Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression

March 16, 2014

Mujer frente al campamento militar de Majomut, peregrinación del 8 de marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Woman before the Majomut military base during the pilgrimage of 8 March 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 8 March, during the pilgrimage-march organized for International Women’s Day, women from the Las Abejas Civil Society shared a communique in which they once again stressed that in the case of the Puebla ejido, “it would seem that the bad government of Chiapas headed by Manuel Velasco has resolved the conflict with the ‘return’ of the Catholic territory on 26 February; but if we think about it a bit, we see this only as a partial solution.  Yesterday in the Puebla Colony there was burned a house for catechism belonging to our Catholic brothers; we understand that this act is a message of hate and violence of the people allied with the commissioner and Evangelical pastor Agustín Cruz Gómez. We see that the return of our Catholic brothers and sisters is becoming more complicated.  If the government had applied justice as it should, there would be peace and tranquility in the Puebla Colony.”

This same day the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó delved into this concern, affirming that on 7 March, “the burning of the door of the entrance to the catechismal house is the consequence of the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors against our Catholic brothers and sisters from the Puebla Colony who presently live displaced in the sacred land of Acteal.  We always have insisted on the application of justice, because peace can only exist when there is also justice.  However, the state government of Chiapas and the secretary for religious affairs and commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez have on several occasions requested that we forget about the aggressions to which we were subjected; that is to say, that we be accomplices to violence.”

The bishop for the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, confirmed in a press conference that the 17 Catholic families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, have suspended the plans to return on 14 March.  The 98 Tsotsil persons left the Puebla ejido in August after a series of attacks from the Evangelical majority over the dispute of land for a Catholic chapel.

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman puerta del salón de catequesis,denuncian familias desplazadas de Ejido Puebla (Denuncia de la parroquia de San Pedro Chenalhó, 8 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de las mujeres Abejas en el Día Internacional de la Mujer (8 de marzo de 2014)

Suspenden familias tzotziles su retorno al ejido de Puebla: Arizmendi (10 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  “This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

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Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony. “This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas

March 2, 2014

(@Radio Pozol)

(@Radio Pozol)

On 26 February 2014, there was held an act to hand over the land on which was found the chapel of the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, as performed by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, transferring it to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, as represented in the event by bishop Enrique Díaz Díaz.  This came after the General Direction of Religious Associations of the Secretary of Governance decided that the land under dispute “is federal property in use and administered by the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese.”

It should be recalled that the dispute over this land between Catholics and Evangelical residents led by the ejidal authorities led to the displacement of 17 families (98 persons) who have taken refuge in the Acteal community since August 2013.

At the event was also present Secretary of Governance Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar and Subsecretary for Religious Affairs Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa, who considered themselves witnesses of honor.  The Secretary of Governance decalred that the Evangelicals and Catholics “are here to do good,” such that he called on the Evangelical community to respect the decision made by the Secretary of Governance.  He affirmed that the state government will continue working to resolve the pending issues.

On that same day, 26 February, the Las Abejas Civil Society (to which the majority of the displaced pertain) challenged in a communique that the government “does not speak of justice.”  It noted that “the human-rights violations began with torture, harassment, displacement, robbery of possessions, destruction of the chapel, burning of houses, fabrication of crimes regarding the poisoning of the water, accusing 3 people (Juan López Méndez, Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández, son of Mariano Méndez Méndez), who were transferred to the Public Ministry to be arrested without any evidence that the water had in fact been poisoned […].  Comrades from civil national and international organizations, this is not the priority solution of the displaced.  They lack other things such as the construction of the chapel, reparation for the burned houses, and compensation for robbed possessions, in addition to the application of justice for the presumed responsible persons who committed these rights-violations.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Determinan autoridades que ejido Puebla, en Chenalhó, es propiedad federal (La Jornada, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Boletín del gobierno del estado “Entregan evangélicos predio a católicos de Puebla, Chenalhó”(ICOSO, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Entregan evangélicos de Chenalhó predio a católicos que expulsaron (Milenio, 26 de febrero de 2014)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (26 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

 


Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return

February 3, 2014

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Photo @revoluciontrespuntocero.com

On 22 January passed 5 days since the (temporary) return of the displaced indigenous peoples to the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, but they have confirmed that security conditions for a definitive return are lacking.  The displaced families abandoned the community six months ago due to aggressions and false accusations from the PRI authorities of the ejido.  On 17 January, 14 of the 17 families who have taken refuge in Acteal traveled in caravan to harvest their cafe, as supervised by state and federal officials and accompanied by brigadistas who arrived to meet with the dominant group of the ejido, led by the Evangelical priest and commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez.

Escorted by state police, Secretary of Governance Enrique Ramírez Aguilar and subsecretaries Mariano Díaz Ochoa (Regional Operations), Belisario Rodríguez (Indigenous Peoples and Culture) and Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa (Religious Affairs), as well as Francisco Yáñez, a federal official, and a representative from Chenalhó, José Arias Vázquez.  These all met on friendly terms with commissioner Cruz Gómez and other ejidal authorities responsible for the violence, displacements, and looting.  They arrived with 16 agents from the Public Ministry (MP).

A brigadista reported that “effectively, there are damages to the land and houses.  In five of the latter, there have been cuts to water supply, and on the land robbery of firewood and coffee.  The indigenous people have found imprints of horse’s hooves and we have heard that some families have lost all their crops, including pumpkins, squash, and other vegetables.”

For their part, several indigenous organizations (Movement of El Bosque for the Defense of the People, Civil Resistance Force and Light of the People, Particular Executive Agrarian Committee of Chiapas, ex-prisoners from the Voz del Amate, Civil Resistance Santo Tomás, displaced persons from Banavil and Aurora Ermita, the Ricardo Flores Magón Front, and LakLumal Ixim) expressed their “support in solidarity with our displaced siblings.”

Para más información:

Desplazados chiapanecos, todavía sin garantías para un regreso definitivo(La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2014)

Apoyo a las familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla, Chenalhó, Chiapas(Chiapas Denuncia, 20 de enero de 2014)

Con 600 pesos, síndico de Chenalhó busca solucionar conflicto (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 21 de enero de 2014)

http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)


Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee

January 22, 2014

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants.  They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.

These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built.  In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months.  White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.

Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision.  The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)

Blog de la Misión de Observación: http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/

Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)