Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Candelaria express their opposition to the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway

September 16, 2014

Conferencia de prensa del Ejido Candelaria, septiembre de 2014 (@SiPAZ)

In a press-conference held on 11 September in the offices of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, ejidiatari@s from Candelaria, San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, made public their opposition to the planned construction of the highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque, with this being a decision agreed to in their communal assembly.

The ejidatarios denounced acts of pressure, harassment, and death-threats on the part of governmental authorities to make the assembly accept the passage of the highway through its lands.  On 23 June, governmental representative Javier López Ramírez came to announce that “the highway would pass” through the other communities that had already signed the accord, but the ejidatarios investigated this claim to find out that it was false.  They affirmed that “the comrades from Chilon told [us] that the government used the same strategy with them and that it was not true.”

The ejidatarios expressed that “elders, women, men, children, communities, and organizations will join together to see what can be done as people against this project,” and they invited the communities to a Meeting in Defense of Mother Earth to coordinate resistance on 17 September at 11am in Laguna Suyul, Candelaria.

For more information (in Spanish):

Vídeo de la conferencia Ejido La Candelaria: “No a la autopista San Cristóbal – Palenque (Koman Ilel, 11 de septiembre de 2014)

Candelaria: Los pueblos originarios en contra el megaproyecto de autopista en Chiapas (Espoir Chiapas, 11 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: An assembly of Tzeltal communities from Chilón municipality reject the SCLC-Palenque highway (9 September 2014)

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (14 February 2014)


Campeche: Three activists from the movement against high electricity-prices are released on bail

June 9, 2010
Los tres activistas ante los medios al salir del penal © AMAP
The three activists before the media after being released © AMAP

On 6 June, Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar, and Guadalupe Borjas were released on bail after having spent nearly eleven months in prison for having participated in the civil-resistance movement against high electricity-prices in Candelaria, Campeche.  These three members of the movement were accused of having illegally kidnapped an official from the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE), among other charges.  According to the press-release distributed by the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of Peoples (AMAP) and the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electricity-Prices, the crime of kidnapping was at a certain point in the legal process reclassified as a misdemeanor; as such, the three prisoners were released on bail of 3,300 pesos each.  It should be mentioned that the three were declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International on 4 March.

Regardless, according to the aforementioned press-release, the “legal process will continue, and [the three activists] will have to appear before the court on the 1 and 15 of each month, although the defense for the prisoners of conscience, headed by lawyer David Peña Rodríguez, claimed that it will give notice of appeal for a new order against this finding of the court, since ‘we are clearly convinced of their innocence, and we will show this to the judicial officials.’  Peña Rodríguez emphasized that ‘this accusation constitutes a political sanction against resistance to high electricity-prices; we will not allow the government to criminalize social protest and poverty.'”

Furthermore, a member of the civil-resistance movement against high electricity-prices in Candelaria, Campeche, confirmed to SIPAZ that Octavio Solís Cortés, detained on 15 May, was also released.  No further details were released.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Campeche: Arrest of activist campaigning against high electricity prices

May 27, 2010

On 15 May, in the city of Escárcega, units of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) detained Octavio Solís Cortés, member of the civil resistance movement against high electricity prices in Candelaria in the state of Campeche.  He was taken to the Public Ministry in the city of Campeche, capital of the state of the same name, and thereafter to the San Francisco Koben prison.  In accordance with the denunciation made by the Movement of Popular Culture of Mérida (Yucatán), the “arrest of comrade Octavio Solís has occurred the same day on which took place the National Meeting of Resistance in Candelaria, when compañeros Sara, Joaquín, and Guadalupe began a hunger-strike aimed at pressuring the courts to resolve the ruling that was granted them previously, that they stop delaying doing so.”

It should be remembered that on 10 July 2009, the PGR detained Sara López González, Joaquín Aguilar Méndez, Guadalupe Borjas Contreras, Elmer Castellanos Velázquez, and Guadalupe Lizcano Gómez, from the aforementioned movement; they too were held in Koben prison, and accused of illegal privation of liberty, among other charges.  Elmer Castellanos Velázquez and Guadalupe Lizcano were released on bail on 23 September 2009.  Amnesty International declared Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar, and Guadalupe Borjas prisoners of conscience on 4 March 2009, as it considered that the imprisonment of the three activists was due to their struggle against the excessively high electricity prices that the parastatal Federal Commission on Electricity (CFE) charges.  Amnesty also believes the charges that the three face to have been fabricated.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Montes Azules Social Forum

March 17, 2010

On March 5 and 6, the “Montes Azules Social Forum” took place at the Ejido Candelaria, municipality of Ocosingo, in the heart of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Some 200 people attended including indigenous communities at risk of eviction from their lands as well as social and civil organizations from around Mexico.

The final declaration which resulted from the forum emphasizes: “No individual, community or people may be deprived of their rights due to the fact that they live in a protected natural area, above all the right to life, security and self determination.” In developing a strategy to evade the evictions that have been announced by the authorities, the declaration states: “This defense requires a new unity that begins with the communities and ejidos that reside in the Montes Azules and should continue to grow throughout other regions, states and countries, including all of the women and men that recognize this common struggle.”

