Oaxaca: Consultation Takes Place in Tehuantepec Isthmus Amidst Doubts from Various Social and Civil Players in the Region

April 4, 2019


On March 30th and 31st, consultations were held by the Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP in its Spanish acronym) and the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI in its Spanish acronym). They were directed to indigenous peoples to pronounce themselves on the “Integral Development Program of the Tehuantepec Isthmus”, a development project that would include the modernization of the ports of Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz, and that aims to recover the railway of around 300 kilometers between both points.

Seven Regional Consultative Assemblies were held. On March 30th, 501 representatives were prsent in Jaltepec de Candayoc; in Santiago Laollaga, 479; in Salina Cruz, 183 (headquarters established at the last moment because the community of San Mateo del Mar – where it would originally have taken place – announced its rejection of the program); and in San Pedro Huamelula, 275. The following day more than a thousand people were in Santa María Chimalapa; in Oteapan, Veracruz, 549 and in Uxpanapa there were 705 representatives.

The process has been questioned by several indigenous groups, including the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym), which said in a statement: “We reject and ignore any simulation that proposes the imposition of megaprojects of death, as is the supposed consultation that the bad governments intend to carry out in various communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on March 30th and 31st. We denounce the corrupt practices that bad governments through the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples have been carrying out in order to divide, deceive and intimidate our communities, where they offer programs and projects in exchange for saying ‘yes’ in their supposed consultations, as if territory and natural resources were not at stake.”

Several civil and social organizations of Oaxaca also strongly rejected the holding of the Assemblies and the haste with which they have been organised from a way unrelated to “the times, uses, customs and forms of decision making of the communities, as well as their representative representatives.” They considered that “Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the general comments and recommendations emanating from the universal system of human rights” are not being respected. They stressed in particular that “indigenous consultation processes are not a single punctual act, but must be carried out in all phases of planning and implementation; we observed and denounced the violation of the prior nature of the consultation and consent, as it was reported in December 2018 when presenting the project in reference to investments that were already contemplated for this project of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, which confirms that the regional consultative assemblies are a simple formality for projects that have already been begun to be implemented.”

Participation in the Forums did not imply a necessary endorsement of the project. For example, in Santa Maria Chimalapa, the representatives asked that their old agrarian conflict be resolved in the border between Oaxaca and Chiapas, and that a program of attention to their demands and needs be incorporated before considering this Program. For their part, members of the Network of Community Defenders of the Peoples of Oaxaca (REDECOM in its Spanish acronym) were present during the consultations, denouncing that it was an express consultation and in the manner of governmental interests.

For his part, the head of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, Adelfo Regino Montes said in the media that the statutes of ILO Convention 169 were respected and said that “in a second stage specific consultation processes will be carried out in cases of direct effect to the lands and other fundamental aspects of the life of the indigenous communities of the region. “

For more information in Spanish:

Programa del Istmo, de la mano con indígenas (NVI Noticias, 28 de marzo de 2019)

Denuncia el PCI-UCIZONI Oaxaca violación a derechos de los pueblos indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec por parte del INPI (PCI-Ucizoni, 28 de marzo de 2019)

Cambian de sede la consulta sobre proyecto del Istmo (La Jornada, 29 de marzo de 2019)

Cumplimos convenio de la OIT en consulta del Istmo de Tehuantepec: Adelfo Regino (Aristegui Noticias, 29 de marzo de 2019)


Comunicado del CNI-CIG y el EZLN ante nueva situación de consulta para imponer mega proyectos en el Istmo de Tehuantepec (CNI/EZLN, 29 de marzo de 2019)

Organizaciones indígenas rechazan Consulta Istmo (La Jornada, 30 de marzo de 2019)

Pide CNDH proteger a pueblos indígenas por proyecto del Istmo (La Jornada, 30 de marzo de 2019)

Baja participación en primer día de consulta en el Istmo (Pie de Página, 31 de marzo de 2019)

Mínima participación en Asambleas de consulta sobre Programa de Desarrollo del Istmo de Tehuantepec (Página 3.mx, 31 de marzo de 2019)

