Oaxaca: threats and attempted kidnapping against communal defender of the Isthmus

April 26, 2014

Población junto a parque eólico en el Istmo de Tehuantepec. Foto (@Sipaz)

Populace next to wind-energy park in the Tehuantepec Isthmus. Photo (@Sipaz)

The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) has denounced that on 10 April, the communal defender and APPJ member Carmen Ruiz Martínez was followed and restrained by two women dressed in dark uniform wearing books from whom she succeeded nonetheless in escaping.  While fleeing, Carmen could observe that her assailants boarded a taxi that came to pick them up, with a man inside who opened the doors for them to enter.

According to Carmen’s testimony, these women are the same ones who, together with two men in a vehicle, were seeking her out on 4 April in the space where she does business in downtown Juchitán; they are also the same persons who attempted to kidnap her in May.

That same day, two members of the APPJ received threatening phone calls in which a feminine voice warned them of the impending kidnapping of Carmen.

For the APPJ, “these attacks while daily worsen have to do with the struggle that the APPJ has undertaken to recover our communal territory which is being invaded by wind-energy generators–these neoliberal wind-energy projects that are taking our Zapotec land from us.”

The Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) has expressed its concern for the situation of harassment suffered continuously by members of the APPJ, and specifically it worries for the physical integrity of Carmen Ruíz.  It claims the three levels of government will be responsible for any attack suffered by APPJ members.

According to Código DH, “What has happened to Carmen is not an isolated act, and it is just another event on a long list of intimidatory actions that campesinos and fisherpeople of the zone have been suffering by persons who are employed by the firms that are building the Bíi Hioxo wind-energy park in lands that the population has identified as being communally owned […].  We demand an unrestricted respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities and a peaceful resolution to the conflict seen in Juchitán.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado urgente de la Asamblea Popular del Pueblo Juchiteco (APPJ, 11 de abril de 2014)

Código DH: Preocupación por la integridad física de integrante de la APPJ(Igabe, 11 de abrilde 2014)

Preocupación por defensora y activista por la defensa del territorio en el Istmo de Tehuantepec y parte de la Asamblea del Pueblo Juchiteco (APPJ) (Red TdT, 11 de abril de 2014).

Continúan agresiones contra opositores a construcción de parque eólico en Juchitán (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón leave community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

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

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

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

Oaxaca: “The Isthmus at the Crossroads” Seminar (20 August 2013)

Guerrero: harassment by soldiers and police denounced in communities of Costa Chica

February 5, 2014

Policías comunitarias (@cgtChiapas)

Communal police (@cgtChiapas)

In a public communique released on 28 January, civil human-rights organizations and parishes denounced that “one year after the communities and peoples of the Costa Chica and central regions of the state of Guerrero organized themselves to re-establish security and peace in their communities, they now face harassment, intimidation, and abuse of authority on the part of the Mexican Army and the federal and state police.”

They affirmed that “in just one day 7 military checkpoints were installed” beyond those already existing, and these “military checkpoints are not allowing the movement of civilians either by automobile or foot from one community to the other; military vehicles and tanks threaten the people by aiming directly at them.”

The organizations noted that “the point of the federal security forces should not be to harass the communities that adhere to the Citizens’ System for Security and Justice.  In acting this way, the Army is failing to observe its function of defending the integrity, independence, and sovereignty of the country” and they demanded that the Army and the federal and state police respect the human rights and integrity of the people, including their right to free movement, self-determination, and peaceful association.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian acoso de fuerzas federales a pueblos y comunidades guerrerenses (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2014)

Comunidades de 5 municipios de la región Costa Chica del estado de Guerrero son hostigadas por el ejército (OSC de derechos humanos, 28 de enero de 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciations of constant death-threats against Carlos Beas, UCIZONI

