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

March 10, 2015


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)

Chiapas: FNLS suspends two-month sit-in in San Cristóbal without receiving response to their demands

June 5, 2012

On 31 May, members of the National Front for the Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) suspended the sit-in they had maintained for more than two months in the Cathedral Plaza of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, without having received any response to their demands which include “the dismantling of paramilitary groups in Chiapas and the rest of the country […]; the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the country, as well as the cancellation of the legal processes against our comrade Blanca Estela Albores Gómez;a halt to the massive and selective repression of social activists, journalists, and human-rights defenders.”  They denounce that the only reaction taken up by the government in light of these demands has been “indifference, taunting, and total lack of political will.”

They recalled as well that in this very sit-in there have participated also members of the National Campaign against Calderon’s War, for Justice and Punishment of State Criminals, which was carried out during the month of May in different states of the Republic.  This campaign had been launched by the Latin American Federated Association of the Detained and Disappeared (FEDEFAM), the National Campaign against Forced Disappearance, the National Front for the Struggle for Socialism (FNLS), and the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared “Until We Find Them.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Levanta Plantón FNLS (El Imparcial de Chiapas, 29 de mayo de 2012)

Comunicado completo del FNLS (29 de mayo de 2012)

Después de dos meses… … Levanta el FNLS plantón sin obtener respuesta a demandas (Expreso de Chiapas, 29 de mayo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: One person ambushed and another disappeared, both members of OCEZ-FNLS (19 April 2012)

Chiapas: Indefinite sit-in by the FNLS in the Cathedral Plaza of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (13 April 2012)

Chiapas: FNLS denounces harassment following return to Las Conchitas

September 22, 2011

Members of the FNLS upon suspension of their sit-in SCLC @SIPAZ

The National Front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) denounced that following its return to the community fo Las Conchitas, municipality of salta de Agua, the 5 families that were displaced in July find themselves newly subjected to harassment and intimidation on the part of armed persons, according to Marciano Gaspar González.  In its urgent action published on 24 August the FNLS denounces that “the paramilitary group continues to ambush our comrades in their lands, carrying out nocturnal rounds and firing at whichever hour as acts of intimidation, showing their power to kill our comrades.”

They added that the authorities have not moved judicially against the aggressors of the violent displacement perpetrated on 4 July, something which they see as reflecting “that the government of Juan Sabines, the secretary of government Noé Castañón, functionaries of the federal CONANP, PROFEPA, and SEMARNAT not only organize, finance, and direct the paramilitary groups in coordination with military structures but also allow them total impunity so that they can continue carrying out counter-insurgent actions against organized peoples and communities.”

They concluded that tension and uncertainty is what is lived daily since the return of their comrades who saw it as necessary to return so as to work the land and so survive, given that the state authorities were deaf to their pleas, leaving them defenseless and at the mercy of criminals and murderers.

For  more information (in Spanish):

FNLS; El gobierno reorganiza los ataques y hostigamientos a los compañeros de la organización del MRPS-FNLS, retornados hacia la Comunidad Las Conchitas, preparando una nueva masacre  (Acción Urgente, 28 August 2011)

Fin del plantón, retorno y solicitud de garantías: FNLS (Boletín de Prensa FNLS, 15 August 2011)

Exiliados vuelven a Conchitas (Cuarto Poder, 16 August 2011)

Desalojan plantón de la CNDH y de la Plaza Catedral en SCLC (El imparcial de Chiapas, 17 August 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: End of sit-in and return to Las Conchitas (FNLS) (19 August 2011)

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua (27 July 2011)

Mexico: National Day against Forgetting and Impunity by the FNLS (8 June 2011)

Chiapas: End of sit-in and return to Las Conchitas (FNLS)

August 19, 2011

FNLS members in the Plaza Catedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 15 August @SIPAZ

In a 15 August press-conference in the Plaza Catedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the National front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) reported that the residents of the ranch “Las Conchitas,” municipality of Salto de Agua, decided to suspend their sit-in and return to their community following 42 days of having been robbed of their lands, 34 of which they spent in front of the offices of the CNDH and the San Cristóbal cathedral.