Miles participan en la segunda jornada de la consulta sobre el Programa de Desarrollo del Istmo (Sin Embargo, 31 de marzo de 2019)

Baja participación en foros de consulta del plan de desarrollo del Istmo de Tehuantepec (Video; Aristegui Noticias, 1ero de abril de 2019)

For more informatio from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: New Consultations in Tehuantepec Isthmus Questioned (March 28, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Ruling on Revocation of Mandate and Consultations (March 21, 2019)

National/International: UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Calls on AMLO Government to Comply with International Standards on Indigenous Consultation for Megaprojects in their Territories (March 19, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13, 2018)



Oaxaca: Ten Ejido Members and Landlords to “Grupo Mexico” Arrested in Ventosa

April 4, 2019

Ejido.pngPhoto @ El Imparcial de Oaxaca

On April 1st, ten ejido members and landlords to the “Grupo Mexico” company, which runs “El Retiro” wind farm on these lands, “were arrested and evicted with violence by elements of the state police and taken to unknown destinations family members and the other landowners reported”, according to La Jornada.

The same source reports that the events occurred after “a roadblock on the access to the wind power station began on March 27th to demand an urgent meeting with senior management of this company because agreements of the contract signed five years ago, especially in the area of ​​employment and security, have not been respected.”

Due to this, the relatives of the victims and other ejidatarios assume that this operation was requested by the directors of Grupo Mexico to put an end to the uccupation of the wind farm. They denounced the disproportionate use of force and violence during the operation, the absence of arrest warrants against the detainees and demanded that the authorities ascertain their whereabouts. As a result, they maintain the Pan American federal highway blocked.

For more information in Spanish:

Diez detenidos por bloquear un parque eólico de Grupo México en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 2 de abril de 2019)

Policías retienen con violencia a diez ejidatarios en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 1 de abril de 2019)

Bloquean carretera para exigir liberación de detenidos en parque eólico. (Romonoticias, 1 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: German Trasnational Siemens Building New Wind Farm in Santo Domingo Ingenio (March 26, 2019)

Oaxaca: Asesinan a defensor quien se opuso contra un proyecto de la empresa Eólica del Sur (25 de julio de 2018)

Oaxaca : Emiten Alerta Temprana a favor de indígenas zapotecas de Unión Hidalgo (22 junio de 2018)

Oaxaca : Suspenden la construcción de un parque eólico en Unión Hidalgo (24 de mayo de 2018)

Oaxaca : comuneras y comuneros de Unión Hidalgo rechazan consulta indígena (18 de abril de 2018)

Oaxaca: Eviction and Arrests at Bií Hioxo Wind Farm (July 25, 2017)

Oaxaca: Eleven Ejidatarios Arrested in Eviction of French EDF Wind Farm (May 4, 2017)

National/International: Contrasting Mexican and US Government Approaches to Central American Migration

April 2, 2019

Migration.pngAGENCIAS/LIBERAL Olga Sanchez Cordero

Mexico is preparing to stop the growing flow of Central American migrants and for this it will establish a kind of containment belt of federal forces in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the south of the country, and therefore the easiest to control.

This was announced on Wednesday by the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, a day after meeting in Miami with her American counterpart Kirstjen Nielsen. Sanchez Cordero stressed that the situation is especially complicated, because in Honduras the so-called “Mother Caravan” is forming, which could have more than 20,000 people.

“We are going to deploy the migratory, Federal Police and Civil Protection bodies and, harmoniously and with collaboration among all the federal government bodies, in such a way that we have the containment in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” she said. “That’s going to be the big change.”

Although she did not specify how many troops will be used for this plan or offer more details, Sanchez Cordero stressed that it will not mean the militarization of the border with Guatemala nor its hardening because it is not intended to affect the economic activity of that area, where people constantly flow on both sides of the border.

The flow of Central American migrants to the United States has multiplied since last year with the formation of caravans from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (the well-known Northern Triangle) that have put Mexican and US authorities in check by saturating the shelters and the systems to request asylum or refuge, especially at the northern border of Mexico.

