Chiapas: CNDH releases recommendation to Chiapas state government for unjust treatment

June 30, 2015

On 22 June, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) released a recommendation to the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, and to the Arriaga City Hall, regarding human-rights violations committed against two activists in August 2013. It observed that, in this case, municipal public servants and members of the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) violated the personal liberty, the right to self-defense, the right to juridical security, legality, and dignified treatment. For this reason, the CNDH had requested compensation for the damages incurred, in addition to recommending the organization of training courses to protect human-rights defenders, and requesting collaboration with the CNDH itself to present and follow-up with the denunciations of these acts committed by public servants with the proper authorities.

On 2 August 2013, the victims were on their way to the Arriaga City Hall in Chiapas, accompanying a group of residents of the Los Laureles neighborhood to carry out a dialogue with the authorities regarding the problems that affected this community. They denounced having been subjected to kidnapping, being held incomunicado, and being subjected to unjust treatment on the part of municipal and state authorities, after they led this protest-action.

For more information (in Spanish):

CNDH emite recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por agresión a activistas(Proceso, 22 de junio de 2015)

Emite CNDH recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por violación a derechos humanos (Radio Fórmula, 22 de junio de 2015)

La CNDH emite una recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por agravio de activistas (Emeequis, 22 de junio de 2015)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel to demand justice and truth amidst deaths of infants

June 9, 2015

Pergrinación de Simojovel a La Pimienta (@Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas)

On 23 May, some 2000 people, including residents of the La Pimienta community and members of the Believing People, an organizational process that pertains to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, carried out a pilgrimage from Simojovel to said community where two children died recently, with another 29 hospitalized, after the application of immunizations. The objective was to protest against the public-health institutions, and to denounce the offer of compensation of 5,000 pesos from the state government to the families of the 31 affected children.

Upon the march’s arrival to La Pimienta, a communique was read that asserts that “we will not exchange our children for 5000 pesos, as is offered by Manuel Velasco’s government. That proposal is to us more than insulting. We do not have the words to describe our outrage. Life is not worth 5,000 pesos.”

Protestors challenged the official version presented by the Mexican Institute for Social Welfare (IMSS) and the Federal Commission for the Prevention of Health Risks (COFEPRIS) that indicates that 2 children died and 29 became ill not due to the immunizations that they had, but rather because of the way in which medical personnel applied them. Protestors claimed not to believe this story, “because there is no transparency.”

They also warned that “whoever tries to guarantee us that these 29 infants will turn out all right: what will happen if in 5 years they contract cancer, or some other incurable disease? If that happens, the government will say that it was due to lack of food and proper care. We are all concerned by this, that they may not turn out well, and that later we will have to leave our communities to access hospitals, thus spending what little money we have. For this reason, the government is responsible for everything, and it is not just this government, but also the ones to come.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia del Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel: Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel exige justicia y verdad por muerte de bebés (23 de mayo de 2015)

Padres de niños vacunados en Chiapas rechazan compensación de 5,000 pesos (CNN México, 24 de mayo de 2015)

Los bebés no los vamos a cambiar por cinco mil pesos, como ofrece el gobierno de Manuel Velasco”, habitantes de Simojovel, Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 23 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 2 children perished and 6 gravely injured following immunizations in Simojovel (17 May 2015)

Chiapas: Government arrests members of a commission for dialogue on the Montes Azules conflict

June 10, 2014


On May 29, a committee comprised of leaders and representatives of the Council of Communal Properties of the Lacandon Community Zone, members of the Independent ARIC organization, and a member of the civil organization “Services and Advices for Peace (SERAPAZ), Mario Marcelino Ruiz Mendoza, who accompanied the commission as a mediator, were arrested by agents of the State Attorney General of Chiapas.

The arrest occurred near the House of Government in Tuxtla Gutierrez, where the commission was going to start a negotiation table with the Secretary of Government, Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar. The stated objective of the session was to address different issues such as the release of the legal adviser of the Lacandon community, Gabriel Montoya; the recognition and respect of the free choice of the agricultural authorities of the Communal Properties; and the resolution of the agrarian situation in the open conflict in Montes Azules.

