Chiapas: Opening of Photographic Exhibition of Banavil Displaced Families

July 13, 2016

BanavilPhoto from the exhibition (retaken from Faces of Dispossession)

July 5 saw the opening of the photo exhibition “20 Windows on Forced Displacement in Chiapas” in Palicate cultural center in San Cristobal de Las Casas. They invited the Banavil displaced families, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and Melel Xojobal. The exhibition is the result of an action of the Faces of Dispossession campaign and the four displaced Banavil families, who were expelled from their land after an attack by a group of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) carrying firearms the December 4, 2011 in the municipality of Tenejapa. The exhibition contains 20 photos, 20 photographic windows that are “our memory that will not break and will never be broken”, the families at the event said. The photos represent a selection made and titled by the families themselves in “an exercise in self-recognition and a return of the solidarity received from those who also have provided security in the three provisional returns in 2015 and to those who have walked with them for more than four years”. The photographs are mostly anonymous, born of the lens international observation and free media accompaniment.

In the audiovisual event, visitors were actually included in the exhibition. Through an activity where testimonies and descriptions for each photo were told, people better understood the value of each photo. Looking for the story of each of the photos, one participant said that, “due to the testimonies, I felt a closer relationship to the photos and the story that is behind all that.” One example is the testimony of Maria, where she speaks about how they support their families: “We were embroidering the cloth, that’s how we started working. It was not the work we did before when we were in Banavil. This is very different, the work that is done. Now we embroider cloth to get money to keep our daughters and sons too … It is to survive in this displacement we are in right now, that’s the work we do, the women ” (see photo on this post). The documentary “Justice, Truth and Return for Banavil Displaced  Families” (2015) from the Koman Ilel collective was also shown. At times, recordings of the voices of members of families in Tzotzil were heard, telling stories of everyday life and the daily challenges they face in their temporary homes where they live since their displacement four years and seven months ago.

Faces of dispossession analyzes that “forced displacement in a context of counterinsurgency warfare to eliminate experiences of autonomous organization in Chiapas is a daily violation of human rights”. These are the same families in forced displacement, and their support networks, who do not cease in their path of dignity to demand return, justice and truth so that the human rights violations committed against them do not go unpunished and the events are not repeated. The Banavil families also sympathize with other displaced families in Chiapas such as in Shulvo, Zinacantán and Primero de Agosto in the Municipality of Margaritas.

For more information in Spanish

Chiapas: Se inauguró exposición fotográfica “20 ventanas al desplazamiento forzado” (Rostros del Despojo, 11 de julio de 2016)

Invitacion Expo Fotos Banavil (Familias Desplazadas de Banavil, 4 de julio de 2016)

Documental “Justicia, verdad y retorno para las familias desplazadas de Banavil “ (YouTube, 17 abril de 2016)

20 ventanas al desplazamiento forzado en Chiapas (Rostros del Deposjo, 15 de enero de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ

Chiapas: Desplazados y desplazadas de Banavil, 4 años de impunidad (9 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Retorno provisional de las familias desplazadas de Banavil para Día de MuertosTumba de Antonia López Méndez (9 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Desplazados de Banavil retornan temporalmente a su comunidad (12 de agosto de 2015)

 


Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal Request Collection for Displaced Families

June 15, 2016

Acopio.pngCollection during the displacement of Colonia Puebla in 2013. Photo: @Koman Ilel.

On May 26, a group of 14 families from Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society, residents of Colonia Puebla, Chenalho municipality, Chiapas, were displaced fleeing the violence caused by the conflict after the elections in that municipality. The displacement happened after violent incidents between sympathizers of the recently dismissed mayor, Rosa Perez Perez of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), and supporters of the new mayor, Miguel Santiz Alvarez, causing the death of two people, one of them a minor, who died from a bullet wound. The Chenalho Pedrano Movement, opponents of Perez Perez, said in a statement that they were attacked with “firearms, sticks, stones and machetes, in an ambush that was orchestrated by sympathizers of the ex-mayor.” Furthermore, there were “two houses burned, two destroyed, three vehicles destroyed and six people wounded”, according to the statement from Las Abejas.