The detentions at the US-Mexico border increased to 66,450 in February, 149% more than in the same period last year, given the increase in the arrival of Central American families in search of asylum, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP in its English acronym). That agency estimates there were about 100,000 arrests in March. More than 55,000 of these immigrants would have arrived as a family, including 40,000 children.

The president of the United States Donald Trump increased his rhetoric against countries that are sources of migrants to the US, and last Saturday announced cutting off economic aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, countries that he accuses of sending migrant caravans deliberately. Given this, he announced that he would close the border or large sections of it, if the Mexican government does not slow the flow of migration.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, caused a diplomatic dispute with Honduras, which rejected the US and Mexican accusations in relation to the “Mother caravan”.

In his morning press conference, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was reiterative in his plan to promote cooperation for development, he recalled that the Central American countries are the main producers of migratory flows, as he assured that only between 10% and 15% of Mexican citizens are the crossing to the United States, of the total migratory intake of the US: “I say, nothing else to know where we stand.”

The president of Mexico was hopeful that the expulsion of Mexicans would stop, insisting on not wanting to fall into a dynamic of confrontations, particularly with the president of the United States, who has not shown prudence with his foreign policy.

Since his arrival in power in December, the Lopez Obrador government opted for the development of the countries of origin and for facilitating work visas for Central Americans, but shortly after opted to stop handing over humanitarian visas, which were granted more than 15,000 and with which the majority of caravan members crossed the country.

Now he is opting for more controlled visitor permits that, in addition, only allow the migrant to live and work in southern Mexico.

According to Sanchez Cordero, the United States will not contribute money to the new containment plan on the Isthmus but will have the technology and intelligence to detect who is behind the caravans and who is involved with organized crime or haa a criminal record.

“We are going to establish order for those who enter our country,” she said.

While Sanchez Cordero was making such statements in Mexico, a caravan of approximately 2,500 migrants crossed the southern part of the country and the US National Security Secretariat was in Tegucigalpa, where she held a six-hour meeting with internal security officials from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

In a meeting with the press after that meeting, Nielsen was satisfied with the agreements reached before what she described as “an unprecedented migration crisis.”

The US official did not give details about the agreements, but she sent a clear message: “We are united, we are committed, we are operating jointly and this is our message to the criminals: they will be captured and brought to justice.”

For more information in Spanish:

Ante amenazas de Trump por migrantes, “prefiero ser prudente”, reitera López Obrador (Proceso, 1 de abril de 2019)

Centroamericanos serán “contenidos” en el Istmo (Milenio, 28 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Internacional: Secretaria de Gobernación se reúne con funcionarios del gobierno de Donald Trump para abordar el tema Migración (5 de marzo de 2019)

International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)

National: Judge Recognizes Migrant Caravan Children and Adolescents as Refugees (March 6, 2019)

International/Mexico: Xenophobic Violence Erupts Against Migrants in Tecun Uman (February 1st, 2019)

National/International: Sanchez Cordero Warns Migrant Caravan Will Only Have “Orderly Access” to Mexican Territory (January 16, 2019)

National: CNI Spokesperson Marichuy Says Asking Spain for Apology is “Simulation”

April 1, 2019

MarichuyMaria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, Marichuy (@SIPAZ)

In the framework of her visit to the mountain communities of Chihuahua at the end of March, the spokesperson for the National Indigenous Council (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and former candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, Marichuy, said that the request for an apology from Spain by the President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) for the grievances to the indigenous peoples during the Conquest of Mexico, is a “simulation.”

She affirmed that with this approach the federal government deceives the citizenship because meanwhile it continues the dispossession and displacement of the indigenous peoples to seize their territories and impose megaprojects on them. Marichuy Patricio Martinez said that the peoples will not stop fighting and will seek an organization from below, against the destructive actions of the megaprojects.

At the beginning of March, in the context of its third Assembly, the CNI stated that “the neoliberal government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has its sights set on our peoples and territories, where, with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, a network of cooptation and disorganization, which opens the way to a war that has an industrial name, made of projects and violence, which, together with the other wars and networks of war, spread a dark web of death among the native peoples of the country.”

In the immediate term, the publication of the letter sent by AMLO to Spain has sparked controversy both in Mexico and in Spain with expressions of both support and rejection of the proposal.

