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

November 19, 2015

(@Frayba)

(@Frayba)

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: Ejidatarios from Chicoasén initiate hunger-strike against Chicoasén II dam-project

November 19, 2015

Huelga de hambre contra construcción de la CFE (@Educa)

Hunger-strike against the construction of the CFE (@Educa)

On 3 November, elder males and females who have been affected by the construction of the Chicoasén II dam in the Chicoasén municipality undertook a hunger-strike to demand the release of their lawyer Arturo Ortega Luna, who was arrested on 21 October. In an urgent communique, the campesinos reported that “those who will be on hunger strike are at risk of having charges fabricated against them by the government, as it did the last time with the State Attorney General’s Office, given that municipal and state police and the Mexican Army are patrolling through our streets.” They indicated that the detained lawyer, who was assisting them in their defense against the construction of the dam-project, “was arrested unjustly, accused of a mutiny by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).” The ejidatarios demanded that the more than 10 arrest-orders against other members of the ejidal committee and associated lawyers be suspended.

With their hunger-strike, the ejidatarios denounced the judicial persecution and threat against their agrarian rights, in light of the looting of land implied by the project. They have demanded just reparations for the loss of their lands as well as respect for the legal motion affirmed by a federal judge in May 2015 mandating the suspension of the dam-project. Avisaín Solís López, an ejidatario who has been affected by the dam’s construction, added that the state governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, “said that he would not allow the construction of any more dams that would violate the rights of peasants in Chiapas, but now we defend our rights, having received only lies.” Those affected seek to maintain their hunger-strike until the government attends to them, releases their lawyer, and respects their rights as indigenous people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos de Chicoasén inician ayuno por liberación de abogado (La Jornada, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Inician ancianos zoques huelga de hambre contra hidroeléctrica Chicoasén II (Educa, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Ejidatarios de Chicoasen inician huelga de hambre (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

Adultos mayores inician ayuno contra hidroeléctrica de CFE en Chiapas (Proceso, 3 de noviembre 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: legal motion denied to the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

April 24, 2015

(@vivabachajon.wordpress.com)

(@vivabachajon.wordpress.com)

Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, who struggle against the imposition of tourist megaprojects on their land, have been denied the legal motion they had presented to the courts in March 2011.  After three cancellations, an attempt to transfer the case to the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation, and despite the the detection of violations of due process, a federal tribunal denied the motion 274/2011.  In a communique released on 10 April, the anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata, the ejidatarios reported their knowledge of the refusal of the motion, reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle against the State, and denounced that official authorities are meeting with party-members from the region, seeking to develop strategies to crush their own autonomous process.

This struggle over the management of lands surrounding the Agua Azul waterfalls has resulted in three violent displacement operations, two murdered communal leaders (Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on 24 April 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, killed on 21 March 2014), and several political prisoners.  Recently, the ejidatarios also had their regional headquarters burned down, in an operation that involved 600 police, who threatened two autonomous journalists and took their equipment.

In the latest communique, released on 11 April, the ejidatarios make an invitation to the commemoration of the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  On 24 April, the second anniversary of his, a mass will be held in the family home of Juan Vázquez Guzmán at 3pm.

As a means of popular pressure, a petition has been launched on www.change.org, and the Chiapas Center for Women’s Rights seeks signatures for its communique in support of the ejidatarios.  Those interested can email adorsetchiapassolidarity@aol.co.uk.

For more information (in Spanish):

En Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón Adherentes a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona. Chiapas. México. (Blog Viva Bachajón, 11 de abril de 2015)

Piden solidaridad para habitantes de San Sebastián Bachajón (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón burned down; autonomous journalists attacked (10 April 2015)

Chiapas: new national and international brigade in solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón (1 March 2015)

Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón(10 February 2015)

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)


Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation

January 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

On 7 January, the representatives of the Tila ejido, the president of the ejidal commissioner, and the president of the council of vigilance denounced the usurpation of the ejidal authority in their community, accusing Arturo Sánchez, Juan López López, and Evaristo Gutiérrez of naming their own commissioner and having ordered them “to make their seal and […] giving them services, thus presenting these three as though they were the new ejidal authorities.  They have thus made the grave mistake of illegally usurping the ejidal authority that is the general assembly and the ejidal authorities.”

In this way, the ejidatarios affirmed that on 2 September and 22 December 2014, these three persons met “to plan this action, and they have been supported by the Chiapas state government and City Hall” in this.  They also indicated that organized crime is in collusion with the municipal government, in light of the fact that “City Hall has served as refuge for criminals, murderers, and ex-convicts who engage in a power-struggle over the position every three years.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in Spanish):

Usurpación de la Asamblea ejidal y Autoridades por el mal gobierno y su grupo caciques (La Otra ejido Tila, 7 de enero de 2015)

Ejidatarios de Tila acusan intento de usurpación de autoridad (Centro Prodh, 9 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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 (January 22, 2014)


Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls

January 21, 2015

Cascadas de Agua Azul (@SIPAZ)

Agua Azul waterfalls (@SIPAZ)

Early in the morning on 9 January, at least 900 officers from the Chiapas state police as well as federal forces displaced the camp that indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, had installed at the entrance of the eco-tourist park, the Agua Azul waterfalls.  Though the site belongs to the Tumbalá municipality, one must traverse the Bachajón ejido to access the waterfalls.

