National: XI Caravan of Mothers of Central American Migrants seeking out their sons in Mexico

December 26, 2015

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

On 30 November 39 mothers of disappeared Central Americans migrants began their XI caravan through Mexico. Using slogans like “We are missing everyone” and “A mother never tires of looking,” these women from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua left from the “72” migrant home in Tenosique, Tabasco, for Villahermosa. Subsequently they were received in Palenque, from where they continued to Veracruz and Puebla before arriving to Mexico City. From there they continued on to Oaxaca, concluding their caravan on Saturday 18 December in Hidalgo, Chiapas. Dressed with shirts that identify the caravan and showing photos of their lost relatives, they demanded “Not another disappearance!” and held expositions in public plazas, visiting different migrant homes, prisons, and hospitals, among other sites. Accompanied by human-rights defenders and civil national and international organizations, they followed migratory routes, performed ceremonies on railways, and consulted officials from the three levels of government to request their assistance in the search. All of this they expressed with the hope of finding their sons. According to the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement and of the caravan itself, Martha Sánchez Soler, this caravan is “something special” because it is the first time that they have submitted denunciations before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) against the Mexican State for forcible disappearance. For her, the phenomenon is that “migrants arrive in Mexico, disappear, and the authorities make no investigations. It’s a perfect crime.” Another participant in the caravan demanded that the Mexican government not discriminate or stigmatize migrants, for this is a demand that they have made “each year we have visited Mexico. We seek our sons and we are gladdened whenever one of us does find her loved one.” During the last 10 years of caravans, there have been more than 200 reunions between mothers and sons. In the caravan of this year a mother has found her sound in Tabasco. It is because of such experiences that the women continue to search with hope.

It bears mentioning that Mexico is considered one of the countries in which the question of migration is especially complicated. It has high internal migration and besides that, it is crossed by migrants emanating from Central America en route to the U.S. Although there are no official statistics, the United Nations International Organization for Migration said that “every year some 150,000 people cross the southern border of Mexico illegally.” A 2011 report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) indicates that there at least 20,000 kidnappings of Central American migrants in Mexico every half-year.

These data strengthen the women from the caravan to continue with their search. For the priest Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, founder of the migrant home “Brothers on the Path” in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, “this struggle is the work of women who for 11 years have been seeking out their children. Some of them have not known about their fate for the past 20 years, and still they have not tired of looking for them. It is a great hope that this caravan represents.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Entregar vivos a sus hijos, exigen madres centroamericanas al gobierno mexicano (La Jornada, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

Mujeres centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijos visitan penales del Istmo (La Jornada, 13 de diciembre de 2015)

Madres de migrantes centroamericanos inician búsqueda de desaparecidos (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Inicia la XI Caravana de Madres Migrantes Centroamericanas (El Economista, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA – INICIA LA XI CARAVANA DE MADRES CENTROAMERICANAS #NosHacenFaltaTodos (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Columna: La dolorosa travesia de la caravana de madres centroamericanas (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)

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Chiapas: Commemoration for those killed and disappeared during the conflict in the zone below Tila

October 8, 2015

Altar de las víctimas @ SIPAZAltar for the victims @ SIPAZ

On 20 September, in the community of Masoja Shucja, Tila municipality, a commemoration was held to remember those killed and forcibly disappeared between the years 1994 and 1999 in the region below Tila. Around a hundred people participated in the event, designed to never “forget our fallen and disappeared comrades, and so we remember them. They will always be in our hearts,” as the People United for the Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) expressed, being adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the Northern Jungle region, authored by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Following a mass, relatives of the disappeared and murdered spoke and demanded “true justice, the presentation with life of the disappeared, and compensation of damages and the suffering caused during the conflict in the communities,” adding that “the situation of the communities in the zone below Tila, Chiapas, has not changed. We do not live in peace or tranquility. The three levels of the bad government actually are the ones responsible for the low-intensity warfare we confront. We explain how our communities are now experiencing problems due to the divisions that surged during the recent elections, though there also exist families displaced by the armed conflict or counterinsurgency against the EZLN during the years 1996-1997.”