To this end the participants highlighted: “we should recognize the many roads taken in the past, learn from the different strategies and experiences in defense of territory. In order to move forward it is necessary to look back and reexamine history so that we can recreate the cultural identity that sustains or struggles and strategies.” Recognizing that “one of our greatest challenges is to make public our tasks and our proposals with the media in order to change the image that the government promotes presenting us as ‘predators’ and ‘destroyers’ of nature,” the declaration points out that: “Our strategies will attempt to link the political struggle with a legal defense, sustainable maintenance of natural resources and the construction of ‘good living’ [buen vivir] projects.”

For More Information (Spanish):

Montes Azules Social Forum (Cuarto Poder, 11/3/2010)

Final Declaration

For More Information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Montes Azules evictions jeopardize peace in Chiapas (9/2/2010)

Chiapas: New evictions in Montes Azules (3/2/2010)

Forced Evictions in Montes Azules: Conserving Biodiversity – With or Against Indigenous Villages? (SIPAZ Documents)

Mexico: AI Declares Activists against High Electricity Tariffs Prisoners of Conscience

March 10, 2010

Last March 4, Amesty International (AI) declared Sara López González, Guadalupe Borjas and Joaquín Aguilar prisoners of conscience. The three are members of the Movement against High Electricity Tariffs (Movimiento de Resistencia Civil a las Altas Tarifas de la Energía Eléctrica) in Candelaria, Campeche who have been detained since July 10, 2009 in the San Francisco Kobén prison in Campeche due to their struggle for a just electricity tariff. The National Movement against High Electricity Tariffs (Red Nacional de la Resistencia Civil a las Altas Tarifas de la Energía Eléctrica) announced various activities in solidarity throughout the country after having celebrated its Second Gathering at the national level held on February 27 and 28 in Mexico City.

In their declaration concerning the three detainees in Campeche, AI stressed that “The three were detained in July 2009 in relation to their involvement in the group. Mexico’s Federal Attorney General (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is accusing the three leaders of allegedly holding hostage an employee of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Company (CFE, Comisión Federal de Electricidad). The charges were based on an original complaint by the legal representative of the electricity company for obstructing delivery of a public service, a minor charge. The complaint came after the protest leaders met with the electricity company to ask for the electricity supply to be reconnected. However, the PGR then fabricated the additional charge of hostage taking, a serious offence not eligible for bail. […] ‘The criminal charges against Sara, Joaquín and Guadalupe are completely baseless and seem to have been brought only to stop their campaign against high electricity tariffs,’ said Rupert Knox, Mexico researcher at Amnesty International.”

For their part, the National Movement against High Electricity Tariffs announced a national campaign to demand the release of the prisoners of conscience from Candelaria. In addition, the organization declared that they will participate in acts of solidarity with the movement against hydroelectric dams on the International Day against Dams and for Rivers, to be held on March 14. They will also be participating in the “National Political Strike” (“Huelga Política Nacional”), convened by the Mexican Electricians Union (SME, Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas) to take place on March 16. The organization also denounced a “coalition” between the CFE and the PGR in order to “fabricate crimes and invent false accusations” against those who struggle for a just tariff, as well as “the arrest warrants that they have taken out against member of our national network in Ixtepec and Santa María Xhadani, Oaxaca; Minatitlán and Tatahuicapan, Veracruz; Candelaria, Campeche, as well as member os the Mexican Alliance for Self Determination of the People (Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos).”

For More Information:

More information from SIPAZ:

Campeche: National Meeting for the Liberation of Political Prisoners of Candelaria, Campeche

October 27, 2009

Imagen de la conformación de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil a las Altas Tarifas de la Energía Eléctrica, mayo de 2009

On September 13th, 14th, and 15th, the National Meeting for the Liberation of Political Prisoners of Candelaria was held in Campeche, in the capital of the same state, in solidarity with the five prisoners of Candelaria and the villagers of San Antonio Ébula, all from the state of Campeche. The five detainees from the “Movement in opposition to high electrical energy prices” in Candelaria who had been violently detained this past July 10th, accused of kidnapping, among other crimes, were freed on bail on September 23rd.

The meeting, in which six national organizations and twenty-eight organizations from nine Mexican states participated, among them several from the state of Chiapas, also brought solidarity with the villagers of San Antonio Ébula, who have been deprived of their own land by people contracted by the local businessman Eduardo Escalante with the complicity of the state government.

In the public pronouncement made at the end of the meeting, they emphasized that the encarcerated of Candelaria are “political prisoners of conscience because they have been deprived of their freedom for defending the rights of the people,” since they demand a just rate for electrical energy service. Moreover, the participants of the meeting denounced the conduct of the law enforcement authorities who, “have violated the human rights of our ‘compañeros’ . . . and, above all, have been clear in criminalizing civil disobedience and any other kind of organization that tries to defend the rights of the people.” They announced that they will take action to pressure and demand the freedom of the detainees. This means that a large part of the organizations participating in the meeting will become part of the National Network of Civil Resistance to High Electrical Energy Prices, which was formed last May in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, and who have made mutual solidarity one of their principles in the vein of “One for all and all for one.”

In this context, Elmer Castellanos Velázquez and Guadalupe Lizcano Gómez were freed on bail due to the resolution of their legal defense’s appeal. Sara López González, Joaquín Aguilar Méndez and Guadalupe Borjas Contreras are still in jail, each of whom are from the Candelaria “Movement in opposition to high electrical energy prices.”

For more information (in Spanish)


Acción Urgente: Libertad inmediata e incondicional a l@s pres@s políticos de Candelaria, Campeche