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

March 2, 2014

(@Radio Pozol)

(@Radio Pozol)

On 26 February 2014, there was held an act to hand over the land on which was found the chapel of the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, as performed by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, transferring it to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, as represented in the event by bishop Enrique Díaz Díaz.  This came after the General Direction of Religious Associations of the Secretary of Governance decided that the land under dispute “is federal property in use and administered by the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese.”

It should be recalled that the dispute over this land between Catholics and Evangelical residents led by the ejidal authorities led to the displacement of 17 families (98 persons) who have taken refuge in the Acteal community since August 2013.

At the event was also present Secretary of Governance Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar and Subsecretary for Religious Affairs Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa, who considered themselves witnesses of honor.  The Secretary of Governance decalred that the Evangelicals and Catholics “are here to do good,” such that he called on the Evangelical community to respect the decision made by the Secretary of Governance.  He affirmed that the state government will continue working to resolve the pending issues.

On that same day, 26 February, the Las Abejas Civil Society (to which the majority of the displaced pertain) challenged in a communique that the government “does not speak of justice.”  It noted that “the human-rights violations began with torture, harassment, displacement, robbery of possessions, destruction of the chapel, burning of houses, fabrication of crimes regarding the poisoning of the water, accusing 3 people (Juan López Méndez, Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández, son of Mariano Méndez Méndez), who were transferred to the Public Ministry to be arrested without any evidence that the water had in fact been poisoned […].  Comrades from civil national and international organizations, this is not the priority solution of the displaced.  They lack other things such as the construction of the chapel, reparation for the burned houses, and compensation for robbed possessions, in addition to the application of justice for the presumed responsible persons who committed these rights-violations.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Determinan autoridades que ejido Puebla, en Chenalhó, es propiedad federal (La Jornada, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Boletín del gobierno del estado “Entregan evangélicos predio a católicos de Puebla, Chenalhó”(ICOSO, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Entregan evangélicos de Chenalhó predio a católicos que expulsaron (Milenio, 26 de febrero de 2014)

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (26 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

 


Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal

February 13, 2014

Colonia Puebla, Chenalho (@SIPAZ)

Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (@SIPAZ)

On 7 January, the 17 families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, returned to the Acteal community, given their conclusion that the necessary conditions which would allow for their stay in their community of origin do not exist.  Displaced in a conflict with Evangelicals over land on which they had been building a Catholic chapel, the 98 persons had been in the Puebla ejido for 20 days (since 17 January) to harvest and dry their coffee crops.

In a communique, those displaced from the Puebla Colony, the Parish Council of San Pedro Chenalhó, and the Las Abejas Civil Society explained that “the necessary conditions for us to remain in Puebla with peace and tranquility are absent.  Perhaps some believe that because some government officials have visited the community (including Governor Manuel Velasco), the problem has been solved.  The conditions for our return we have already explained to the government; these include the recognition of our property in the land on which is located the Catholic church, the recognition and reparation of damages incurred (both communal due to the destruction of the chapel and of communal houses), in addition to the personal damages we suffered due to robbery and degradation of the homes of the displaced.  We also ask that the various crimes to which we have been subjected not remain in impunity […].  We would like to believe that the visit of the governor is a reflection of his will to resolve the problem, but, as with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Michoacán, it is not enough to take a photo and make promises to resolve problems, while they in fact desire to solve everything with promises of support but they do not make justice.  As long as this is the case, there can be no solution.”

The groups denounced verbal aggressions and stoning to which they were subjected during their 20 days in the ejido, particularly as directed against Juan López Méndez, “who they greatly dislike, since, not being Catholic, he chose not to support the attacks on Catholics.”

In conclusion, the groups noted that “we would like to have peace and reconciliation in Puebla, as in all other communities.  We are open to dialogue, but what we cannot accept is impunity and the repetition of crimes, because we have seen that it was in this way that we were displaced in 1997.  Once again this happened in 2013, and all because of the same people, precisely because they have not been punished.  If they continue not to be, there will continue to be displacements.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Desplazados de la Col. Puebla Municipio de Chenalhó, regresan a Acteal(Comunicado de los Desplazados de la Col. Puebla, el Consejo Parroquial de San Pedro Chenalhó y la Sociedad Civil de las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de febrero de 2014)

Desplazados de Chenalhó exigen justicia y reparación de los daños (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Regresaremos hasta ver señales reales de justicia: desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

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: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)


Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society warns of violence in Chenalhó “reminiscent of the year 1997″

August 4, 2013

(@Espoir Chiapas)

On 22 July, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre (in which 45 persons were killed in 1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society released a new communique in which it shared its indignation regarding the invitation of the former president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León to participate in the organization “The Elders, a global organization for peace founded by Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel”. Las Abejas recalled that “we know well that Zedillo is the primary responsible party in the Acteal massacre […].  If Zedillo, now a member of the Elders, had observed the San Andrés Accords and not formed paramilitary groups in Chiapas, the Acteal massacre would not have taken place, and we would not be writing this communique.”

Beyond this, Las Abejas warned of the violence that has gripped “the Puebla Colony [neighborhood] with the pretext over a dispute over land belonging to the Catholic Church […] just as in the year 1997.”  Explaining, they noted, “The violent actions of the communal authorities of the Puebla Col., upon destroying the project of reconstruction of a Catholic church on Thursday 18 July, and the physical aggression and torture of 3 persons on 20 July, is a clear message expressing hatred and violence.  What is taking place in the Puebla Col. is not a game.  It is for this reason that we are concerned, and we worry for the lives of the Catholics and of our comrades from the Las Abejas Civil Society, as well as all those who do not agree with the violence, as in the case of a Baptist in the Puebla Col., who for the mere reason of refusing to participate in the violence was beaten.”  Las Abejas affirmed that these acts derive from the impunity that prevails in the Acteal case, “because the paramilitaries have now seen that to rob and kill is not punished; on the contrary, they receive prizes from the government.”  They requested “urgently to the competent authorities to provide their immediate attention to the conflict over land […] using peaceful means, without more pretexts and dawdling,” as well as punishment of those responsible for the aggresion against Mariano Méndez Méndez, Luciano Méndez Hernández, and Juan López Méndez.

Finally, they called for the continuation of the struggle for the release of Alberto Patishtán and congratulated their “Zapatista brothers and sisters,” wishing them “much health and strength so that it goes well for them in the little school,” as for the organization made jointly with other indigenous groups from the Itinerant Cathedral “Tata Juan Chávez Alonso,” who desire to participate.

For more information (in Spanish):
Comunicado completo de Las abejas del 22 de julio de 2013
Víctimas de Acteal repudian inclusión de Zedillo en club por la paz (Proceso, 23 de julio de 2013)
Las Abejas condena ingreso de Zedillo a The Elders (La Jornada, 25 de julio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas lament release of yet another of those charged for Acteal massacre (27 March 2013)