Around midnight, the SERAPAZ mediator was released, while the other members of the commission remained detained.

The detainees are accused of riot, attacks on public roads and kidnapping, crimes supposedly committed during the demonstrations, and roadblocks that occurred in recent weeks in the Lacandon Jungle to protest against what their participants consider the interference of environmental organizations in the communities’ decision-making.

Pablo Romo, a SERAPAZ member, expressed that the government of Manuel Velasco betrayed the negotiation process and does not listen to the needs of the population: “The arrest of the 28 people is a clear expression of the government’s insensitivity. People were approaching the government to generate a discussion process to give a solution to their demands. “

For more information (in Spanish)

Accion urgente: Detención de autoridades y representantes del Consejo de Bienes Comunales de la Zona Lacandona, organizaciones sociales y un miembro del equipo de SERAPAZ (SERAPAZ, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Actualización urgente: Mediador de Serapaz libre, persiste detención arbitraria de más de 20 personas (SERAPAZ, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Gobierno de Chiapas detiene a campesinos de la lacandona y a integrante de SERAPAZ (Chiapas Paralelo, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Detienen a 30 indígenas que iban a dialogar con autoridades sobre protesta en Ocosingo (Proceso, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Reportan detención de integrante de Serapaz en Tuxtla Gutiérrez (La Jornada, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Detienen a activistas que fueron citados por el gobierno de Chiapas (Sididh, 30 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle, (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: Social and civil organizations denounce “simulated” kidnapping of Julia Carabias (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state government announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle (2 June 2014)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone (3 May 2014)


Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force”

May 18, 2014

Congreso local (@Gobierno del estado de Chiapas)

Chiapas state congress (@Chiapas state government)

On 15 May, the state congress of Chiapas approved the initiative presented by governor Manuel Velasco regarding the Code for the legitimate use of public force with 26 votes in favor, four in favor, and one abstention.  It will regulate the responses that security forces can make against social protests and possible disturbances, as well as the use of less-lethal weapons to disperse violent protests.

This reform has been considered by human-rights defenders and legislators in opposition as “yet another regression in terms of human rights” in Chiapas.  The new Code considers a protest to be violent when a group of people is armed, if a threat is made to intimidate or obligate someone else to do something they desire, or if there is incitement to commit a crime or disturb the peace and citizens’ security.  In case of peaceful mobilizations the Code will allow preventive police operations to supposedly protect the rights of bystanders in case the protest becomes violent.

In the Congress, Hortensia Zúñiga (PRD) denounced that the reform would “silence the protests and limit the freedom of expression that citizens have to request that the authorities observe their commitments to generate better living conditions for the governed.  This seeks to criminalize social protest and regulate marches and mobilizations.  Hence, to vote in favor of its terms would be to give the State yet more reason to continue with impunity.”

Interviewed in the media, human-rights defender Miguel Ángel de los Santos Cruz said that “in reality, the Code initiative seeks to legalize the abuses already committed by police and to increase the legal grounds on which they can violate our rights within the context of public mobilizations.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Aprueban diputados ley que “criminaliza la protesta” en Chiapas(Proceso, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueba el Congreso de Chiapas el uso de la fuerza contra protestas (La Jornada, 16 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueban uso legítimo de la Fuerza Pública (Cuarto Poder, 16 de mayo de 2014)

Aprueba Congreso el Código de Uso Legítimo de la Fuerza Pública, uso de Armas y control de manifestaciones (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Creation of the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: the European Union and state government sign accord to promote development activities in communities

March 28, 2014

(@gobierno de Chiapas)

@Chiapas state government

On 10 March, Chiapas state governor Manuel Velasco and Andrew Standley, European Union (EU) ambassador to Mexico, signed an agreement for the execution of the “Integral Program of Social Cohesion Mexico-European Union” to promote social development and productive programs in the state, as well as to further conservation in indigenous communities.  They reported that this program, which will have a budget of 6 million euros, seeks to benefit more than 340,000 residents of 922 communities pertaining to eight municipalities of the Mountain region and 830 communities associated with seven municipalities in the Jungle region.

