Chiapas: Lawyer of the ejidal committee of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam arrested

November 19, 2015



On 21 October, state police arrested Arturo Ortega Luna, an activist opposed to the construction of the Chicoasén II hydroelectric dam and lawyer for the affected ejidatarios, “accused of the crime of mutiny following an investigation headed by the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).” This was the denunciation made by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in a communique from 23 October. The lawyer was arrested at a checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez and is currently being held in the El Amate prison in the Cintalapa municipality. According to the communique, the penal denunciation was submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which “seeks to criminalize protest amidst the arbitrariness perpetuated by the federal and state governments.”

Arturo Ortega Luna has joined the defense of the ejidatarios to prevent the construction of the dam, which would affect more than 180 hectares of ejidal lands used for agricultural purposes by Zoque indigenous people. Ecologists have denounced that “the project will deteriorate and fragment the Grijalva River, this only to satisfy the energy demand of the eastern region of Mexico.” According to a bulletin published by the CDHFBC following a press conference on “Violations of agrarian rights and the judicialization of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam” on 27 October, “the ejidatarios affected by the Chicoasén dam have carried out various peaceful and legitimate actions to avoid the progression of the construction of the hydroelectric project that would affect their lands.” On 9 October, the ejidatarios won a legal motion before the Collegiate Tribunal that demanded the suspension of the existing construction plan, though this ruling has gone ignored to date. 52 individual legal motions in process remain pending, and all involve the detained lawyer. The CDHFBC has held that his arrest “is an act of criminalization and harassment that corresponds to his actions in defense of the lands amidst looting […] which if carried out would imply the displacement of dozens of families.” The ejidatarios are confronting harassment due to their defense of their agrarian rights, though there exist formal agreements that were signed in July 2015 whereby the Chiapas state government committed itself to not prosecute those who defend their agrarian rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Criminalización a ejidatarios afectados por presa Chicoasén II (Frayba, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Violaciones de derechos agrarios y judicialización a afectados por la presa Chicoasén II (26 de octubre de 2015)

Exigen libertad inmediata a abogado de afectados por presa Chicoasen (Desinformémonos, 25 de octubre de 2015)

Aprehenden en Chiapas a activista opositor a la presa Chicoasén II (La Jornada, 24 de octubre de 2015)

Detienen a abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen (Frayba, 23 de octubre de 2015)

Encarcelan a abogado defensor de indígenas opositores a la presa Chicoasén II (Tiempo y Forma, 23 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated (24 March 2012)


Chiapas: A year since the “unjust” incarceration of communal defender from Salto de Agua: Chiapas Denuncia Pública

October 8, 2015

Rueda de prensa @ChiapasDenunciaPú

Press conference @ChiapasDenunciaPública

At a press conference held on 14 September, families, catechists, and human-rights defenders from the local diocese demanded the release of the Ch’ol indigenous man, Salomón Vázquez Sánchez, who has been imprisoned for more than a year, accused of the crime of kidnapping a federal police officer. At the press-conference, held at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), those assembled said that the “unjust” incarceration took place eight years after the events took place in 2006, when Salomón was working as a rural municipal agent from the Suclumpa ejido, municipality of Salto de Agua.

Nicolás Méndez Arcos, coordinator of the Valle Tulijá Communal Committee for Human Rights, affiliated with the Salto de Agua parish, affirmed that “we as promoters of human rights affirm that there was no crime, because the behavior of Salomón conformed with the communal law as deliberated internally within the ejido, in accordance with the uses and customs that prohibit the carrying of firearms, as well as the Organic Municipal Law.” He also expressed that Salomón, who is being held in the El Amate prison, located in the Cintalapa municipality, “is accused of being responsible for the five thousand pesos that were charged [the police officer] for his rescue, but this is not true, as this was in conformity with a fine based on the uses and customs that sanction the firing of weapons within the community.” Isabel López Sánchez, the prisoner’s wife, demanded his release because “he did not commit any crime,” and she said that her six children “have suspended their studies due to the lack of economic resources, given that our only familial income was what my husband made.” The catechist Agustín Peñate Jiménez expressed that “from the word of God we see that the incarceration of brother Salomón is unjust, because the crime of which he is accused is totally false.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Salomón Vásquez Sánchez encarcelado injustamente (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 15 de septiembre de 2015)

