Guerrero: Prison sentence for David Valtierra, founder of Radio Nomnda

November 19, 2009

radio no

On November 12 David Valtierra Arango, one of the founders of the community radio station Nomndaa (The Word of Water), was handed down a prison sentence. Valtierra had been accused of wrongfully depriving Ariosta Rocha of his freedom. Rocha is the brother of Aceadeth Rocha Ramirez, a local PRI deputy and the ex-mayor of the municipality of Xochistlahuaca.

Since November 5 David Valtierra had reported that there was an arrest warrant against him, as well as 30 Amuzgo indigenous people, all for the same reason.

Since 2002 the people of Xochistlahuaca have organized their own autonomous government, put in place to maintain their own customs and traditions. They accused then-mayor Aceadeth Rocha of the misuse of funds. Two years later, in December 2004, the community radio project “The Word of the Water” began transmitting in the Amuzgo language – the first of its kind in Guerrero. Since that time, founders of the radio station like David Valtierra have had to face persecution and harassment from state and federal officials.

The Montana Tlachinollan Human Rights Center emphasized the following: “Aceadeth Rocha has played an important role in this climate of repression by starting a pirate radio station without any trouble (and with the backing of the Guerrero government) with the clear intention of blocking the Radio Nomndaa signal.” Tlachinollan denounced the arrest of David Valtierra as “an attack against freedom of expression. This is evidence of a government that uses the justice system to knock down whoever is fighting for indigenous people and the political opposition. The investigation against David Valtierra and the members of the Xochistlahuaca Community Front are supported by proof that is fabricated, inconsistent and tainted from the beginning. All of which points to this as an act criminalization of human rights defenders.”

For more information:

– Dictan auto de formal prisión a fundador de la radio comunitaria Ñomndaa (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan)

– Formal prisión a fundador de radio indígena (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Xochistlahuaca (Website)

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Chiapas Forum: “Women’s Perspectives on Militarization”

October 20, 2009

foro mujeres y militarizacion

On October 2nd and 3rd, various organizations, among them SIPAZ, convened a forum on Women’s Perspectives on Militarization, which was held at CIDECI-Unitierra, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas. About 160 women from Guatemala, Honduras, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guerrero, and elsewhere participated along with those from the communities of Chiapas. Between lectures and table discussions, the women shared their ideas, sorrow, bravery, resistance, struggles, complaints, and injustices that their organizations and communities are enduring.

In the final declaration of the event, they stated:

“The increase, in the last decade, of militarization, para-militarization, and drug-militarization in Latin America has worsened violations of human rights, the most recent examples of which being the coup in Honduras and the installation of seven United States military bases in Colombia which signify, on the one hand, the weakening development of the fledgling democracies in Latin America, and, on the other, the strengthening of militarization as a means of control through the use of weapons, protests and proposals of social improvement through the neoliberal capitalist system in which poverty, corruption and violence are its principal expressions.

In this context, women will continue being used as the plunders of war, hostages, shields, forced to take place in activities that violate our dignity. The militarization seeks to appropriate our thoughts, spirits, families and territories. Today, we live in a militarized society in which power, coercion and violence are reproduced as a way of life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa del 2 de octubre

Pronunciamiento del Foro Perspectivas de las Mujeres ante la Militarización

Audios (in Spanish):

ponencias 2 de octubre

ponencias 3 de octubre

participaciones

capsúla radiofónica


Guerrero: Reports of military torture and harassment of three communities in the region of Cuyuca de Catalan

July 21, 2009

militares-gro

From the 9th to the 13th July a group of soldiers entered into three communities in Guerrero (Las Palancas, Puerto de las Ollas y El Jilguero) in the region of Coyuca de Catalán, in the area of Tierra Caliente. The soldiers fired gunshots into the air and at those who tried to flee into the mountains.