The 33 Ch’ol indigenous individuals, presumably evicted by armed men on 3 July, installed the protest in both sites to demand guarantees for their return, compensation for damages incurred, and regularization of the lands to which they were relocated in 2002 when they were voluntarily evicted from the Montes Azules Reserve.

They assured that after several meetings with authorities they came to no agreement for the observance of their demands, and so they return to Las Conchitas “without guarantees” for their safety.  Before boarding the two buses given to them by the CEDH for their return, their representatives proclaimed that “We want to clarify that on the part of the FNLS there was political will for dialogue, but the only audience granted by the secretary of Government […] made no serious commitment to our demands for the generation of the conditions of a dignified return, much less reparation for the damages and punishment of the aggressors.”

For this they invited human-rights defenders, both national and international, to accompany their return: “with their support and solidarity we can make known to the public our suffering […], given that certain media are controlled by the budget of this government, thus closing off such spaces.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Fin del plantón, retorno y solicitud de garantías: FNLS (Boletín de Prensa FNLS, 15 August 2011)

Exiliados vuelven a Conchitas (Cuarto Poder, 16 August 2011)

Desalojan plantón de la CNDH y de la Plaza Catedral en SCLC (El imparcial de Chiapas, 17 August 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua (27 July 2011)

Mexico: National Day against Forgetting and Impunity by the FNLS (8 June 2011)

Chiapas: The OCEZ-RC sit-in, twelve days later

November 13, 2009
@Expreso de Chiapas

Since Monday October 26th about 150 members of OCEZ-RC (Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization, Carranza Region) have maintained a sit-in in the center of San Cristobal de Las Casas to denounce intimidation by the military and police in their region, and to demand the release of their members: Jose Manuel Chema Hernandez Martinez was arrested on September 30th, while Jose Manual de la Torre and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez were apprehended on October 24th. All three are accused of stealing, causing damage and criminal association, among other charges.

On October 29th Amnesty International asked the Mexican government to investigate the complaints against the Chiapas police, who are accused of torturing OCEZ leaders. Amnesty International also asked for the guarantee of a fair trial for Jose Hernandez Martinez who remains unable to communicate since being transferred to a maximum-security prison 2000 kilometers from Chiapas.

On October 30th in “a desperate measure to call attention and obtain the release of our fellow members,” participants from the sit-in occupied the offices of the United Nations (UN) in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The OCEZ members explained that the occupation was a “peaceful act related to international rights against forced internal displacement.” They said they were afraid police and soldiers would conduct raids in their communities in Venustiano Carranza.

UN official Arnaud Peral said “the UNDP has determined the peaceful nature of the protest up until now, despite the imposition of having their headquarters occupied, and has asked the authorities not to proceed with any forced removal based on the principal of respect for the inviolability of United Nations offices.” However, he stated that the UN would join “the negotiation process once the offices were vacated, and once the framework for dialogue as well as representation of the occupying group had been clarified.”

On November 4th prisoners Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez asked that those occupying the UNDP offices vacate the building. That same day the National Front in the Struggle for Socialism (Frente Nacional de Lucha hacia el Socialismo, FNLS) denounced the “fact that the last two OCEZ-RC members who were arrested (Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio Cruz Gonzalez) had agreed to change their lawyer Lic. Marcos Lopez Perez, are spreading the news that they weren’t tortured and now ‘ask’ their fellow members to vacate the UNPD offices is undeniably proof of the terrorism of these supposed state authorities. It’s obvious they were subject to pressure and threats to take these positions.” They also pointed out “the FNLS doesn’t rule out that the repressive strategy being used against the OCEZ-RC – which has been used to facilitate the militarization of their region – is part of the declared intentions of the Governor Juan Sabines in the sense that he is going to create the ‘social conditions’ necessary to give access to transnational mining extraction in Chiapas.”

On November 5th the OCEZ announced that they had proposed that the Government Secretary of Chiapas, Noe Castanon Leon, set up a working group “to ease tensions and show good faith” in order to find a solution to their demands and the occupation of the United Nations offices. This initiative may take place as early as this weekend.

