Guerrero: PRI wins elections within violent context

June 25, 2015


Federal police invade Tepeyac community, Tlapa. Photo @Tlachinollan

With a margin of 41%, the preliminary results of the Guerrero State elections place the PRI-PVEM candidate, Héctor Astudillo Flores, as the winner. Astudillo gained 465 mil 263 votes, 7% more than his most popular rival, the PRD-PT candidate, Beatriz Mojica Morga. The candidate for the Citizens’ Movement (MC), Luis Walton Aburto, took third place, with 91,651 votes. Beyond these, comes the National Action Party candidate (PAN), Jorge Camacho Peñaloza (58,005 votes); the MORENA candidate, Pablo Amílcar Sandoval (30,355 votes), and the New Alliance Party (PANAL), Karime Sevilla (19,625 votes).

In the mayorships, the PRI took 36, the PRD 24, the MC 7, the PAN 4, and the PT and PVEM 2 each, with PANAL taking 1. According to these results, the PRI will retake control of Acapulco, Iguala, and Tixtla, and it will maintain power in Chilpancingo, Taxco, and Chilapa, while the PRD will continue to govern in Zihuatanejo and Cocula, and it will recover Ayutla and Metlatónoc.

On election day, the process took place within a violent context in many parts of the state. In Tlapa de Comonfort, police and soldiers attacked citizens (including two women and a girl) who had kidnapped federal officials, whom they wanted to exchange for 9 imprisoned teachers. The group was arrested by the authorities at the headquarters of the State Coordination of Educational Workers of Guerrero (CETEG) and one house in particular. Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, arrived to the site to mediate a dialogue and interchange between the arrested teachers, who had been transferred by helicopter to Mexico City, and the federal officials. Barrera reported that the Secretary for Governance had accepted the exchange, but that the teachers would be handed over in Chilpancingo. Nonetheless, at night, federal police fired tear gas and live ammunition at the citizenry to disperse them. One youth died by gunfire for this reason.

Tlachinollan has demanded that the security forces that participated in this attack be investigated and sanctioned. The Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights published an Urgent Action on 8 June that demands that federal and state authorities “guarantee the security of the people of Tlapa and of the people arrested by the federal police at the CETEG offices,” beyond “carrying out an independent investigation,” among other things. Crescenciano Gallardo Sánchez, spokesperson for the CETEG in the Costa Grande, observed that “whoever wins the election, the protests carried out by social organizations in the state will continue, to demand the return with life of the 43 students of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, who were forcibly disappeared on 26 September of last year in Iguala, as well as to demand the release of all political prisoners, especially the communal leader Nestora Salgado García.

A day before the elections were held, Saturday 6 June, there was a confrontation involving members of the United Front for Security and Social Development in Guerrero (FUSDEG) in a rural zone of the Acapulco municipality which left 16 dead and an unspecified number of injured. Nonetheless, the mayor, Luis Uruñuela, expressed that the events do not have to do with the elections, and he claimed that the State Attorney General would investigate the incident.

For more information (in Spanish):

Cómputo del Prep coloca a Astudillo Flores como ganador de la elección (La Jornada de Guerrero, 9 de junio de 2015)

Federales y militares disparan contra civiles en Tlapa; reportan un muerto (La Jornada de Guerrero, 7 de junio de 2015)

Policía ingresa a Tlapa y rescata a federales retenidos; confirman muerte de una persona (Sin Embargo, 7 de junio de 2015)

Gobierno estatal rompió la negociación antes de operativo en Tlapa, denuncian (Centro ProDH, 9 de junio de 2015)

Lamenta el alcalde el enfrentamiento del Fusdeg en Xolapa que dejó 16 muertos (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de junio de 2015)

Se proclama vencedor Héctor Astudillo con ventaja de 14 puntos sobre Mojica (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de junio de 2015)

Gane quien gane la elección, seguirán las protestas de organizaciones: Ceteg (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de junio de 2015)

ACCIÓN URGENTE (Tlachinollan, 7 de junio de 2015)

ACCIÓN URGENTE (Centro de DDHH Pro Juárez)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero/International: Eurocaravan for Ayotzinapa prohibited from protesting in front of Mexican embassy in Spain (7 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)


Guerrero: Warning of risk of famine in rural zones

December 8, 2013


Photo @Eduardo Miranda

Human-rights groups from Guerrero have warned of the risk of a “famine” in light of the scarcity of food and the abandonment of residents of the indigenous regions of the Mountain and Coast after the passing of the storms which recently devastated the state.  Leopoldo Soberanis Hernández, president of the Alliance for Human Rights United Guerrero, and Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights, denounced by phone to the Proceso magazine that the Plan DN-III is not being applied in the rural zones of the state, thus aggravating the situation for residents of isolated communities.

