Guerrero: Aggresions against displaced, and newly displaced in Tierra Caliente

August 4, 2013


On 17 July, some 180 families from 5 communities of the San Miguel Totolapan municipality abandoned their homes after having received death threats from organized crime groups which operate in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero.  Those displaced noted that before leaving, they had requested the assistance of the state government, but met with no response, and for this reason they decided to flee–this after three days of gunfire which left several persons injured and some homes burned down.  On 18 July, the state government announced that it would support them with food aid, and that soldiers and state police had been transferred to the region to guarantee their security.  The majority of those displaced returned to their communities shortly thereafter, with only 40 persons being left in temporary housing.

Displacements from the Tierra Caliente region began more than two years ago, with residents of the La Laguna and Hacienda de Dolores (Coyuca de Catalán municipality).  For its part, the Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI) denounced recently that “the deficient attention given to the causes of forced internal displacement effectively imperils the lives and security of the displaced families who survive in precarious conditions.”  On 21 July, it reported that residents from La Laguna and Hacienda de Dolores who had taken refuge in La Unión, Ayutla de los Libres municipality, were expected to be ambushed at any moment.  The CCTI reported that there was an exchange of gunfire in which two aggressors died, and “the displaced, for circumstantial reasons, were not injured.”  It warned that “though 7 years have passed since the beginning of the disappearances and murders, to date there has been no one who is being processed or sentenced for the more than 30 murders suffered by the families of La Laguna, who have experienced nearly 14 months of forced internal displacement […].  This behavior on the part of the state government has allowed the aggressors to enjoy impunity and have the confidence to continue with their aggressions against the displaced, who now find themselves more than 18 hours from their places of origin.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Preocupa a CNDH casos de desplazados en Guerrero (El Universal, 22 de julio de 2013)

Familias de pueblos de Guerrero huyen de sus casas ante amenazas de muerte (La Jornada, 19 de julio de 2013)

Desplazados en Guerrero regresan a sus casas vigilados por el Ejército (CNN México, 22 de julio)

Acción Urgente del Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad aquí. (para firmar en línea)

No hay ningún detenido por los 30 homicidios contra los desplazados de La Laguna, reclaman (El Sur de Acapulco, 26 de julio de 2013)

Mueren dos sicarios cuando iban a matar a desplazados de la sierra (La Jornada de Guerrero, 22 de julio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: new displacement of families from La Laguna to Puerto de las Ollas (7 December 2012)

Guerrero: two nephews of ecological leadership are murdered (16 November 2012)

Guerrero: Urgent Action for disappeared ecologists (8 February 2012)

Guerrero briefs: Two ecologists are kidnapped by armed men in the Sierra de Petatlán (14 December 2011)

Guerrero: violence in the Sierra de Petalán (17 October 2011)

Guerrero: Lucio Cabañas’ widow and her sister are murdered (17 July 2011)

Guerrero: Second murder of ecologists in the Sierra de Petatlán (9 June 2011)

Guerrero: The ecologist campesino Javier Torres Cruz is murdered (6 May 2011)

Guerrero – briefs:  Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena (28 December 2010)

Guerrero: Briefs – Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena, NGOs sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior regarding the recent threats against OPIM; Monitor Civil documented 384 cases of human rights violations by the police; Inter-American Court of Human Rights rules in favor of campesino ecologists

December 28, 2010

Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera (@El Universal)

On December 7, about 35 military personnel aboard three Hummer vehicles entered the community of La Morena, municipality of Petatlan, using their weapons and causing panic among residents. According to testimonies, men and teenagers rushed to the nearby hills, while women, children and elders gathered in their homes, which were raided by the military. In February, Adolfo Torres Rosas was killed by soldiers, while Anselmo Torres Quiroz and Huber Vega Correa were arrested. Both are currently imprisoned in the prison of Acapulco for alleged drug crimes. In recent months, the harassment against the Cruz Torres family has focused on the intermittent and threatening presence of military in their community, as well as on the promotion of rumors suggesting that the Torres Cruz family is involved in kidnappings, a denunciation that hasn’t been properly reported to the civil authorities.

