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)

Mexico: Caravan Paso a Paso; visit by Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers and their Families

August 18, 2011

From 24 July to 1 August, the Caravan Paso a Paso por la Paz (Step by Step for Peace), constituted of approximately 500 persons from organizations and around 150 relatives of migrant peoples from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, left from Guatemala to Mexico City, covering the route of the train used by migrants to reach the northern border with the U.S.  “No more kidnappings; no more murders; stop organized crime!” were the chants of the members of the caravan, whose objectives are to demand justice for the murdered and kidnapped migrants as well as dignified treatment of migrants passing through Mexico.  They put together an alternative report regarding the general situation of the rights of migrants and their families which includes 54 recommendations, among which can be included the “establishment of a legal mechanism for secure transit, whether a trans-migrant visa or the suppression altogether of visas.”  They affirmed that “to eliminate the necessity of clandestine crossing is the sole means of assuring a drastic dimunition of the aggresions and violations suffered by migrant populations.  We desperately cry WE ACCUSE in the name of the 20,000 migrants who are kidnapped each year, being people from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, and also Mexico itself.  They have names, faces, dreams, and families that do not cease in their attempts to find them, who do not renounce the hope to find them alive somewhere, who do not adjust themselves to officialist excuses.”

It should be noted that on 31 July Father Alejandro Solalinde, coordinator of the domicile Hermanos del Camino, in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, was arrested by municipal police from the city fo Puebla for an hour while accompanying the Caravan, since his escort was carrying high-powered weapons (precautionary measures granted by the IACHR due to the constant threats he has received).  The ProDH Center affirmed in this regard that “this act reflects that the local authorities lack the sensibility and knowledge regarding the importance of the implementation of precautionary measures, which implies risks for human-rights defenders the country over.”

In other news, Felipe González, special rapporteur for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for Migrant Workers and their Family Members , visited Mexico from 25 July to 2 August toward the end of of observing the situation of human rights of migrant peoples.  His tour included Mexico City, Oaxaca de Juárez and Ixtepec in Oaxaca, Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas, Tierra Blanca and Veracruz in Veracruz, and Reynosa and San Fernando in Tamaulipas.  His tour included meetings with authorities at the three levels of government, civil organizations, and international organisms.  He also met with the Caravan Paso a Paso.

Upon finishing his visit, and in light of a situation that the Rapporteur summarized as a “serious humanitarian tragedy,” González recognized “important advances registered in migrational law, particularly the new Law on Migration approved in 2011 […].  The profundization of this change in light of additional normative reforms and additional rules, consulted with Mexican civil society and the implementation and diffusion throughout the country, will represent a change in migratory paradigm with significant impact in Mexico and the world.”  He recommended that the Mexican State guarantee as soon as possible the life and physical integrity of migrant persons who find themselves in Mexican territory; the facilitation of secure transport; the guarantee of secure conditions for human-rights defenders working with migrants; the definition of criteria for the implementation of alternatives to detention for illegal migration; and the establishment of protocols for the management and identification of corpses.  At the same time, he recommended that the countries of the region coordinate their migratory policies so as to assure the rights of all be respected.

For more information (in Spanish):

Solalinde pide desaparecer Instituto Nacional de Migración (El Universal, 2 August)

Pide la caravana al gobierno que ya no sea el gendarme de EU(La Jornada, 2 August)

Propone CIDH a gobierno dar permisos temporales a migrantes (La Jornada, 2 August)

La Relatoría sobre los derechos de los migrantes de la CIDH culmina su visita a México (2 August)

Más de 11 mil migrantes plagiados en 2010: CNDH (El Universal, 2 August)

CIDH propone a México dar visas a migrantes (El Universal.mx, 2 August)

Fallan el gobierno y la Iglesia en sacar al país de la violencia, dice el sacerdote (La Jornada, 1 August)

Retienen a Alejandro Solalinde al llegar a Puebla la caravana Paso a Paso por la Paz (La Jornada, 31 July)

Dramático, el viaje sobre La Bestia hacia Estados Unidos: relator de CIDH (La Jornada, 29 July)
Frontera sur: discriminación y desigualdad principales prácticas contra migrantes y refugiados (Comunicado de prensa OSC antes de cita con el relator de la CIDH sobre migrantes, 29 July 2011)

Migrantes llegan a Chiapas; visitan un cementerio(Milenio, 28 July)

“Ni un secuestro, ni un muerto más”, el reclamo (El Universal, 28 July)

La CIDH pide a México romper el “círculo de impunidad” contra migrantes(CNN, 28 July)

ONG a relator de la CIDH: cada año, 20 mil migrantes son secuestrados en el país(La Jornada, 26 July)
Sistemáticas y generalizadas, las agresiones contra migrantes (La Jornada, 26 July)

Audios de Caravana Paso a Paso Hacia la Paz (Radio zapatista)

Crónica desde la Caravana Paso a Paso Hacia la Paz(Radio zapatista, 31 July)

Comunicado de prensa inicial de la Caravana Paso a Paso (23 July 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi pillay to the state (14 July)