The aim of the military excursion was to detain members of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (ERPI), in particular the so-called commander Ramiro, whose real name is Omar Guerrero Solís, who organized a press conference from hiding on the 31st May. In his declaration, the commandor Ramiro accused a local political boss of using a paramilitary group with the aim of intimidating agricultural workers from the area who opposed deforestation or the cultivation of drugs in the area.

Although on the 9th June, 60 soldiers entered into the communities, on the following day, even more arrived so as to provide reinforcements to those already there, bringing the grand total of soldiers up to around 500. During the five days, women and children of the area suffered harassment by the soldiers, and in some cases, torture. At last, the army withdrew on the 13th June, when a team of observers arrived, formed of Human Rights organizations, as well as various Civil Society organizations, such as the Human Rights Defense Commission of the state of Guerrero (Coddehum).

The reports submitted by the Civil Society organizations talk of the specific torture of two individuals, as well as of house raids and the use of knifes that were placed on three women’s throats to make them give information regarding the whereabouts of their husbands. In addition, members of the communities suffered robberies, threats and various attempts by the soldiers to falsify tests that would suggest links between community members with armed groups and drug-traffickers, through the sowing of poppy seeds, as well as arms and other military equipment.

For more information (spanish):


Guerrero: 15th Anniversary of the CDHM Tlachinollan

July 16, 2009

cdhm_tlachi

In spite of the grave incidents the past few months, such as the mourning of the death of the two human rights advocates of Guerrero in February, and of the fear felt by many locals of repeated kidnappings and harassments, the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) in their 15th anniversary, organized the forum “Defenders: Among Pain and Hope” from July 26th through the 27th where over 250 people of various local, national, and international organizations and communities attended.

On Friday morning, the panel “Defenders of the Communities in Guerrero” highlighted the extreme seriousness of the situation for human rights advocates in the state of Guerrero, with presentations of current cases and older cases that remain unresolved. In the evening, national allies presented a broader analysis of the panorama and confirmed the criminalization of the “defenders of human rights”. On Saturday there were workshops about mechanisms of urgent action against violations of human rights in Guerrero and throughout Mexico.

The forum, which presented the immense pain and anger as well as the determination and hope of human rights advocates, concluded with a thank you event at the Cathedral of Tlapa as well as a beautiful closing event where everyone acknowledged the work and dedication of the people of Tlachinollan and other communities throughout Guerrero.

For more information (spanish only):


Guerrero: Intent of assassination against members of the OFPM

July 16, 2009
Meeting of Human Rights Defenders with widows of Mixteco leaders assassinated

Meeting of Human Rights Defenders with widows of Mixteco human rights defenders assassinated in february 2009

On June 22nd, there was an attempt to assassinate Margarita Martin de las Nieves and Santiago Ponce, widow and brother of Manuel Ponce Rosas (executed extrajudicially in February 2009). Both are indigenous peoples and members of Organizacion para el Futuro del Pueblo Mixteco (Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People or OFPM). They were stopped while on their way from the Office of Trachinollan in Ayutla to Margarita’s residence, after holding meetings with Fondo Para la No Violencia (Funds for Non-Violence) and with functionaries of the US and Canadian Embassies where they testified about the threats they have suffered and also about the extra-judicial execution of Rual Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas, whose cases remain unpunished.

The Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (Center of Human Rights of the Montaña Tlachinollan) condoned the assassination attempt against the indigenous advocates and requested that the Mexican State implement without delay security and protection measures, according to what is dictated by the Inter-american Human Rights Court. It is important to remember that on April 9, the Interamerican Human Rights Court (Corte) gave provisional measures to 107 human rights advocates from Guerrero, most of them indigenous people, by considering that their physical integrity is in grave danger.

