Oaxaca: European diplomatic delegation visits the Isthmus while attacks continue against defenders of land and territory

December 18, 2013

Delegación diplomática. Foto @Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI)

Diplomatic delegation. Photo @PBI

During 12 and 13 December, representatives from the embassies of Switzerland, Norway, and Germany in Mexico carried out a trip to the Tehuantepec Isthmus toward the end of meeting with different human-rights defenders in the region and to “intensify the dialogue between the diplomatic corps and civil society and to make the prevailing conflicts over the construction of megaprojects in the region visible,” as the organization Peace Brigades International (PBI) notes.  PBI accompanied the diplomatic mission along with the Oaxacan organization Código DH during the visit.

Within the context of the visit, the delegation met with Father Solalinde in the Migrant Home “Brothers on the Path” as well as with the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ).  Along with the APPJ, the mission visited the lands on which the Fenosa Natural Gas corporation is building the Bii Hioxho wind-energy park.  The APPJ claims these lands to be communal.

Mariano López, spokesperson for the APPJ, noted that the delegation confirmed “the violations to the collective rights of the indigenous as committed by the Fenosa Natural Gas company with the construction of a wind-energy park on communal lands.”

Beyond this, the APPJ has denounced a new attempt at aggression against one of its members and spokespeople, Raymundo Regalado.  The acts took place on 11 December when a person associated with Fenosa Natural Gas followed Raymundo, threatened him, and tried to assault him.  The victim requested the assistance of the police and of passersby, leading the would-be attacker to flee.

For more information (in Spanish):

Constatan violación de eólicas a derechos de pueblos indígenas en Juchitán(La Jornada, 17 de diciembre de 2013)

Viaje a Tehuantepec (Embajada de Alemania en México, diciembre de 2013)

Empresa eólica Gas Natural Fenosa, hoy Bii Hioxho, atenta contra integrante de la APPJ (Observatorio Frontera Sur de México, diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Closing off of communal paths and police operation over construction of wind-energy park (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People denounces attack on wind-energy camp (26 October 2013)

Oaxaca: New threats of displacement from Playa Vicente (25 October 2013)

Oaxaca: Death by gunfire of opponent to wind-energy projected promoted by multinational Fenosa Natural Gas (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: Protests continue in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 November 2012)

Oaxaca: Different versions regarding future departure of Father Solalinde from migrant home

August 27, 2012

Alejandro Solalinde @ Página3

Alejandro Solalinde @ Página3

During the first week of August, different stories were published regarding the future departure of Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra from the “Brothers on the Path” migrant home in Ixtepec.  The priest, interviewed in media, commented that Óscar Armando Campos Contreras, bishop of the Tehuantepec diocese to whom Solalinde Guerra is subordinated, asked him to resign his post as director of the migrant home, so as to “put an end to conflicts,” as Father Solalinde put it.  This claim was later denied by Campos Contreras, who indicated that he had had a conversation with Solalinde regarding the possibility that he leave the home.  In any case, this question will be addressed again in November.

It was subsequently reported that Solalinde had to be taken to hospital, because he apparently suffers from dengue.  On 13 August, he was released in accordance with media reports so as to return to Ixtepec, but no mention was made of his specific condition.

For more information (in Spanish):

Página 3: Pide obispo de Tehuantepec a Solalinde dejar el albergue; es protagonismo, dice (07/08/2012)

La Jornada: Puedo luchar contra cárteles, pero no contra mi Iglesia: Alejandro Solalinde (08/08/2012)

La Jornada: Niega el obispo de Tehuantepec haberle pedido a Solalinde renunciar a albergue (09/08/2012)

Radio Red 1110 AM: Entrevista con Solalinde Guerra (en Youtube.com)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Padre Solalinde returns to Mexico (20 July 2012)

Oaxaca: Padre Solalinde leaves the country temporarily due to death-threats (21 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Aggressions continue against migrants and Father Solalinde (19 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Father Solalinde denounces detention by local cacique (16 January 2012)

Oaxaca: Padre Solalinde returns to Mexico

July 20, 2012

Padre Alejandro Solalinde (@ EDUCA)

In mid-May, Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, who was responsible for the migrant-home “Brothers on the Path,” found it necessary to leave Mexico, following the death-threats directed against him and his team, reportedly from the Los Zetas criminal group.  Despite the fact that the situation of insecurity that led him to leave the country has not changed in significant terms, father Solalinde declared in a press-conference that he will return to his pastoral work, although he recognized that the risks he confronts are real and continue being present.  “The mission is a risk, when it is taken seriously,” he noted.

