Chiapas/National: San Andres Accords unfulfilled 20 years later

February 29, 2016


Dialogue at San Andres. Photo @ Radio Zapatista

February 16 marked 20 years since the signing of the San Andres Accords between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the federal government. The accords were the result of five months of negotiations and dialogue about indigenous rights and culture in the Tsotsil municipality of San Andres Larrainzar, renamed San Andres Sakam’chen of the Poor by the Zapatistas.

On signing the accords, the government promised the creation of a judicial framework which would recognize the rights of indigenous communities and peoples, not only in Chiapas but throughout Mexico, among them the right of self-determination of the original peoples, recognizing their autonomy according to the cultural, social, political and economic characteristics of each group and place. The agreement on right of access to natural resources in the territory of indigenous peoples and communities was also relevant. The government promised to take these accords to Congress to convert them into reforms and additions to the constitution to guarantee their application, although the resulting proposal omitted a number of the signed accords. This was interpreted by the EZLN as a betrayal, a fact which led to the interruption of dialogue of the Zapatista commission with the federal government, ending the negotiations in the second round of six planned encounters.

“Already 20 years, in which the Government of Mexico has refused to fulfill [the San Andres Accords]; and at the same time they have been put into practice for 20 years in Zapatista territories, with their own forms of self-governance”, according to the declarations of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in Proceso. In spite of this, “it is important to note that the counterinsurgency policy of the Mexican State continues against the EZLN and the peoples of Chiapas who build different paths to neoliberal capitalism. It is evident the militarization in indigenous zones, the drive to conflicts in communities with Zapatista presence, the use of campesino organizations to confront the Support Bases of the EZLN, and the use of government aid programs to control and co-opt the population that resists. Moreover, forced displacement and impunity for crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican Army and paramilitary groups persist”, CDHFBC noted.

For more information in Spanish

Los acuerdos de San Andrés. 20 años de traición (La Jornada, 18 de febrero de 2016)

San Andrés: 20 años después (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2016)

A 20 años de los Acuerdos de San Andrés, siguen violentado los derechos indígenas: Frayba (Proceso, 17 de febrero de 2016)

El zapatismo y el uso estratégico del silencio (La Jornada, 23 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Foro impulsa reformas legislativas para el cumplimiento de los Acuerdos de San Andrés sobre derechos y cultura indígenas (27 de febrero de 2014)

Chiapas: a 18 años de la firma de los Acuerdos de San Andrés sobre Derechos y Cultura Indígenas, estos continúan sin ser reconocidos por el estado mexicano (19 de febrero de 2014)

Chiapas: Roberto Paciencia reports neglect of visual health

February 26, 2016


CERSS NO.5, San Cristobal de Las Casas. Photo @ CGT Chiapas

On February 15, the unjustly imprisoned Roberto Paciencia Cruz publicly denounced loss of vision he is experiencing “from the blows of the torture I suffered in the installations of FECDO” during his detention. According to Paciencia, who has now been a prisoner for two years awaiting sentencing, “On September 24 last of the year 2015, they took me to hospital to an ophthalmologist, who prescribed spectacles.” He added that, “The director of the prison and the accountant told me that I would have to buy them, but unfortunately I am a poor prisoner and I don’t have the resources to buy them. For this reason I make this public denouncement. I blame the state for any complication that occurs.”

It is worth remembering that this prisoner, unjustly denied his freedom, has been denouncing the irregularities, such as lack of food, denial of visits, as well as his unjust detention and imprisonment, at the State Centre for Social Reintegration of Prisoners No. 5 (Centro Estatal de Reinserción Social de Sentenciados – CERSS- n°5) of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Furthermore, referring to the case, the state government promised to “release [Paciencia] as soon as possible in a period of less than a month after February 5 of this year” at the negotiating table with ex-prisoners, members of the organization Supporters of the Voice of Amate (Solidarios de La Voz de Amate), who are claiming for damages for their years of unjust imprisonment, along with the release of prisoners of conscience such as Roberto Paciencia Cruz and Alejandro Diaz Santis.

For more information in Spanish:

Roberto Paciencia exige su libertad (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 17 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncia Roberto Paciencia escasez de alimentos y negación de visitas (27 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: Preso de San Cristóbal, Roberto Paciencia, denuncia que le fabricaron su delito (28 de agosto de 2015)

Chiapas: Toman acuerdo Solidarios de la Voz del Amate para liberación de presos y reparación del daño (9de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas: Organizations warn of possible repression in Tila ejido

February 26, 2016


Photo @ SIPAZ

On February 22, dozens of human rights and peace organizations, among them International Service for Peace, SIPAZ, sent a letter to the Chiapas and federal authorities in which they warned of a possible repression of the Chol ejidatarios of Tila, who declared their autonomy last year in defense of their territory. Seven years ago, the ejidatarios won a protection order for the restitution of 130 hectares of their territory that were illegally taken by the municipal authorities for the establishment of an urban zone. With the refusal of those responsible to return the land, the ejido lodged a Non-compliance of Sentence case 1302/2010 with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, which has been unresolved for five years.