For more information in Spanish:

Pedir perdón a España, una simulación, mejor detengan el despojo a comunidades: Marichuy (Proceso, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Lo que AMLO tiene que hacer “es dejar de despojar de la tierra a las comunidades”: Marichuy (Desinformémonos, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy en desacuerdo con AMLO sobre petición a España (Regeneración, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy, Vargas Llosa, Pérez-Reverte… llueven críticas a perdón que pide AMLO (ADN Político, 27 de marzo de 2019)

Marichuy a AMLO: carta a España es simulación, mejor detenga despojo (Político.Mx, 27 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Second National and International Encounter of Women Held in Mexico City (March 26, 2019)

National: CNI, EZLN and Indigenous Organizations Announce “Zapata Lives, Samir Lives, The Struggle Continues” (March 21, 2019)

National: Third Assembly of National Indigenous Congress and Indigenous Council of Government (CNI-CIG) in Mexico City (March 14, 2019)

National: Controversy between EZLN and AMLO Supporters Floods Social Networks    (January 18, 2019)

National: Espacio OSC Requests Dialogue and Effective Protection Measures for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists

April 1, 2019


In a statement published on March 26th, following statements the previous day by the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, Espacio OSC (Civil Society Organization Space), an articulation of national and international organizations for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico, urged the Mexican State to take urgent measures for the attention of both sectors guaranteeing their right to defend human rights and exercise freedom of expression.

They regretted that the “ineffectiveness” of the Mechanism for the Protection of Defenders and Journalists has not been recognized until “after 114 days of government”, and even “after the assassination of at least 15 human rights defenders and journalists so far of the current [period of] government.”

Beyond the Mechanism, they emphasized “the need to take a turn towards an integral public policy that addresses structural problems from the axes of: respect, prevention, protection and investigation, sanction and reparation.” They also demanded that the authorities at all three levels of government “recognize the importance of the work of human rights defenders and journalists in strengthening a democracy, as well as ceasing to give stigmatizing speeches that delegitimize such work.”

They stressed, however, that the recognition of the failures of the Mechanism could be an opportunity for “the construction of solutions.” Therefore, they requested “to form work groups in conjunction with organizations and human rights defenders and journalists throughout the country to meet the set of challenges facing the Mechanism; and that there be wide spaces for discussion at the national level with different authorities and organizations that pave the way for the construction of an Integral Public Policy.”

 For more information in Spanish:

ONG llaman a proteger de forma eficaz a defensores y a periodistas (Proceso, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Pide Espacio OSC mesas de trabajo sobre Mecanismo de Protección de Segob (Aristegui Noticias, 26 de marzo de 2019)

EPN dejó en una empresa privada seguridad de periodistas, es hora de que el Estado la asuma: ONGs (Sin Embargo, 26 de marzo de 2019)

La Segob empleó entre polémica a empresa que “cuida” a periodistas, y aún así la recontrató 6 veces (Sin Embargo, 27 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed (March 31, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)

National: Defenders and Journalists Denounce Insufficient Resources for Continuity of Protection Mechanism (September 26th, 2018)

National: UN-DH urges Mexico to guarantee resources for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders (September 17, 2018)

National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA)

April 1, 2019

CEDMA.pngPresentation of CEMDA 2018 Report (@MVS Noticias)

On March 25th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in its Spanish acronym) presented its report on the situation of Defenders of Environmental Human Rights 2018, in which it reports that there were 21 murders of activists in our country during 2018, maintaining “the lethal trend of 2017 when the country was included in fourth place in the world where there have been most murders of people who defend the environment.”

CEMDA stressed that “homicide was placed first of the aggressions committed against defenders of the environment in Mexico,” 49 attacks being documented in 2018 and acknowledged that “not all aggressions are reported or recorded by public media.” The report details that of these aggressions, 25% were murders; 19%, acts of criminalization; while threats and physical aggression accounted for 17% of the cases. The states most affected by aggressions were Puebla followed by Oaxaca and Chihuahua.

The vast majority of the attacks (37) occurred in a context of dispute over land and territory. The report also emphasizes that, “unfortunately, it is the Mexican State itself – which should be the guarantor of the human rights of environmental defenders – who was identified as one of the main aggressors.”

