Chiapas: Case against Zedillo for Acteal massacre is dismissed

July 21, 2013

Acteal (@Espoir Chiapas)

On 18 July, a judge from the Connecticut state court decided to dismiss the case against former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo for his presumed responsibility in the Acteal massacre of 1997, which left 45 dead.  This decision closed the case, although the 11 plaintiffs, who could have obtained a compensation of some $50 million, can still appeal the decision.

For more information (in Spanish):

Desestiman demanda contra Zedillo por Acteal (El Universal, 19 de julio de 2013)

Zedillo, presunto cómplice de la masacre de Acteal, incluido en organización mundial por la paz (Proceso, 11 de julio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas de Acteal (24 January 2013)

Chiapas: Commemoration of 20th anniversary of Las Abejas and coming 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre (21 December 2012)

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)

Chiapas: the Las Abejas Civil Society denounces reactivation of paramilitaries in its community (12 October 2012)

National-International: Zedillo obtains immunity for the Acteal case(19 September 2012)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Las Abejas de Acteal on 22 May 2013

June 7, 2013

logo AbejasOn 22 May 2013, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the December 1997 Acteal massacre, members of the Las Abejas Civil Society published their denunciation “Today we commemorate yet again the crime committed in Acteal.”

This denunciation asks, “Who can remain silent amidst so much insult and lying with regard to the state of justice in Mexico?  Who can accept such impunity as the one cultivated by the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Injustice?  When we heard of the decision of these justices to release the paramilitaries of Chenalhó, it gave us courage, because what they have done is absurd.  Now, only 6 paramilitaries remain incarcareted, though to cover up their shame, they have decided not yet to release them.  However, whenever it is that they are released, we will not be surprised.  It could be that they be released surreptitiously, as they did with one of the commanders of the paramilitaries, Roberto Méndez Gutiérrez, from the Miguel Utrilla Los Chorros neighborhood. Roberto Méndez is one of the murderes who has confessed to his crimes in Acteal; he now very calmly walks around drunk in Los Chorros and the Yibeljoj community of the same municipality.”

The document continues: “The truth is that there still are many misinformed people regarding the true cause of the Acteal massacre.  Recently we located 2 electronic webpages maintained by Italian and French Evangelicals, who claim that those who had been imprisoned for the Acteal massacre ‘are innocent,’ and that ‘only for being Evangelicas’ and for ‘following Jesus’ were they incarcerated.  Here are those two webpages, so that you can follow such bad information:

The communique emphasizes that “We have clarified in several previous communiques that the paramilitaries from the year 1997 are comprised of two political parties in Chenalhó: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Cardenist Front.  PRI militants and Cardenist paramilitaries also pertain to different religions, such as Presbyterianism, Pentecostal, Baptism, Catholicism, among others.  If the Evangelicals were present in the jail, this was for their having participated in the Acteal massacre.  We do not accuse them for being Evangelicals.  Some Evangelical pastors from Chenalhó and other parts of the world can confirm what we say, and they are ashamed that their brothers had taken the dark path of murdering their own brothers and sisters.  In a Presbyterian temple of Acteal, there it was the arms were kept; there it was that the Presbyterian paramilitaries prayed so that their weapons would not fail in even one shot against Las Abejas and Zapatistas support bases.  Also in the Pechiquil community, in a communal kitchen the Presbyterians guarded the weapons and ammunition.  And on 22 December our Las Abejas comrades from the Tsajaluk’um community who had been taken by paramilitaries from Tsajaluk’um and Pechiquil saw the paramilitaries exit toward Acteal, to participate in the massacre.  Within this group there were Presbyterian persons.  For this reason it was that there were Presbyterians incarcerated; so we repeat that it was not for their religious beliefs, but rather because they became paramilitaries who participated in a counter-insurgent war designed by the Mexican state, led by the then-president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León“.

For more information (in Spanish):

Hoy hacemos memoria una vez más del crímen cometido en Acteal (22 de mayo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas lament release of yet another of those charged for Acteal massacre (27 March 2013)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas de Acteal (24 January 2013)

Chiapas: communiqué by the Las Abejas Civil Society for the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre

September 28, 2012

On 22 September, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre (1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society noted in a communiqué that “the same history is being repeated in the process of our struggle.  The governments of death protect each other and cover up their crimes.”  Las Abejas denounced in this sense “Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León and his entire chain of command” who “allowed for the Acteal massacre, a tragedy that humanity could never imagine, because what happened has no name and is unacceptable under all circumstances.”  They also denounce Felipe Calderón Hinojosa for “covering up” the crime.  They stress moreover that the current president “also organized his own war, the so-called ‘war on organized crime’ or drug-trafficking, supposedly to give security to the people, but in place of protecting human life, his war has resulted in the death of 70,000 people and the disappearance of 10,000 others, these all being innocents, over the course of his six-year term.”

Las Abejas also expressed their solidarity with other processes, referring to “our Zapatista brothers” (regarding the aggression against the Comandante Abel community, from the autonomous rebel Zapatista municipality of “La Dignidad”); the 45 families who are members of the Emiliano Zapata Proletarian Organization-Movement for National Liberation (OPEZ-MLN) from the community of Las Flores, Chicomuselo municipality, Chiapas; and with Alberto Patishtan, who “should be released immediated and without conditions.”  “Those who should be in jail are Ernesto Zedillo and all his advisers, Felipe Calderón for his responsibility for the death of more than 70,000 persons, and Enrique Peña Nieto for his overseeing of the repression in San Salvador Atenco”.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo (22 de septiembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National-International: Zedillo obtains immunity for the Acteal case (19 September 2012)

Chiapas: Communiqué by Las Abejas of Acteal on 22 August 2012 (18 September 2012)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal march against impunity (16 August 2012)

National-International: Zedillo obtains immunity for the Acteal case

September 19, 2012

Ernesto Zedillo @ CNN México

The U.S. State Department on 7 September recognized that Ernesto Zedillo enjoys diplomatic immunity, in light of the case he is faced with due to his presumed responsibility for the Acteal massacre of 1997.

Víctor Hugo López, executive director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), holds that the Las Abejas organization of Acteal was not the one to present the civil demand against Zedillo in New Haven, Connecticut (USA), given that they have their own case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  He believes that the U.S.-Mexican strategy with regard to Zedillo’s immunity sought to avoid the deepening of the actions that both nations undertook during that time toward the end of annihilating the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) by targeting those they considered to be their support-bases.  Hugo López said that the decision is an attempt to “cover not only one person but an entire counterinsurgency strategy that was applied against indigenous communities in Chiapas, as implemented by the Mexican Army, and as advised by the U.S.”

For their part, Roger Kobert and Marc Pugliese, two of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, indicated that they find themselves “very disappointed by the decision of the U.S. State Department” which will prohibit them from “presenting evidence of Zedillo’s responsibility for the 1997 Acteal massacre.”  “Based on the testimony and documents we have collected, we are very sure that the high command of the Zedillo administration were familiar with and directly participated in the conspiracy that led to the Acteal masacre and its cover-up,” they note.

In a press-conference held on 13 September, the Las Abejas Civil Society claimed that “the immunity received by Zedillo in the U.S. is not universal, and for this reason the paths of justice continue, given that one atrocious act should never be forgotten or papered over, though his accomplices and the owners of death protect him.”  The organization affirmed that it will continue “the legal and juridical path” before the IACHR of the Organization of American States (OAS).

For more information (in Spanish):

Pese a inmunidad, debe investigarse a Zedillo por Acteal: Arizmendi(La Jornada, 9 de septiembre de 2012)

Propone EU dar inmunidad a Zedillo por caso Acteal (Proceso, 8 de septiembre de 2012)

EU otorga inmunidad a Ernesto Zedillo por caso Acteal (El Universal, 8 de septiembre de 2012)

La inmunidad al expresidente Zedillo no exime al Estado, dicen defensores (CNN México, 9 de septiembre de 2012)

Frayba: Sobre la inmunidad a Zedillo en la matanza de Acteal (Enlace Zapatista, 7 de septiembre de 2012)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas en conferencia de prensa(13 de septiembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Mexican State requests immunity for ex-president Zedillo in Acteal case (12 de enero de 2012)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo (27 September 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Communiqué from Las Abejas of Acteal following elections

July 25, 2012

Photo (@ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal)

On 22 July, the Las Abejas of Acteal published a new public communiqué in which they express their concern if it is that Enrique Peña Nieto succeeds in continuing as president-elect, for they define the PRI candidate as “the elect of Televisa and TV Azteca, given that the People did not choose him in a democratic way.  Democracy in Mexico does not exist, as it has become a game of the rich capitalists and transnationals, instead of being comprised of the power of the people, as it should be.”  Along these lines they added also that they “do not forget that it was from the PRI regime and on its orders that our 45 brothers and sisters were massacred in 1997.  [The PRI is also responsible] for the repression that took place in Sal Salvador Atenco against our brothers in the Popular Front in Defense of Land (FPDT) in 2006, when Peña Nieto was the governor of the state of Mexico.”  In this sense they predict that “what will happen is that there will be more mining concessions, more dams, and more human-rights violations as manifested in murders, repressions, death-threats, intimidations, unjust incarcerations, and forced displacements.”