For more information:

Acción Urgente de Amnistía Internacional

– Solicita AI que se indaguen denuncias de tortura contra líderes de la OCEZ (La Jornada, 29 de octubre)

– Toman oficinas de la ONU (Cuarto Poder, 31 de octubre)

– Descartan líderes de la OCEZ-RC toma del PNUD (Milenio, 4 de noviembre)

Posición del FNLS antes el conflicto de la OCEZ-RC (Carta abierta, 4 de noviembre)

– Propone la OCEZ mesa de distensión (La Jornada, 6 de noviembre)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice (octubre 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)

Chiapas: Attack on K’inal Antsetik

November 10, 2009


Sorry for the delay in translating this post, regretfully still a topical subject.

On September 26, 2009, the K’inal Antsetik Women’s Leadership Center (Tierra de Mujeres) in San Cristobal de las Casas was attacked.

According to the statement provided by K’inal, on Saturday, September 26th at 8pm, at least one unidentified individual, dressed completely in black with his face covered with a ski mask, entered from some neighboring property and he (or them) sprayed white gasoline on some of the wooden main beams of the construction that was being built and set them on fire.

The people who live in the facilities and were there at that time were able to put out the fire with buckets of water.

It is important to underline that this was not the first attack on this organization, which dedicates itself to promoting the struggle for respect for women’s rights and combating all types of violence against women. One of its members, Yolanda Castro Apreza (who is also part of FNLS), has been the victim of repeated assaults and, at the end of 2008, her home was broken into. Also, there were reports of individuals in the K’inal Antestik Center who were offering money in exchange for information about Yolanda Castro. Finally, the reports mentioned that in the most recent days, the state Attorney General was understood to be creating a case against Yolanda Castro, falsely imputing crimes against her with the goal of criminalizing her role as a human rights defender.

For more information:

Denuncia Pública K´inal Antsetik

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Concern regarding threats faced by human rights defenders

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit

October 26, 2009

On October 16th Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez (“Don Chema”) was unexpectedly transferred to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit. The transfer was done with a strong police presence, with state and federal police assisting in moving him from El Amate, the prison in Chiapas where he had been held since his detention on September 30th.

The Chiapas government sub-secretary, Nemesio Ponce Sanchez, confirmed the transfer to the prisoner’s family and friends, who had not been informed in advance. The sub-secretary said the transfer of Hernandez Martinez was “for his own security.” The sub-secretary also said anybody wishing to visit him in the far-away state would be eligible for airline tickets paid for by the government.

In a public statement the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ), based in the Carranza region, brought attention to the transfer of Don Chema and the deaths of two cooperative landowners who were present during the arrest of their leader (the first died immediately, the other on October 17th.) According to OCEZ “the saddest part of this situation is that from the beginning our organization signed agreements of political civility and governability… and during this process they detained Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez. We started a series of actions against the state government because for us, his arrest was a betrayal of the agreements signed.” The statement concluded by saying, “Given the situation, we place responsibility on Governor Juan Sabines because this is a blow to our organization and to social struggle in the state of Chiapas.”

For the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, this transfer represents a “way to punish him and his family.” They denounced this action and said “the State violated the Principles and Best Practices for People Deprived of Freedom in the Americas, which states that transfers of incarcerated people should be authorized and supervised by competent authorities who will respect, in all circumstances, dignity and fundamental rights and who will take into account the need for incarcerated people to be in locations near their families, communities and legal representatives… Transfers should not be done with the intention to punish, reprimand or discriminate against incarcerated persons, their families or friends.”

In a communiqué the National Front for the Fight for Socialism reported Hernandez Martinez’s transfer “is due to political revenge and wanting to put him in solitary confinement like they did in CERSS 14 El Amate, which goes against his constitutional and human rights as well as due process.”

For more information:

Boletín de prensa de la OCEZ-Región Carranza

Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas: Traslado Forzoso de José Manuel Hernández Martínez, líder de la OCEZ

Boletín informativo del FNLS sobre traslado arbitrario de José Manuel Hernández Martínez (Chema) al penal de máxima seguridad de Nayarit.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured