Chiapas: Bishop Felipe Arizmendi presents his resignation to the Pope

May 14, 2015

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

On 1 May, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, reported that he has sent in his letter of resignation to Pope Francis, now that he has reached 75 years of age.

During the homily of the mass he celebrated on his birthday, the bishop announced that the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Christope Pierre, has told him that “Rome has indicated its desire for me to continue at this pastoral ministry, but it has not specified how long this extension would be.  We leave this up to divine providence.”

The bishop added that he has “no problem with accepting this request that is made of me,” insofar asGod, by means of the Pope, does not tell me to stop my service in this diocese, we will continue working together toward the consolidation of the Church’s project, which was well-expressed in the Third Diocene Synod: following the example of the beloved Tatik Samuel Ruiz García, we must be oppositional, liberatory, evangelizing, communal, and service-oriented, under the guidance of the holy spirit.”

Since 15 May 2014, the Pope had accepted the bishop’s proposal to designate Monseñor Enrique Díaz Díaz as a joint bishop, such that he will be next in the succession.  Felipe Arizmendi expressed that his desire is to return to his original diocese, Toluca, once his resignation has in fact been accepted.

For more information (in Spanish):

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi presenta su renuncia al Papa (la Jornada, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi envía renuncia al papa (El Universal, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo de San Cristóbal anuncia su retiro (Proceso, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

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Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community

April 26, 2014

Retorno de las familias desplazadas en Colonia Puebla. Foto (@Sipaz)

Return of the displaced families to the Puebla ejido. Photo (@Sipaz)

As they had announced in their press-conference on 12 April, the displaced from the Puebla ejido returned to their homes on 14 April, after spending nearly nine months outside of their community.

Before the mass presided over by Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, that was given on the land recently granted to the Catholics, the displaced shared their words.  They once again affirmed that their return has been performed without any sort of justice having been done, and they stressed the role of the authorities in what had passed: “if something happens, it will be their responsibility,” they told the Secretary of Governance, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, and the Subsecretary for Religious Affairs, Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa, who were present at the event, as was the CNDH (National Commission on Human Rights).

Both the bishop and the representatives of the displaced and the parish council of Chenalhó insisted that what was most important was justice, and that the displaced must “continue struggle toward it.”  The bishop emphasized the suffering that the displaced families and Father Manuel (parishioner of Chenalhó) had experienced, and he insisted that those who had supported them “should continue doing so, not only at the material level but also toward the end of achieving peace, harmony, and reconciliation.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Retornaron 17 familias indígenas desplazadas al poblado de Puebla, municipio de Chenalhó (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de abril de 2014)

Retornan desplazados al ejido Puebla en Chiapas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan desplazados a comunidad (Cuarto Poder, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan a sus hogares 17 familias de tsotsiles desplazados (Proceso, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas : “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)


Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression

March 16, 2014

Mujer frente al campamento militar de Majomut, peregrinación del 8 de marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Woman before the Majomut military base during the pilgrimage of 8 March 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 8 March, during the pilgrimage-march organized for International Women’s Day, women from the Las Abejas Civil Society shared a communique in which they once again stressed that in the case of the Puebla ejido, “it would seem that the bad government of Chiapas headed by Manuel Velasco has resolved the conflict with the ‘return’ of the Catholic territory on 26 February; but if we think about it a bit, we see this only as a partial solution.  Yesterday in the Puebla Colony there was burned a house for catechism belonging to our Catholic brothers; we understand that this act is a message of hate and violence of the people allied with the commissioner and Evangelical pastor Agustín Cruz Gómez. We see that the return of our Catholic brothers and sisters is becoming more complicated.  If the government had applied justice as it should, there would be peace and tranquility in the Puebla Colony.”