“In the isolated communities, the situation is worse because their isolation is essentially total, due to the fact that the roads have been destroyed.  The people are leaving on foot or on animals, as happened a century ago, and they sit down where the roads used to exist to await assistance.  The damage to the infrastructure is so serious that much time will be needed to repair it,” observed Barrera Hernández.  From the Costa Grande, Leopoldo Soberanis Hernández denounced that despite the permanent presence of troops in the region, in this time of suffering “the soldiers are not entering communities but are only continuing their patrols on what remains of the highway, and that bothers us greatly.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alertan sobre riesgo de hambruna en zona rural de Guerrero (Proceso, 19 de septiembre de 2013)

Viene hambruna en La Montaña, alertan (El Universal, 27 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Victims of storms migrate to survive (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Humanitarian crisis caused by tropical storm Manuel continues in the Mountain

October 5, 2013


Llano de Tepehuaje, Metlatónoc municipality. Photo @Tlachinollan

In the region of the Mountain, thousands of indigenous persons have abandoned at least 48 communities due to hazards and the loss of 80% of the crops that were devastated by the severe rainsfalls brought by tropical storm Manuel, noted Javier Guerrero, subsecretary for Social Development.  During a meeting carried out in the Catholic House, which has become a shelter of sorts in Tlapa de Comonfort for more than 160 displaced indigenous persons, Guerrero reported that the federal highways Tlapa-Marquelia and Tlapa-Metlatónoc, the two principal routes that connect the poorest municipalities of the country, have been destroyed.  The residents of different communities such as Tilapa and Santa Cruz del Rincón report that the highway has simply disappeared.

A 30 September communique from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights mentions that “in accordance with the Secretary for Social Development (SEDESOL), there are 48 communities that continue to lack access by aerial and terrestrial routes, though this statistic could increase considering that in the municipalities of Acatepec, Metlatónoc, and Cochoapa it is practically impossible to maintain constant communication.  Attention by means of air is insufficient and the criteria for the definition of routes for helicopters lack transparency.”  Of the 700 indigenous communities located in the Mountain region of Guerrero, to date there has been had contact with only about 100, claims Tlachinollan.  The official statistics speak of 33 dead, according to the report released on 26 September by Civil Protection, but the testimonies collected by Tlachinollan mention at least 42 dead, without taking into account the disappeared.

On 23 September, indigenous peoples of the Mountain formed the Council of Authorities Affected by the Storm, which will be the voice of the people.  Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, indicates that the members of the Council will insist that they not be excluded from decision-making processes.  In his view, what usually happens is that the mayors meet behind closed doors with the Army and State authorities and make decisions behind the backs of the displaced, with the result that aid and resources are mobilized without consulting local residents.

For more information (in Spanish):

En la Montaña, miles de desplazados y 80% de cultivos arrasados: Sedesol (Proceso, 29 de septiembre de 2013)

Crece el aislamiento en comunidades de la Montaña (La Jornada, 29 de septiembre de 2013)

Después del diluvio (La Jornada, 30 de septiembre de 2013)

Continúa crisis humanitaria en La Montaña (Tlachinollan, 30 de septiembre de 2013)

Fotogalería de Tlachinollan

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)

National/Guerrero: Forum regarding discussion of human rights of agricultural day laborers within the Senate

July 19, 2013

130621_INVITACION_Foro_Jornaleros_SenadoOn 27 June, there was held a Forum to discuss the human rights of agricultural day laborers within the Senate.  At this event, there was presented the Report of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (Guerrero), “Migrants we are, and on the path we travel.”

Abel Barrera Hernández, director of Tlachinollan, denounced that “when in Mexico the situation of migrants is discussed, these are immediately associated with the oppressive conditions confronted by Central American peoples who transit through Mexico, or even the struggle of our compatriots in United States […].  But the systematic violation of the human rights of the thousands of indigenous families who year after year migrate to the large agricultural camps of the northern states of Mexico to survive oscillates between invisibility and indifference.”  It should be mentioned that close to 26% of the Mexican population is migrant and that, of these, 9 of 10 are internal migrants.