“We know that in the commemoration of the 7th anniversary of the concession of protection, inhabitants of the ejido held a demonstration on December 16, 2015, which ended in front of the Town Hall, turning into a confrontation between the authorities and the demonstrators. This act culminated in a Declaration of Autonomy and Self-determination”, the organizations stated. The signatory organizations recognized the “legitimate” process of defense of territory that the ejido of Tila has exercised for more than 50 years. The Home for Migrants in Saltillo, the United Nations Professor of Human Rights of UNAM, The Montaña Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights and the Friar Francis of Vitoria Center for Human Rights, among other signatories, expressed their concern over the possibility that there may be a repressive reaction against the Choles by the federal, state and local authorities.

For more information in Spanish:

Organizaciones alertan por posible represión en Tila (Dentro ProDH, 23 de febrero de 2016)

OSC manifiestan preocupación por posible represión en Ejido Tila (CENCOS, 22 de febrero de 2016)

Carta OSC sobre ejido Tila (22 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Ejido Tila denuncia “célula paramilitar y mentiras del gobierno” (8 de enero de 2016)

Chiapas: Indígenas Ch´oles toman la alcaldía de Tila tras décadas de no haber sido atendid@s (17 de diciembre de 2015)


Chiapas/National: EZLN denounces conditions in communities affiliated to political parties and announces upcoming activities

February 25, 2016



EZLN march, December 21, 2012, San Cristobal de Las Casas. Photo@SIPAZ

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation published a communiqué on February 21, “Meanwhile…in the communities affiliated to political parties.” Signed by sub-commanders Moises and Galeano, it describes various situations of pillage and exploitation that communities are living through in communities that follow the party political system in the southeastern zone of Chiapas.

Although they omitted the names of the communities and of the informers “who in some cases fear reprisals”, they denounced the privatization of communally held lands or ejidos through government projects in a number of communities, where sale of lands had been signed unknowingly in the belief that government support was being signed for. Likewise, they witnessed the pillage of indigenous peoples’ lands, which contain materials such as uranium, amber, sulfur, or potential tourist attractions, through the same methods of deceit or coercion. They also denounced that in some communities in the Ocosingo area they had been forbidden to cut trees for their necessities, such as cooking or building materials for homes, while lumber companies are permitted to cut.

As regards projects directed at women and as has been reported by other organizations, the recipients of the Prospera program have to meet certain preconditions to receive support. Some of these include compulsory Pap testing, and giving birth in hospitals instead of with the aid their traditional midwives. If the preconditions are not met, financial support is withdrawn. Moreover, they revealed that women who went to Tuxtla to receive their financial support were requested to come accompanied by the young women of the community, who “in exchange for receiving the project are obliged to have sexual relationships.” Added to this, the communiqué dealt with the recent distribution of digital televisions in lieu of the analogic switch-off. According to the text, at the distribution event in Comitan, “two people died, a child and a woman: the child died because it was crushed from the people pushing and the mother was unable to protect it; the woman was murdered when, on arrival home, the husband took out his pistol and shot her for not looking after his son.” As if this weren’t enough, not all of the televisions worked, and they also require the purchase of a scrambling device, which was interpreted as a form of government business with a company that sells the units.

Another feature reported was two cases of the presence of organized crime in communities. First, they made known the recruitment of men in the communities “to go and work in the north.” Gangers promised that they would be taken directly to their workplaces, guaranteeing transport and therefore avoiding possible security problems on the way. According to the EZLN, “the work is sowing marijuana and poppies” somewhere “they are not allowed to leave.” In another town, a family made an agreement with a drug dealer and one of the daughters was murdered for non-payment, which was videoed and sent to her father.

At the end of the communiqué, upcoming activities were announced for which “they [we] should be alert.”

