Guerrero: Murders and death-threats against candidates for June elections

May 17, 2015

Instituto Nacional Electoral (@redpolitica.mx)

National Electoral Institute (@redpolitica.mx)

On 1 May, a group of hitmen murdered Ulises Fabián Quiroz, the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) candidate for the mayorship of Chilapa in the forthcoming elections planned for 7 June.  José Santos Valdivia, the substitute choice for the PRI-Green alliance for the same office, refused to continue with the electoral campaign.  The candidate for the Movement for National Regeneration (MORENA), Laura Patricia Hernández Carrillo, had just announced days before that she would be suspending her candidacy for security reasons.

On 31 April, the New Alliance Party (PANAL) reported the murder of four of its members as they were returning from a campaign rally in Ixcapuzalco, the municipal center of Pedro Ascención, in the north of the state

Also in April, the gubernatorial candidate for the Citizens’ Movement (MC), Luis Walton Aburto, cancelled his proselytizing tour in the Mountain region, after he had been intercepted together with his cabinet by an armed group in the municipal center of Chilapa de Álvarez.

In mid-March, Aidé Nava González, candidate of the Party for Democratic Revolution (PRD) for the mayorship of Ahuacuotzingo, located below the Mountain region, was found dead in the surroundings of the Tecoanapa community, near where she had been taken by armed subjects days prior.

To date, the authorities believe these violent acts to be localized, and that there still exist the adequate conditions for elections next month.

In a communique published at the beginning of May, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights warned that the “violence has no limits, and the lack of capacity of the authorities to confront it is evident.  The political class finds itself trapped within its own labyrinth.  It fell into the same claws of the crow that gave birth to it, and it has had to submit itself to the very laws of barbarism which it has itself imposed.  Guerrero is a territory mined by violence.  There is no place there that escapes control by organized crime […].  The weakness of State institutions contrasts with the strength of criminal organizations, whose power has been demonstrated as being capable of executing local and state authorities.  This monster has set down its roots within the very same State structures.  It is a central part of the way in which power is exercised, and in which politics take place […].  Violence traps us, and what has disrupted the electoral process is what the authorities have not desired to see and address.  They prefer to focus their attention on the social organizations that openly have called for there not to be elections.  The State dismisses them for being bold enough to call into question the carrying-out of said elections.  It views them as a great threat, and among the most dangerous groups within this electoral situation.  The State has not attended to their demands in a profound way: that is, the situations that truly imperil the lives of the people.  Nor has it paid attention to the claims that within the political parties candidates develop which respond above all to the interests of organized crime.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Candidatos temen por su seguridad; suplente del PRI-Chilapa rehúye postulación (Excelsior, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Guerrero, en medio de la tormenta. (Centro de derechos humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Nueva Alianza lamenta el asesinato de cuatro miembros en Guerrero (CNN México, 4 de mayo de 2015)

Sicarios preguntaron por líder criminal antes de ejecutar a candidato en Guerrero (Proceso, 4 de mayo de 2015)

La violencia del narco amenaza las elecciones al sur de México (El País, 4 de mayo de 2015)

“Violencia en Guerrero, focalizada”, Ortega descarta crisis en elecciones(CNN México, 2 de mayo)

Grupo armado intercepta y encañona a Luis Walton en Chilapa (Proceso, 25 de abril de 2015)

Hallan decapitada a precandidata perredista a edil de Ahuacuotzingo (La Jornada, 12 de marzo de 2015)


National/International: International organizations call Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists into question

May 16, 2015

Mecanismo

In a communique published on 29 April, international human-rights organizations expressed their concern that the National Mechanism for the Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico is “leaderless,” putting at risk its beneficiaries and applicants.  This acephalous situation has to do with the resignations in February and March of 2015 of Víctor Manuel Serrato, former director of human rights, and Lía Limón, subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights at the Governance Ministry (SEGOB).