In a similar manner to that of previous communications, Las Abejas rejected the legal case that is proceeding in Connecticut, U.S.A., against the former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, expressing in this regard that “there does not exist political will in the search for justice, nor a recognition of the truth of the massacre; instead there is only a political conflict that seeks to improve one’s standing in Mexico’s current situation.”   They conclude the communiqué by demanding justice from the material and intellectual authors of the massacre and the immediate and unconditional release of Alberto Patishtán Gómez and Francisco Sántiz López, among other things.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado 22 de julio de 2012 (Blog de Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de julio de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: communiqué by Las Abejas and clarification regarding demand against ex-president Zedillo

February 8, 2012

Acteal, December 2011 (@SIPAZ)

In observation of the commemoration of the Acteal massacre (22 December 1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society affirmed that the legal case against ex-president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (1994-2000) in a U.S. court distracts attention from the legitimate demand for justice of the indigenous from Chiapas.  Las Abejas reiterated their disagreement with the manner in which a civil case is being presented against the former president in the United States, clarifying that “We are not against the judgment of Zedillo; on the contrary, we would like him and many others to be judged for the Acteal massacre with the full weight of law.  But we are against confusion and manipulation.  For example, we do not want it to be forgotten within this accusation against one sole person that the crime was one of the state, following a politics of counter-insurgency that has not ended.”

Las Abejas also requested that the present Chiapas state-government release a public report regarding the activities of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Acteal, an organization created by the current administration, denouncing that “it has never produced a report to society regarding its progress” and “has disappeared as silently as it was created.”

They expressed finally that “there is not much different among the different political parties.  The PRI planned the massacre and murders of many indigenous comrades in different places; the PAN has taken it upon itself to release paramilitaries from prison, and the PRD government of Chiapas has even awarded them livelihoods, lands, and a large amount of money. […] Previously the PRI and PAN were of different colors, but now they are painted in the single color of red, which is that of the blood of more than 50000 dead Mexicans.”

 Expresaron finalmente: “No hay mucha diferencia entre los diferentes partidos políticos. El PRI planeó la masacre y los asesinatos de muchos compañeros indígenas en diferentes lugares; el PAN se encargó de sacar de la cárcel a los paramilitares, y el gobierno perredista de Chiapas los premió al salir con vivienda, tierra y una buena cantidad de dinero. (…) Antes el PRI y el PAN tenían diferencia de colores pero ahora están pintados en un solo color rojo que es la sangre de más de cincuenta mil mexicanos y mexicanas muertos“.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Mexican State requests immunity for ex-president Zedillo in Acteal case (12 de enero de 2012)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo (27 September 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)

Mexico: Mexican State requests immunity for ex-president Zedillo in Acteal case

January 16, 2012

According to media sources, the government of Mexico, by means of the Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE), sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. State Department in November of last year that requests that ex-president Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) be granted immunity, given that he has since 19 September 2010 confronted a legal case presented in the U.S. by a dozen relatives of victims of the Acteal massacre that took place in Chiapas in 1997.\

On 6 January, Zedillo himself presented a petition to the U.S. court in Connecticut and denied responsibility for the case.

Civil-society organizations and legislators have questioned both actions.  Deputies Sofia Castro (PRI) and Mauricio Toledo (PRD) have claimed that immunity should not be confused with impunity; for this reason the ex-president should be treated like any other Mexican citizen.  For her part, Zoila Luna, coordinator of the Méndez Arceo Foundation, has indicated that the petition for immunity formulated by the SRE is yet another demonstration of the commitment of the Mexican State to human rights.  She made this comment after presenting the call for the 20th iteration of the Sergio Méndez Arceo National Prize for Human Rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Zedillo reclama inmunidad en EU por caso Acteal (El Universal, 6 January 2011)

Zedillo, culpable; la queja en EU es alentada desde el PRI: Raúl Vera(La Jornada, 9 January 2011)

Solicita México a EU inmunidad par Zedillo (El Universal, 10 January 2011)

Critican que el Estado pida inmunidad para Zedillo (La Jornada, 12 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo (27 September 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)