Chiapas: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots”

December 30, 2014

XVII Aniversario de la MAsacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (@SIPAZ)

17 years after the Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a series of activities held in this same community.  On 21 December, a forum combined testimonies with prayers.  During this event participated Franciscan monks from the “72” migrant-home from Tenosique, Tabasco; the relatives of the disappeared students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; the father of Alejandro Díaz Santis, prisoner in the San Cristóbal jail and a member in solidarity with the Voz del Amate; the catechist Margarita Martínez Álvarez from El Limar, Tila municipality, in the northern zone of Chiapas, a region that also suffered murders, forcible disappearances, and massive displacements between 1995 and 2000; as well as representatives of the displaced from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality.  It was stressed that all these processes should be united, not just based on shared pain, but also in terms of the search for justice and hope.

XVII Aniversario de la masacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (@SIPAZ)

On 22 December, following a pilgrimage, a mass was celebrated with the presence of hundreds of persons.  The Las Abejas Civil Society denounced in a communique that “17 years, four presidents, and two political parties in power have passed since the bad government of Ernesto Zedillo to the [present] bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto.  Not one has had the dignity, humanity, or decency to apply justice and recognize the truth of the Acteal massacre.”  The bishop Felipe Arizmendi stressed for his part that “it is unconscionable that nearly all those imprisoned for this crime have been absolved, just because there were judicial deficiencies in their legal processing, not because they were innocent.”  It should be recalled that only two persons remain imprisoned for the crime of the Acteal massacre, and these two have had their sentences reduced from 36 to 18 years imprisonment.

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi (@SIPAZ)

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi (@SIPAZ)

Felipe Arizmendi noted that, though “so many years [have passed] of demanding justice and being ignored, […] we will all continue to demand and ask for justice.  We cannot resign ourselves passively to silence.”  The Las Abejas Civil Society used a fragment of the Mayan book Popul Vuh to affirm the same: “They took our fruits, cut off our branches, and burned our trunk, but they could not kill our roots.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil de Las Abejas de Acteal (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

La Fraternidad, impulso y fuerza de la Resistencia. #Acteal #17Años(Koman Ilel, Cobertura del 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Es la historia de tod@s. Crónica de conmemoración diecisiete de la masacre ocurrida en el paraje de #Acteal (Koman Ilel, cobertura del 21 de diciembre de 2014)

Ningún presidente ha hecho justicia a 17 años de la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (Proceso, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

A 17 años, conmemoran con misa masacre de Acteal (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Padres de normalistas encabezan marcha en Acteal, Chiapas (Radio Fórmula, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Llegan representantes de Ayotzinapa a Acteal para conmemorar masacre(La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (9 June 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: Case against Zedillo for Acteal massacre is dismissed (21 July 2013)

Chiapas: Commemoration of 20th anniversary of Las Abejas and coming 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre (21 December 2012)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats

June 13, 2014
Pilgrimage in Simojovel, June 2014 (@Frayba)

Pilgrimage in Simojovel, June 2014 (@Frayba)

On June 6, a pilgrimage of about 3,500 people from the Parish of San Antonio de Padua and villagers from Simojovel was held to pray for peace and to end violence. They asked the authorities “to close the bars, nightclubs, prostitution and vice centres which are damaging families.”  They also sent a letter to the mayor of the municipality, Javier Guzman Hernandez, to explain the problems generated by alcoholism among the families in Simojovel, because “we have all been victims of robberies, assaults and murders in broad daylight as a result of all evil.”

The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre joined the pilgrimage “in the face of the social discontent due to the excessive amount of alcohol outlets, tolerated by the local authorities. They have resulted in increased domestic violence, extreme poverty in entire families, serious impacts on public health and social injustice in community life”, said the Centre in a statement. It added that “a cause which favours the existence and proliferation of bars and purchase of alcohol in communities is the economic resources that are channelled through social programmes, such as Procampo and Opportunidades.”

Moreover, the bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, said that the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, has received threats linked to the protests to close bars and cantinas. The bishop noted that “some people whose interests are affected (owners of bars, people selling drugs or organizing murders), are obviously not very happy with the church’s position and the organization of protests about these things.” On the threats against Father Marcelo, he said: “The father is not organizing paramilitary groups or other violent actions; he is organizing people so that they realize they cannot live in a climate of violence.” He also commented that these threats could have been made ​​by people in political campaigns.

For more information (in Spanish):

Mensaje a quienes peregrinan por justicia social en Simojovel, Chiapas (Boletín Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 6 de junio de 2014)

Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel peregrinó para exigir: seguridad, libertad y justicia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 6 de junio de 2014)

Piden se detenga venta de drogas, armas y alcohol, en Simojovel (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de junio de 2014)

Amenazan a párroco por oponerse a las cantinas (Noticias Net, 6 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People holds pilgrimage in Simojovel to denounce the increase in violence in the municipality (October 26, 2013)

Chiapas: Vatican lifts ban to ordain deacons in the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas

June 9, 2014


On May 24, Pope Francis, through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, overturned the prohibition to ordinate permanent deacons in the Diocese of San Cristobal de la Casas, Chiapas. During the pontificate of John Paul II, 14 years ago, such ordinations had been prohibited.

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel celebrated this news, acknowledging that “taking into account the shortage of priestly vocations, deacons are a good choice for the Catholic Church because they can perform marriages, baptisms, proclaim the Gospel, preside at funerals, although they are not authorized to forgive sins and to consecrate. Deacons are not priests, so they can be married or unmarried; priests on the contrary commit to celibacy. Vatican II restored the diaconate ministry in the Catholic Church. “

Bishop Arizmendi recalled that in 2000 the Vatican prohibited the Diocese of San Cristobal to order more permanent deacons, “because it had serious reservations about the large number of them, compared with the relatively small number of priests. It was feared that to have many deacons and few priests did not correspond to a more comprehensive ecclesiasticism, as proposed by the Second Vatican Council. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Arizmendi: Roma autorizó ordenar más diáconos permanentes, La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2014

Levanta el Papa prohibición de ordenar diáconos en San Cristóbal de las Casas, La Jornada, 26 de mayo de 2014

Santa Sede levanta prohibición de ordenar diáconos permanentes a la diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas, El Observador, 28 de mayo de 2014

Vaticano aprueba “Directorio del Diaconado Permanente de los Pueblos Indígenas”, chiapasparalelo, 13 de diciembre de 2013