The groups warn that, “though Roberto Campa Cifraín has been named as the new subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights, nearly two months have passed since the departure of the director on human rights, and there is little clarity regarding when this position will be covered once again in a permanent fashion.  The absence of management within the institution puts the Mechanism under a great deal of pressure and makes difficult the function for which it was established, thus increasing risk to human-rights defenders and journalists (both beneficiaries and applicants).”

The International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Jass  (Associates for Justice), the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Peace Brigades International (PBI), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) have similarly expressed consternation amidst the serious lack of implementation of the Mechanism due to reduced budgets (according to members from the Consultative Council, the analysts within the Mechanism have themselves had to cover their travel expenses since October 2014), the lack of a physical space within the institute’s office to attend to beneficiaries and applications, the lack of follow-up training provided to the members of the Mechanism who work on temporary contracts.  They have also pointed to the lack of clarity in terms of criteria for review of cases, the lack of preventative measures, and the impunity in the cases of attacks on human-rights defenders and journalists.

To address these problems, the organizations make the following recommendations: to find a replacement director on human rights, to guarantee greater transparency within the operations of the Mechanism, in terms of the criteria that are used to accept or reject cases, and considering the follow-up that is done when precautionary measures are provided, as well as to improve the means by which the analyses of risk are carried out, to respond in a timely fashion to applications, and to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human-rights defenders and journalists “who are at risk as a result of their legitimate work, and who find themselves in high-risk situations during this latest crisis of leadership and the other problems that have been identified in terms of the implementation of the Mechanism for Protection.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Acéfalo” el mecanismo de protección a activistas y comunicadores, denuncian ONG (Proceso, 30 de abril de 2015

Mecanismo de protección acéfalo pone en alto riesgo a defensores y periodistas: Brigadas de Paz (Página3, 30 de abril de 2015)

Comunicado conjunto: Organizaciones internacionales identifican fallas preocupantes en la implementación del Mecanismo Nacional de Protección a Personas Defensoras y Periodistas en México (OSC, 29 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)


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: Regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón burned down; autonomous journalists are attacked

April 10, 2015

Foto @ Pozol Colectivo

Photo @ Pozol Colectivo

On 21 March, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón denounced that more than 600 state security forces burned down the regional headquarters of San Sebastián, with the participation of the ejidal commission and the security council.  They explaiend that “after the violent displacement of 9 January 2015, we founded a regional headquarters for San Sebastián to continue caring for the lands and demand the withdrawal of the bad government.  We will continue, as we are indigenous to these lands, and we will not allow the bad government come to rule over the people.”  They also indicated that the group from the ejidal commission “has blockaded the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque at the Agua Azul crossing in an attempt to blame us for the blockade.  Also, these stooges from the bad government are cutting down trees, and we know that they seek to fabricate crimes of ecocide with which to imprison the autonomous authorities of our organization.”

They demanded “the withdrawal of public forces from our lands, which have been plundered since February 2011, and of the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas,” besides the “release of our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, and Roberto Gómez Hernández, and of the unjustly imprisoned comrades Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez, and Esteban Gomez Jimenez.

Beyond this, two members of autonomous-media collectives denounced having been attacked by the ejidal commissioner’s group of San Sebastián Bachajón. They reported that they were surrounded, arrested, beaten, and threatened with machetes, so that they would hand over a Canon 70D camera and a tripod on 21 March, when they sought to document the displacement and arson of the regional headquarters.  Beyond this, they indicated that, upon passing the control-point and continuing toward the regional autonomous headquarters of San Sebastián, they found four state police trucks and more than 200 “officialists armed with machetes, some of them inebriated.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Comunicado San Sebastián Bachajon: Fuerzas públicas incendian sede regional (Blog Viva Bachajón, 21 de marzo de 2015)

Bachajón, Chiapas, 600 policías incendian sede ejidal (Regeneración Radio, 21 de marzo de 2015)

“Más de 600 elementos de las fuerzas públicas incendiaron nuestra sede regional San Sebastián”, denuncia ejido Bachajón (Pozol Colectivo, 21 de marzo de 2015)