For more information in Spanish:

Y MIENTRAS TANTO EN… las comunidades partidistas. (Enlace Zapatista, 21 de febrero de 2016)

Zapatistas evidencian a los partidos y anuncian que habrá nuevas actividades (Desinformémonos, 22 de febrero de 2016)

EZLN anuncia convocatoria ante incremento de despojo en Chiapas (Más de 131, 22 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: CDHFBC denuncia privación arbitraria de la libertad u faltas al debido proceso de BAEZLN (23 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: 32 años “sembrando autonomía” (19 de noviembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Amenazas de muerte y agresiones físicas en contra de BAEZLN de la comunidad Tzakukum (10 de septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: EZLN denuncia liberación de los homicidas del Maestro Galeano (21 de agosto de 2015)

For full text in English:



National: Topo Chico reveals conditions in Mexican prisons

February 21, 2016

Topo Chico.png

Prisoners’ relatives outside Topo Chico prison. Photo@Miguel Sierra

After the massacre at Topo Chico prison, Nuevo Leon, where 49 people lost their lives on February 11 during a confrontation between two groups of prisoners who were members of organized crime gangs, there have been continuous press reports about irregularities and extortion in Mexican prisons. According to Animal Politico, Topo Chico had a population of almost 3,700 prisoners, 35% more than its capacity. Data from INEGI show that in July 2015, there were more than 254,000 people in prison in Mexico although the prison system only has capacity for 203,000, representing an overpopulation of 25.4%. According to the same source, there were 737 incidents in Mexican prisons in 2014 at both state and federal level. It is worth remembering that last October, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights reported on the overcrowding, corruption, irregular medical attention, lack of privacy, absence of real opportunities for social reintegration, mistreatment and the impossibility of presenting complaints in the country’s prisons.

After the mutiny at Topo Chico, there were revelations about a lack of guards at the prison, possession of arms and drugs by the prisoners, and luxuries that some prisoners enjoyed, such as air-conditioned cells that were four times the standard size, flat-screen televisions, aquaria, mini-bars, exercise machines, king-size beds and even a sauna. Furthermore, according to declarations by Josue Reyes, in charge of the internal reorganization of the prison, “Businesses were very profitable. There was a weekly collection of payments from extortion and for privileges that ranged from two to five million pesos.” Prisoners had to pay a sum of 35,000 pesos to avoid attacks, they had to pay for their food and for visits, rising to 1,500 pesos for conjugal visits or 20 pesos for regular visits according to Proceso. The United Nations Organization (UNO) has for the moment demanded that the Mexican government conduct an “impartial and exhaustive” investigation to establish the facts of the events in the prison.

For more information in Spanish:

Extorsiones en penal de Topo Chico dejaban 20 mdp cada mes (Proceso, 17 de febrero de 2016)

Exige la ONU investigación “imparcial y exhaustiva” por masacre en Topo Chico (Proceso, 15 de febrero de 2016)

Detienen a directora de Topo Chico por homicidio calificado (Proceso, 13 de febrero de 2016)

El Bronco recibió reporte de crisis en penales 10 meses antes de Topo Chico (Animal Político, 16 de febrero de 2016)

Congelan 6 iniciativas para sistema carcelario (El Financiero, 16 de febrero de 2016)

Reporta gobierno de NL “lujos” en Topo Chico (La Jornada, 14 de febrero de 2016)

Cárceles en México, sobrepobladas, con castigos excesivos y abuso de prisión preventiva: CIDH (Animal Polítio, 15 de octubre de 2015)

Tortura e incomunicación (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 16 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncia Roberto Paciencia escasez de alimentos y negación de visitas (27 de enero de 2016)

Guerrero: Remains of Julio Cesar Mondragon buried second time

February 21, 2016

Ayotzi Feb.png

Photo @Desinformémonos

On February 12, accompanied by his relatives, parents and fellow-students from Ayotzinapa, the body of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes, the murdered student teacher whose body was found with the skin removed form his face in Iguala, Guerrero, on September 27, 2014, was buried for the second time after his remains were exhumed on November 4, 2015. It took three months to take samples that would allow a new necropsy. During the visit of bishop Raul Vera to the state capital of Guerrero, where he took part in an event with the relatives of the victims of violence, Julio Cesar Mondragon’s uncle said that the only demand of the whole family is that the truth be known and the facts be clear. “The days pass, the months pass, a year passed and we found historic truths, full of perverse intentions which have been proved by international organizations…September, 2014, when Marisa his wife, a server and other family members came to identify the body, we hoped that this nightmare was a lie but unfortunately that wasn’t the case…” After the reburial, investigations which lead to the truth of what happened on September 26, 2014 will be continued. “These investigations are carried out mainly by the Argentinian Unit of Forensic Anthropology (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense – EAAF) and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes – GIEI)”, the family of the student and those accompanying them pointed out.