January 22, 2013


In a press-conference on 14 January, the assembly of delegates of the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Tehuantepec Isthmus (UCIZONI) “energetically” condemned “the acts of intimidation and campaign of defamation promoted by the Mareña Renewables Firm, Mr. Jesús Martínez Álvarez, head of SEGEGO [General Secretary of the Oaxacan Government] , as well as the PRI deputies Elías Cortez y Francisco García López, in addition to the newspaper El Imparcial as against our comrade Carlos Beas and the leaders of the Assembly of the Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and other communities in resistance.”  Furthermore, they denounce “the constant death-threats directed against comrade Juan Carlos Beas Torres” due to his work in defense of the indigenous communities.  Finally, they “call on national and international human-rights organizations to help us in sharing our request for guarantees for the physical security of our comrade Juan Carlos Beas Torres.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de prensa: UCIZONI condena actos de difamación y de hostigamiento (14 de enero de 2013)

Se vive un regreso al autoritarismo: Ucizoni (Tiempo en línea, 11 de enero de 2013)

Chiapas: the Peace Network expresses its concern for the possible detention of human-rights defender

July 19, 2010
Marcha del movimiento en contra de las altas tarifas en Tonalá, el 8 de marzo de 2010 @ Consejo Regional Autónomo de la Zona Costa de Chiapas

March of the movement against high electricity-prices in Tonalá, 8 March 2010 @ the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas

The Peace Network, comprised of civil and human-rights organizations in the state of Chiapas, expressed in a pronouncement its worry regarding the open judicial process against Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, which could result in his detention.  We here reproduce the bulletin in full:

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

13 July 2010

Pronouncement of the Peace Network

  • Concern for the criminalization of the work of human-rights defender
  • Call to respect the accompaniment of organizational processes

We, the civil organizations that comprise the Peace Network in Chiapas, manifest our profound concern for the judicial process that accuses Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, director of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center, in the city of Tonalá, Chiapas.

The accusation was presented against Hernández Nuñez for his presence as a human-rights observer in a peaceful protest carried out by the Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone on 13 April 2010.  During the event, the Council, which is part of the Other Campaign, denounced the stealing of electrical cables that two communities that pertain to the Autonomous Council had suffered.  Furthermore, protestors demanded that the Federal Commission of Electricity reinstall the electrical service that had left more than 150 families–resisting high-electricity prices–without electricity for more than a week.

On 11 June 2010, the AFI arrived at Nataniel Hernández Nuñez’s home to present an order demanding his presence on 15 June at 10:00am in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas.  In this order Hernández Nuñez was informed that there exists an investigation (no. AVP/PGR/032/2010) against him, one that charges him with the crime of attacking means of communication, a situation that places him in a state of permanent vulnerability: “The procedural state in which [Nataniel Hernández Nuñez] finds himself is that of the previously mentioned investigation; pending is the arraignment and the request for the arrest-order, if the necessary elements are found to exist.”

As human-rights defenders, we are concerned by the legal punishment imposed by the state government against this human-rights defender, a case that seems to represent yet another example of the recurring criminalization of the work of defense and accompaniment realized by human-rights organizations in the case of different organizations and communities that promote civil and peaceful transformation in Chiapas.

We call on the appropriate state and federal authorities to do the following:

  1. Immediately suspend the judicial process against the director of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center, seeing as it is clearly a crime invented to criminalize and make difficult his work.
  2. Cease the vigilance and harassment of Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, as well as the rest of the members of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center.
  3. Respect the work of human-rights defenders in all of Mexico.


Member organizations of the Peace Network

Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas de Acción Comunitaria, A.C. (Ciepac)

Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C. (Desmi)

Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria, A.C. (Coreco)

Enlace Capacitación y Comunicación, A.C. (Enlace CC)

Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz, A.C. (Serapaz)

Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, A.C. (CDMCH)

Centro de Derechos Indígenas, A.C. (Cediac)

Comité de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada, A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, A.C. (Frayba)

Educación para la Paz (Edupaz)

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint bulletin from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human-Rights Center and the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center (pdf) (16 July 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Judicial Harrassment of Human-Rights Defender (21 June 2010)