Chiapas: Climate of violence between PRI and Green Ecologist Party in days before elections

July 22, 2015

comitan-grupos-de-choque

Photo @Juan Orel

The final days in the run-up to local elections in Chiapas were marked by violence. In terms of the alliance for local deputies, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) are in coalition for 16 of the 24 electoral districts. However, in at least 12 Chiapas municipalities there have been documented incidents and attacks between members of the two parties: in Playas de Catazaja, Oxchuc, Tzimol, Tumbala, Chilón, Cacahoatán, Tila, Frontera Comalapa, Ocotepec, Tuxtla Chico, Huixtla, and Mapastepec.

During the night of 16 July, a group of masked men armed with sticks, stones, and rockets (presumably allied to the PVEM) robbed photographic equipment and cash, and beat the journalist Juan Orel, during his coverage of an incident in the Boulevard of the Federations in the Comitán municipality. The incident in question occurred when the reporter was covering an attack by the masked men against a group of PRI militants. Another case of aggression took place in Tila. The Committee on Human Rights Digna Ochoa made public that residents of the Tila municipality denounced that “there prevails in the Tila municipality a climate of generalized terror among the population, provoked by the presence of armed groups that serve the PRI and PVEM.” Beyond this, the communique from the Digna Ochoa Committee mentions that “among the residents there exists a fear that the electoral process will end with a massacre, given that, to date, the Chiapas state government led by Manuel Velasco Coello has been totally absent in terms of guaranteeing the right to life, integrity, and personal security of the people of the Tila municipality.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Grupo de choque ligado al PVEM agrede y roba equipo de reportero (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Se confrontan PRI y Verde en Comitán (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Conflictos entre PRI y PVEM marcan elecciones en Chiapas (Red Política, 8 de julio de 2015)

Comunicado Comité de Derechos Humanos de Base de Chiapas Digna Ochoa (15 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce confrontation between PVEM and PRI, with 4 injured (21 July 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila receive threats following march to commemorate 80th anniversary of the ejido (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce new attempt to loot land (22 January 2014)

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Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region

December 17, 2014


Marcha en Tapachula (@Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

March in Tapachula (@Observatory on Mining Conflicts in Latin America)

On 8 December 2014, representatives from 39 ejidos, communal land-holdings, communities, and social, indigenous, and campesino organizations from the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, Huehuetán, and San Cristóbal de las Casas municipalities held a march to express their rejection of planned dam and mining projects in the region.

Protestors affirmed that their lands and territories “ARE FREE OF HYDROELECTRIC DAMS AND MINERAL EXPLOITATION.”  In the same way as 10 December 2013, they agreed that to “continue demanding that the federal, state, and municipal authorities heed and respect the decision of the ejidos, communal land-holdings, organizations, and peoples, and cancel all types of contracts, agreements, concessions, or permits to build these megaprojects that they have awarded on our lands and territories.”

Presenting the Second Declaration of Tapachula, the communal representatives claimed that “the three levels of government [will be responsible for] any conflict that is generated toward the end of sowing divisions and imposing projects of plunder at the cost of violating our human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

II Declaración de Tapachula (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

Emiten declaratoria por territorios libres de represas y minerías en Tapachula (Diario Contrapoder en Chiapas, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Se manifiestan contra hidroeléctricas y mineras, en Tapachula (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mobilization of 56 communities in Tapachula against mines and dams (17 December 2013)

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)


National: creation of mechanism for human-rights observation amidst the militarization of the Southern Border

September 2, 2014

(@fronterasurmx.wordpress.com)On 19 August, organizations from southeastern Mexico decided to “launch coordinated actions for monitoring, so as to demand the observance of responsibilities amidst the possible increase in human-rights violations” due to the “Southern Border Program” which was announced by the federal government on 7 July. These organizations foresee the program as including “the construction of more border infrastructure. Beyond this, there will be greater border control due to increased coordination among authorities of different State agencies, in addition to a greater presence of Army and Navy units. There will also be founded Centers for Comprehensive Attention to Border Transit.”

The organizations denounced that “this plan contains numerous ambiguities and retains a vision of natural security, prioritizing the control and flow of migration above human security” as well as the “lack of a Mexican migratory policy based in human rights that promotes the non-discrimination and multiculturalism implied by migratory flows.”

These organizations affirm that “since 2013 there have been observed numerous movements along the southern border which seek to increase its militarization, augment the presence of federal police, and re-enforce customs and biometrical controls. This militarization continues apace today, whether with the Southern Border Program or not, as we see in the constant and violent operations suffered by migrants in Tabasco and the coastal region of Chiapas.”

The organizations which are participating in this initiative include the following: the Migrant Home “la 72” in Tenosique, Tabasco; the San Francisco de Asís Migrant Home in Huixtla, Chiapas; the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas; the Fray Matías de Córdova Center for Human Rights in Tapachula, Chiapas; and Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación in Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Instalan mecanismo de observación con visión de derechos humanos ante la militarización de la Frontera Sur (boletín del Observatorio, 19 de agosto de 2014)

Estas son las principales acciones del Programa Frontera Sur para proteger a migrantes (Animal Político, 26 de agosto de 2014)

Critican Plan Frontera Sur; ven riesgos para migrantes (El Universal, 26 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Four years after the San Fernando massacre, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants (26 de agosto de 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)