Upon returning to Mexico, Solalinde warned that his position is non-partisan, but he commented also that the PRI has to date not given him reason to have faith in its governments, especially when “on the route of the kidnappings of migrants are found PRI state-governments: Tabasco, Veracruz, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. They are not hopeful signs,” he observed.  Furthermore, the priest recalled that the governments of the state of Mexico have been particularly hostile toward migrants.

This has been the case moreso during the government of Peña Nieto, said the priest, given the attack in 2010 by federal police on the San Juan Diego migrant home, and in light of the various attempts in 2011 to burn down the installment.

During the press-conference, Alberto Herrera Aragón, director of Amnesty Internacional México, lamented the “very insignificant advances” and the lack of investigations into the death-threats against Solalinde, a situation he claims to be “inexplicable.”  He indicated that “to guarantee the security of human-rights defenders, it is necessary to have adequate ministerial investigations that hold the aggressors responsible.”

In light of the persistence of the situation of risk lived by Solalinde and his work-team, Alberto Herrera demanded that the Mexican State observe the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), some of which, in his view, “have taken more than 2 years to be implemented, increasing the risks that are experienced by Father Solalinde permanently.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Vuelve Solalinde a Oaxaca; “me preocupa el regreso del PRI”, dice(Página 3, 11 de julio de 2012)

Vuelve padre Solalinde a México para retomar actividades; expresa que le preocupa el regreso del PRI (EDUCA, 11 de julio de 2012)

Regresa padre Solalinde a México para retomar actividades (La Jornada, 10 de julio de 2012)

Regresa padre Solalinde a Oaxaca (Noticiasnet.mx, 10 de julio de 2012)

Exige Amnistía Internacional garantizar seguridad a Solalinde (Proceso, 5 de julio de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Padre Solalinde leaves the country temporarily due to death-threats (21 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Aggressions continue against migrants and Father Solalinde (19 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Father Solalinde denounces detention by local cacique (16 January 2012)

Oaxaca: Padre Solalinde leaves the country temporarily due to death-threats

May 21, 2012

Padre Alejandro Solalinde @ Cencos

The priest Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, founder and director of the migrant home “Brothers on the Path” in the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, declared on 12 May that he will abandon his priestly functions at the space for some months.  The reason for his temporary leave have to do with the fact that he has received several death-threats since the year 2010, after having denounced hte existence of an international network that kidnaps migrants.  These threats have become more frequent in recent months.  Solalinde notes that the death-threats against him originate in groups that serve “influential politicians” and drugtraffickers.  He found ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz responsible for whatever aggression he or any member of his team could suffer.

The cleric affirmed that the attacks could come from organized crime or the government, given that “now there is no difference between them.”  He stressed that the trip he would take to Europe starting on 21 May with a brief stay in the U.S. and Canada would be only a pause in his work, not a definitive exile.  He plans during this trip to present the vulnerabilities and risks suffered by human-rights defenders in Mexico, in particular those who defend migrants.  “If anything should happen to me or to my team, I will indicate Ulises Ruiz [as responsible], but he is not the only one.  For this reason I demand that authorities investigate the matter.  During the six-year term [of Ulises Ruiz] I was attacked, and he did nothing.  Gabino Cué tries to change things; he has good intentions, but Ulises’ apparatus is still intact,” he declared.

For more information (in Spanish):

Solalinde: Si me pasa algo yo señalo al ex gobernador oaxaqueño Ulises Ruiz (La Jornada, 16 de mayo de 2012)

Amenazas de muerte obligan al padre Solalinde a salir de México (El Informador, 14 de mayo de 2012)

Rechazan que Solalinde deje defensa de migrantes (El Universal, 13 de mayo de 2012)

El Padre Solalinde visitará Europa para presentar los riesgos de las personas defensoras y de los migrantes en México (Cencos, 15 de mayo de 2012)

Priest who denounced abuse, kidnapping of migrants in southern Mexico flees death threats (The Washington Post, 14 de mayo de 2012)

Página Web de Hermanos en el Camino


Alejandro Solalinde, sacerdote. Abandonar el país después de varias amenazas de muerte, ‘Jamás voy a dejar mi misión’ (El Mañanero, 16 de mayo de 2012)

