Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce harassment of members of their organization

December 26, 2015



On 2 December, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal denounced that three families from its organization had been harassed in the Chenalhó municipality by the agent Antonio Vázquez Gutiérrez and the popular assembly of Los Chorros. As residents of the Jordan River neighborhood of the Miguel Utrilla district of Los Chorros, the families were obliged to accept a governmental project “service” involving sanitation drainage. Furthermore, two men of these families were punished with a fine of 5,000 pesos for having refused communal responsibilities. As members of the Las Abejas Civil Society, an autonomous organization, they do not receive any support from the government and do not pay taxes. In place of this, they demanded that their posture be respected, but the threats on the part of leaders of the assembly and the municipal agent have continued. In this sense, on 24 November Las Abejas submitted a letter to the mayor of Chenalhó, Rosa Peréz Pérez, requesting her urgent intervention to avoid greater threats and violence. Pérez Pérez “has not observed her obligation of protecting the human rights of those under her jurisdiction, even when she had the information at hand to resolve the problem. For this reason the intervention took place.” This made it possible that on 30 November, residents of the Jordan River presented themselves to the homes of three families to cut their water and electricity services. Las Abejas indicated in its communique that the action was led by the municipal agent, and that ex-members of the organization and paramilitaries who participated in the Acteal massacre in 1997 also took part. “The action provoked great fear among the children and the women due to the precedent that exists in the community […]. We find ourselves confronting a human-rights violation.”

The case of Los Chorros is not an aberration: in the Puebla neighborhood a member of Las Abejas has been imprisoned for having refused charges. Other members of Las Abejas from the Kexaluk’um neighborhood who belong to the Xunuch community “are threatened with this month having their electricity cut, if the Directive Table does not ‘convince’ the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) […].” The demands of Las Abejas are unequivocal:

1.) Urgent reconnection to electricity and water services for the affected families, and that the free self-determination of persons and organizations be respected.

2.) Respect for the resistance and autonomy of the comrades.

3.) Determination of the non-approach of those involved in the Acteal massacre to the communities, families, and individuals associated with our organization.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Agresión a miembros de Las Abejas en la colonia Los Chorros, cuna de los paramilitares (Las Abejas de Acteal, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

#Denuncia de la Sociedad Civil de Las Abejas ante el hostigamiento que sufren tres familias en los Chorros (Koman Ilel, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

Las abejas de Acteal, se niegan aceptar programas sociales (Quadratin chiapas, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas reject ‘friendly solution’ with Mexican State (25 October 2015)

Chiapas: Monthly commemoration by Las Abejas de Acteal (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce 6 years of release of paramilitaries (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: A member of the Las Abejas Civil Society is murdered (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: TPP pre-audience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)


Chiapas: Believing People of Chenalhó pronounces itself in favor of the closure of cantinas in the municipality

June 30, 2015

Iglesia de Chenalhó (@Koman Ilel)

Chenalhó church (@Koman Ilel)

In a communique published on 23 June, Catholics from the Chenalhó parish who make up part of the Believing People pronounced themselves in favor of the closure of cantinas and alcohol dispensaries in their municipality. They stressed that “the consequences of the consumption of alcohol are disastrous, such as suicides, deaths, motor-vehicle accidents, and divorce.” There exist some 21 cantinas, three restaurants, and two grocery stores in the municipal seat.

The Catholics demanded that the agreement which previously had been organized by the 94 communities of the municipality be observed, as the owners of cantinas and alcohol dispensaries have not respected this. It must be recalled that on 13 June, an organized women’s group requested the authorities to produce a document that would demand the departure of those selling alcohol. In this way, “on 20 June, the judges went to see whether the alcohol-vendors respected the document, but they did not. Instead, they merely returned to selling.”

They claim as well that “if something bad happens, whether to the organized women, or to our priest or the believers of this parish, the immediately responsible parties will be the authorities of the Chenalhó municipality, the state government, and the federal government, and we will not remain silent, but rather we will denounce the situation before national and international civil society, and before Mexican and global human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo: Pueblo Creyente denuncia complicidad de autoridades en venta desmedida de alcohol en Chenalhó (Pueblo Creyente de Chenalhó, 23 de junio de 2015)

Atender problemas de venta de alcohol (Cuarto Poder, 24 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People of El Bosque march for a halt to violence in their region (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel to demand justice and truth amidst deaths of infants (9 June 2015)

Chiapas: Rise in threats against the priest and members of the Believing People in Simojovel (24 April 2015)

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released

December 6, 2014


Abejas of Acteal (@SIPAZ archive)

Nearly 17 years after the Acteal massacre, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) decided to release three of the remaining five Tsotsil indigenous individuals imprisoned in the Amate prison for their participation in the Acteal massacre.

The massacre took place on 22 December 1997, when 45 members of the Las Abejas of Acteal organization were killed, the majority being women and children.