Ataque y robo a medios libres por grupos oficialistas en Agua Azul, ejido de San Sebastián Bachajón (Radio Zapatista, 23 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: new communique from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2015)

Chiapas: new national and international brigade in solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón (1 March 2015)

Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón(10 February 2015)

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 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)


Oaxaca: More harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

March 22, 2015

Juchitán de Zaragoza, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Juchitán de Zaragoza, @ SIPAZ archive

Mariano López Gómez, member of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), Héctor and Gloria Sánchez López, directors of civil and political organizations from Juchitán, and David Henestrosa, a columnist covering the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have denounced that they have suffered harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation, which began on 3 March in Juchitán de Zaragoza.  They claimed that they were booed and insulted by people in attendance, but they indicated in particular Eduardo Centeno, the legal representative of the Southern Wind-Energy firm (previously, Mareña Renewables Capital), such that they will submit a penal denunciation holding the wind-energy firm responsible for whatever could happen to them and their families.  Mariano López added that the CTM construction union is bringing “yes-men” to the forum who “obey the interests of the PRI, some PRI property-owners, and other abusers.  They are not taking into account the women’s groups, artisans, or fisher-people.”

The consultation process for the installation of the wind-energy park has been gravely challenged since its start in November 2014.  The Assembly of Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), in a letter written to the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, affirmed that it does not oppose wind-energy, “but its use should be based in the form and means of life of the indigenous peoples and communities, promoting communal control,” as has been ignored byt he government and the firms that have installed 21 wind-energy parks by means of “injustice, abuse, and the illegal occupation of our communal lands.”

Beyond this, the organizations Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the Gobixha A.C. Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) documented in a second report from the Observation Mission the “worrying procedural vices” related to the observance of the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as the rights to participation and information on the part of indigenous peoples.  They detected more than 20 security incidents, including threatening phone-calls and text messages, vigilance, and acts of intimidation in homes, verbal aggressions, and threatening actions taken by armed persons.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian asistentes a consulta eólica hostigamiento de empresa eólica Del Sur (Página 3, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Foro de consulta indígena en Juchitán con tintes violentos (Romo Noticias, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Vicios procesales y violaciones a derechos humanos caracterizan consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Prodesc, 23 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepec Isthmus challenged on several fronts (16 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Chiapas: Luisa Margareth Castillo Mora undertakes hunger-strike amidst “governmental refusal to attend to her petition”

March 22, 2015

Acto en solidaridad con Margareth, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 12 de marzo de 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Act in solidarity with Margareth, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 12 March 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Since 8 March, in observation of International Women’s Day, Luisa Margareth Castillo Mora began a hunger-strike in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to demand that the state authorities attend to her calls for justice.  She requests that the state government observe the complaint made against it in 2013 which condemns the Secretary of Education for not providing 61 persons (including her) nomination as base-workers, retroactive from February 2010.

It should be clarified that since 2010, she and 30 other people have been struggling to have their labor rights recognized.  In October 2013, an investigation was launched against her on the charges of extortion, delincuent association, and attacks on communication media, charges which civil organizations consider to be “revenge for the protest-actions which have been carried out.”

In November 2013, as an Urgent Action details, being published by the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas, Margareth was “taken,” tortured, and subsequently left on the highway between San Cristóbal and Tenejapa.  Nearly two years on, the events continue in impunity, and the motion handed down in her favor has not been observed.  For this reason, the members of the Campaign have made a call for an investigation that be carried out soon, impartially, exhaustively, and efficiently into the attacks on her, for the observance of the dictated decision in terms of labor, for the compensation of damages and the cancellation of the arrest-orders against Margareth and other people involved in the protest-actions that have been mentioned.

For more information (in Spanish):

Una mujer denuncia ataques e inicia huelga de hambre en Chiapas (La Jornada, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Sobreviviente de feminicidio en huelga de hambre, ante la omisión del gobierno de Chiapas (Acción Urgente, Campaña Popular contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres y el Feminicidio, 15 de marzo de 2015)


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