In this sense, the region of the Mountain in Guerrero projects labor to 16 other states of the country.  Abel Barrera indicates that “within the context of marginalization and poverty, migration to agricultural camps has been converted to a strategy of survival which entire towns turn to: the dilemma is to migrate or to die, given that campesinos have no access to healthcare, live in deplorable conditions (such as abandoned homes or semi-constructed buildings), where between 50 and 100 people come to live, with the presence of child laborers prevailing.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Migrar o morir, dilema que enfrentan en La Montaña, expone Tlachinollan en foro (La Jornada de Guerrero, 28 de junio de 2013)

Cuestionan eficacia de apoyos a jornaleros (Reforma, 28 de junio de 2013)

Guerrero: Tlachinollan criticizes that Army will take charge of Operation Secure Guerrero

January 8, 2013


Photo @ La Prensa

Following the announcement made on 3 January by governor Angel Aguirre Rivero that the Mexican Army would take over Operation Secure Guerrero (OGS), Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, criticized that this would mean that a military institution would be in charge of the security of the populace, given the numerous denunciations of human-rights violations committed by soldiers in the past few years, ones “that even have increased in number.”  “The decision to leave Operation Secure Guerrero in the hands of the military is a bad sign; the screw is being tightened, and from our perspective, decisions are being taken that do not guarantee peace and tranquility but that rather worsen the situation of the people,” stressed Barrera Hernández.  Beyond this, the Tlachinollan director warned that this year “there is seen a sobering panorama for human-rights defenders and social activists”; he furthermore denounced that the state and federal governments have not observed the recommendations made by the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in several cases.

For more information (in Spanish):

Critica Tlachinollan que el Ejército se encargue del Guerrero Seguro (La Jornada de Guerrero, 4 de enero de 2013)

Será mejor 2013 para Guerrero y Acapulco, vaticina Aguirre (La jornada de Guerrero, 3 de enero de 2013)

El Ejército coordinará las acciones de Operación Guerrero Seguro: Ángel Aguirre (Crónica, 4 de enero de 2013)

Ejército coordinará Guerrero Seguro (La Prensa, 3 de enero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: march in Acapulco against police abuse within operation “Secure Guerrero”(19 October 2012)

Guerrero: President Calderón proceeds with third phase of the “Secure Guerrero” program (5 June 2012)

The Caravan to the South in its journey through Guerrero

September 23, 2011

The Caravan to the South in its journey through Guerrero. Photo @Oaxacaentrelí

On 5 September the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights released a press-bulletin announcing the impending arrival of the Caravan to the South, stressing the violent context in which arose the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.  “In light of this [violent] reality, until recently the citizenry of Guerrero had been paralyzed, in a stupor […].  In this way, until very recently the citizens watched passively and in fear as spectators a continuous process of the degradation of the social fabric, in which violence has degraded that which we most love.  But 5 months ago, from the pain caused by this situation, a force arose that today represents the best hope for those who do not want to continue passively watching how Mexico loses life and dignity […].  At the end of these months, the National Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has constituted itself without any doubt as the most important civil reference for protest and proposal in light of the prevailing situation. […] The passing of the Caravan through Guerrero marks a special occasion to go out onto the streets to reject violence and to demand that the State observe its basic obligations.”

In Chilpancingo, on 10 September, the caravan was welcomed with the following banner: “Alive they were taken from us; alive we want them to be.”  Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, was in charge of welcoming the Caravan.  In this act he spoke of the human-rights violations that the people of Guerrero have suffered, particularly the indigenous population (17% of the total population= which has resisted militarization since the 1970s.  For her part, Tita Radilla, daughter of the disappeared Rosendo Radilla, shared the pain associated with the crime of forced disappearance and spoke of the long journey in the search for jutsice, not only for her father but for all other victims of this crime.

During the event, which took place at the entrance tot he municipal palace, the denunciations referred to cases of disappearances, human-rights violations by soldiers and other security-forces, impunity, and violence.  The Committee of Relatives and Friends of the Kidnapped, Disappeared, and Murderded in Guerrero, in its message to the Caravan regarding the violent context, reiterated its “commitment to continue struggling against these crimes against humanity, against this aberrant practice that in Mexico has been made State policy so as to maintain through violence social control over organized peoples.  [We are here to] once and for all put an end to this absurd war and demand that the bad governments observe international human-rights commitments, do justice for the victims of violence, compensate physical, moral, and economic damages to relatives, and stop the criminalization of social protest.”

