Chiapas: new threats against the priest and members of the Believing People in Simojovel

July 2, 2015

Padre Marcelo Pérez Pérez (@Red TdT)

Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez (@Red TdT)

In a communique published on 22 June, members of the parish of San Antonio de Padúa, Simojovel municipality, denounced that, since 16 June, death-threats have been on the rise against Father Marcelo Pérez, catechists, and members of the Parish Council and Believing People, thus putting at risk their lives and physical and psychological integrity. This increase has presented itself following the arrest of Juan Gómez Domínguez, a former PRI mayor, and two of his accomplices, given that “the PRI leaders from different communities hold the Believing People and Pérez Pérez responsible for these arrests, such that now we have entered a high-risk situation.”

Within these new aggressions, the Simojovel Catholics detail that on 16 June, PRI militants “met at the offices of the National Campesino Confederation, several of them carrying machetes, sticks, and gasoline amphoras. Even at night, they went to buy more gasoline, and during the day it was heard that they would attack the church and remove the priest forcibly to kill him.” Beyond this, on 20 June, “a parish council that has been awarded precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) received strong threats against its person and family, leading them to decide to leave and seek out refuge in another municipality for some days.” Two days later, 10 people “strongly armed harassed the CIRSA offices, being a cooperative created by the Catholic Church, whose board members work in the Church, yet no valuable objects were stolen.” That same day in Bochil, close to Simojovel, four people in a parked car were overheard saying, “We are going to decapitate Father Marcelo from Simojovel. We are just finding the right time to do so, given all the fucked-up things he does.”

It should be recalled that for the past year, the Catholics from Simojovel have through pilgrimages demanded the closure of cantinas and sex-houses, and that the sale of drugs and arms in the zone be curtailed. The result is the death-threats they now confront.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento completo: Situación de riesgo contra defensores comunitarios del Pueblo Creyente en Simojovel (Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel,

Por denunciar la corrupción y la venta de drogas, grupos priistas amenazan de muerte al sacerdote y habitantes de Simojovel, Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 25 de junio de 2015)

Prevalece en Simojovel “situación de alto riesgo” por detención de ex alcalde(La Jornada, 25 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest (23 April 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

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Chiapas: Beginning of grand pilgrimage of the Believing People from Simojovel

April 10, 2015

Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente, Simojovel, marzo de 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Pilgrimage of the Believing People, Simojovel, March 2015 (@SIPAZ)

On Monday 23 March, more than 5,000 members of the Believing People from Simojovel–an organizational process associated with the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese–undertook a grand pilgrimage (Easter Via Crucis), leaving from this city to arrive in the Chiapas state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, on 26 March.  Through this peaceful mobilization, they seek to obtain greater security in the region, the closure of cantinas and brothels, an effective campaign against alcoholism and drug abuse, and an end to corruption.  Equally, they have pronounced themselves in defense of their priest, Marcelo Pérez Pérez, and the members of the parish council who have received threats due to their support of these demands.  In this sense, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to guarantee their protection.

This first day, the pilgrims covered approximately 45 kilometers, stopping to sleep in Bochil before continuing on in the direction of Ixtapa, the destination for the second day of the pilgrimage.  In total, they plan to walk over 120 kilometers.

For more information (in Spanish):

Peregrinan 10 mil en Chiapas contra corrupción en zona norte (OEM, 24 de marzo de 2015)

“En Simojovel no hay agua potable, pero sí litros y litros de alcohol”(Chiapas Paralelo, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Marchan católicos contra alcohol y drogas (La Jornada, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Simojovel Chiapas: Importante, significativa y oportuna la Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente (Radio Pozol, 23 de marzo de 2015)

Solicita CIDH medidas cautelares para sacerdote de Simojovel (Proceso, 18 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People from Simojovel announce pilgrimage to Tuxtla to demand peace and justice (22 March 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)


Chiapas: Believing People of Simojovel announce pilgrimage to Tuxtla to demand peace and justice

March 22, 2015

DSCF4309

Press-conference, 17 March. Photo @SIPAZ

The Believing People of Simojovel, during a press-conference held on 17 March at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, (CDHFBC), called for a pilgrimage or way of the cross from 23 to 26 March as a means of peacefully denouncing the violence they experience in their region.  They compare this situation of violence at the state and national levels: “Simojovel is a small reflection of what is happening throughout the country: the institutionalized corruption governs at all levels, and for that reason the people must rise up and organize themselves to defend life.  What is at risk is human life, the future of our children, and of our daughters.”  The pilgrimage will be held from 23-26 March, leaving the first day from Simojovel and passing through the communities of Bochil, Ixtapa and Chiapa de Corzo, arriving on Thursday 26 March in the Chiapas capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado y fotos (Chiapas Denuncia, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Conferencia de prensa (Ustream, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Comunicado Simojovel (17 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (13 June 2014)


Chiapas: mining reactivation is reported in the state

March 3, 2015
Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

In a statement released on February 14, the Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa in Chiapas affirmed that it had received a copy of a letter addressed to the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, which was signed by Dr. Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA). In this letter, the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to access their private and communal territories, and where, in a period of time of three months, he “has programmed to carry out geological mapping of the region comprised of the municipalities of Jitotol de Zaragoza, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Bochil, San Andrés Duraznal, El Bosque, Simojovel, Huitipán, Tapilula, Rayon, Pantepec, Allende Esquipulas, Las Maravillas, Union Zaragoza, Carmen Zacatal,Álvaro Obregón, Rincon Chamula, Competition, El Bosque, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Sitalá, San Juan Cancuc, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán”.

The Committee Digna Ochoa expressed that it “confirms that the government of Chiapas and mining companies are going for more territories and municipalities in the Northern region and Highlands of Chiapas and that the threat of looting and plunder is at the door of peasants and indigenous territories’ lands. (…) A door is opened to legalize the dispossession of land and resources belonging to hundreds of communities and indigenous and peasants peoples without an effective tool of legal defense such as the community consultation supported by ILO Convention 169”.

On February 11, the Believing People of the parish of Santa Catarina Pantelho organized a demonstration in the county seat of this municipality to announce its total rejection of the company GYMSA arrival.

In the last three governments in Chiapas, 144 mining concessions for exploration or exploitation have been granted (some of them for up to 50 years). Recently, in the natural reserve “El Triunfo”, municipality, and after months of opposition, the landowners gave up some plots to a Chinese company it is said for three million pesos per hectare.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se reactiva amenaza minera en municipios del norte de Chiapas, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de febrero de 2015)

Pantelho se moviliza en contra de los proyectos de minas (Espoir Chiapas, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Amenaza la minería a Chiapas; más de un millón hectáreas concesionadas (Reporte Ciudadano, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Tras meses de oposición labriegos de Chiapas aceptan vender parcelas a una minera china (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Carlos Slim, empresarios extranjeros y presta nombres, los dueños de concesiones mineras en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)