Las Abejas noted that “until now, there are no conditions to return”, so that the displaced are currently in the headquarters of the organization. In another letter they outlined that, “the displaced from the colony are living through suffering. Therefore we ask you the favor of helping with supplies.” To this end, they have opened two collection centers for clothes in San Cristobal de Las Casas and they ask for financial support to be deposited in a bank account. According to La Jornada, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) “requested the government of Chiapas to apply cautionary measures and guarantee the rights of the people who have been displaced.” The measures are aimed at guaranteeing rights to food, health, a home, physical integrity and the lives of the displaced.

It is worth noting that the disagreement following the result of the municipal elections in Chenalho, with the victory of PVEM, gave rise to the Chenalho Pedrano Movement in rejection of the elected mayor, accusing her of “corruption, abuse of power and diverting resources.” This group organized a takeover of the town hall and a number of government offices, it took over the State Congress for some hours, and it kidnapped three civil servants who were negotiating a solution to the disagreement, among them the President of the State Congress and a deputy. Having put them on public show, one dressed as a woman, Congress accepted the resignation of the mayor.

It is also worth mentioning that 17 families of Colonia Puebla were displaced by in August 2013 in the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in dispute over the land where Catholic hermitage was located. Almost 100 displaced people returned after eight months off their lands, denouncing the lack of law enforcement for their aggressors.

For more information in Spanish:

Los desplazados y desplazadas de la colonia puebla están viviendo bajo el sufrimientos. Entonces le pedimos un gran favor a que nos puedan colaborar en las despensas. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de junio de 2016)

Hace apenas 8 días, jueves 26 de mayo, los miembros de la organización de la sociedad civil de las abejas de Acteal, en la colonia puebla se desplazaron 14 familias un total de 81 personas porque en esa misma colonia surgió nuevamente una gran violencia y balaceras a las 13:45pm hora normal. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 3 de junio de 2016)

Piden proteger a desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2016)

For more information in SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Riesgo de más violencia en Chenalhó después de secuestro y cambio de alcalde (31 de mayo de 2016)

Chiapas : jóvenes denuncian violencia, impunidad y ausencia de justicia para Puebla (30 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas: regresan a su comunidad los desplazados de Ejido Puebla (15 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas:Incremento de la violencia en Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (22 de julio de 2013)


Chiapas: Monthly Celebration of Las Abejas de Acteal

May 30, 2016

Abejas.pngWomen of Las Abejas de Acteal in their May monthly celebration. Photo: @Las Abejas de Acteal.

As on each 22nd, Las Abejas of Acteal Civil Society Organization held its monthly celebration commemorating the Acteal massacre (1997). On this occasion, they recalled in a statement that, “18 years 5 months [have already passed] living the most difficult moments in our lives […] because there is no authority that cares about justice, that agrees with the rule of law”.

They said that the discontent and protests that have taken place in recent months in Chiapas, in towns like Oxchuc, Simojovel and Chenalhó, “is not a true struggle to defend the rights of the people; it is only a struggle of political parties for the power and money of the town halls”. They also denounced that in “Chicomuselo transnational companies are offering people money to accept their projects”, where someone has already been killed due to this conflict. In addition, they mentioned several examples of injustice: the murder of Berta Caceres, the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the repression of the Otomi people of San Francisco Xochicuautla and the Tlatlaya massacre.

Following this, the statement noted that, “peace cannot be established while those above continue to promote violence. They just try to cheat the people with their strategies of giving crumbs while they have no will to resolve conflicts. They just impose their own decision to generate more violence and deaths.” Las Abejas of Acteal made a call for conflict resolution without resorting to violence from below, without political parties, through consistency, dialogue and mutual understanding, recalling the example of the struggle of Mahatma Gandhi.

Finally, they added that “you cannot use the name of our organization, the photographs and logos to distort the meaning of our peaceful and active organization, but they do not stop deceiving” referring to the Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz (Sowers of Peace Pacifist Council). It should be recalled that the Consejo Pacifista appeared publicly in March 2015, disowning the Board of Directors as the governing body of Las Abejas but using the same stamp and logo of the organization.

