Chiapas: Climate of violence between PRI and Green Ecologist Party in days before elections

July 22, 2015


Photo @Juan Orel

The final days in the run-up to local elections in Chiapas were marked by violence. In terms of the alliance for local deputies, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) are in coalition for 16 of the 24 electoral districts. However, in at least 12 Chiapas municipalities there have been documented incidents and attacks between members of the two parties: in Playas de Catazaja, Oxchuc, Tzimol, Tumbala, Chilón, Cacahoatán, Tila, Frontera Comalapa, Ocotepec, Tuxtla Chico, Huixtla, and Mapastepec.

During the night of 16 July, a group of masked men armed with sticks, stones, and rockets (presumably allied to the PVEM) robbed photographic equipment and cash, and beat the journalist Juan Orel, during his coverage of an incident in the Boulevard of the Federations in the Comitán municipality. The incident in question occurred when the reporter was covering an attack by the masked men against a group of PRI militants. Another case of aggression took place in Tila. The Committee on Human Rights Digna Ochoa made public that residents of the Tila municipality denounced that “there prevails in the Tila municipality a climate of generalized terror among the population, provoked by the presence of armed groups that serve the PRI and PVEM.” Beyond this, the communique from the Digna Ochoa Committee mentions that “among the residents there exists a fear that the electoral process will end with a massacre, given that, to date, the Chiapas state government led by Manuel Velasco Coello has been totally absent in terms of guaranteeing the right to life, integrity, and personal security of the people of the Tila municipality.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Grupo de choque ligado al PVEM agrede y roba equipo de reportero (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Se confrontan PRI y Verde en Comitán (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Conflictos entre PRI y PVEM marcan elecciones en Chiapas (Red Política, 8 de julio de 2015)

Comunicado Comité de Derechos Humanos de Base de Chiapas Digna Ochoa (15 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce confrontation between PVEM and PRI, with 4 injured (21 July 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila receive threats following march to commemorate 80th anniversary of the ejido (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce new attempt to loot land (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Change of General Secretary for Governance

April 24, 2015

Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda y Manuel Velasco Coello (@AristeguiNoticias)

Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda and Manuel Velasco Coello (@AristeguiNoticias)

Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda and Manuel Velasco Coello (@AristeguiNoticias)

On April 16, Chiapas´ state governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, announced the resignation of his General Secretary for Governance, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, who is to be replaced by the PRI official Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda. Ramírez Aguilar, a former mayor of Comitán, will return to the House of Deputies.  In July 2013, he solicited the license for the position that he just left.

Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda was a founding member of the Federal Congress’s Commission for Concordance and Pacification, which participated in dialogues with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).  He held the position of federal representative in the time-period during which he was coordinating the PRI Chiapas group and oversaw the Southern Border Commission.  Before taking up his new charge, he was head of the Secretary for Planning, Public Management, and Government Program.

No explanation was given as to the change in the cabinet, though rumors point to differences between the Mexican Green Ecologist Party (PVEM, to which the governor belongs) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in a government that has been in alliance between these two parties.  Rumors indicate that the resignation of Ramírez Aguilar took place following a meeting between the state potentate and the federal Secretary for Governance (SEGOB), Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong. Other sources stress the presumed connections between the state official with a “paramilitary organized crime group” as a possible motive.

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: nuevo secretario de Gobierno; el anterior, señalado por nexos con paramilitares (Aristegui Noticias, 18 abril de 2015)

Nombran nuevo secretario general en Chiapas (El Universal, 17 de abril de 2015)

Gobernador de Chiapas va a la Segob y luego cambia a su secretario de Gobierno (Proceso, 16 de abril de 2015)

La Secretaría General de Gobierno, la rifa del tigre (Chiapas Paralelo, 21 de abril de 2015)

National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution

December 7, 2014


March in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Photo @SIPAZ

On 20 November, in observance of the Day for Global Action for Ayotzinapa, protests were held in solidarity with the relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzianapa in many cities throughout the world.  From three points in Mexico City, thousands of persons marched, accompanying caravans of students and relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa to arrive at the rally in the Zócalo of the capital.  After the rally, when the mobilization that had been peaceful to that point ended, a group of youth launched rockets and attempted to break down the principal entrance of the National Palace.  Riot police intervened against them, as against the rest of the protestors who had not participated in this intensified phase.  People were injured and arrested, but the authorities have not released any official data.  Meanwhile, on social networks photographs emerged demonstrating presumed infiltrators in the protests, who were placed there supposedly to destabilize the protests.

The parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa expressed, before hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Mexico City’s Zócalo, that “this is not just about Guerrero: all throughout Mexico there are secret graves full of persons who have been executed outside the law and forcibly disappeared.”  This was their conclusion following the tour they carried out in several states of the country during the previous week, including the north and south of the country.  At the act at the Zócalo, one of the organizers reported that in more than 185 cities of the world, people had come out to the streets to demand the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.