In a press release of December 7, the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCIC) and the Workshop for Community Development (TADECO), demanded to the authorities, among other things: to cease harassment against the Torres family, the immediate departure of the Army from the indigenous community of La Morena, and not to use the discourse of the struggle against drug trafficking to conceal acts of harassment and intimidation against the communities of the Sierra of Guerrero. Similarly, on 21 December, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) expressed concern about the situation in La Morena sending out an urgent action. It reiterated that to date nothing is known about the new investigation into the circumstances of the death of Adolfo Torres Rosas, and it denounced violence during the arrest and detention of Anselmo Torres and Huber Vega, who have presumably been victims of abuse and torture.

Moreover, on December 15, Social and Civil Organizations, sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), expressing concern about the threats occurred against members of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) on November 28. OPIM’s members have accompanied Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, me’phaa indigenous women who were raped by soldiers in 2002, whose cases were recently resolved by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH) against the Mexican State. These organizations emphasized that “in light of the recent threats, a prompt and full compliance with the sentences of the CoIDH [against the Mexican state] becomes crucial to prevent that unfortunate new facts may occur.”

On another hand, the Monitor of Civil Police and Public Safety Corps in the mountains of Guerrero (Monitor Civil), which was created three years ago, made public the fact that it documented 384 cases of police abuses. It mentioned that the ministerial authorities are the police that most violates the fundamental rights of citizens in the Mountain region (179 registered cases). From the experience of the Civil Monitor, institutional conditions of this corporation lead to police abuses, since the absence of internal and external mechanisms of control and accountability allows ministerial elements to violate human rights and legality without punitive consequences. The most frequent violations perpetrated by the police corps were arbitrary detention (122 cases), extortion (87 cases) and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment (59 cases). To a lesser extent, there were other also violations such as torture (6 cases), extrajudicial execution (3 cases), unlawful entries (22 cases) and the imposition of excessive fines (31 cases). The Civil Monitor issued a report on the status of the police in the mountains of Guerrero through which it seeks to establish guidelines for a democratic reform of the police.

Finally, on December 20, the CoIDH condemned the Mexican state for violating the rights of freedom, integrity, judicial guarantees and judicial protection of Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, known as “the campesino ecologists.” The court ruling noted that the Mexican government must make a criminal investigation into the alleged acts of torture that Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera have denunciated. In addition, within two months, it will have to compensate the farmers for all the damages they have suffered, as well as for the cost of medical and psychological treatments they have received.

In 1999, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera were arrested by the military, for their fight against deforestation in the Sierra de Petatlán, and according to their testimonies, they were tortured. In 2004, the case of “the ecological campesinos” was presented to the American Commission on Human Rights and in 2009 it was taken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH). The ruling of the CoIDH also ratified that Mexico should reform the Code of Military Justice, to exclude the jurisdiction of military courts for crimes related to human rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

– México: Preocupación por la seguridad de los habitantes de la comunidad de La Morena en Petatlán, en particular por los familiares del Sr. Javier Torres Cruz, Estado de Guerrero, México. (Acción Urgente Organización Mundial contra la Tortura, OMCT, 21 de diciembre)

– OSC envían carta a Segob por las recientes amenazas contra la OPIM entorno a las sentencias de la CoIDH (CENCOS, 15 de diciembre)

A tres años de trabajo Monitor Civil documenta 384 casos de violación a los derechos humanos por parte de la policía (CENCOS, 17 de diciembre)

– CIDH falla a favor de campesinos ecologistas (El Universal, 20 de diciembre)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

– Guerrero: briefs – New threats against leaders of the OPIM; inclusion of resources for La Parota in federal budget; Invitation to the sixth anniversary of Radio Ñomndaa (December 14, 2010)

– Guerrero: briefs – NGOs present amicus brief to Inter-American Court on case of environmentalists; activist is detained (September 23, 2010)

– Guerrero: The Civil Monitor documents 117 cases of police abuse (December 3, 2008)