Exigen en Chiapas liberación de indígena chol (La Jornada, 14 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena preso por impedir que un policía federal disparará dentro de poblado (Chiapas Paralelo, 14 de septiembre de 2015)

Convocatoria a conferencia de prensa (Frayba, septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: AI concerned for security and health of imprisoned activist Adela Gómez

October 25, 2013

© proceso

© proceso

On 15 August, federal and municipal police arrested Adela Gómez Martínez and her partner Noé Hernández Caballero without presenting any arrest-order at all.  The two now find themselves in the Center for the Social Reinsertion of the Imprisoned no. 14 (CERSS No. 14) in El Amate, Cintalapa.

Toward the end of September, Amnesty International (AI) pronounced itself on the case, indicating that its “concern that her imprisonment could signify a reprisal for her activism. Adela Gómez Martínez and Noé Hernández Caballero are members of the National Organization for People’s Power (ONPP), an activist base organization founded in 2006.  On 8 August, the ONPP and another political organization from Chiapas organized a march that occupied an international bridge to demand action on the part of the state government.  On the day of teh arrests, the authorities canceled a meeting with Noé Hernández Caballero and Adela Gómez and presented charges of disturbances and extortion against both, presumably in connection with the 8 August protest.”

AI reports that “Adela Gómez has not received adequate medical attention during her imprisonment, despite suffering a serious chronic illness that affects her bones and requires specialized medical treatment.  She also suffers from a second-grade burn in the left hand from before her arrest, and AI calls on the authorities to guarantee that, while she remains imprisoned, Adela Gómez Martínez receives the necessary medical attention.”

Lastly, AI requested an exhaustive, immediate, and impartial investigation regarding the arrest and the denunciations of abuse and death-threats to which she has been subjected in jail.

On 26 September, the Fray Bartolome Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) pronounced itself on the case, indicating that it “responds to a pattern of criminalization and judicialization of social protest in Chiapas, where once again justice responds to interests which transcend the juridical sphere.”

For more information (in Spanish):
Preocupa a Amnistía Internacional seguridad y estado de salud de activista detenida en Chiapas,  Amnistia Internacional, 26 de septiembre de 2013

Exigen liberación de Adela Gómez, activista presa en Chiapas, Proceso, 1 de octubre de 2013

Criminalización de la protesta social práctica recurrente en Chiapas, CDHFBDC, 26 de septiembre de 2013

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: State police arbitrarily arrest ONPP members 16 September 2013

Chiapas: Denunciation of death-threats and fabrication of evidence on part of PGJE made by those displaced from the Busiljá and Cintalapa ejidos

April 29, 2013


On 23 April, families who have been displaced from the Busiljá and Cintalapa ejidos (Ocosingo municipality), publicly denounced that agents of the Public Ministry (which belongs to the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas, PGJE) in Ocosingo had pressured and threatened Mrs. Elena Morales Gutiérrez to sign a document affirming knowledge of the whereabouts of her daughter Gabriela Sánchez Morales, who was kidnapped in 2011. Regardless, in a denunciation the families claim now that the girl still has not been located.  It should be noted that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has awarded the precautionary measures requested by the family of the minor.  Furthermore, those displaced expressed their disappointment with the lack of execution of penal action against the presumed kidnappers.  In this sense, they indicate that “the PGJE seeks to trick the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” given that the PGJE must inform the IACHR on progress in the investigations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de los desplazados de Busiljá y Cintalapa (23/04/2013)

Proceso: Procuraduría de Chiapas falsea pruebas sobre el plagio de una niña indígena (25/04/2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Civil society expresses its concern for the situation of those displaced from Busiljá (26 February 2013)

Chiapas: Petition from the CDHFBC to release Alberto Patishtán Gómez

April 15, 2013

Hijos de Patishtán @ Swefor

Children of Patishtán @ Swefor

On 10 April, some 400 persons marched in the El Bosque municipality to demand the release of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who was “unjustly” been incarcerated in prison no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas for nearly 13 years, accused of having participated in an ambush that resulted in the death of 7 police officers.  “All indigenous people feel incarcerated, rejected, and discriminated against” with his imprisonment, as protestors noted in a letter directed to the magistrates of the First Collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit, which shortly will resolve whether or not to release the teacher.  This letter arrived on 11 April, organized by relatives of Patishtan and the Movement of the People of El Bosque in favor of the release of Alberto Patishtán Gómez; it counted approximately 5000 signatures.  For its part, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) published petitions for Patishtan on and, to be presented before the magistrates.

