Chiapas: Annual report from Frayba on “Human-Rights Insurgency”

November 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Participation by Estela Barco during presentation of report @ SIPAZ

On 5 November, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report that carries the title “The Human-Rights Insurgency,” which deals with the “perspective, questions, and situations” that the CDHFBC has documented and monitored in Chiapas from March 2014 to March 2015. During the presentation of the document, several members of the directive council of CDHFBC spoke, including Blanca Martínez Bustos, director of the Fray Juan de Larios Center for Human Rights; Jorge Santiago Santiago; Estela Barco Huerta, general coordinator for the Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans; and the president of the council, jtatik Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo.

The CDHFBC described the present context as a moment that “is a dark time, amidst the implementation of saddening repressive measures that constitute State terrorism, whereby military occupation and the state of siege are normalized. With this, the violations that make up crimes against humanity such as torture, forcible disappearance, extrajudicial executions, femicide, and forcible displacement, among other crimes, are daily occurrences in Chiapas and Mexico.”

The document proclaims the comprehensive defense of human rights that is the work of the CDHFBC. The questions it addressed include torture, impunity, defense of land and territory, as well as the ongoing war context, which in the report corresponds to four chapters: Torture, an implicit negation; A look at the cracks of impunity; War in Chiapas, territory, and peoples; and Reality of war-context.

The CDHFBC expressed that torture “is engrained and generalized in the Mexican justice system, and it is not only denied but even rationalized.” From the perspective of historical memory, remembrance is the principal pillar “of the struggle of victims and their families in the cases of crimes against humanity […]. They collectively protect and transmit memory against forgetting and impunity.” With regard to the “internal armed conflict in Chiapas,” the “communities and organizational processes persist and resist in defense of their autonomy and territory amidst State policies that seek to plunder land, spirit, and culture.” Lastly, the chapter on “Reality” is dedicated to the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014 in La Realidad, official municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos

Boletín Frayba presenta su Informe Anual: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos (CDHFBC, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Despojo territorial, espiritual y cultural, una constante en Chiapas: Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba” (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal remember Manuelito

November 21, 2015


Three years after his death, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal commemorated Manuel Vázquez Luna (Manuelito), who died on 10 November 2012 in the “badly named ‘Hospital of the Cultures’ in San Cristóbal de Las Casas Chiapas, after having suffered 18 days of discrimination and victimization by medical negligence.” The commemoration took place in Acteal, “House of Memory and Hope.”

“Manuelito left us to reunite with his parents, sisters, grandmother, and uncle,” who were killed on 22 December 1997 “by PRI and Cardenist paramilitaries from the official municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas.” Las Abejas of Acteal recalled that “that day of the Acteal massacre, Manuelito remained below the bodies of those killed and was bathed in blood. He saw how the paramilitaries opened fire against women and children.” Despite having experienced the pain of the near-total loss of his family, he decided “not to life in pain, but rather to convert pain and cries into hope and joy […] by means of stories, jokes, songs, and riddles.”

Las Abejas assured that Manuelito “is now in all parts of Acteal. He is in the clouds that rest on the mountains of Acteal, in the air that embraces us upon arriving here to Acteal, in the wind that blows and refreshes our memory and hope. He is in each raindrop that falls on the sacred lands of Acteal, and in each tree-leaf and in the foliage that grows around Acteal, House of Memory and Hope. He is in all parts of the cosmos. He is in our heart.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado en Memoria de Manuelito (Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de noviembre de 2015)

A un año de la muerte de nuestro hermano Manuelito por irresponsabilidad médica (10 de noviembre de 2013)

Manuelito deja de existir de esta Tierra para vivir por siempre en nuestra memoria, lucha y esperanza (Las Abejas de Acteal, 12 de noviembre de 2012)

Manuelito siempre fue una luz fuerte en Las Abejas, ahora guiará más con su brillo nuestro camino (Koman ilel, 11 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)

Chiapas: Believing People of Simojovel continue to defend “life, peace, justice, freedom, and democracy” y democracia”

November 21, 2015

Cabeza blog 2013

On 3 November by means of a public denunciation, the Believing People from the San Antonio de Pádua parish in Simojovel expressed gratitude for the accompaniment by all those who have walked beside them, reviewing the different meetings of the past few months as well as the mass-pilgrimage from Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Furthermore, they reported on the present situation that they are experiencing, noting that they are “disappointed with the different levels of government” and that despite their “peaceful actions, the situation remains the same” amidst their demands. They denounced that “the number of bars has actually increased,” and furthermore that “these firms have more power than state and federal officials, such that it is clear that the governors are not governmental but rather financial […].”

In light of a situation that “does not improve,” the Believing People will continue to organize themselves “so as to find the true freedom for our people, as we see clearly the complicity due to the omission of the authorities at the three levels of governance in terms of the beer-making firms and the drug-traffickers.” They assured that “true change does not come from a political party, because the major problem is the governmental and political-economic system,” adding that they will not “keep silent, because to do so would be to become complicit.” The principal demand made by the Believing People continues to be “the closure of all bars, legal and clandestine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel continúa la lucha por la vida, paz, justicia, libertad y democracia. (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Cries of liberty from the Believing People in Simojovel (23 de septiembre de 2015)

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: In San Cristóbal de Las Casas, commemorations for Day of the Dead

November 19, 2015

Altar de la Campaña Popular contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres y el Feminicidio en Chiapas.  Foto: cortesía.

Altar of the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas. Photo credit: courtesy.

In observance of the Day of the Dead, several organizations and collectives organized commemorative events in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. For one, Melel Xojobal, a civil association that works to promote, defend, and exercise the human rights of children and youth through participatory processes, organized an act against child mortality due to discrimination, violence, and poverty. With slogans such as “they should not die” protestors marched through downtown, where they installed an altar with information regarding several cases and statistics on child mortality in Chiapas and Mexico. “We do these marches to raise our voices, so that people come to realize that the government does nothing, that when something happens to children or youth, impunity remains,” said a youth protestor.

For its part, the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas also installed an altar. Using photos of femicide victims, both from the state as well as from other parts of the country, they commemorated the victims of violence against women and demanded the end of the violence against women and female human-rights defenders.

Beyond this, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Lucio Hernández Patishtan, and Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, prisoners held in the Center for Social Readaptation (CERESO) of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, published a letter denouncing “the injustices, discrimination, and unjust incarcerations” due to which “we have not been able to visit our homes” to remember their dead. “Today and in this space we create our own altar to commemorate our families, friends, and all those who fell in 1994, as well as those killed in the Acteal massacre, tatic Samuel Ruiz García, who lamentably has left this world. Some of them died in the struggle, such that they are not present any longer as persons, but their spirits will live on in our hearts.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Día de muertos – Melel Xojobal (Vientos Culturales, 5 de noviembre de 2015)

Carta de presos en el día de muertos (Chiapas denuncia pública, 31 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: 5 years since the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas (11 September 2015)

Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of migration agents, says La 72 (22 March 2015)

Chiapas: Justice is demanded in the case of the feminicide of the youth Itzel Yanet Méndez Pérez (16 May 2012)

Chiapas: XV Aniversario de Melel Xojobal (9 February 2012)

Chiapas: “Violence and infancy in the state” (27 November 2011)

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)


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