For more information in Spanish:

Segunda sepultura del cuerpo de Julio César Mondragón Fontes, normalista asesinado el 26 de septiembre de 2014 (Desinformémonos, 13 de febrero de 2016)

Funcionarios dejaron cuerpo de Julio César en una congeladora porque se fueron de vacaciones, denuncian familiares (Revolución trespuntocero, 11 de enero de 2016)

Papa, levanta la voz por Ayotzinapa” piden los pueblos indígenas de la Montaña de Guerrero (Desinformémonos, 15 de febrero de 2016)

Después de la reinhumación de Julio César Mondragón “toca defender la verdad”: familiares (Centro Pro, 16 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Exhuman cuerpo del estudiante de Ayotzinapa torturado y ejecutado, Julio César Mondragón (9 de noviembre de 2016)

Guerrero: Padres y madres de Ayotzinapa van a la Corte, a 16 meses de la desaparición de sus hijos (27 de enero de 2016)

National: Murder of Veracruz journalist condemned throughout the country and internationally

February 21, 2016


Journalists and photographers protest over their missing and dead colleagues in Veracruz, Photo

On February 9, when the international organization Article 19 presented its report “The disappearance and forced disappearance of those who exercise freedom of speech in Mexico” (La desaparición y desaparición forzada de quienes ejercen la libertad de expresión en México”), in which it indicated Mexico as the country with the highest number of missing journalists, it was announced that the body of the Veracruz journalist Anabel Flores Salazar was found tortured and executed in Puebla. The 32-year-old journalist was mother of two and worked for El Sol de Orizaba newspaper. On January 8, she was reported missing having been kidnapped on the morning of the same day, and according to the report filed by her relatives, “She was taken from her home by armed men who came in three trucks looking for her directly and, after locating her in one of the rooms, forced into one of the vehicles and fled.” The following day, her body was found on the roadside. According to the data of Article 19, Flores Salazar is the 19th journalist to be murdered in Veracruz during the term of office of Javier Duarte de Ochoa, member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which began in 2010. “The disappearance of people who exercise freedom of speech in Mexico is alarming as regards the characteristics of the cases which, in their majority, could be considered forced disappearances”, the report indicated.

The murder was condemned by various international organizations among them the Mexican Office of the United Nations Body for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – Women UNO (Oficina en México de la Entidad de las Naciones Unidas para la Igualdad de Género y el Empoderamiento de las Mujeres – ONU Mujeres) and the Mexican Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – HR-UNO (Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos – ONU-DH), as well as the Special Envoy for Freedom of Speech of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights – IACHR (Relatoría Especial para la Libertad de Expresión de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos – CIDH). This last body expressed its special worry about the repetition of this type of attack against journalists and communicators in Mexico, “where one of the most dangerous places is Veracruz. In 2014, eight journalists were murdered, presumably for their links to the exercise of freedom of speech and in 2015 there were six cases. This is the second murder of a journalist in this year.” Women UNO and HR-UNO demanded that the Mexican authorities “diligently investigate the murder of Anabel Flores, from a gender perspective, considering multiple lines of investigation and avoiding at all times the stigmatization of the victim, and also taking all necessary measures to bring to justice and punish those responsible for violence against journalists.”

The case of Anabel Flores occurs in the context of threats against, repression and intimidation of journalists and those who demand freedom of speech throughout the country: on February 9, Radio Zapote reported harassment and threats; the Proceso reporter in Guerrero, Ezequiel Flores Contreras, reported that he was threatened with death by ex-deputy and member of the PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party), Roger Arellano Sotelo, on February 10 during a demonstration about the murder of Anabel Flores Salazar; on the same day, journalist Martha Izquierdo, reporter for SemMexico in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca, reported threats ‘by men who arrived at the radio she directs and where she broadcasts her morning news bulletin.” Given all these events, Amnesty International (AI) asked the Mexican government to guarantee the protection of journalists. According to the director of AI for the Americas, Erica Guevara-Rosas, Mexico should especially offer protection to crime reporters. She said that ‘not protecting those who expose the sad reality of abuses in Mexico is the equivalent of trying to brush those abuses under the carpet.”

For more information in Spanish:

ONU y CIDH condenan asesinato y criminalización de reportera veracruzana (Centro ProDH, 12 de febrero de 2016)

La Relatoría Especial condena el asesinato de una periodista en México (Organización de los Estados Americanos, 11 de febrero de 2016)

CIDH y UNESCO condenan asesinato de la periodista Anabel Flores (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2016)

Recibe amenazas la periodista Martha Izquierdo (Desinformémonos, 11 de febrero de 2016)

México, el país con más periodistas desaparecidos: Article 19 (Centro ProDH, 10 de febrero de 2016)

Encuentran sin vida a la periodista mexicana Anabel Flores (La Patria, 10 de febrero de 2016)

Anabel Flores Salazar, 32 años, madre de dos bebés y periodista de Veracruz, fue asesinada (SinEmbargo, 9 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Se amontonaron ataques en contra de periodistas en México (2 de diciembre de 2015)

Nacional/México: Torturan y asesinan a periodista y cuatro mujeres (3 de agosto de 2015)

Nacional/Internacional : Cuestionan organizaciones internacionales al mecanismo para defensores de derechos humanos y periodistas (8 de mayo de 2015)


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