They also indicated that the paramilitary group “Development, Peace, and Justice” is being reorganized at present, affirming that “in its actions to control the communities and municipalities they use political functionaries, specifically their portable high-frequency radios, and carry arms which are for the exclusive use of the Army in public areas to threaten and intimidate their opponents. They hire young drug-addicts, go out hooded to block roads and highways, impeding free transit, and they attack and rob violently.” Beyond this, they recalled the proximate anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 teacher-students from Ayotzinapa, noting that “we will continue to express our support for them; they are not alone.”

It should be observed that the conflict in the zone below the Tila municipality began with the imposition of the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94, a counterinsurgent strategy taken by the Mexican government to prevent the expansion of the EZLN during the 1990s.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de víctima de la contrainsurgencia siguen exigiendo justicia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 21 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Event “Heart of memory, sown on our lands” in Masoja Shucjá, Tila (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: 18 years since the disappearance of Minerva Pérez, her case remains unpunished (25 June 2014)

Chiapas: 17 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, her case is taken up at the IACHR (25 June 2013)


Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado continues imprisoned and announces hunger-strike for Ayotzinapa

September 11, 2015

Nestora Salgado @Sanjuana Martínez, La JornadaNestora Salgado @Sanjuana Martínez, La Jornada

Nestora Salgado, the leader of the communal police in Guerrero who has been imprisoned since August 2013 and was transferred to the Tepepan prison on 29 May, announced that starting on 26 August she will begin a hunger strike lasting 43 days in length to express her solidarity with the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa. “This is a struggle for justice and respect toward the communal police who have not done more than the labor which the State has not been willing to guarantee: that is to say, our security.”

Two years after her imprisonment, Nestora Salgado calls on the citizenry to join the cause of liberty for political prisoners and the presentation with life of the disappeared.

For more information (in Spanish):

Nestora iniciará ayuno en solidaridad con padres de Ayotzinapa (Zócalo Saltillo, el 27 de agosto de 2015)

Javier Sicilia visita a Nestora Salgado; la activista anuncia ayuno por Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, el 27 de agosto de 2015)

Por Isabel Miranda sigo en la cárcel, afirma Nestora Salgado (La Jornada, el 9 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Nestora Salgado, newly accused (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado is transferred to a Mexico City prison (10 June 2015)

Guerrero: Still on hunger strike, Nestora Salgado continues to hope for transfer as her health declines (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: political prisoner Nestora Salgado, coordinator of the Communal Police of Olinalá, begins hunger strike (16 May 2015)


National/Oaxaca/Chiapas: National tour on forcible disappearance in Mexico

March 10, 2015

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Press-conference, 2 March.  Photo@Sipaz

On 2 and 3 March, in observance of the “National tour on forcible disappearance in Mexico: the case of Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya, a crime against humanity,” as organized by the National Front for the Struggle toward Socialism (FNLS) and the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared “Until We Find Them,” a press-conference was organized together with a teacher’ meeting in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The relatives in question, Nadin Reyes Maldonado and Margarita Cruz Sánchez, as well as the lawyer César Augusto Sandino Rivero Espinosa, presented the case of the two social activists, who were detained and disappeared in 2007.  They denounced that “the Mexican State continues insists on maintaining the military on the margins of consideration.  Of the four lines of investigation in the case, at least three mention the participation of federal forces.  However, those reaches of federal power must remain in impunity, and so they blame local officials.”

Furthermore, Nadin Reyes Maldonado and Margarita Cruz Sánchez denounced the criminalization of the search for the relatives and their struggle for a broad investigation.  Their lawyer indicated the gravity of the impact of a case like this, being a “direct repression against a social struggle.”  The organizations calling for the tour indicate as well in their communique the national dimensions of this crime: “The forcible disappearances of people are a reality that hurt increasingly more people, including millions of Mexicans like Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya, […] as well as the Triqui indigenous women Daniela and Virginia Ortiz Ramírez, the Chatino indigenous man Lauro Juárez, and the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.”  They call for the Mexican State to “be judged before international courts for State terror and crimes against humanity.  In this same way, State authorities must be held accountable for their participation or omission in the commission of multiple human-rights violations.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa (FNLS, 2 de marzo de 2015)

