Oaxaca: COPUVO Denounces Harassment by Municipal Authorities and Mining Company

May 15, 2017

COPUVO.pngValle Ocotlan (Photo @COPUVO)

In a statement issued on May 9th, the Coordinator of the United Nations Ocotlan Valley United Peoples Coordinator (COPUVO in its Spanish acronym) reported harassment and threats when it sought to hold a regional meeting against mining in San Jose del Progreso, “where for eight years [the inhabitants] have defended their territory against the “San Jose” mining project, promoted by the Cuzcatlan company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines.

It said that prior to this meeting, the current mayor of San Jose del Progreso, Servando Daaz Vasquez, “publicly threatened our organization, communities in the region and civil organizations” proposing “not to allow the population to enter to hold a forum.” He added that Diaz Vasquez asked the state and federal police “to place a ring of officers and a filter at the check point at the town so as to prevent the entrance of the organizations the following Mat 7th…”

Accordingly, the Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DPHPO in its Spanish acronym) requested precautionary measures in favor of human rights defenders from the various civil and community organizations that would attend said meeting “for which there was State Police Agents presence during May 6th and 7th in the community; it is important to note that the State Police was also protecting the mining project with security forces during these dates.”

COPUVO denounced that “behind the campaign of threats and harassment of our movement, the mining company Fortuna Silver Mines is involved, who in its intent to expand to other ejidos and communities in the region has criminalized and violated our rights to autonomy, to the territory, to the freedom of protest, among the most important. This company has irrationally extracted our common goods and caused violence, destroying the peace and harmony that existed among our peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

COPUVO denuncia amenazas por parte de empresa minera y autoridades de San José del Progreso (COPUVO, 9 de mayo de 2017)

Mineras generan conflictividad en Oaxaca y Chiapas (Contralínea, 11 de mayo de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Se exige justicia para el defensor comunitario Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, asesinado hace 5 años (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Comunidades afectadas por el proyecto minero “San José” toman oficinas de SEMARNAT (1 de marzo de 2017)

 


Chiapas: 236 Student Teachers Arrested for Presumed Acts of Vandalism Released

May 15, 2017

Normalistas.pngStudent teacher arrests, May, 2017 (Photo @Cuartoscuro)

On May 4th, state and municipal police detained some 236 young people from the Coordinator of Student Teachers [normalistas] of the State Chiapas (CENECH in its Spanish acronym) who were carrying out a political action in the context of the three-day protest held in Tuxtla Gutierrez by the teachers of Chiapas against the educational reform bill. Videos recorded by witnesses of the operation show that the youths were beaten by the uniformed police. Most of them belong to the State Normal School and the Normal High School, both in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

They were charged with vandalism, and although they were released the following day, they are still under investigation for the crimes of damages, robbery with violence and gangs membership, according to the Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym).

The Office of the Prosecutor in charge of these investigations reported that 144 men and 92 women were detained in the moment they looted different vehicles owned by the companies Sonric’s, Lala and Coca-Cola, and that another group of young people were aboard three buses of the OCC and Aury companies, which had been stolen. It indicated that it had ascertained there were products in these vehicles, which were also stolen from an Oxxo store, as well as several Molotov cocktails.

 For more information in Spanish:

236 normalistas detenidos por la Policía de Chiapas (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2017)

Policía de Chiapas detiene a 236 normalistas por « daños, robos y pandillerismo » (Proceso, 4 de mayo de 2017)

Detienen a 236 normalistas por supuesto vandalismo en Chiapas (Aristegui Noticias, 4 de mayo de 2017)

236 normalistas son detenidos en Chiapas por toma de autobuses y saqueo; protestan en la FGE (VIDEOS) (Sin Embargo, 4 de mayo de 2017)

Liberan a los 236 normalistas detenidos por actos vandálicos en Chiapas (Proceso, 5 de mayo de 2017)

 


Chiapas: Meeting of Peoples to Exchange Experiences of Threats of Territorial Dispossession from Megaprojects

May 15, 2017

Peoples.png

From 4 to 6 May, the Peoples’ Meeting was held to exchange experiences facing threats of plunder of our territories by megaprojects in the municipal seat of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, which was co-convened by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center, the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) and the Samuel Ruiz Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life, under a joint project of Pax Christi International.

In a final statement, participants from Chiapas and Oaxaca denounced that the processes of defense of the Earth and Territory of which they are a part have brought them the “consequence of repression, intimidation, threat, persecution, Imprisonment and the murder of community human rights defenders. Those who have decided to defend life and Mother Earth are at constant risk under the threats of businessmen, organized crime and the State in its three levels of government that only favor the paths of impunity, injustice, inequality, plunder, exploitation, contempt for our native peoples, communities and ejidos.”