Oaxaca: Aggressions continue against migrants and Father Solalinde

April 19, 2012

Ixtepec (@SIPAZ)

In a communiqué released on 16 April, the migrant-home “Brothers on the Path” coordinated by Father Solalinde denounced new harassment and death-threats against Solalinde as well as against Central American migrants who are passing through Ixtepec toward the United States.  This communiqué details how on two different occasions on 31 March and 15 April 2012, Solalinde was harassed and threatened by the Group for Rescue and particularly by Carlos Tirado, brother of the mayor.  This group, the document claims, not only criminalizes migrants for acts and incites the population to give poisoned food to them but also accused Father Solalinde of being a “pollero,” in an attempt to facilitate a closing of the migrant-home.

The document states that “This climate of violence against migrants, the migrant-home, and Father Solalinde has not stopped in Ixtepec City.  The municipal authorities have not been capable either of halting aggressions on the part of certain sectors of the populace, but the paradox of this situation is that the two latest aggressions have come from people close to the municipal administration.  The Group for Urban Rescue led by Mr. Zarif Armenta includes persons who say they are journalists who are the first to arrive at an event to present the information, requesting always to involve igrants in all criminal acts that occur in Ixtepec.”  It continues: “These latest acts occurred during the dialogue between municipal authorities with the migrant-home in the context of precautionary measures dictated by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) from the Organization of American States (OAS).  These dialogues seek to decrease the criminalization of migrants, the migrant-home, and Father Solalinde.  But curiously, since we began the dialogues have been met with assaults.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Father Solalinde denounces detention by local cacique (16 January 2012)

Oaxaca: Father Solalinde denounces detention by local cacique

January 16, 2012

Father Alejandro Solalinde @ EE

On 30 December, Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerre, director of the migrant house Hermanos en el Camino in Ixtepec, was detained for approximately five hours in the Mixe community of Nuevo Santiago Tutla.  Solalinde has reported that this community is terrorized and controlled by a cacique known as José Raymundo.

He explained that he went to this community to visit the Fuentes Bonifacio family, who are the parents of one of the police assigned to him by the Oaxacan Secretary for Public Security.  Upon arriving to the locale, some twenty uniformed men carrying high-caliber weapons impeded his journey, demanding that he identify himself and explain the reason for his visit.  Subsequently they jailed him and organized an assembly during which they interrogated him.  According to the father, “They sounded the bells so that the residents would come to an urgent assembly; I asked why they were there, but the cacique startled the people but in light of his stubbornness I opted to return to the municipal agent.  There, the secretary of the municipality said that to free ourselves he had to sign a document that denied that we had identified ourselves and that the guards carried arms.  I refused to sign my name to lies.  Yes, I feared for my life, but what is happening in the community is very serious, given the violation of the right to free movement on the part of a group that carries heavy weapons and intimidates local people.”

The Commissioner of the State Police, Cesar Alfaro Cruz, reported that local units of the state security forces responded by rescuing the father; the operation was carried out under the authority of San Juan Mazatlán, though other sources claim that the action was carried out by federal police.  Solalinde has now submitted a denunciation to the agent of the Public Ministry for these happenings.

Non-governmental human-rights organizations have expressed their solidarity with Father Solalinde, demanding that the Oaxacan state-government put an end to the impunity exercised by cacique groups which, protecting themselves by means of “uses and customs,” violate human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Carta abierta del Pbro. Alejandro Solalinde sobre su retención ilegal en la zona Mixe de Oaxaca (Cencos, 5 January 2012)

Padre Solalinde denuncia retención por cacique local (El Economista, 2 January 2012)

Denuncia Solalinde: cacique somete con armas a un pueblo (La Jornada, 1 January 2012)

Padre Solalinde denuncia que cacique somete al pueblo de Nuevo Santiago Tutla, en Oaxaca (Zona Franca, 1 January 2012)

Pobladores encarcelan al padre Alejandro Solalinde en Oaxaca(Proceso, 31 January 2011)

Policía comunitaria retuvo a Solalinde al detectar a sus escoltas armados (Milenio, 1 January 2012)

Encarcelan al padre Solalinde (Zócalo Saltillo, 1 January 2012)

Padre Solalinde denuncia retención por cacique local (NSS Chiapas, 2 January 2012)

Pobladores retienen al padre Solalinde; es rescatado por federales(Animal político, 1 January 2012)

Rescatan federales al padre Solalinde (Vanguardia, 1 January 2012)