Los desaparecidos, “en manos de militares” y policías federales (La Jornada, 9 de julio de 2007)

Invitación de Hasta Encontrarlos (10 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Internacional: Actions taken on the International Day of the Detained and Disappeared (6 September 2014)

National: International Week of the Detained and Disappeared concludes in Mexico (10 June 10 2014)

National: 30 August, International Day for Victims of Forced Disappearance (16 September 2013)


Guerrero: More updates in the Ayotzinapa case

January 21, 2015

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Omar García, a student from Ayotzinapa, after having beaten by soldiers in Iguala. Foto @Regeneración

Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, has confirmed that the team of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will analyze the investigation of the massacre and forcible disappearance of the students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School which took place on 26 September in Iguala.  The IACHR continues to seek out persons to come to Mexico to review the evidence provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the search-work carried out by the National Gendarmerie, and to decide whether the authorities are in fact exhausting all lines of investigation.  Barrera Hernández has confirmed that an agreement had been signed with the federal government to ensure that the experts also be protected by the precautionary measures that the IACHR will award to the parents of the disappeared students.

Meanwhile, the search for the disappeared students continues.  The relatives of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa began their citizens’ searches on Saturday 10 January in the northern sierra of Guerrero, in the community known as Filo del Caballo. During a meeting between the parents of the disappeared and representatives from the Citizens’ Forensic Science organization, which has documented more than 300 cases of disappearances in this city, Felipe de la Cruz, a father of the disappeared, indicated that their counterparts have information that suggests that the students could be in this region.  De la Cruz recalled that all social organizations are invited to participate in the search for the students.  He repeated that the parents would not request the assistance of the federal government, given that it has produced no results, more than 3 months after the students were taken.  “They have no leads.  They have arrested more than 90 [people], but no one has said where they are.  For that reason, we believe the word of the people,” he declared.

Beyond this, on 12 January, parents of the disappeared students had a confrontation with military riot police and state forces when they attempted to enter the barracks of the 27th Infantry Batallion in Iguala, to continue their search for their disappeared sons.  Students who were present near the infantry base were attacked by the police with tear-gas and water-cannons.  The protestors used two trucks to tear down the entrance of the base and rescue the students they believe are being held there.  Mobilizations against military installations spread to the Acapulco and Cruz Grande municipalities.  In these, protestors demanded the opening of the barracks to facilitate the search for the disappeared youth, as they hold that there is “evidence” that the Army participated in the crime.  Regardless, the federal authorities deny that that is the case, and they claim the case to be the responsibility of the municipal police of Iguala and Cocula, tied to drug-trafficking interests.

For more information (in Spanish):

Cabildea ya la CIDH entre los expertos que revisarán el expediente de Ayotzinapa, adelanta Tlachinollan (Sur Acapulco, 12 de enero de 2015)

Comenzará mañana en la sierra norte búsqueda de normalistas (El Universal, 9 de enero de 2015)

Se enfrentan padres de Ayotzinapa con militares, cuatro heridos(Regeneración, 12 de enero de 2015)

Padres de normalistas se enfrentan con militares en Iguala (CNN México, 12 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case

December 29, 2014

twitter_maldito_ayotzinapa

Photo @SinEmbargo

According to an investigation published by the Proceso magazine, federal forces participated in the attack on the disappeared students on 26 September 2014.  The work carried out with the support of the Program for Investigative Journalism at the University of California Berkeley, based on testimonies, videos, unedited reports, and judicial declarations, shows that the federal police (PF) actively and directly participated in the attack.  The article indicates the contradictions that exist between the account provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the testimonies of those arrested, as well as those provided by students who survived the attack.  One of the key points in the investigation is that the Ayotzinapa students had been surveilled, such that the federal police knew of their arrival to Iguala.  It shows furthermore that the attack and forcible disappearance of the students was specifically directed at the ideological structure of the school they attended, given that of the 43 disappeared, one was a member of the Commitee for Student Struggle, the highest-ranking organ within the school’s administration, while 10 others were “budding political activists” associated with the Committee for Political and Ideological Orientation (COPI).