As a result they demanded:

  • “Respect for the autonomy and self-determination of peoples in Chiapas and Oaxaca based on Article 2 of the Constitution and international conventions, as well as guaranteeing the physical integrity of those who defend life, Mother Earth and nature.
  • The cancellation of death projects in our territories that only bring destruction, plunder, poverty, disease, community conflicts and divisions.
  • The cancellation of arrest warrants, criminal charges, legal proceedings against defenders of the Earth and the Territory, as is the case of compañeros from Acacoyagua, Chicoasen and Tecpatan.”

Finally, they invited “the peoples, communities, ejidos, grassroots organizations, the men and women of this country, to maintain their struggle, their resistance and to organize, not to surrender, not to sell out, and not to let themselves be cheated. It is important to join together our struggles in any geography against this capitalist system and the system of death. Land is an inheritance of our ancestors, and we must guard it and defend it. Our peoples and organizations have firmly decided to defend life, territory and the environment, because the future of our country is at risk. “

 For more information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento completo (Chicomuselo, 6 de mayo de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Pronunciamiento de participantes en Taller/Encuentro sobre la Transformación No-violenta de Conflictos en Defensa de Nuestros Territorios (19 de abril de 2016)

 


Chiapas: IACHR Determines Responsibility for Extrajudicial Execution in Context of Chiapas Campaign Plan 94

May 6, 2017

Frayba.pngPress conference at Frayba, May 3rd, 2017. Photo: @Sipaz

On May 3rd, a press conference was held at the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) in which it was reported that, in the case of the extrajudicial execution of the Tzeltal indigenous Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez in February 1995 in the community of La Grandeza, Altamirano, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) determined “the responsibility of the Mexican State for violating the right to life and the principle of equality and non-discrimination, personal integrity and judicial guarantees and judicial protection, in the context of the implementation of the counterinsurgency strategy designed within the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94.”

 22 years after the military operation in that community, the CDHFBC Press Bulletin recalled: “On February 20th, 1995, in La Grandeza ejido, in the municipality of Altamirano, Chiapas, the population was alerted to the military operation carried out by the reconnaissance patrol of the 17th Infantry Battalion, commissioned in the Task Force “Arcoiris” in the “Yabur” Group, composed of 65 military agents who were carrying 3 MP5 Cal. 9mm and 62 G-3 Cal 7.62mm armaments. At the same time Army aircraft flew over the region. The population of the ejido La Grandeza, made up mostly of women, girls, children and the elderly, were forced to the mountain to save their lives, while in the village, soldiers burned the belongings of displaced persons. Mr. Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez, a 43-year-old indigenous Tseltal, was extrajudicially executed by a soldier while fleeing with his family to the mountains. The soldier ordered him to stop, lie down and shot him, even though that he had his five-year-old daughter tied with a shawl on his back.”

The Director of the CDHFBC, Pedro Faro, stressed that, “to date the military court has served to ensure impunity. The investigations of the present case have been framed by lack of due diligence to cover up the Mexican Army, the file has been lost by the justice authorities since 1997. The right of access to the justice to know the truth of what happened so that those responsible are punished does not exist in Mexico “.

Ruben Moreno, lawyer for the the Center, stated that the family of Jimenez Hernandez decided not to receive any financial compensation for damages, but chose to have the IACHR’s report made public.

 For more information in Spanish:

Estado mexicano responsable de crímenes de lesa humanidad: CIDH (CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, a 3 de Mayo de 2017)

CIDH culpa al Estado por muerte de tzetzal: Frayba (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2017)

CIDH culpa al Estado mexicano por ejecución extrajudicial de indígena tzeltal (Proceso, 3 de mayo de 2017)

Determinan responsabilidad del Estado en muerte de indígena (Cuarto Poder, 4 de mayo de 2017)


Oaxaca: Series of Threats against Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez

May 6, 2017

Bettina.pngBettina Cruz Velzquez, center (Photo@tierrayterritorio.wordpress.com)

The Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez, members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory (APIIDTT in its Spanish acronym) and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym), denounced a series of threats against them in recent months.

In the case of Rodrigo Peñaloza Flores, he has experienced surveillance on more than five occasions, a firearm assault while leaving work on February 10th, the arrival of an armed man to the same place repeatedly asking for him on February 24th, and on April 26th, he found a death threat on the windshield of his vehicle on leaving his home.

In the case of Bettina Cruz Velazquez, she also reported surveillance on at least two occasions and both were verbally assaulted last April 19th in a program broadcast by Juchitan radio station.