CEMDA urged the Mexican government to opt “for the consolidation of the pluricultural State” and to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (The Escazu Agreement, September 2018)) as soon as possible to establish a comprehensive and effective policy for the effective protection of environmental defenders and the prevention of aggressions.

Some recommendations issued by CEMDA in its Report include: “a) Align and harmonize the legal framework and public policies under a human rights approach and the principle of the pluricultural State; b) Implement, in environmental legislation and public policies, the gender perspective; c) Respect the right to autonomy, to the territory and to their own development for the indigenous communities facing development megaprojects; d) Guarantee timely compliance with the right to free, prior and informed consent of the peoples and communities and indigenous peoples, as well as information and participation in development projects that significantly affect their way of life; e) Implement measures such as the temporary suspension of work and activity until the rights of the indigenous communities are guaranteed; f) Review the content of the criminal types that facilitate the criminalization of environmental defenders; g) Suspend the implementation of a development project when there is evidence of attacks and aggressions against environmental defenders; h) Carry out the social and environmental impact assessments in the first stages of the project, before granting concessions or permits for natural resources; i) Strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, providing sufficient budget and material resources to fulfill its objective; as well as granting protection to groups that defend environmental human rights; j) Guarantee the right to full reparation of damage to defenders for attacks and violations of their human rights “; among others.

For more information in Spanish:

En 2018 fueron asesinadas 21 personas en México por defender la tierra, el medio ambiente y el territorio (CEMDA, boletín de prensa, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Informe sobre la situaciónde las personas defensoras de losderechos humanos ambientales México 2018 (CEMDA, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Defensores ambientales viven una complicada situación: AI (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Advierten tendencia al alza en homicidios de defensores del medio ambiente en 2019 (MVS Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Map of over 800 Environmental Conflicts Caused by Megaprojects in 12 Years (March 12, 2019)

National/International: Global Witness Publishes “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017”

(August 6th, 2018)

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26th, 2018)

National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed

March 31, 2019


At the morning press conference on March 25th, the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Migration and Population of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, presented their diagnosis of the functioning of the mechanism of protection for journalists and human rights defenders, and announced new measures.

Regarding the functioning to date, Encinas acknowledged several deficiencies, among them, its bureaucratic and fundamentally reactive nature: “the preventive part is not taken care of not only of those who are subject to the Protection Mechanism, but journalists defenders in general”, he stressed. He also presented as a limitation the fact that the person in charge of “all the application of the mechanisms for each one of the persons who are subject to protection and who report deficiencies in the operation, particularly in their technological equipment and in their personnel” is a private company.

He said that the services of the company will be maintained, but “under a much more direct control mechanism” until the State can assume this responsibility “that cannot be delegated to a private person … We will rethink everything, which will even involve a saving of at least 15%, more than 30 million pesos currently channeled to a private company”, he explained.

He also questioned the use of panic buttons: “Of the 792 buttons, 209 of the users have turned off the button for more than 150 days a year; 100 more have it off between 61 and 150 days of the year. And although an important number, 230, have it on practically permanently, it is very unequally used.”

Currently, there are 790 beneficiaries of the mechanism: 292 journalists and 498 human rights defenders. Since December 1st (when AMLO came to power) to date there have been six murders of journalists, of which only one was under the protection of the mechanism, and in four cases there have been arrests. In the case of the defenders, nine homicides have been reported and only two have been clarified.

For more information in Spanish:

Mecanismo de protección a periodistas y defensores es reactivo, no preventivo: Encinas (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Presenta AMLO mecanismo de protección para periodistas (Video; Aristegui Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

El Gobierno anterior entregó a empresa privada la protección de periodistas y defensores: Encinas (Sin Embargo, 25 de marzo de 2019)

AMLO reconoce el asesinato de seis periodistas y ocho defensores en lo que va de su gobierno (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)

National: Defenders and Journalists Denounce Insufficient Resources for Continuity of Protection Mechanism (September 26th, 2018)

National: UN-DH urges Mexico to guarantee resources for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders (September 17, 2018)