Chiapas: Conflicts between police and teachers over protest of evaluations

October 25, 2015

Choque entre magisterio y cuerpos policiales. Foto @Revolución Tres Punto Cero.Conflict between teachers and police. Photo: @Revolución Tres Punto Cero.

On 18 October took place the diagnostic exam for teachers in Chiapas, being a measure adopted to evaluate these teachers, as implemented following the educational reforms pushed by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN). According to the National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE), this evaluation seeks to “contribute with professional development to assist in the elevation of quality of instruction for students and equity in educational outcomes,” though it has caused a great deal of polemic among various sectors of the magisterium, who understand it as a means of rationalizing selective dismissals. According to the Secretary for Education in Chiapas, Ricardo Aguilar Gordillo, “whoever does not take the test should have his or her job removed.”

In Ocozocuautla, access to the place for evaluation was blockaded by members of section 7 of the Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) and the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), who reject the educational reform and carried out direct actions to express their opposition.

According to Revolución Tres Punto Cero, teachers from section 7 of Chiapas “were repressed violently when they were about to begin a protest that they qualified as being peaceful, which was to be joined also by section 40.” Some testimonies denounced that units of the federal police, the gendarmerie, and the state police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and that injured teachers subsequently received no medical attention. The CNTE distanced itself from acts such as the burning of buses and attempts to burn a gas-pipe, affirming instead that “infiltrators committed arson […] and affected the vehicles belonging to the teachers; we have evidence that these were police infiltrators,” they noted, assuring that attacks from the police were defended against using only sticks and stones. According to Chiapas Paralelo, “authorities reported that three police were injured and one kidnapped by the teachers. The teachers in turn denounced that three of their comrades had been injured by rubber-coated bullets, four beaten by police, and two others arrested. Later, police and teachers exchanged ‘hostages.’” There were also reports of the destruction of two vehicles belonging to journalists who were covering the action.

Despite the attempt made by the CNTE to blockade access, some of the teachers succeeded in taking the exam. The Education Ministry reported that another date will be chosen for those who could not complete it last weekend.

For more information (in Spanish):

Maestros en Chiapas son reprimidos por PF y Gerdarmería; usaron gases lacrimógenos y bombas de goma (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 18 de octubre de 2015)

Policías desalojan a maestros que bloqueaban carretera en Chiapas (Proceso, 18 de octubre de 2015)

Chocan CNTE y policía en Chiapas (La Jornada, 18 de octubre de 2015)

La SEP reprogramará la evaluación de maestros en Chiapas ante el boicot de la CNTE (Chiapas Paralelo, 19 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Teacher from Acapulco dies after violent repression of a protest by the Federal Police (10 March 2015)

National: Thousands of teachers march against the educational reform (4 October 2013)

Chiapas: Death of Antonia, a displaced girl from the Banavil community, Tenejapa

March 8, 2015

Comunidad Banavil, Tenejapa, durante el entierro @ SIPAZ

Banavil community, Tenejapa, during the burial @ SIPAZ

On 23 February took place the burial of Antonia López Méndez, 11 years of age, who died on 21 February due to cerebral edema.  The family buried their child in the Banavil community, Tenejapa municipality, as accompanied by a caravan of civil and social organizations, representatives from the state and municipal governments, and State Security Police, given that “the minor is one of the 13 persons (4 families) who were forcibly displaced […] on 4 December 2011,” as the press-release from the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights notes (CDHFBC).  The bulletin continues: “After suffering more than three years of entirely undignified conditions of survival due to forcible displacement, Antonia the minor was admitted […] to emergencies at the Hospital of the Cultures […] though all attempts to save her life failed.”

It should be stressed that, according to news portal Chiapas Paralelo, more than 2,000 children in the Northern Zone and Highlands regions of Chiapas have been displaced from their communities due to violence.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sepelio en Banavil, Tenejapa (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 23 de febrero de 2015)

Un retorno provisional, con riesgos y condicionado para enterrar a Antonia López, niña tseltal desplazada (Rostros del Despojo, 2 de marzo de 2015)

Antonia, niña desplazada por la violencia en Tenejapa Chiapas, muere en el exilio (Chiapas Paralelo, 24 de febrero de 2015)

Sepelio en Banavil, Tenejapa (CGT Chiapas, 24 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 3 years since the forcible displacement of the families from Banavil (16 December 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from Banavil continue demanding justice (16 September 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation from and announcement of action on part of the displaced from Banavil and the Aurora Ermita ejido(10 April 2014)

Chiapas: Two years after the attack in Banavil, displacement and forced disappearance live on,” CDHFBC (9 December 2013)

Chiapas: Public denunciation from those displaced from Banavil (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: The displaced of Banavil, Tenejapa in “precarious and inhumane conditions” (8 April 2013)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day

May 16, 2014

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

Since 1924, 30 April has been celebrated as International Children’s Day.  In theory, the day was established to promote the rights of children.  However, the date has now become a “political festival of balloons and clowns,” as the daily newspaper El Universal charged, while Chiapas Paralelo indicated the “proselytism” of politicians who take advantage of the organized events to take pictures with children.  El Universal also mentioned the absurdity of inverting in toys and spectacles “more than in solutions to protect those who are being celebrated.”

Certainly, little can be celebrated, as these media and others have stressed: Mexico is one of the 30 countries in which children suffer conditions of slavery.  Beyond this, more than half of all children (20 million) live in poverty, with 10% of them residing in Chiapas.  The statistics regarding children in this state are equally alarming in terms of education, access to health services, and nutrition, among other things.  Melel Xojobal A.C. noted for its part that “the country has very little to celebrate when more than a half of its children and adolescents live in conditions of poverty, exclusion, and violence.”  The group observed for example that in Chiapas more than 21,000 minors live in the streets, that the state has the lowest percentage of school attendance in the country, that it has a rate of child labor higher than the national average, and that more than half of the children of the Highlands region suffer from malnutrition.