In a call for Urgent Action to guarantee their lives and physical integrity, there are several antecedents that could explain this series of threats and harassment: “[this] coincides with the intense mobilizations carried out to demand the clarification of the murder of Jose Alberto Toledo Villalobos from Chahuites, defender of the human right to electrical energy and ex- compañero of Rodrigo and Bettina; also active support for the defense of Cerro Iguú carried out by the Zapotec indigenous communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita de San Blas Atempa, before the construction of the electrical substation of SEDENA. It is also worth noting the recent presentation of the collective injunction filed before the Sixth District Court against the designation of the region as Special Economic Zone, the second phase of wind projects and mining concessions; and the recent fact that a minister has shown interest in taking the case of Eolica del Sur to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente | Peligro de vida e integridad física de los Defensores de DH Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza y Bettina Cruz Velázquez (OSC, 2 de mayo de 2017)

En Oaxaca, denuncian hostigamiento contra activistas que se oponen a Zona Económica Especial (Revolucion 3.0, 2 de mayo de 2017)

Ong denuncia amenazas en contra de defensor de la tierra y territorio en el Istmo (Istmo Press, 29 de abril de 2017)

Defensor de Derechos Humanos en el istmo es amenazado por la defensa del territorio (IstmoPress, 28 de abril de 2017)

DENUNCIA URGENTE. Amenazan al compañero Rodrigo Flores de la APIIDTT, APOYO y de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil. (APIIDTT, 27 de abril de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Agresión contra integrantes de la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIIDTT) a manos de constructores ligados a la Empresa Eólica del Sur (8 de mayo de 2015)


Chiapas: Ejidos and Communities in the Zoque Area March against Mining Projects

May 4, 2017

Mining.pngMarch for land water and life, Ixtacomitan (Photo@Alianza Mexicana contra el fracking)

On April 28, the “March for Land, Water and Life” was held, in which representatives of ejidos and Zoque communities from Ixtacomitan participated, with the objective of expressing their rejection of the bidding process of 84,500 hectares of lands on which 12 conventional gas oil wells would be drilled in large parts of the north of the state of Chiapas. Round 2.2 of the Energy Secretariat and the National Hydrocarbons Commission will end in July.

The Zoque Language and Culture Center and the Zoque Peoples Network have denounced the flaws in the work of the supposed “consultation” as well as the constant conditioning of government support to influence this.

For more information in Spanish:

Proceso ilegal de consulta denuncian indígenas zoques para licitación de ronda 2.2 de la Sener (Desinformémonos, 1ero de mayo de 2017)

Marchan en Ixtacomitán contra perforación de pozos (Chiapas Paralelo, 29 de abril de 2017)

Video y marcha contra el megaproyecto de 12 pozos petroleros (Espoir Chiapas, 27 de abril de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Libre activista zoque, Silvia Juárez Juárez (7 de abril de 2017)

Chiapas : denuncian criminalización de defensores de la Madre Tierra en zona zoque (1 de marzo de 2017)

Chiapas : comunidades zoques se oponen a extracción de hidrocarburos en el norte de Chiapas (20 de octubre de 2016)


Oaxaca: Three Community of San Blas Atempa Begin Blockade against Illegal Megaproject

May 4, 2017

San Blas.png“Puente Madera Burns”, Photo@Educa Oaxaca

On April 24th, three communities started a road blockade on the Tehuantepec-Juchitan stretch in the Ithmus, due to the non-compliance with the commitments acquired by the authorities on April 12th. The communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita, in the municipality of San Blas Atempa, oppose the imposition of a wind farm by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) on communal lands, extraction of stone material in the Cerro Iguu’, one of their ancestral ceremonial centers, as well as the sanitary landfill in the Pitayal.

 Due to this, they demanded negotiations to resolve the question the compliance by the state government, with the minutes of agreementsof April 12th, 2017. In a statement, the General Assembly of the Binniza People denounced that the exploitation of their resources is happening without their consent. It pointed out that “the only culprits of the political-social situation currently being experienced in the Zapotec municipality of San Blas Atempa are the municipal government, the state government and the federal government, for wanting to impose above the will of the indigenous peoples, their plots of pillage and plunder, both neoliberal and militaristic.”

For its part, the Tepeyac Human Rights Center issued an alert to warn that “Puente Madera Burns” in which it denounced that “municipal agent David Hernandez Salazar and the comunero Jorge Rasgado Lopez, were threatened with death by the hitmen and attackers Cesar Morales Toledo and Victor Ramirez (mercenaries at the service of the city council), characters who have also burned grasslands of the community in the vicinity of the blockade to intimidate the people in struggle.”

As regards context, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Oaxacan Isthmus in Defense of the Territory to which San Blas Atempa belongs has denounced that the second phase of wind farm expansion in the Isthmus aims to almost triple the current wind energy production in the region, with some 1,900 wind turbines on 22 wind farms. It pointed out that, for several years, it has seen how wind farms have been imposed in their communities which have seriously affected their life, culture and natural assets, violating the social fabric of communities.

 For more information in Spanish:

Se profundiza conflicto en San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca (Contralínea, 26 de abril de 2017)

Pronunciamiento de comunidades de Puente Madera, Rancho Llano y Loma Bonita, San Blas Atempa (Radio Pozol, 24 de abril de 2017)

Arden terrenos comunales de Puente Madera para exigir suspensión de parque eólico de la SEDENA (Página 3, 24 de abril de 2017)

Se agudiza en el Istmo de Tehuantepec inconformidad por proyectos eólicos (Despertar de Oaxaca, 3 de abril de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: comunidades del Istmo presentan amparo ante la ZEE (17 de noviembre de 2016)