Chiapas: The four prisoners of San Sebastián Bachajón are released

August 18, 2011

On 25 July was held a press-conference at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) to observe the release of the four prisoners of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido, municipality of Chilón.  For five months Juan Aguilar Guzman, Jeronimo Guzman Mendez, Domingo Perez Alvaro y Domingo Garcia Gomez had found themselves incarcerated in the CERESO 17 in the municipality of Playas de Catazajá.  The fifth prisoner, a minor, Mariano Demeza Silvano, had been released on bail on 8 July from the juvenile detention center of Berriozábal.

Marcelino Hernández Gomez, human-rights defender and member of the CDHFBC, spoke of the numerous denunciations of rights-violations of the indigenous of the zone “committed by functionaries at all levels of the state government.”  Moreover he expressed that to date no one has been punished at all for the violent acts that occurred at the beginning of February in San Sebastián Bachajón, among those who had been accused.  Domingo Pérez Álvaro, one of the formerly imprisoned, explained: “We were imprisoned for nearly six months for having defending our lands.  They have been persecuting us now for three years […] because we as ejidatarios and authorities defend our lands and natural resources left to us by our ancestors.”

On 5 February of this year, the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas imprisoned 10 ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, among them a minor, following a conflict with PRI militants regarding the control of a checkpoint located at the entrance of the touristic center at the Agua Azul waterfalls.

Víctor Hugo López, director of the CDHFBC, declared that beyond suffering an unjust imprisonment, the five also were subjected to abuses in prison and “experienced one of the worst moments as prisoners of the state.”  Although the Tzeltal ejidatarios recovered their physical liberty, noted Hugo López, they are still “prisoners” of a “unilateral process led by the police and Federal Army in their lands, confronting governmental projects that have lacked all consultation with residents.”  Juan Aguilar Guzmán, also released, thanked national and international solidarity with prisoners in Tzeltal.

For more information (in Spanish):

Exige el Frayba respeto a las garantías de ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (Jornada, 27 July 2011)

En conferencia de prensa los ex presos políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón hablan de su liberación  (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 July 2011)

Palabra de los ex presos y Frayba sobre la liberación de los presos políticos de Bachajón (Radio Zapatista, 25 July 2011)

México: Salen libres los presos políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón – Entrevista

Libres los 4 Presos Políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón

Un preso político de Bachajon esta libre

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Facing police repression, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day (24 April 2011)

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

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Chiapas: Facing police operation, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day

April 24, 2011

Police operation in San Sebastián Bachajón, photo Moisés Zúñiga

In the morning of 9 April, a police operation involving some 800 state and federal officers retook the control-point at he entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  In light of this, some 600 campesinos from San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, adherents to the Other Campaign who had retaken the control-point that was taken from them two months prior by officialist groups (and handed over to the latter by the state government) decided to abandon the control-point.  They stressed that they did not do so voluntarily, as claimed in the official version, but rather so as to protect themselves.

The ejidatarios of the Other Campaign noted that “With this repression the government has demonstrated its interest in developing the ecotourist center without concern for the physical integrity of people, and it has also shown the intention of the ejidal representative Francisco Guzmán to sell the land and its resources.  Regardless, the principally responsible is the state and federal government that has bought-off the leaders so that they become convinced to sell the lands.”

Death-threats have also been circulated by the official side of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido against human-rights defenders and others who visit in solidarity.

For more information (in Spanish):

A pedradas, policías desalojan a indígenas chiapanecos (La Jornada, 10 April)
Entrevista a los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (Radio Pozol, 11 April)
Amagan en Chiapas con detener a quienes apoyen a integrantes de la otra campaña (La Jornada, 12 April)
Comunicado de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (13 April 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)


Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts

March 8, 2011

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights presented at a press-conference its special report “Government creates and administers conflicts for territorial control in Chiapas,” in which it carries out a documentary analysis that refers to that which occurred on 2 February 2011 in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón.  The documentary denounces the strategy of the state government for generating conflict so as to take territorial control of areas rich in natural resources, as promoted by the federal government in its so-called Year of Tourism for 2011 that also coincides with the visit of Felipe Calderón to Chiapas some days before the events.  The report further claims the General Secretary of Governance in Chiapas, Noé Castañón León, to be the intellectual author of the operation for the control of the Agua Azul zone, with a clear counter-insurgent objective, ongoing since 1994.

The exhaustive report suggests that the events form part of an announced process of looting, as it presents a precise list of aggressions in the zone and denounces the rights-violations committed against the group of ejidatarios who are adherents to the Other Campaign–specifically, the 10 prisoners and the irregularities with their processing, as well as regarding the search for justice for the injured and dead on the “official” side.