Several media have noted the juxtaposition of the ordered liberation of 15 persons accused of having participated in the Acteal massacre, as demanded by the First Hall of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN), which rejected a review of Patishtán’s request for innocence on 6 March.  The notes made by Aristegui Noticias indicate that “the news reflect the different modes of justice in Mexico, where those accused of guilt are released and those accused of innocence are incarcerated.”

Beyond this, the actions for professor Patishtán continue.  Within prison no. 5, Patishtán Gómez announced the close of a second week of hunger-strike that will continue with two silent marches within the prison, on 13 and 14 April.  In solidarity, Enrique Gómez Hernández will be participating in the hunger strike from 11 to 19 April in the Amate prison no. 4 in Cintalapa.  On 19 April is planned a pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the day that Alberto Patishtán will have his forty-second birthday.

For more information (in Spanish):

Carta de para firmar en español

Carta de para firmar en español

Entregan a tribunal carta con 5 mil firmas para que libere a Patishtán (La Jornada, 12 de abril de 2013)

Con Patishtán en prisión, todos los indígenas nos sentimos encarcelados  (La Jornada, 11 de abril de 2013)

Libres por orden de la Corte, otros 15 indígenas implicados en el caso Acteal (La Jornada, 11 de abril de 2013)

Patishtan y Acteal: las diferentes varas de la justicia (Aristegui Noticias, 11 de abril de 2013)

Entregan 4 mil 736 firmas a favor de la Libertad de Alberto Patishtán (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 11 de abril de 2013)

Anuncia 9 días de ayuno Enrique Gomez Hernández Solidario de la Voz del Amate (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 11 de abril de 2013)

Alberto Patishtán anuncia el termino del ayuno y comparte acciónes para el 13 y 14 de abril (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 11 de abril de 2013)

In English:

Avaaz petition in English petition in English

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forthcoming actions for the release of Alberto Patishtán (8 April 2013)

Chiapas: “Justice is its opposite,” declares Alberto Patishtán (20 March 2013)

México/Chiapas: SCJN rejects review of case of Alberto Patishtán(20 March 2013)

Mexico/Chiapas: Alberto Patishtán should be immediately released, notes Olga Sánchez Cordero (5 March 2013)

Mexico/Chiapas: The SCJN admits the Patishtán case (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: the La Garrucha JBG denounces governmental pressure against Zapatista support-bases in Cintalapa

April 15, 2011

In a communiqué published on 9 April 2011, the “Camino del futuro” Good-Government Council (JBG) of the Zapatista caracol of La Garrucha denounced the attempt to loot the lands and ejidal rights of the Zapatista support-bases of Cintalapa, municipality of Ocosingo, if they do not renounce resistance.  It noets that “In mid-March, the PRI and PAN authorities demanded that the Zapatista support-bases present a copy of their electoral-card to request a project, pay land-taxes, and obtain an agrarian certificate.”  The JBG claims that the ejidal authorities of Cintalapa sought to force them to sign an accord with a content that contradicts autonomy and resistance.  The communiqué concludes that “We Zapatistas maintain our firmness in dignity and resistance, and we will defend our comrades even if the bad government attempts to destroy it with frauds and handouts.  We will not give up, we will no sell ourselves or abandon our project.  We are here and will continue here.  We will not allow these PRI members to harass our comrades in resistance.  We will defend their right because we know well that this is a governmental plan.  We will not pay land-taxes nor electricity tariffs; we will give nothing to the bad government because we receive nothing.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo (Enlace Zapatista, 9 April 2011)

Denuncia JBG presión del gobierno contra bases zapatistas de Cintalapa (La Jornada, 11 April 2011)