Beyond this, information has begun to appear in social networks that the majority of the disappeared students still live and are being held by the Army and federal police as part of a military intelligence operation.  The truth of these claims still has yet to be confirmed.  The communiqué was published presumably by soldiers of the Mexican Army who pertain to the 35th military zone (which includes Iguala); the sources in question no longer belong to the unit, as they were sent elsewhere or dismissed.  The objective of this operation, called “Az,” was to fracture “the transgressor groups of the school who disrupt order in Iguala by appropriating vehicles that are the property of the mayor, and bother people from various localities.”  According to the communiqué, “the transgressors were divided into 3 groups by military intelligence, with 21 sent to two military barracks for interrogation,” with the rest divided into two groups that were then sent to Cocula and Chilapa by municipal police and the “United Warriors” drug cartel.

Beyond this, on 14 December, confrontations in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, left 22 injured (14 of them teachers, parents, and students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, and 8 federal police).  The events took place when a group of students who were preparing a rock concert “A light in the darkness” were attacked with stones, beatings, and tear-gas by police.  “This is an act of police brutality that clearly seeks to silence the voices of the parents of the disappeared,” noted Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights. Omar García, director of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, related that despite the fact that the police had been told that “we were students, and that we were preparing the concert, they told us: ‘It matters not; we are going to even beat your mothers.'”  The parents of the disappeared accused the federal government of having provoked the incident deliberately.  The National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) has launched an investigation into the events in question.

For more information (in Spanish):

Filtración: “Los normalistas de Ayotzinapa están vivos, los tiene el Ejército mexicano” (RT, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Iguala: la historia no oficial (Proceso, 13 de diciembre de 2014)

COMUNICADO | Agrede Policía Federal a estudiantes y familiares de desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa durante la preparación de jornada cultural(Tlachinollan, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Investiga la CNDH hechos violentos en Chilpancingo (Proceso, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Caso Iguala: federales involucrados y tortura a testigos.- Anabel Hernández(Aristegui Noticias, 15 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal

December 16, 2014

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Banner from the mothers’ caravan.  Photo@Voces Mesoamericanas

On 3 December, the “Bridges of Hope” Tenth Caravan of Central American Mothers passed through San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  From Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, the mothers are carrying out this journey on migrant routes to seek out their disappeared migrant children.  On their trajectory through 10 Mexican states, the caravan succeeded in reuniting 3 mothers with their families: one woman found her brother after 17 years, and two mothers found their children after 15 and 10 years, respectively.  In San Cristóbal a Mayan ceremony was held, in addition to a march during which the mothers demanded truth, justice, and respect for the human rights of migrants.  Furthermore, they denounced what is happening in Europe with migrants from Africa and the Middle East, and they expressed their solidarity with the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa and their families: “Mexico is full of clandestine graves, but there are not just migrants there; instead they are full of Mexicans.  It is not just a question of 43.  There are many more who have been disappeared.”

The caravan has been supported by organizations based in San Cristóbal like Mesoamerican Voices – Action with Migrant Peoples and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.  Though the Mexican government officially counts only 157 foreigners as disappeared, the civil organizations estimate at least 70,000 disappeared migrants in Mexico.  As the migrants traverse the country toward the end of arriving in the U.S., the criticism goes beyond just Mexican migratory policy: “the worst thing is that it is these same countries repressing migrants that have created the conditions for which there now is brutal forcible displacement in Central America.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Las políticas económicas y de seguridad nacional sacrifican a miles de migrantes: 10a Caravana “Puentes de Esperanza” en San Cristóbal(Voces Mesoamericanas, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

“Puentes de Esperanza”: Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas, transformando el coraje (Koman Ilel, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Madres de migrantes centroamericanos exigen detener plan Frontera Sur(La Jornada, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

Caravana de madres de migrantes halla a tres desaparecidos (Excelsior, 1 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)