For more information (in Spanish):

El Gobierno crea y administra conflictos para el control territorial en Chiapas, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, (3/03/2011)

Gobierno de Chiapas crea y administra conflictos por control territorial: Frayba; La Jornada (4/03/2011)

Presentación del Informe:  “Gobierno crea y administra conflictos para el control territorial en Chiapas”, (3/03/2011)

CDHFB habla sobre conflicto; Cuarto Poder (4/03/2011)

Audios:

Audios conferencia de prensa, Frayba  (3/03/2011)

Video:

Video conferencia de prensa I, Frayba(03/03/2011)

Video conferencia de prensa II, Frayba (3/03/2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)


Chiapas: Adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce torture and illegal detention of ejidatario

November 8, 2010

On 2 November, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, denounced the illegal detention and torture of Miguel Demeza Jiménez, adherent of the Other Campaign, who was deprived of his liberty with no arrest-order against his person; it is said that charges were fabricated against him to expedite his arrest.

The indigenous ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, held the state government of Juan Sabines Guerrero responsible for the arbitrary detention of their comrade: “It is clearly seen that injustice is not the word but rather the acts of this corrupt bad government.  The truly culpable are they.  For this reason we blame the state government for the health and security of our imprisoned comrade.  We as organizations declare that he is not a criminal, as the government is forcing him to say; he is totally innocent of all crimes being fabricated against him.  We demand his immediate and unconditional release.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué of adherents to the Other Campaign from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón (2 November)

Ejidatarios denounce torture and illegal arrest of Tzeltal campesino from Chilón (La Jornada, 5 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Indigenous Communities demand a stop to repression for defending their territory (28 August 2009)

Chiapas: 5 indigenous tseltales of the village of San Sebastián Bachajón are released (21 July 2009)


Chiapas: Urgent Action: Concern for the lives and judicial situation of detainees. Criminalization of social protest and of the work of human rights defenders.

April 28, 2009

The International Service for Peace has expressed major concerns regarding a series of events beginning with the detention of 6 indigenous Tzeltales, inhabitants of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. The detainees suffered, among other things: torture and mistreatment; lack of access to fair judicial process, such as a translator who spoke their language; being held incommunicado; and misrepresentation by media sources.

In response, members of the Other Campaign of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón organized a roadblock to demand the liberation of the detainees. A few days later, two people, who were reported to have disappeared for a number of days, were detained as well. In addition, a number of cases of repression and criminalization of social protest and of human rights defenders who were working on the cases were denounced.

Read the Urgent Action online

For More Information (In Spanish):

Boletín, Detención arbitraria de indígneas tseltales de Bachajón, Chilón, CDHFBC (16/04/2009)

Boletín, Operativo policíaco en contra de indígenas manifestantes de Bachajón, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Noticia, Solicitud de medidas cautelares ante detención arbitraria, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Denuncia local – Solidaridad de MOCRI-CNPA con ejidatarios de Bachajón (17/04/2009)

Acción Urgente: Privación arbitraria de la libertad, tortura, tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos y degradantes a adherentes de La Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón, municipio de Chilón, CDHFBC (19/04/2009)

Acción Urgente: 11 hombres recluidos sin cargos en un centro de detención conocido como “Quinta Pitiquito”, Amnistía Internacional (21/04/2009)


Chiapas: operations against marijuana culitivation denounced as part of a counterinsurgency strategy

March 2, 2009

On February 26, the Good Government Council of the Highlands, “Corazón Céntrico de Los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo” (Oventik) denounced a number of new military incursions that have taken place in Zapatista communities since the beginning of the year in the autonomous municipality of San Andrés Sakam Ch’en de los Pobres. Since February 21, flyovers of airplanes and helicopters, the movement of soldiers, and operations looking for marijuana have increased significantly. The EZLN has been clear in its prohibition of the use and the growing of drugs in its communities and therefore, according to the communiqué from the Good Government Council, the recent events show “a provocation and a pretext to send soldiers into our communities”. The communiqué continues by stating “It is clear that this is a strategy by the government to fight us” and to “enter in Zapatista communities in order to control, provoke, and threaten us”. At the same time, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Frayba) stated that it had recently received information of flyovers in the “Zapatista Community Ecological Reserve El Huitepec”.

Frayba also stated in their bulletin on February 27 that they had heard rumors in the region of the Caracol “Torbellino de nuestras palabras” (Morelia), that on Saturday, February 28 forced evictions of Zapatista support bases will take place at the waterfalls of Agua Clara in the municipality of Chilón. According to Frayba, these new rumors and hostilities against Zapatista communities are evidence of the implementation of a counterinsurgency strategy against organized indigenous communities, and for the most part against Zapatistas. At the same time, Frayba is warning that the realization of forced evictions by the Mexican Army in Agua Clara would be a direct strike “to the delicate social peace that exists in he state” and a step towards “the beginning of a conventional war”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

La JBG de Oventik denuncia sobrevuelos e incursiones militares, disfrazados de operativos antidrogas en comunidades de San Andrés Sakam Ch’en de Los Pobres, comunicado (26/02/2009)

Nuevos actos de hostigamientos contra comunidades Zapatistas, boletín de prensa, Frayba (27/02/2009)

Denuncian incursión militar en comunidad rebelde de Chiapas, La Jornada (27/02/2009)