Chiapas: 21 Years Since the Massacre in Acteal

January 4, 2019

On December 21 and 22, 2018, members of the Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal and guests commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Acteal massacre, which took place on December 22, 1997, in which 45 Tsotsil indigenous people, mainly women and children, members of Las Abejas, were murdered in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, by alleged paramilitaries. The massacre “was committed with fury, treachery, and premeditation when they [the victims] were in the second day of fasting and prayer for the end of the violence unleashed in the municipality”, remembered Las Abejas.

Las Abejas denounced that they have “gone through 21 years of darkness that represents the impunity nourished by the PRI and PAN rulers, including the misnamed and corrupt “Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation,” which ordered the release of the perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre, despite the fact that they were directly pointed out by the survivors and that they had confessed to killing in Acteal, for which they had sentences of up to 30 years, now they walk with impunity in Chenalhó and around Acteal. And the intellectual authors [of the massacre] are free, mocking justice and the memory of our massacred brothers and sisters”.

Las Abejas and the Fray Batolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) indicated that they are not seeking dialogue with the current government but announced that they will continue to speak up, so that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) can make a pronouncement on the merits of the case. Pedro Faro Navarro, director of Frayba, indicated that “for a long time the situation has been closed at the national level, since the Mexican State has not only refused to take legal action, but has attributed to impunity with the release of almost all of the perpetrators”. For their part, Las Abejas clarified that “we will not exchange justice for money in any way. The real objective of our petition before the IACHR is for the Mexican State to recognize its responsibility for action and its failure in the Acteal Massacre and to guarantee the non-repetition of acts like Acteal”.

For more information in Spanish:

Nuestro país ha vivido un patrón sistemático de represión, corrupción, colusión, impunidad desde los años 60’, hasta el día de hoy (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Acteal 21 años de impunidad (Frayba, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Insiste Frayba en que CIDH se pronuncie sobre Acteal (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A 21 años de la matanza de Acteal, familiares y sobrevivientes recuerdan a las 45 víctimas (Sin Embargo, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Conmemoran 21 años de masacre de Acteal, la justicia aún pendiente(Regeneración, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Abejas de Acteal anuncian que no buscaran diálogo con AMLO; esperan dictamen de la CIDH (AlertaChiapas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A once días de la conmemoración de la Masacre de Acteal, les compartimos cartel de dicho evento (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Twentieth Anniversary of Acteal Massacre (January 14, 2018).

Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal “Roots, Memory and Hope” Tour (July 28, 2017).

Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope (March 30, 2017).

Advertisements

Chiapas: New Arrests of Members of Las Abejas in Rio Jordan, Chenalho

August 15, 2018

AbejasArrested in Rio Jordan (@Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society)

The Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal denounced the arrest of two of its members, Manuel Jimenez Santiz and Alonso Jimenez Mendez, from the community of Rio Jordan, municipality of San Pedro Chenalho, on August 6th.

The arrest came after Manuel Santiz Vazquez, a municipal agent of Chenalho, called an assembly in which it was reported that Manuel and Alonso did not do community work in a local clinic, so “people from the political parties” agreed to punish them with 72 hours of prison, according to the Las Abejas statement, “without letting them eat or letting them go to the bathroom.” It explained that “this problem in Rio Jordan arose in the year 2015, but, both the community party authority and the municipal authority of the municipality of Chenalho, never showed interest and respect when, on several occasions, we looked for them to build a path of true dialogue. On the other hand, they have only defamed our colleagues for “breach of community services””. It recalled that in January of this year there was a similar case in which nine members of Las Abejas were detained, but, according to the statement, “they did not have the political will to resolve this conflict at the root, and what they did was to cover up their injustice and their inability to negotiate.”