On 11 September, the caravan passed by the port-city of Acapulco, one of the most important commercial ports and tourist-cities in Mexico.  A group of people dressed in white welcomed the Caravan, carrying signs with the faces of relatives and/or friends who have been murdered or disappeared in the waves of violence; youths excluded from education engaged in a hunger-strike; and local organizations attended the mobilization to relate how it is that the social fabric of the port has been destroyed by the advance of violence, whose principal characteristic is always to tend toward impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

La Caravana que viene a Guerrero (boletín de prensa de Tlachinollan, 5 September)

Caravana contra la violencia parte al Sur del país (El Universal, 9 September)

Caravana por la Paz llega a Guerrero (El Universal, 9 September)

Pide Javier Sicilia en Iguala hacer a un lado el miedo (Proceso, 9 September)

Caravana por la Paz inicia marcha en Acapulco (El Universal, 10 September)

Caravana por la Paz llega a Chilpancingo (El Universal, 10 September)

Acapulqueños exigen recuperar “la tranquilidad arrebatada” (Proceso, 10 September)

Recibe Guerrero la Caravana por la Paz con alud de denuncias (La Jornada, 10 September)

“Disposición total” para la Caravana al Sur en su paso por Guerrero: Aguirre (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 September)

Boletín de prensa del Comité de Familiares y Amigos de Secuestrados, Desaparecidos y Asesinados en Guerrero (10 September)

Sitio del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace (22 September)

Mexico: March “Steps for Peace” (19 August)

Guerrero: Celebration of the 17th anniversary of Tlachinollan: Forum in Defense of the Land

July 17, 2011

17th anniversary of the Tlachinollan Mountain CDH (@SIPAZ)

On 1 and 2 July was celebrated in Tlapa de Comonfort in Guerrero’s La Montaña the 17th anniversary of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, days on which were held a “Forum in Defense of Land,” a subject around which many peoples have been organizing themselves.  The forum was attended by nearly 200 individuals from different social and civil organizations from Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and other places.

During the first day of the forum were had presentations by activists of different municipalities in Guerrero and Oaxaca who are opposed to mineral exploration and exploitation and the construction of hydroelectric dams in their territories.  On the second day, participants met in three work-groups (Defense of Territory, Right to Consultation, and Defense against Dams) where they could share their experiences and seek out ways in which to unite their efforts.  A common theme at the forum was the right to consultation.  Different speakers emphasized its importance and the fact that several different interpretations of the concept could be had, depending on the party in question and his or her interests in a given project.

In spite of the reduced presence of women in the panels on the first day, many participated actively in the plenary sessions and in the work-groups.  In the group on Defense against Repression, several women emphasized the importance of women’s participation in struggle.  They mentioned that it is often women who lead struggles of resistance against the exploitation of land.

Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, celebrated that by means of the Forum there had been promoted a dialogue among communities, and he hopes that a communication network among the communities themselves and between communities, universities, and civil organizations continues to expand.  In other news, one of the participants at the Forum, a comunero from the community of La Montaña, stressed the importance of the daily work of Tlachinollan regarding the education of peoples.  “Before we didn’t know why to defend our lands against mining, but Tlachinollan has told us many things.  The mining companies just tell us what they are going to do, but they do not count the costs.”

The celebration of the 17th anniversary ended with a mass in the Catholic church of Tlapa, celebrated in honor to Tlachinollan, as well as with a festival of presentations of traditional and modern cultures.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronouncement of the Forum in Defense of the Land (in spanish) (2 July 2011)

Se recrudece la criminalización de la lucha social: Tlachinollan (La Jornada de Guerrero, 3 July 2011)

Llama Tlachinollan a las autoridades a no manosear asambleas comunitarias (El Sur de Acapulco, 3 July 2011)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Briefs- Members of OPIM and the Tlachinollan Mountain CDH suffer death-threats; invitation to the Tlachinollan anniversary; case of ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlán (4 July 2011)

Oaxaca: UN publication on right to consultation and megaprojects is presented (5 July 2011)