In Chiapas, thousands of students, teachers, campesinos, and citizens in general marched in a dozen municipalities to demand the presentation of the students who were disappeared on 26 September.  At least 4000 marched peacefully in the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, a protest was organized that counted with the participation of a thousand people.  After a group of presumed infiltrators burned down shops after looted them, a strong police presence was deployed, leading to the arrest of several protestors.  Regardless, the police had been nowhere to be seen until 2pm; the morning of the protest progressed without any visible police presence.  The protestors distanced themselves from the counter-violence that was exhibited at the beginning of the march, when some set an Oxxo and part of a Soriana store on fire.  They accused the government of sending agents provocateurs.  Later, authorities announced the arrest of 13 “anarchists.”  Also in Comitán, Venustiano Carranza, Ocosingo, Tapachula, as elsewhere, protests were held.  Dissidents shared similar slogans, including, “You took them alive; alive we want them back,” and “Zapata lives; the struggle continues!”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Les decía ‘no me peguen, ya nos vamos’”; múltiples agresiones policiacas en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Marcha pacífica realizan en la capital chiapaneca (Diario de Chiapas, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Videos: Histórica marcha por Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Culmina la Jornada de Acción Global por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

La refriega en el Zócalo después de una marcha pacífica (Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Identifican en redes a encapuchados, antes de la marcha en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Fosas por todo el país: padres de los 43 normalistas (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Multitudinarias movilizaciones de solidaridad en ciudades del mundo (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents

October 1, 2014

Manifestación #x1leydealtura en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (@SIPAZ)

Protest #x1heightlaw in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (@SIPAZ)

On 24 September, the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico (#REDIM) and civil organizaitons carried out a symbolic protest in 11 cities of Mexico and in Geneva, Switzerland, “toward the end of calling on the Senate to be careful in the reforms it is implementing with regard to the bill presented by the president’s office, so that [senators] consider changes to be relevant and to guarantee the rights of the nearly 40 million children and adolescents who live in Mexico.”

The organizations stressed that “in this new General Law initiative, it is very important to guarantee an adequate and transparent budget for implementation; that the participation of civil society be contemplated via voice and vote; and that truly participatory mechanisms be established so that children and adolescents can opine regarding the decisions which affect them, such that these opinions be taken into account in terms of the construction of public policies having to do with children.”

Symbolic protests were carried out in Guadalajara, Jalisco; Morelia, Michoacán; Tehuacán, Puebla; Comitán, Tapachula , and San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas; La Paz, Baja California; Poza Rica and Xalapa, Veracruz, and in Mexico City.  Protestors carried black umbrellas to symbolize the protection that is sought with this new law.

For more information (in Spanish):


REDIM presentará informe sobre los derechos de la niñez en México ante la ONU (Cencos, 24 de septiembre de 2014)

Organizaciones llaman a senadores para analizar ley infantil (Reporte Ciudadano, 24 de septiembre de 2014)

Hoy, debate final en el Senado de ley para proteger a niños (La Jornada, 24 de septiembre de 2014)

Para solidarizarse:

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

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

Chiapas: Mobilizations against the planned San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque highway

September 29, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

On 16 and 17 September, there were held new mobilizations against the planned construction of a highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque, both in the Tseltal ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Chilón municipality, as in the Tsotsil ejido of La Candelaria, San Cristóbal municipality.  The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory was created through the mobilizations organized against this project.

On 16 September, banners and signs were raised in communities and parishes to express popular opposition to the highway project.  On 17 September, ejidatarios from San Jerónimo Bachajón blockaded the Temó crossways en route to Palenque to demand “the cessation of harassment and threats against our ejidal authorities and other comrades, in light of the decisive defense of our territory and our disagreement with the highway project.”

Furthermore, on 17 September there was held in Laguna Suyul, La Candelaria ejido, a ceremony and joint declaration of more than 2,000 Tsotsil, Tseltal, Ch’ol, and Tojolabal persons from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Zinacantán, San Juan Chamula, Huixtán, San Pedro Chenalhó, San Pablo Chalchihuitán, San Juan Cancuc, Tenejapa, Amatenango, Chilón, Tila, Salto de Agua, Comitán, and Las Margaritas municipalities expressing opposition to the highway project.  In the declaration of Laguna Suyul, considered sacred land of the peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas, the writers indicate that “we will defend the environment, the fabric and veins of mother earth: rivers, lakes, springs, mountains, caves, and hills.  We will defend the lives of animals, sacred places, the ecosystem of Mother Nature, and the lives of human beings.”