For more information in Spanish:

Ante la inestabilidad social, tenemos que resistirnos, no hay que olvidar la lucha del gran maestro Mahatma Gandhi (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de mayo de 2016)

Presentación pública del CONSEJO PACIFISTA SEMBRADORES DE LA PAZ. (Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz, 29 de marzo de 2015)

Triste conflicto en Las Abejas de Acteal (Desinformémonos, 21 de mayo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncian Las Abejas de Acteal usurpación de nombre, sello y logotipo por parte del Consejo Pacifista (22 de abril de 2016)

Chiapas: Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz, conformado por sobrevivientes de la Masacre de Acteal, realiza acción en caseta de cobro entre Tuxtla Gutiérrez y San Cristóbal de Las Casas (25 de marzo de 2015)

Chiapas: a 18 años de la masacre de Acteal (23 de diciembre de 2015)


National: Disturbances in Indigenous Territories over the Implementation of Megaprojects: San Francisco Xochicuautla and Atenco

April 14, 2016

Unrest.pngDemolition of one of the homes in Xochicuautla protected by the riot police. Photo: @FJXochicuautla.

In recent days there have been at least two major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects. In one case, some 700 members of the police forced entrance into the Otomi-Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, to permit the entrance of bulldozers of a construction company. This community has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and through popular mobilization and the granting of two legal decisions won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of their lands. Despite this, the police force entered the community offering protection to the company, which demolished the Peace and Dignified Resistance Camp and a number of houses which were on the planned highway route. According to statements from the spokesperson of the community, Jose Luis Fernandez, 25 people were evicted and beaten, among them a woman who is almost 80 years old.

As Proceso pointed out, the work “is carried out by Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, which belongs to Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, one of the main contractors of the Federal Government and whose financial dealings in tax havens were uncovered through the investigation of the Panama Papers.” Furthermore, the corporate group has been identified by various media sources as the main contractor of Mexico State since it was governed by the current President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, and as the “supplier of the luxury residences of the leader’s wife and of Luis Videgaray Caso, Minister of Finance and Public Credit”, according to La Jornada.

In another case, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra – FPDT) reported the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” Due to this, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero – CDHZL) stated: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.” It should be remembered that the struggle of the people of Atenco against the construction of an airport on their lands was violently repressed. In the protests, two youths lost their lives, more than 200 were arrested, and at least 26 women were sexually tortured by the police.

For more information in Spanish:

Irrumpe Higa con fuerza pública a Xochicuautla; derriba viviendas pese a amparos (Proceso, 11 de abril de 2016)

Editorial / Xochicuautla, atropello a la legalidad (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Sociedad civil resiste en Xochicuautla e Higa se niega a detener las demoliciones ilegales (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 13 de abril de 2016)

Constata ONU violación de órdenes judiciales en obras de la autopista Naucalpan-Toluca (La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2016)

Declaración de alerta máxima del CNI, ante la cobarde traición a la comunidad indígena Ñatho de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Enlace Zapatista, 13 de abril de 2016)

Hay un acuerdo para suspender las obras en Xochicuautla: habitantes (Animal Político, 14 de abril de 2016)

Frente por la Libertad de Expresión condena desalojo de la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (Noticias MVS, 12 de abril de 2016)

Policías en Xochicuautla y ayer, militares en Atenco; “nos están provocando”, dicen comuneros (Sin Embargo, 13 de abril de 2016)

Denuncian en Atenco que militares escoltan a trabajadores de constructora (Proceso, 12 de abril de 2016)

Ejército irrumpe en tierras ejidales de San Salvador Atenco (Desinformémonos, 12 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Comunidad de Xochicuautla denuncia proyecto carretero y se solidariza con pueblos indígenas de Chiapas que enfrentan despojo (20 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)

Nacional: El FPDT de Atenco inicia movilizaciones después de anuncio de próximo aeropuerto (4 de septiembre de 2014)

Nacional: A 8 años de impunidad en Atenco, continúa amenaza de construcción del aeropuerto (8 de mayo de 2014)