The three who have been released had requested an official recognition of innocence, which was granted to them based on criteria stipulated by the SCJN in 2008, when it ordered the release of dozens of prisoners for the first time, having decided that the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) used illegal evidence in its investigation, thus violating the right of the accused to due process.  For their part, Las Abejas expressed that “if for the SCJN there are no guilty ones, if all the paramilitaries who have been sentenced are in fact innocent, then we demand that they give us back the lives of our martyrs, and that they present our children and parents who were shot to death on 22 December 1997 with life.”  They added that “other than for the government, it will be the SCJN that will be responsible for any conflict that results from the release of these paramilitaries, because the social fabric has been degraded and destroyed.  It has not been repaired, such that there are no conditions that would guarantee the non-repetition of the acts.”

In sum, 102 indigenous persons were processed for the killing of 45 members of the Las Abejas community, in addition to 4 unborn children, and they began to be released in 2008, after having advanced legal motions before the federal authorities.  Now, only two people remain imprisoned for the massacre.

For more information (in Spanish):

La justicia en México es un teatro: Sobrevivientes de Acteal, Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de noviembre de 2014

Ordena la Corte liberar a tres tzotziles vinculados con la masacre de Acteal, Proceso, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Ordena la SCJN la liberación de tres sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal, La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014

Acteal: consagración de la impunidad, La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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 (May 2, 2014)

Chiapas: Resurgence of the agrarian conflict between the neighboring municipalities of Chenalhó and Chalchihuitán

June 10, 2014

Recently, the territorial and agrarian conflict between the municipalities of Chalchihuitán and Chenalhó has worsened once again. It’s linked to a dispute over more than 900 hectares located in the boundaries between the two entities. It’s an old conflict that started in 1973 with the work of recognition and certification of the common lands of both villages by the former Department of Agrarian Reform–at present, the Ministry for Agricultural, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU). When the measurements were made, the limits respected by both villages (the river as a natural boundary) were not taken into account. As a result, and intermittently, tensions have appeared, some that the populations attempted to resolve in court, others that led to theft, destruction of crops, land invasions, and even murder (2008).

On May 13, officials of the state government and of SEDATU decided that Chenalhó should receive a compensation of 15 million pesos in exchange for giving the lands in dispute to Chalchihuitán. On May 15, the residents of the municipality of Chenalhó rejected the payment. They entered the disputed land and destroyed several landmarks marking the boundaries. Several witnesses report that shots were heard, although no injuries were reported. Both sides accuse each other of using firearms.

On May 28, the Parish Council of Chenalhó called on the parties “to put aside every word and every action that can lead to violence and to realize that this conflict between brothers should be resolved through peaceful dialogue.” They asked the three levels of government to recognize that “this problem is due largely to their own irresponsibility.” They invited them to realize “that not everything can be fixed with money as they think. The authorities must understand what justice should be the first to respect the laws so as to set an example for the people. They should be open to respectful dialogue and should be aware that they can not solve any problem if they do not allow free and responsible participation of the people.”

On May 22, the Las Abejas Civil Society also referred to the land problem between Chalchihuitán and Chenalhó, noting: “If the called Agrarian Reform (now defunct), had not made a bad execution in defining the territorial limits, there wouldn’t be problems between the two Tzotzil peoples. We regret that this old conflict has not been resolved to date, because, sadly, political and economic interests of the same agrarian and municipal authorities and of some private individuals interfere to do so. Instead of resorting to wisdom and the ancestral mode of dialogue to solve problems between brothers, they have chosen the path of institutional dialogue that always end up manipulated politically and economically. Hopefully someday those who still believe in evil government will understand that the conflicts and political differences that have led to killings and massacres in our villages have been planned and fostered from above, by the bad government itself. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Conflicto territorial Chenalho – Chalchihuitan, retroceso de 7 años (Chiapas Paralelo, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Iglesia llama a privilegiar el diálogo (Cuarto Poder, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Pronunciamiento de la parroquia de Chenalhó (28 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (22 de mayo de 2014)

Entran comuneros de Chenalhó a terreno en disputa con vecinos de Chalchihuitán (La Jornada, 15 de mayo de 2014)

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)

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

February 3, 2014



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)

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 Colony announce return for coffee harvest

January 15, 2014

Conferencia de prensa 9 de enero 2014 @ SIPAZ

Press conference on 9 January 2014 @ SIPAZ

Those who have been displaced from the Puebla Colony ejido, Chenalhó municipality, announced that on 17 January they will leave the Acteal camp where they are presently located to return to their community to begin harvesting coffee, given that “the time to cut the coffee is now passing and we have the economic need to have this resource which together with beans and maize is the basis of the maintenance of our families.”  The labor will last 10 days, until 27 January, when they will re-evaluate their presence in the community or decide to return to Acteal.

In a communique, they clarified that “this will not involve a complete and definitive return to our community, given that the municipal, state, and federal governments have not provided the conditions that we requested for our return with security and tranquility to our homes.”  Included within these conditions for return, the displaced request the resolution of the question of the possession of the land on which the chapel is being built, which was the object of initial conflict; that the open penal investigations continue; and that compensation be offered for the damages “that we have suffered, both in material (the destruction and robbery of our property) and moral terms (the slander that we had poisoned the water of the Puebla Colony).”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de las y los desplazadas/os del ejido Colonia Puebla: “Vamos a ir unos días a nuestra comunidad, la Colonia Puebla con el fin de cosechar nuestro café” (9 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: Denunciation from Las Abejas of Acteal on 22 May 2013 (7 June 2013)