Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months on, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended

February 8, 2015


On 21 January, Elías Cruz Merino, leader of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and official of San Juan Copala, was arrested as one of the presumed murderers of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish).  Both were killed in April 2010 as they participated in a humanitarian caravan headed to San Juan Copala.  Cruz Merino is accused of the premeditated murder of the two activists.

Since April of last year, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers denounced that those responsible for the murders had been plainly identified, but that the government had refused to implement the corresponding arrest-orders.

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño and leader of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), affirmed that this arrest constitutes an advance, but he observed that 10 other arrest-orders remain unobserved.  He noted: “For us it is clear that they continue to be protected by certain power-groups in Oaxaca.  Still, we will continue to demand that justice not be delayed but instead expedited.”    Esparza Zárate also announced that European parliamentarians will carry out a visit to Mexico in February to pressure the Mexican State and continue demanding justice.

For more information (in Spanish):

Capturan a policía implicado en crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola (Proceso, 22 de enero de 2015)

Encarcelan a dirigente del MULT por homicidio de ‘Bety’ Cariño y de finlandés (Radio Formula, 22 de enero de 2015)

Capturan a presunto homicida de Bety Cariño (Noticias.net, 23 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 17, 2013


On 27 April, three years passed since the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish origins, who were attacked by an armed group with presumed links to local and state authorities on this day in 2010, as they were traveling in a humanitarian and observation caravan to the Triqui community of San Juan Copala to document the conditions in which dozens of family had been living under conditions of siege.

Members of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), and teachers from Section 22 of the Huajuápan chapter of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), together with other social organizations, on 26 April carried out mobilizations and a march to protest the impunity experienced in the case of these murders.

Omar Esparza Zarate, leader of MAIZ in the Mixteco region and widower of Bety Cariño Trujillo, expressed that “These three years have been difficult, because I not only lost a comrade–the pain is there and will always be there–but also because of all the harassment, intimidation, illegal searches of the office, and sensing that one has to always be on edge due to lack of knowledge of when the aggressors will make good on their death-threats.”  Furthermore, he added that “for three years, we have spoken to the lack of interest on the government’s part to see justice done.  We have not perceived any sort of will to resolve these murders, nor for punishment of those responsible for them, in accordance with the law.”  Finally, Omar Esparza lamented that the state authorities have not observed their commitment, nor have they declared responsibility for the intellectual and material authors of the crimes.  Beyond this, he stressed that the deaths of social activists is certainly a constant feature of life in the country.

For its part, the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) made public that “with relation to these crimes, 12 arrest-orders have been declared against the presumed murderers, among which is included the leaders of UBISORT which one day before the departure of the caravan made serious threats against the physical integrity of our comrades.  We also indicate that ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz should be considered an intellectual author of these bloody acts, given his public recognition of his having financially supported the paramilitary UBISORT group.”Similarly, Amnesty International and Frontline Defenders have reminded the federal and Oaxacan state authorities of their responsibilities to guarantee that these acts not remain in impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

La herida está ahí y siempre va a estar: Omar Esparza (El Imparcial, 27 de abril de 2013)

UCIZONI: Demandamos castigo para los asesinos de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Kaos en la Red, 26 de abril de 2013)

A 3 años de la muerte de una indígena y un finlandés en Oaxaca (E-Oaxaca, 26 de abril de 2013)

Oaxaca: A tres años del asesinato de defensores de derechos humanos seguimos reclamando justicia (Amnistía Internacional México, 27 de abril de 2013)

México: Se cumple el 3° aniversario del asesinato de la defensora de los derechos humanos Bety Cariño (Frontline Defenders, 27 de abril de 2013)


Entrevista a Bety Cariño: Sembrando sueños, cosechando esperanzas (Código DH, 27 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Protest against “Failure of Democratic Transition in Oaxaca”

March 26, 2013

Imagen del cortejo fúnebre @ Quadratin

On 19 March in Oaxaca City there was held a mobilization to observe the “Failure of Democratic Transition in Oaxaca,” as organized by several civil and social organizations.  In accordance with journalistic information, the protest, which began in the “El Llano” park and ended in the Zócalo, was attended by 1000 persons.  In a joint communique, the organizational groups indicated that the “government of Gabino Cue does not represent those of us who seek a real change for our state.  Today Oaxaca is ruled by groups that direct José Murat and Diodoro Carrasco who in the shadow of power have become millionaires, imposing repressive policies in the government through their operators.”

The protestors declared that “In these latest years the conflicts that seemingly had no solution have been exacerbated; this climate of tensions directly affects the indigenous peoples who are no priority for the present government […].  The current government, instead of promoting action for communal development, stimulates looting of our natural resources, with more than 300 mining concessions handed over to the owners of the land as an example.  It has also criminalized and harassed those of us who manifest ourselves to defend our rights.  The brutal police repression suffered by communards in Santa María Chimalapa and Alvaro Obregón are examples of this.”

The organizations, including the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Tehuantepec Isthmus (UCIZONI) and the Zapatista Agrarian Indigenous Movement (MAIZ), warn that there exists a situation of corruption and impunity in the state, referring in this way to the murders of several social activists in recent years.  Furthermore, they demanded the resignation of the state secretaries for Public Security, Finance, Agrofishing Development, and Infrastructure.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado íntegro de las organizaciones

E-Consulta: UCIZONI marcha por “muerte” de la transición democrática en Oaxaca (19/03/2013)

Quadratin: Con cortejo “fúnebre”, declaran “muerta” transición en Oaxaca (19/03/2013)