The EU ambassador stressed that this agreement represents a greatly important step in defining the bases of cooperation in key sectors so as to support development projects in the state.  He emphasized that the questions like social cohesion, sustainability, and the permanent focus of attention on human rights are themes of concern for the state government, and form the basis of this planned program of cooperation.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa del gobierno del estado: Unión Europea impulsa el desarrollo sostenible y sustentable en Chiapas (10 de marzo de 2014)

Boletín de la Unión Europea (11 de marzo de 2014)

Impulsan proyectos Chiapas y la UE (El Universal, 11 de marzo de 2014)

El gobierno de Chiapas y la UE firman convenio en beneficio de comunidades (La Jornada, 11 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ambassadors from the Union European visit the state (9 November 2007)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression

March 16, 2014

Mujer frente al campamento militar de Majomut, peregrinación del 8 de marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Woman before the Majomut military base during the pilgrimage of 8 March 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 8 March, during the pilgrimage-march organized for International Women’s Day, women from the Las Abejas Civil Society shared a communique in which they once again stressed that in the case of the Puebla ejido, “it would seem that the bad government of Chiapas headed by Manuel Velasco has resolved the conflict with the ‘return’ of the Catholic territory on 26 February; but if we think about it a bit, we see this only as a partial solution.  Yesterday in the Puebla Colony there was burned a house for catechism belonging to our Catholic brothers; we understand that this act is a message of hate and violence of the people allied with the commissioner and Evangelical pastor Agustín Cruz Gómez. We see that the return of our Catholic brothers and sisters is becoming more complicated.  If the government had applied justice as it should, there would be peace and tranquility in the Puebla Colony.”

This same day the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó delved into this concern, affirming that on 7 March, “the burning of the door of the entrance to the catechismal house is the consequence of the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors against our Catholic brothers and sisters from the Puebla Colony who presently live displaced in the sacred land of Acteal.  We always have insisted on the application of justice, because peace can only exist when there is also justice.  However, the state government of Chiapas and the secretary for religious affairs and commissioner Agustín Cruz Gómez have on several occasions requested that we forget about the aggressions to which we were subjected; that is to say, that we be accomplices to violence.”

The bishop for the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, confirmed in a press conference that the 17 Catholic families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, have suspended the plans to return on 14 March.  The 98 Tsotsil persons left the Puebla ejido in August after a series of attacks from the Evangelical majority over the dispute of land for a Catholic chapel.

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman puerta del salón de catequesis,denuncian familias desplazadas de Ejido Puebla (Denuncia de la parroquia de San Pedro Chenalhó, 8 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de las mujeres Abejas en el Día Internacional de la Mujer (8 de marzo de 2014)

Suspenden familias tzotziles su retorno al ejido de Puebla: Arizmendi (10 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  “This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

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: Peña Nieto inaugurates international airport in Palenque

March 1, 2014



On 12 February, President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) inaugurated jointly with Governor Manuel Velasco Coello the international airport in Palenque, which according to the national leader “will create interregional communication in a positive way for society as well as for the economy, facilitating touristic flows.”  “Better airports, better roads, better iron pathways will make possible progress and development to arrive by means of connections,” declared EPN.

The new installations comprise 249 hectares located on the outskirts of Palenque, and the conditions of the soil and landing strip will allow for international flights.  At present, the zone receives 600,000 tourists annually, providing 1.4 billion pesos in income, an amount which is thought will increase with the new airport.

Hundreds of campesinos, men and women, attempted to approach the president to submit personal petitions, but all of these were collected by a member of the Presidential Mayor State who said he would hand them over to the president.  At the end of the event the campesinos found their documents strewn about the asphalt.

For more information (in Spanish):

Inaugura Peña aeropuerto de Palenque, Milenio, 12 de febrero de 2014

Inauguran aeropuerto internacional en Palenque, Chiapas, La Jornada, 12 de febrero de 2014

Tira el EMP las peticiones a EPN de indígenas ayer en Palenque, Chiapasparalelo 13 de febrero 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (14 February 2014)