On 21 December, more than 300 ejidatarios had retaken the lands, explaining that they “had been plundered by the bad government beginning on 2 February 2011, with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón,” making reference to the control-point that had been administered by the ejidatarios since September 2009 until the day they were forcibly displaced, leaving one dead, at least two injured, and 117 arrested.

Within the context of this new displacement, initial reports had indicated the forcible displacement of eight individuals.  During the night of the displacement operation, these persons in question were found, and they explained that they had succeeded in escaping the police after they had been arrested.

In a new communique, the ejidatarios denounce that “the true interest [of the government] is to plunder our lands.  They are truly unabashed, corrupt traitors to the country.  Their bad policies will not put an end to our struggle, because we will not allow them to continue looting us as they please.  We will continue with our actions in defense of Mother Earth.”

Following the displacement, the police established surveillance in the zone and installed checkpoints to review the vehicles that pass through.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobierno desaloja a indígenas adherentes al EZLN, en Bachajón (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de enero de 2014)

Desalojan a indígenas de Bachajón por Cascadas de Agua Azul; reportan 8 desaparecidos (SDP Noticias, 9 de enero de 2014)

Indígenas tzeltales denuncian violento operativo policiaco en las Cascadas de Agua azul (Radio Pozol, 9 de enero de 2014)

Los de abajo- Cascadas de Agua Azul (La Jornada, 10 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)


Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls

December 30, 2014

Foto @ Koman Ilel

Photo @ Koman Ilel

On 21 December, more than 300 persons from the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido peacefully recovered the lands which belong to the ejido within the Chilón municipality on which are located the access-point to the Agua Azul waterfalls eco-tourist center.  In a communique, the ejidatari@s reported that they had decided in an assembly to recover this space, given that these had been “plundered by the bad government since 2 February 2011 with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón,” thus making reference to the control-point that had been administered by the ejidatari@s since September 2009 until the time in which they were displaced, leaving one dead, at least 2 injured, and 117 arrested.  Subsequently, the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) installed its own control-point, and the Institute for Civil Protection (IPC) and the Secretary for Citizen Security and Protection (SSyPC) established a permanent presence at the entrance of the eco-tourist center.

The ejidatarios in their communique added a note regarding more recent events: “the bad government cannot put an end to this struggle; it is for this reason that they attack us so much and even killed Juan Vázquez Guzmán on 24 April 2013 and our comrade Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano on 21 March 2014.  It is for this reason that we have there comrades imprisoned in Yajalón, Chiapas: Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, and Roberto Gómez Hernández, who were tortured by the municipal police of Chilón and the Indigenous Public Minister of Ocosingo, Lic. Rodolfo Gómez Gutiérrez, who placed a pistol at the head of Mario Aguilar Silvano as well as a bag on top of his head.”

Given that these are vacation dates, it is feared that a displacement operation will follow that could be violent.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de adherentes del Ejido San Sebastian Bachajon, Chiapas, México (Enlace Zapatista, 21 de diciembre de 2014)

Ejidatari@s de #Bachajón recuperan su territorio ubicado en la colindancia del acceso al Centro Ecoturístico “Cascadas de Agua Azul”(Koman Ilel, 21 de diciembre de 2014)

#AcciónUgrente ante posible desalojo de ejidatri@s de San Sebastián Bachajón (Koman Ilel, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Información Actualizada de San Sebastián #Bachajón adherente a #LaSexta declaración del #EZLN y miembros del #CNI (Koman Ilel, 23 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón retake control-point in Agua Azul (13 December 2011)

Chiapas: The four prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón are released (18 August 2011)


Chiapas: Possible attempt to remove ejidal commissioner, claim ejidatari@s of Tila

September 15, 2014

Ejido-Tila_sexta_baner1240

The ejidatari@s of Tila, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, denounced that on 31 August a meeting was held between former ejidal commissioners and a group of approximately 150 others, toward the end of deposing the present ejidal commissioner.

In a communique, the ejidatari@s indicated that the reason for the deposition of the commissioner has to do with the organizers’ position of “not accepting dialogue or coordinating with the City Hall, and renouncing struggle for the land.”  They declared that one of the former commissioners reported “that at the meeting three talks have been had with the agrarian procurator based in Palenque,” and that “they made a deal with the [Tila] City Hall so that when we definitively win our case against City Hall for the land, they would receive money in exchange for land, but they do not realize that the assembly has already rejected the government’s plans to offer 40 million pesos [in exchange for settling the court case].”

The ejidatari@s continued: “We publicly denounce the agrarian ministry based in Palenque, Chiapas, and the Subsecretary of Governance in the city of Yajalon who are coordinating with these troublemakers, with the participation of the Tila City Hall, which always hides behind these people and cheers them on.  These groups are mafiosos; with them, the governmental structures works to destabilize the social peace.”  Furthermore, the ejidatari@s recalled that in the Tila ejido “there exists no legal fund and the municipality has no authority over our lands.  The presidency is illegal within the ejido, and only the forms of organization of ejidatarios based on uses and customs should prevail, as supported by the ILO’s Convention 169.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia sobre los planes del mal gobierno y caciques para destituir a nuestras Autoridades ejidales (Blog del Ejido Tila, 2 de septiembre de 2014)

Ejido Tila en Chiapas, denuncia hostigamiento y posible confrontación(Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos – Centro Prodh, 3 septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: Supreme Court postpones new decision on Tila ejido (8 April 2013)