On March 25, an order was issued for the release of Radio Ñomndaa members, David Valtierra Arango, Silverio Matías Domínguez and Genaro Cruz Apóstal, after having been indicted on charges of unlawful deprivation of liberty in the case of Narisco Garcia Valtierra. Initially, the men had been sentenced to 3 years and 2 months in prison with a fine of 1,753 pesos, and according to their defense, without any proof that the defendants had participated in the events. The same judge who ruled against the defense at first, almost simultaneously exonerated José Luis Rocha Ramírez, a member of a powerful cacique group in Xochistlahuaca, who was responsible for the injury Silverio Matías and caused the loss of his eye – a fact that members of Radio Ñomndaa considered as an indicator of lack of impartiality by the judge.
One week prior, during the First Meeting of Community Radios, Free Radios and National and International Alternative Media – celebrated from March 18 to 20 in San Luis Acatlán, in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero – organizations in attendance endorsed the work of the human rights defender and member of Radio Ñomndaa, David Valtierra Arango. It was stated that through the criminal proceedings rigged against him, Valtierra has been subject to slander seeking to discredit his work as an advocate and promoter of human rights for the people of Nanncue Ñomndaa, which he has been doing since 2000.
Additionally, on March 25, in the face of persisting threats, the director of the newspaper El Sur de Acapulco, Juan Angulo, stated that the newspaper’s offices in Acapulco would be closed. The employees of the paper will work from home and do additional writing and editing for the upcoming editions at El Sur’s offices in Chilpancingo. It was announced that the closure of the facilities would last until the end of Zeferino Torreblanca government on 31 March. The editor of the newspaper blamed the governor for the threats against the newspaper and the lack of security for journalists.
Moreover, on the morning of March 24, army troops raided three properties without permission in the town of Tlacoachistlahuaca, allegedly looking for weapons and drugs. One of the soldiers responded to a warning shot and killed an indigenous rancher. On El Zapote ranch, a rancher awoke to realize the presence of strangers on the property, and thus shot a rifle to try to scare them away. In response, soldiers fired at the rancher, Cyril Victor Felicitas, an indigenous Na Savi man from Zacualpan, who died in one of the rooms of the ranch near the stream of Tlacoachistlahuaca.
Finally, on March 28, various organizations, as well as free community radios and alternative media groups, launched the Campaign in Defense of the Territory, called: With an Open Heart Defend our Mother Earth Against Mining. This campaign comes after recognizing that between 2005 and 2010 alone, approximately 200,000 hectares of indigenous territory of the Costa Chica and Montaña regions of Guerrero have been made accessible to foreign companies by the federal government, through concessions of 50 years, during which the companies may perform activities exploration and exploitation without consultation of indigenous peoples nor acknowledgement of their rights to territory. The first stage of the campaign will be devoted to disseminating information on the problems of mining.
For more information:
Absuelven a defensores de derechos humanos de Xochistlahuaca (CENCOS, 29 March)
comunicado-radio-Ñomndaa-29-03-2011 (29 March)
Amenazan a periodistas de El Sur de Guerrero. Con Denise Maerker (Radio Formula, 25 March)
Soldados matan a indígena durante un allanamiento (La Jornada, 26 March)
Website of the campaign against mining in the Costa Chica and Montaña region:
For more information from SIPAZ:
Guerrero – briefs: Prodh Center sends amicus curiae in the case of Radio Ñomndaa; Union of peoples and social organizations mobilizes to demand preferential rates for electricity; “1,289 murders, 289 disappeared and 25 kidnapped in 4 years”: TADECO (27 March)