Oaxaca/Chiapas/National: Oxfam Presents Inequality Report

April 9, 2016

Oxfam.pngPhoto @ Oxfam

According to the international NGO Oxfam, the growing inequality crisis has become a recurring theme on international agendas due to the effects that this has on the world population. Mexico, Oaxaca and Chiapas are examples of this. On March 31, a group of researchers from the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH in its Spanish acronym), from the Isitame Collective and from Oxfam Mexico presented the report “Inequality and Social Exclusion in Chiapas, a Long Term View.” Specifically, the document seeks to “find a reason for the inequalities in Mexico that different regions of the country experience, from territorial to local constructions as well as the solutions that can be locally outlined.” The report points out that Chiapas is considered to be “the state with the highest concentration of population in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty. As a result of a historical process of high rates of population growth, recurring crises and economic stagnation, a vicious circle of poverty and inequality has been generated, which reports the highest levels in all areas of poverty and inequality in the entity.” Jorge Alberto Lopez Arevalo, one of the researchers, commented that between 1995 and 2014 almost 40 million dollars have been invested in Social Development in Chiapas, a shocking figure, but poverty has not diminished. On the contrary, it is on the increase. ” We can say that this is the failure of social policy”, he said.

Extreme Inequality and Development Tendencies. The Case of the Oaxaca State” was also presented in the report, produced in collaboration between Services for an Alternative Education (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa A.C. – EDUCA) and Oxfam Mexico in Oaxaca State on March 29. According to the report, Oaxaca not only suffers from income poverty but also lack of social rights, which prevents equal access to development opportunities for the population. According to the study carried out, “this poverty and inequality favored the growth of drug addiction and alcoholism among the inhabitants.” Although the report does not specifically address inequality among women, it reveals that some elements of social policy, such as those aimed at empowering women, in fact increase work duties for them while other programs also increase their responsibilities. It also evaluates mega-projects and points out that the refinery at Salina Cruz, for example, has not had an impact on the welfare of the population and that wind farm projects have resulted in the dispossession of lands in the region of Tehuantepec Isthmus.

Ricardo Fuentes of Oxfam Mexico said that there is a growing tendency of inequality and that it is a world phenomenon that Oxfam has been warning about since 2014, when they revealed that 85 people possess more wealth than half of the population of the world. As a result of their analysis they published the document “Extreme Inequality. Concentration of Economic and Political Power” in June 2015, in which they warned about the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing.

For more information in Spanish:

Más de 20 años de millonaria de derrama económica y Chiapas sigue igual de pobre (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de abril de 2016)

Presentaron diagnóstico de desigualdad social (Cuarto Poder, 1 de abril de 2016)

Millones de dólares y la pobreza sigue en Chiapas: OXFAM (Areópago, 1 de abril de 2016)

Megaproyectos, desigualdad en Oaxaca: OXFAM (IstmoPress, 31 de marzo de 2016)

Oaxaca un estado de desigualdad extrema (SEM México, 30 de marzo de 2016)

Informe Desigualdad Extrema y Tendencias de Desarrollo. El Caso del Estado de Oaxaca, México (EDUCA, 29 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Nacional: Múltiples críticas a la presentación del Tercer Informe de Gobierno de Peña Nieto (8 de septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Foro “Defendiendo la esperanza y la autonomía desde el Sureste mexicano” (28 de junio de 2013)

México: crece pobreza en el país, en particular en zonas urbanas. Oaxaca, Chiapas y Guerrero con mayor índice de pobres. Campaña por la ratificación del PF PIDESC (9 de diciembre de 2011)


Nestora Salgado Launches Campaign to Demand Release of Political Prisoners

April 7, 2016

Nestora.pngCall to the campaign. Photo: @Regeneración

On March 18 last, Nestora Salgado, commander of the Olinala Community Police, Guerrero, member of the Regional Coordinator of Communitty Authorities (CRAC in its Spanish acronym), was released after two years and eight months in prison. On leaving prison, Nestora called on the Government of Guerrero to release the nine members of CRAC who are still prisoners and assured that she would begin a campaign “for the freedom” of her compañeros. For April 10, International Day of Political Prisoners, she called for actions within the framework of the national campaign “Put a Face and Name on the Political Prisoners in Mexico”, to give visibility to the situation of prisoners and demand their release. She stated that, “We are missing 500 political prisoners and I’m going to fight to get them out. I am going to get the release of my compañeros. I will go wherever I have to because I am with you in your struggle and in all the struggles of the people.