In a later communiqué, Las Abejas clarified again: “the root is because of their decision [of Las Abejas] not to accept government programs that do not benefit them and not accept positions that are not community, such as the clinic, that those who benefit from this service are the women who receive the PROSPERA assistance program and the compañeras of Las Abejas from Rio Jordan do not accept this governmental program. We want to make it clear that our compañeros who on other occasions have been arbitrarily detained, by the people of the political parties of Rio Jordan, are not for “noncompliance with community positions”, as the agent and the local people are saying, but rather, that it is a punishment for our compañeros for criticizing the policies of bad government and for rejecting dispensable public works that damage Mother Earth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Nuestros dos compañeros llevan más de 50 horas en la cárcel, pedimos condenar y denunciar este grave atropello a los derechos humanos (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 9 de agosto de 2018)

Detienen a integrantes de las Abejas de Acteal (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de agosto de 2018)

Retienen a integrantes de Las Abejas de Acteal (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 8 de agosto de 2018)

Denunciamos detención arbitraria de dos compañeros nuestros del barrio Río Jordán (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 7 de agosto de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Las Abejas desmienten versión gubernamental de lo sucedido en Los Chorros (18 de enero de 2018)

Chiapas: detención arbitraria y riesgo de desplazamiento forzado en Río Jordan, Chenalhó (10 de enero de 2018)

Chiapas : a 20 años de la masacre de Acteal (26 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas : Se mantienen amenazas contra Abejas de Los Chorros, municipio de Chenalhó (21 de abril de 2017)


Chiapas: Violence increases in the Highlands of Chiapas, 747 displaced and 3 dead in Aldama

May 10, 2018
100_7673

Photo @SIPAZ


Armed violence by armed groups with paramilitary characteristics in the Highlands of Chiapas, which forced more than 5,000 people to flee their homes in recent months, intensified with the murder of three peasants and the forced displacement of more than 700 people in the municipality of Aldama.

A peasant and his two minor children were murdered on April 2 when they were walking around their land near one of the alleged meeting points of “paramilitary groups” that operate from Manuel Utrilla, Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalhó, firing at the civil population in the neighboring municipality of Aldama supposedly due to a territorial conflict of 60 hectares.

During a press conference held on April 3 at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, the 115 Communal Property Owners of Aldama demanded to respect the agreement ratified by the Agrarian Tribunal on December 1 2009, where the inhabitants of Santa Martha, Chenalhó, recognized that the 60 hectares in conflict belong to the municipality of Aldama.

The current situation we are experiencing in our community of Aldama is that we are being attacked in our communities by armed groups from Santa Martha. Every night they are shooting with high caliber firearms against the communities that have already been displaced and other communities of Aldama that are neighbors of Santa Martha. They have also attacked the county town, as well as people who are going to theirs lands; they do not allow us to work, where they see us quickly they attack us, that is why we are very afraid because anyone they see will be shot“, said one of the inhabitants of Aldama.

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center pointed out that the impunity with which armed civilian groups operate in the Highlands of Chiapas has intensified forced displacement in communities of Tsotsil peoples, in the municipalities of Aldama, Chalchihuitán and Chenalhó.

“Armed civilian groups, of paramilitary nature, linked to organized crime networks, attack communities with firearms, with the permissiveness and protection of authorities of the government of Chiapas. Old agrarian conflicts are managed according to political interests, in an electoral environment of manipulation and control to operate renewed counterinsurgency strategies”, it affirmed.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Exigen desarticulación de grupo armado que opera en la región de Chenalhó, Proceso, 3 de abril de 2018

Impunidad aumenta muertes y desplazamiento forzado en Chiapas, CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 3 de abril de 2018

Se recrudece violencia en Chiapas con asesinato de campesinos y más desplazamientos forzados, Animal Politico, 3 de abril de 2018

Frayba pide seguridad para familias de tzotziles desplazados, La Jornada, 28 de marzo de 2018

For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas: 4000 Displaced Return Home in Insecure Conditions n Chalchihuitan January 22, 2018

Chiapas: Humanitarian Aid for Displaced Demanded December 4, 2017

Chiapas: Agrarian Conflict between the Municipalities of Chenalho and Chalchihuitan Reignites November 19, 2017


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

December 26, 2015

(@ SIPAZ)

(@ SIPAZ)

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

DSC03801

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

mapa-01
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)