Chiapas: NGO denounces that INM makes difficult the defense of migrants (20 June)

Chiapas: 513 migrants are found crowded together in a truck (1 June 2011)

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

México’s nothern border: murder of youth at the hands of the U.S. Border Police (15 June 2010)

Mexico: Pronouncement by OSC on forced disappearance of approximately 80 migrants

July 20, 2011

Migrant Home Ixtepec (@SIPAZ)

On 5 July, several civil organizations pronounced themselves demanding a cessation of violence directed against Mexican and Central American migrants, as well as migrants of any other nationality.  They affirmed: “We believe that the DISAPPEARANCE of approximately 80 women, children, and men is not an isolated act but rather yet another expression of violence against migrants in transit through our country.  IT IS THE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES TO GUARANTEE AND ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THESE PERSONS.”

On 24 June, a train carrying merchandise and 200 irregular migrants departed from the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, en route to Medias Aguas, Veracruz, in its route toward the border between Mexico and the United States.  According to testimony of witnesses, when the train approached Medias Aguas, the conductor stopped the train in an isolated area in which were found three trucks.  At least 10 armed men alighted from the vehicles and began to harass the migrants.  Some managed to escape, but many were captured at gunpoint and taken in the trucks.

Some of the witnesses returned to the “Brothers on the Path” home in Oaxaca where they had been staying before leaving for Veracruz.  Father Solalinde, the home’s director, has denounced that an indeterminate number of migrants have been kidnapped in the region of Medias Aguas.  The Federal Attorney General’s Office has begun two investigations into the crime of kidnapping, with little significant progress to date.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de OSC (5 July)

Demanda Solalinde desaparición de INM; está cargado de corrupción, dice (La Jornada, 1 July)

Sin confirmar, presunto plagio de migrantes: PGR (El Universal, 1 July)

AI exige esclarecer desaparición de migrantes (El Universal, 27 June)

Oaxaca: visit by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to the state

July 17, 2011

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay (@UN)

From 2 to 9 July, Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will visit Mexico.  She began her visit in the state of Oaxaca where she met with governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo; Euforsina Cruz Mendoza, president of the local congress; Alfredo Lagunas, president of the judiciary power; and with Ricardo Bucio, president of the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination.

She also interviewed representatives of 15 organizations in all the country, ones that dedicate themselves to the defense of the human rights of migrants, including the priest Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, director of the Home for Migrants Brothers on the Path, located in Ixtepec (Isthmus of Tehuantepec), who has in recent years been denouncing the massive kidnapping of mostly Central American migrants in both Oaxaca and Veracruz.

Similarly, she met with rights-defenders from the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, who submitted to her a diagnostic of the situation lived by the 16 indigenous ethnicities in the state, as well as of the peoples of African descent.  In general terms, Pillay recognized that discrimination takes many forms, new and old, overt and subtle, public and private, intolerant and exclusive: “It seems as though it is in institutional racism or ethnic conflict that episodes of intolerance and rejection are manifested and escape scrutiny.”  In this way, she signed as a witness of honor a convention of collaboration that would permit the beginning of a struggle to codify anti-discriminatory statutes, so that governor Cué will present a legal initiative of this sort.

Pillay also manifested her concern for the impact that the development projects have had on the indigenous lands and territories of the country.  She called on the governor of Oaxaca to explicitly and legally recognize the rights of indigenous peoples.  Furthermore, she suggested that consultations be carried out, and that free and informed consent be had when economic development is in question.  She emphasized that consultation is a legal obligation for Mexican government at all levels, in addition to being a key means for dialogue and mutual understanding.

In a large report submitted to Pillay, several organizations of the state shared their preoccupations with regard to the situation on the rights of women, indigenous peoples, territory, migrants, discrimination and justice, and natural resources, one that indicates that “we see with worry that the present government is a government of conviction but not of action.”  For her part the High Commissioner recognized the work of said organizations.  She added that there exists a commitment on the part of the UN Office of the High Commissioner in Mexico to construct a permanent dialogue with civil society and take into account their demands vis-a-vis the appropriate institutions.

Pillay also obtained information regarding the human-rights violations that occurred during the social conflict in Oaxaca in 2006-7; she had a meeting with members of Section 22 of the SNTE.  She warned in this regard that “if there is impunity, there is no democracy; if there is no justice, there is no democracy.  Thus, to have reconciliation there must be truth and justice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Funcionaria de ONU inicia gira en Oaxaca (El Universal, 4 July)

Promover derechos humanos, tarea urgente: ONU (El Universal, 4 July)

En 7 años hubo 62 ataques a albergues de inmigrantes (Milenio, 5 July)

Insta la ACNUDH a reconocer legalmente derechos de pueblos indígenas (Proceso, 5 July)

Impactan plagios a alta comisionada de ONU: Solalinde (El Universal, 5 July)

Reconoce alta comisionada de la ONU política de Cué en defensa de los derechos humanos (La Jornada, 5 July)