For more information (spanish only):

More information from SIPAZ:


Guerrero: appeal is granted to 5 members of the OPIM

May 6, 2009
Raúl Hernández Abundio, the only remaining prisoner of the OPIM

Raúl Hernández Abundio, the only remaining prisoner of the OPIM

On April 29, the Eighth District Judge in Acapulco granted an appeal of the arrest warrants against 5 members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM). The five men are Cuauhtémoc Ramírez Rodríguez (the ex-president of the OPIM), Braulio Manzanares Lorenzo, José Eugenio Cruz, Félix Ortega Dolores and Merced Santiago Lorenzo. The Judge, Livia Lizbeth Larumbe Radilla, acknowledged that there did not exist sufficient evidence to corroborate their involvement in the killing of Alejandro Feliciano, which took place on January 1 of 2008.

In total, 15 members of the OPIM were accused of killing Alejandro Feliciano, claimed to be an informant of the Army. Five of them were detained; however 4 were freed on an appeal on March 18 of this year. It is important to remember that one remains prisoners; Raúl Hernández Abundio who was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and who remains in jail in Ayutla de los Libres since April 18 of 2008. There are also still arrest warrants against 5 other members of the OPIM. In a press release, the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) stated that “The granting of the appeal shows that the government of Guerrero uses the institutions of justice to persecute human rights defenders who organize and question authoritarianism, militarization, and the lack of education, healthcare, and other rights which are systematically violated”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Comunicado sobre el amparo, CDHM Tlachinollan, 29/4

Juzgado otorga amparo a 5 indígenas acusados de homicidio, El Universal, 30/4.

Otorgan amparo a 5 integrantes de la OPIM, La Jornada, 30/4.

More Information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: 4 of the 5 jailed human rights defenders are freed, (SIPAZ Blog, 3/19/2009)

Guerrero: Memebers of the OPIM request another appeal, (SIPAZ Blog 2/5/2009)

Guerrero: Federal government overturns appeal granted to 4 of the 5 detained members of OPIM (SIPAZ Blog, 11/6/08)


Guerrero: International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest

May 4, 2009

On April 20 and 21 of 2009, the “International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest” took place in the Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero. It was organized by various human rights organizations from Guerrero and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF, based in the US), with the goal of dealing with the serious situation which confronts human rights defenders in Mexico and in Guerrero in particular, as well as discussing possible responses to this situation. The long title of the forum is a result of the wide definition of human rights defenders (from the UN), a concept which is wider than just legal defense and involves many social movements as well.

Katya Salazar, the director of the DPLF, and Abel Barrera, the director of the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) began the forum by denouncing the general tendency to criminalize human rights defenders, which has worsened in the last few months, especially in the Guerrero with the cases of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who were abducted, tortured, and executed in February, the closing of the offices of the CDHM Tlachinollan in Ayutla for security issues, and the threats and violence that the members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM) have suffered. Emilie Joly, of the DPLF, stressed that in Guerrero there existed a three-step pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders: the closing of channels of dialogue and negotiation, the repression of civil, peaceful protests, and the use of judicial processes against human rights defenders (disproportionate or fabricated crimes against them, and the lack of investigation into threats and violence against human rights defenders).

The next day, the tables of discussion analyzed the reality of the situation and evaluated plans of action. They concluded with a final declaration including various denunciations and demands.

To Read the Final Declaration of the Forum (In English and Spanish)

For More Information (In Spanish):

artículo de prensa: Asesinato de Lucas y Ponce agrava situación de derechos en Guerrero, La Jornada Guerrero (21/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Criminalización de la protesta, patrón incesante en Guerrero, concluyen en Foro Internacional, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Señalan desprecio a ONG humanitarias en Guerrero, La Jornada (20/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Rinden homenaje a viudas de Raúl Lucas y Manuel Ponce; les entregan retratos de los líderes, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

Comunicado: ONG denuncian las tendencias de desprestigio al trabajo de los defensores en AL, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos \”Todos los derechos para todas y todos\” (20/04/09)

boletín de prensa: En América Latina hay una tendencia a desprestigiar el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (20/04/09)