sleep in Bochil before continuing on in the direction of Ixtapa, the destination for the second day of the pilgrimage.  In total, they plan to walk over 120 kilometers.

For more information (in Spanish):

Peregrinan 10 mil en Chiapas contra corrupción en zona norte (OEM, 24 de marzo de 2015)

“En Simojovel no hay agua potable, pero sí litros y litros de alcohol”(Chiapas Paralelo, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Marchan católicos contra alcohol y drogas (La Jornada, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Simojovel Chiapas: Importante, significativa y oportuna la Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente (Radio Pozol, 23 de marzo de 2015)

Solicita CIDH medidas cautelares para sacerdote de Simojovel (Proceso, 18 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People from Simojovel announce pilgrimage to Tuxtla to demand peace and justice (22 March 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal reject dams and high electricity prices, affirming “Free Rivers and Living People” instead

April 10, 2015

Foto @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

Photo @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

On 14 March, in observance of the International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a communique “against the looting and plundering of our lands in Chiapas and in Mexico.”  Said plundering “which is imposed by the rich and the bad governments of Mexico is the principal cause of forcible displacement, forcible disappearance, torture, arbitrary arrests, and massacres,” as they say.

In this way, they reaffirmed their “civil resistance to paying for electricity.  Why do we not pay the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)?  For the following reasons:

a)  the San Andrés Accords have not been faithfully observed.

b) justice has not been done in the Acteal massacre

c) the prices are unjust

d) there are firms in Mexico and federal enterprises that do not pay for electricity, as has been confirmed by the secretary general of the Mexican Electricians’ Union (SME), as revealed in La Jornada in 2009.

e) Chiapas produces 45% of the hydroelectric power of the country, and it unjust and shameful that we should have to pay so much for electricity, while many communities and families lack this service altogether,” Las Abejas noted.

They added: “the CFE says that we ‘owe’ them a lot of money, but we tell them that it is they who owe us much, because they do business in our lands and fail to consult us.”  Las Abejas rejected the plans for more hydroelectric projects, “because the CFE and the bad governments of Chiapas and Mexico only seek more dams for their own economic benefit, while we poor people in communities suffer the consequences.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno (Las Abejas de Acteal, 14 de marzo de 2015)

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno:Abejas de Acteal(Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society expresses solidarity with the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero (5 February 2015)

Chiapas: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots” (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of migration agents, says La 72

March 22, 2015

Fray Tomás González en Acteal. Foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Fray Tomás González in Acteal. Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 17 March, “La 72, Home and Refuge for Migrant People,” located in Tenosique, Tabasco, directed by the human-rights defender Fray Tomás González, released an Urgent Action (UA) due to events “that leave us absolutely indignant,” with reference to the death of a Honduran youth.  On 6 March, agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) working with federal police in Tenosique stopped a freight-train at the Chacamax station, 60 kilometers from Palenque, where they began a search.  Among the hundreds of persons traveling atop the train, the Honduran youth in question suffered a panic attack, jumped off the “Beastly” train, and entered the river, where he began to drown and then requested assistance.  In the end, the youth died.  According to the man who gave witness, the INM “agents said: ‘leave that fucker,'” as the UA claims.

In addition, the UA indicates that the migrants who had been witnesses “both of the savage raid as well as death of the youth and what followed [noted] that the persecution by the migration agents lasted more than 2 hours.  Once they saw that the youth was drowning, they withdrew and provided no assistance; the corpse remained for 10 hours on the river bank, cared for by the other migrants who witnessed the acts.  People from the local community also testified and told us of many crimes and human-rights violations that the INM agents commit.”

Lastly, the document ends with a call “on national and international human-rights organizations” to express themselves “in light of these lamentable acts and others that have been caused by the Southern Border Program.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: El INM Y La PF a través del Programa Frontera Sur provocan la muerte de  personas Migrantes Centroamericanas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 18 de marzo de 2015)

El Programa Frontera Sur no cesa la represión en contra de personas migrantes (La 72 – Refugio para personas migrantes, 12 de enero de 2015)

Agentes de Migración y de la PF dejan a hondureño ahogarse (Proceso, 18 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Fray Tomás González (13 November 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Chiapas: Believing People of Simojovel announce pilgrimage to Tuxtla to demand peace and justice

March 22, 2015


Press-conference, 17 March. Photo @SIPAZ

The Believing People of Simojovel, during a press-conference held on 17 March at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, (CDHFBC), called for a pilgrimage or way of the cross from 23 to 26 March as a means of peacefully denouncing the violence they experience in their region.  They compare this situation of violence at the state and national levels: “Simojovel is a small reflection of what is happening throughout the country: the institutionalized corruption governs at all levels, and for that reason the people must rise up and organize themselves to defend life.  What is at risk is human life, the future of our children, and of our daughters.”  The pilgrimage will be held from 23-26 March, leaving the first day from Simojovel and passing through the communities of Bochil, Ixtapa and Chiapa de Corzo, arriving on Thursday 26 March in the Chiapas capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado y fotos (Chiapas Denuncia, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Conferencia de prensa (Ustream, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Comunicado Simojovel (17 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (13 June 2014)

Chiapas: International Women’s Day in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

March 21, 2015



In observance of International Women’s Day, 8 March, close to 200 women and men marched in San Cristóbal de Las Casas for equal rights.  They marched from the south of the city to downtown to demand a cessation of violence against women, patriarchy, and femicide, as well as “an end to the privatization of the natural goods such as lands and water, because it is a plundering of our peoples and communities.”  During the rally with which the march concluded, different groups, collectives, and communities reported about the creation of a Movement in defense of the land, the territory, and in favor of the participation and recognition of women in decision-making processes.  “The Movement arose as a response organized within the context of the plundering and destruction of natural resources, as well as the generalized violence exercised by the State through its neoliberal policies and gender violence,” they explained.  Participants stressed that the declaration of principles of the group establishes 11 principles that govern it, toward a position “from below and to the left, like our hearts, using a logic of autonomy, democracy, and independence from the government and all political parties.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marcha en San Cristóbal por el Día Internacional de la Mujer (LaJornada, 8 de marzo de 2015)

8 de marzo, #Mujeres de #Chiapas forman el Movimiento en defensa de la tierra, el territorio y por la participación y el reconocimiento de las mujeres en las decisiones (Koman Ilel, 9 de marzo de 2015)

[AUDIO Y FOTOS] [COMUNICADO] ¡Con éste Movimiento nos llevamos un compromiso para toda la vida y vamos a luchar juntas y juntos!. (Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, A.C., 8 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: During International Women’s Day on 8 March, a meeting, a march, and a rally (10 March 2015)

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (2 March 2014)


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