Also, on 21 September, some 3000 Ch’ol indigenous persons from the Tila parish carried out a pilgrimage in the municipal center against the planned highway projects between San Cristóbal and Palenque as well as between Villahermosa and Palenque, as against the plundering of lands for mineral extraction, and they denounced the increase in drug addiction rates, alcoholism, and prostitution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acciones de protesta contra la Autopista Sancris-Palenque (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de septiembre de 2014)
Anuncian nuevas protestas contra construcción de supercarretera San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque (La Jornada, 14 de septiembre de 2014)
Casi 3000 personas rechazan la autopista y organizan la resistencia a la autopista. + historia de Suyul(Espoir Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Chiapas: Desde Laguna Suyul indígenas manifestan su rechazo a la Supercarretera San Cristóbal – Palenque (Pozol Colectivo, 17 de septiembre de 2014)
Denuncian en Bachajón acoso y persecución judicial por protestar contra autopista (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Peregrinación en Tila contra autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque, megaproyectos y cantinas (Chiapas Paralelo, 22 de septiembre de 2014)


Ejido La Candelaria: “No a la autopista San Cristóbal – Palenque (Koman Ilel, 12 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Candelaria express their opposition to the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway (16 September 2014)

Chiapas: An assembly of Tzeltal communities from Chilón municipality reject the SCLC-Palenque highway (9 September 2014)

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (14 February 2014)

Chiapas: Tens of thousands of Zapatistas mobilize themselves in 5 cities in Chiapas

December 27, 2012

Movilización zapatista, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 21 de diciembre de 201 (@SIPAZ)

During the morning of 21 December, in observance of the change in Baktún, or the beginning of the new Mayan era, thousands of indigenous support-bases affiliated with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) concentrated themselves at the entrances of 5 cities in Chiapas (San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Palenque, and Las Margaritas) before carrying out silent marches through each one.  This was understood as a symbolic act, given that some of these cities were taken by the EZLN during its insurrection of 1994.  On this occasion, covered with ski-masks but lacking firearms, carrying the national flag and the Zapatista one together, the Zapatistas directed themselves to the principal plazas of these cities, where they erected kiosks which were raised by all.  After this, they left as rapidly and orderly as they entered.  Preliminary reports spoke of 6 to 10,000 Zapatistas in each location.


Zapatista march in Palenque, 21 December 2012 (photo @SIPAZ)

The “silent” message presented by these marches could hardly be more convincing, demonstrating the continued life and relevance of the movement, as well as showing that it is not principally based on its leadership.  The communique released by the General Command (announced for a month beforehand on the Enlace Zapatista webpage) makes reference to the rigorous silence that was maintained during the day, noting: “Have you heard?  It is the sound of their world collapsing.  It is the sound of ours resurging.”The EZLN support-bases had not mobilized themselves publicly since May 2011, when they expressed their solidarity with the victims of the war launched by Felipe Calderón against drug trafficking and with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, led by the poet Javier Sicilia.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (21 de diciembre de 2012)

Marchan zapatistas en Ocosingo, Las Margaritas y San Cristóbal (Proceso, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

Movilización silenciosa de zapatistas en Chiapas (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

Zapatistas se movilizan en Chiapas en el inicio de la nueva era maya (CNN México, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

Zapatistas muestran su presencia en Chiapas (El Universal, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

Marcha zapatista en Palenque en el fin del Baktun 13 (El Independiente, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

Hubo orden en las marchas del EZLN, informa gobierno estatal (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Marches for Peace with Justice and Dignity (12 May 2011)

Chiapas: Communiqué by the EZLN: For reflective criticism, individuals and collectives (15 April 2011)

Mexico: National march “We are fed up” (14 April 2011)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone

October 13, 2010

In light of the deterioration of the human-rights situation lived in Chiapas, the civil organizations that comprise the Peace Network agreed in early 2010 to carry out documentation-visits in distinct regions of the state of Chiapas from which have originated testimony regarding problems that disrupt the international protection and guarantee of human rights, thus putting at risk conditions of social peace.

The organizations that constitute the Peace Network organized a “Civil Mission of Observation of Human Rights and Social Conflictivity,” which began its work of observation and documentation in four municipalities of the border zone of Chiapas: Comitán, Trinitaria, Comalapa, and Chicomuselo.

The Civil Mission visited these municipalities during the days 16, 17, and 18 March 2010.  In each of the municipalities were held interviews with actors who agreed to share their testimony on various issues regarding human rights.  The questions that received the most emphasis during the interviews were organized around the following themes: migration; militarization; land and territory; economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights; rights of women; and criminalization of social protest.  The results of these interviews can be found in a published report that was presented during the 7 October press-conference.

On 6 August, there was held a space among interviewed individuals and organizations during the March civil mission to assess the information that went into the report, which allowed for the report that was presented at the press-conference to be finalized.  This report presents an evaluation of the tendencies and principal problems documented during the mission as well as possible moves toward the construction of peace that, despite everything, were seen as present in the visited municipalities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Peace Network press-release (7 October 2010)

Report of the Peace Network’s Civil Mission of Observation-Border Zone (October 2010)


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