This same day the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó delved into this concern, affirming that on 7 March, “the burning of the door of the entrance to the catechismal house is the consequence of the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors against our Catholic brothers and sisters from the Puebla Colony who presently live displaced in the sacred land of Acteal.  We always have insisted on the application of justice, because peace can only exist when there is also justice.  However, the state government of Chiapas and the secretary for religious affairs and commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez have on several occasions requested that we forget about the aggressions to which we were subjected; that is to say, that we be accomplices to violence.”

The bishop for the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, confirmed in a press conference that the 17 Catholic families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, have suspended the plans to return on 14 March.  The 98 Tsotsil persons left the Puebla ejido in August after a series of attacks from the Evangelical majority over the dispute of land for a Catholic chapel.

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman puerta del salón de catequesis,denuncian familias desplazadas de Ejido Puebla (Denuncia de la parroquia de San Pedro Chenalhó, 8 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de las mujeres Abejas en el Día Internacional de la Mujer (8 de marzo de 2014)

Suspenden familias tzotziles su retorno al ejido de Puebla: Arizmendi (10 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  “This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)


Chiapas: judiciary demands that mine exploited by Blackfire remain closed

October 27, 2010

Protest against mining-company Blackfire Exporation Ltd. (@Common Frontiers Canada)

 

On Tuesday 19 October the judiciary power of the federal declared that the barite mine located in the ejido of Grecia, municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, should remain closed until the Canadian companhy Blackfire, concessionary of the mine, comply with the environmental regulations demanded by the Secretary of Environment, Living, and Natural History (Semavihn) of Chiapas.  This decision is the result of an appeal advanced by Semavihn against a decision granted to Blackfire on 30 April that authorized the re-opening of the mine that was closed following the killing of Mariano Abarca, leader of local opposition to mining-exploitation, on 27 November 2009.

This latest decision by the judiciary was welcomed by the bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, who stressed that “as long as there is evidence for the environmental degradation caused by [the mine], such a mine that hurts society and only benefits a few managers cannot continue working.”  He added that he thought that the decision to keep the mine closed would lower the tensions and worries of the people of the area affected by Blackfire’s mine.

The judicial decision comes a week after a march held in Chicomuselo by the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-National Coordination for the Ayala Plan (OCEZ-CNPA), the Coordination of Autonomous Organizations of the State of Chiapas (COAECH), and the Movement for National Liberation (MLN) in which it is estimated that participated some 2000 protestors.  The march, which sought to reject the previous decision authorizing the re-opening of the mine exploited by Blackfire, denounced that the mining operations bring no benefits for local people.  Protestors also expressed their solidarity with the priest Eleazar Juárez Flores, who has been threatened with death for having accompanied groups opposed to the mine.

For more information (in Spanish):

Barite mine in Chiapas will continue closed until it follows regulations (La Jornada, 20 October)

It is important that the mine continue to be closed (Cuarto Poder, 25 October)

Conflict against firm continues (Cuarto Poder, 18 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats directed against the Chicomuselo parish (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)


Chiapas: Death-threat directed against the Chicomuselo parish

October 13, 2010

The bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, has confirmed that the parishioner of the municipality of Chicomuselo, Eleazar Juárez Flores, has been threatened with death, as had previously been reported by the ‘Ecclesiastic Base Communities’ of this location, for having “accompanied” the communities that oppose the exploitation of barite carried out by the Canadian firm Blackfire.

In November of last year, Mariano Abarca Roblero, leader of opposition to barite-mining operations, was killed.  Following the murder, state authorities temporarily closed the mine, but Blackfire advanced a legal case before the federal government.  In April of this year the fifth judge of the district, with headquarters in Tuxtlá Gutierrez, decided in its favor, so that soon these operations will be able to resume.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bishop Arizmendi expresses his “total support” for the parishioner of Chicomuselo, threatened with death (La Jornada, 11 October 2010)

Death-threats against parishioner of Chiapas are denounced (Milenio, 11 October 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: demonstration during the visit of Canada’s Governor General (10 December 2009)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)