For more information (in Spanish):

Proselitismo con juguetes y despensas, en el marco del Día del Niño y la Niña (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Más de dos millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes en pobreza y exclusión en Chiapas: Melel Xojobal (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Día del Niño… o de los políticos? (El Universal, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño con mucho que trabajar (Cuarto Poder, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño, detrás de una sonrisa inocente está la pobreza y la desigualdad (Crónica de los Altos, 30 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead

February 16, 2014

Foto @ Diario de Cambio

Photo @ Diario Cambio

The Veracruzan journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, who had been kidnapped on 5 February, was found dead on 11 February.  The State Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz confirmed that the body of the reporter, who worked for the Notisur and Liberal del Sur daily newspapers, together with two other corpses in a safehouse in the Las Choapas municipality.

The Veracruzan authorities indicate that four suspects have been arrested, including the presumed intellectual author of the murders, Teresa de Jesús Hernández Cruz.  In this way, it should be recalled that Carmela Hernández, wife to Gregorio Jiménez, detailed that since her very first declaration before the Veracruzan authorities, she had referred to the death-threats made by Teresa de Jesús, owner of the El Mamey bar, which had to do with articles published by her husband in the two newspapers where he worked.  These articles denounced a number of murders that had taken place in said bar.

Following the confirmation of the journalist’s death, Erick Lagos, Secretary of Governance of Veracruz, stressed that the murder of Gregorio Jiménez is related to his own work, and he speculated on the “personal motives” and “vengeance” as the basis for the crime.  For its part, the organization Article 19 criticized the declarations of the Veracruzan Secretary of Governance and said that “it is alarming that, as in similar cases in the same state, the State Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz seeks from the start to play down an investigation that would relate the crime with the journalist’s work, noting that a ‘personal conflict between neighbors’ explains the murder of  Jiménez,” given that, in recent dates, the journalist had been covering crimes committed in the community of Villa Allende, Coatzacoalcos.

Communication organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders, House of the Journalist, and the Network of Journalists Standing Up demanded that the Federal Attorney General’s Office investigate the case, because they have little faith in the authorities of Veracruz, given that one of the suspects arrested for the crime was let go due to lack of evidence.

Following the kidnapping of Jiménez, his colleagues and fellow journalists organized marches to demand that the authorities rescue him.  With his death, the journalist community has been greatly moved.  The headline of Chiapas Paralelo published several articles expressing that “Why does the death of Goyo [Jiménez] hurt us so?  Why do we all feel this pain, or why should we?  We are hurt because we know that the freedom of speech of journalists is linked to the right to know about people.  If we journalists cannot report due to fear for the reprisals we will face, the citizenry also loses, because it will lack the true information to help it make better decisions.”  Furthermore, “your life [that of Jiménez] cost 20,000 pesos in a country where we are all expendable.  The case of Goyo hurts us, as do all cases of unknown Goyos.”

It should be noted that, since the PRI governor’s taking power in 2011 (Javier Duarte), ten journalists have been murdered in the state, with at least three disappeared, and a dozen having to abandon their work due to the violent climate generated by organized crime.  Veracruz is the state where the most crimes against journalists have been reported in recent years.  With 87 journalists killed since 2000, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), Mexico is the most dangerous country of Latin America in which to exercise this profession.

For more information (in Spanish):

Encuentran muerto al periodista veracruzano Gregorio Jimenez (Animal Político, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Pagaron 20 mil pesos por asesinar a ‘Goyo’: Procuraduría de Veracruz(Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2014)

México: encuentran muerto al periodista Gregorio Jiménez (BBC Mundo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

¿Y por qué nos duele tanto el asesinato de Goyo? ¿Por qué nos duele a todos y todas o nos debería de doler? (Chiapas Paralelo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

Hallan muerto al periodista mexicano Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz (El Mundo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

Una mujer pagó $20 mil por matar a Gregorio Jiménez: PGJ-Veracruz (La Jornada, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Denunciation of wave of attacks against journalists and activists (21 July 2013)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Article 19 condemns attacks on journalists (22 March 2012)

Chiapas : Denunciation of lack of experience of new ombudsman

February 7, 2014

Photo @ Chiapas Paralelo

On 29 January Juan Óscar Trinidad Palacios was designated as head of the State Commission on Human Rights.  The new president for the next five years is the ex-leader of the State Committee of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and he has served as a local and federal deputy for this party.

The daily newspaper Contra Poder from Chiapas has denounced that Trinidad Palacios “lacks experience and knowledge […] as well as work as a human-rights defender.”  Chiapas Paralelo laments that the government, in nominating this ex-PRI leader to the office, shows “the dramatic reality of the conception, attention [given to], and treatment of basic rights in the government of Manuel Velasco Coello.”

For more information (in Spanish):

La ligereza política en el nombramiento del Ombudsman en Chiapas (Diario contra poder en Chiapas, 3 de febrero de 2014)

El espectáculo de lo absurdo en la CEDH (Chiapas paralelo, 2 de febrero de 2014)

Ex lider del PRI, nuevo ombudsman de Chiapas (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2014)

Ex dirigente del PRI, el nuevo “defensor de los derechos humanos” en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de enero de 2014)

Juan Óscar Trinidad Palacios, nuevo presidente de la CEDH (Cuarto Poder, 29 de enero de 2014)