Nestora added that only together will the citizens be able to achieve change, justice and the freedom of their compañeros and of those in the rest of the country. She intends to travel to other countries to “exhume what has been buried and give voice to the silenced.” According to El Sur newspaper, social organizations also denounced “the grave crisis of human rights in Mexico and the criminalization of those who defend territory, education, land, water, the air and life. For this reason they have called [on people] to join Salgado’s movement and international tour. “We are aware that Mexico is suffering the most ruthless attack by the interests of foreign capital. Currently the territories of indigenous peoples are pillaged and (their inhabitants) are being displaced from their lands through the violence of paramilitary groups, by organized crime, or the territory is being militarized by soldiers and the state police” as is outlined on the call.

It is worth noting that the social leader returned to her home in Seattle, USA. In Washington she visited the International Clinic of Human Rights of the Faculty of Law of Washington University, where she started the campaign. The clinic played an important role in the struggle for the Nestora’s release. During her stay in the US, the commander from Olinala plans to visit Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington. She intends to return to Guerrero soon as she is the representative of the Community Police and due to her post in CRAC.

For more information in Spanish:

Nestora Salgado convoca a campaña “Ponle rostro y nombre a las y los presos políticos en México” (Regeneración, 30 de marzo de 2016)

Nestora y los presos políticos de la CRAC (La Jornada, 29 de marzo de 2016)

Lanza Nestora Salgado una campaña para exigir la libertad de los presos políticos de México (El Sur, 28 de marzo de 2016)

Video de la campaña “Ponle rostro y nombre a las y los presos políticos en México” (YouTube, 25 de marzo de 2016)

Emprende Nestora Salgado campaña en EU por presos políticos (La Jornada, 22 de marzo de 2016)

“Nos faltan 500 presos políticos y yo voy a luchar por sacarlos”: Nestora Salgado (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Nestora Salgado en libertad (18 de marzo de 2016)

Nacional/Guerrero: Exhorta ONU al gobierno mexicano a liberar a Nestora Salgado (24 de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas/Nacional: Jornada nacional e internacional por presos políticos del 6 al 13 de diciembre (15 de diciembre de 2015)

Guerrero: presos de la Policia Comunitaria “son presos políticos”, según general Gallardo (16 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Denuncian CRAC y habitantes de Papaxtla allanamientos violentos y decomisos (1 de junio de 2015)


Chiapas: Monthly commemoration of Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society

March 28, 2016

Abejas

During the commemoration. Photo @SIPAZ

On March 22, Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society commemorated the massacre at Acteal on their sacred ground, recording their word in a statement. After 18 years and three months they continue to denounce that “the pain and the memory are still present […]. There is no justice, because there is no peace in our country. As an organization, we always speak the truth and at the same time we denounce the most violent acts in our country. Our mission and our commitment is to work for peace.”

 According to their statement, the defense of the life of the people and of nature now seems to be a crime. “All those who rise to defend and protest their rights find just one response from the government: repression, murder and imprisonment.” They mentioned Berta Caceres from Honduras as a recent example, the social activist and defender who was murdered in her home on March 3 last, recalling that the Mexican environmental defender, Gustavo Castro Soto, was present and was wounded in the event. “Our world is upside down, with the laws and the authorities protecting the criminals and persecuting the citizens who struggle for justice. Our Political Constitution is out of date because the President of the Republic continues to make reforms that do not benefit the Mexican people. They only benefit the rich and foreign companies. An to the Mexican people whose rights it violates, it responds with crumbs and repression.” They ended the statement with a call “to take on a peaceful struggle because violence does not bring life. We hope to march united until peace triumphs.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado Las Abejas de Acteal (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de marzo de 2016)

Gustavo Castro en Honduras (Otros Mundos, 22 de marzo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Internacional: Nelson García, otro integrante del COPINH asesinado; Gustavo Castro, retenido por 30 días más (17 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Internacional: Asesinan a defensora hondureña (Berta Cáceres) en presencia de defensor mexicano (Gustavo Castro) (7 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas: Nueva agresión en contra de integrantes de Las Abejas de Acteal (4 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: a 18 años de la masacre de Acteal (23 de diciembre de 2015)


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