National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders

May 3, 2014

Foto @ La Jornada Zacatecas

Photo @ La Jornada Zacatecas

On 30 April, close to 300 migrants, including three pregnant women, an elderly woman, and several children, were arrested and assaulted by agents of the Federal Police (PF) and the National Institute on Migration (INM) as they were marching on the federal highway from Tenosique to Emiliano Zapata, Tabasco.  The human-rights defenders Rubén Figueroa, Fray Tomás Castillo, and Fray Aurelio Tadeo, who were carrying water and food to support the migrants, were beaten by the federal police close to the community of Chancamac, Tabasco.

Figueroa, a representative from the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, declared that “the response of the Mexican State before the increasing social mobilizations demanding the universal right of free transit has been this brutal operation.  It is evident that the position of authority is to continue entrenching its prevailing migratory policy.”  Furthermore, he indicated with regard to the arrested migrants that “they came alone and for that reason their rights were trampled”; the train companies Ferrosur and Kansas City Southern decided not to allow them to board their trains.  The director of the “La 72” migrant home in Tenosique, Fray Tomás González, called the violence with which federal police and migratory agents met migrants as lamentable, as “they did not understand the reasons, they just got on top of us, first kettling us and then beating and kicking us […].  We provided no resistance so that they would not hurt us.”

Beyond this, on the night of 1-2 May there was a second mass-raid against migrants, and close to 150 persons who were sleeping in the train station of Palenque, Chiapas, were detained by INM agents together with federal police.  Nearly a hundred migrants succeeded in evading arrest by taking refuge in the migrant home in Palenque.  The detained were taken to the migrant station in Palenque, and it is feared that they will be deported.

For more information (in Spanish):

Riesgo inminente de deportación desde Tapachula de personas migrantes agredidas en operativo del Instituto Nacional de Migración en coordinación con Policía federal, estatal y municipal de Tabasco (Agencia Intermedios, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Migrantes denuncian agresión de agentes del INM al detenerlos(Informador, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Agreden a defensores de migrantes en Tabasco (Proceso, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Elementos de INM y PF agreden a grupo de migrantes centroamericanos(AGN Veracruz, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Denuncian agresión a migrantes que caminan hacia el norte del país por parte de elementos de la PF e INM (Plumas Libres, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Nueva redada: detienen a 150 migrantes más que pernoctaban en Palenque (La Jornada Zacatecas, 1 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: ejidatarios march in Tila in defense of their lands

April 27, 2010

Years, even decades, have passed, and yet a resolution to the conflict regarding the lands on which is located the municipal center of Tila in the northern zone of Chiapas.  Lately, tensions have been increasing between the ejidatarios and the municipal government, and this has led the town’s villagers (that is, people who settled in Tila without being ejidatarios) to divide themselves between those who support the municipal government and those who support the ejidatarios.

According to information made available by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), a 1934 presidential decree granted more than 5400 hectares to the 836 ejidatarios of Tila.  In 1966 this resolution was modified so as to convert 130 hectares of the ejido to being part of a “legal fund”–that is, a part in which the “urban stain” and the governmental headquarters of Tila were located.  This modification, however, was not passed legally, as s/he who saw it through was not an official authorized to make such changes.  For this reason, the ejidatarios in 1977 brought the case to court and won.  Nonetheless, Tila’s municipal government requested an application for legal-fund status in 1980 and received it, meaning that 130 hectares of the ejidal lands passed to control by the municipal government, a move that in turn induced the ejidatarios to bring the case to court a second time two years later.  This case was not heard for years, until their case was granted in December 2008.

According to CDHFBC, this change implied the devolution of the formerly occupied lands as well as the cancellation of the corresponding private-property claims together with financial compensation for the damages suffered by the ejidatarios.  To date, no such reparations have been granted.

For this reason a grand march took place on 11 April of this year.  The CDHFBC reports that thousands of men, women, and children assembled to demand the right to their territory, to call for the realization of the December court finding, and to denounce the harassment and criminalization of social protest that has accompanied the controversy.

To see photos and video of the march and to read the communiqué (in Spanish), visit:

March of thousands of ejidatarios in Tila (blog Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 13 April)

Hace años, o más bien décadas, que queda sin resolver el conflicto en cuanto a las tierras donde se ubica la cabecera municipal de Tila en la zona Norte de Chiapas. Últimamente la tensión ha ido creciendo entre los ejidatarios y el gobierno municipal, haciendo que los “pobladores” (gente que se instaló en la cabecera de Tila sin ser ejidatarios) también se dividieran entre los que apoyan al gobierno municipal y los que apoyan a los ejidatarios.

Según la información del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC), en 1934 , un decreto presidencial otorgó un poco más de 5400 hectáreas a los 836 ejidatarios de Tila. En 1966 esta resolución se vio modificada para convertir 130 hectáreas del ejido en “fondo legal”, o sea una parte en la que se sentó la “mancha urbana” y  la sede del gobierno municipal de Tila. Pero esta modificación no se dio de acuerdo a la ley, ya que quien la realizó no fue una autoridad competente para llevarla a cabo. Por ello en 1977 los ejidatarios presentaron un amparo en contra de esta decisión y lo ganaron. A pesar de ello, el  gobierno municipal de Tila llegó a pedir la aplicación del fondo legal y lo consiguió en el año 1980, o sea 130 hectáreas de las tierras ejidales pasaron bajo el control del gobierno municipal, lo cual dio pie a que los ejidatarios presentaran un segundo amparo en 1982. Aquella demanda no fue atendida durante años… hasta que en diciembre de 2008 se les otorgó el amparo. Según el mismo CDHFBC, eso implicaba tanto la devolución de las tierras despojadas, como  la cancelación de los registros de propiedad privada correspondientes y el pago de daños y perjuicios a los ejidatarios. Nada de eso fue cumplido hasta la fecha.

Por eso se realizó una gran marcha el día 11 de abril de 2010. “Miles” -según el CDHFBC- de hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos vinieron a reivindicar el derecho a su territorio, reclamando el cumplimiento del amparo jurídico a su favor y denunciando los múltiples hostigamientos sufridos por este asunto y la criminalización de su protesta.

Para fotos y vídeos de la marcha y para leer el comunicado:

Marcha de miles de ejidatarios en Tila (blog Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 13/04/10)

Chiapas: MRPS announces the creation of a Human Rights committee and march

April 12, 2010

On April 9, 2010 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico,  The MRPS – Popular Resistance Movement of the Southwest – announced the creation of the “Digna Ochoa Human Rights Committee of Chiapas” with presence in the municipalities of Petalcingo and Tumbalá in the northern zone of Chiapas.

They denounced “a climate of persecution and criminalization of priests, social justice workers and human rights defenders” as well as strategies of “persecution, repression and provocation” promoted both by the state government of Chiapas and the federal government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa with whom they charged “the de facto suspension of constitutional guarantees and human rights of our people and the establishment of a state of emergency“.  Given this panorama of “structural human rights violations” and the urgent need to “strengthen the organizational processes of our communities“, this committee “through community monitors, will be an instrument for documenting and systematizing the violations of our human rights committed by the various state bodies.

In the same press conference, the MRPS announced a march that took place the following day, April 10, 2010, in the township of Tila, with three motives:  “publicly demonstrate [their] rejection of the Support Fund for Agricultural Entities without Regularization” (FANAR in spanish, which they said is the new face of PROCEDE, Program for Ceritification of Ejidal Rights and Titles to Urban Plots) vindicating the rights of the ejidatarios; “claim a fair rate of electricity for Chiapas and maintenance and repair of CFE electrical energy lines in the municipalities of the Northern zone, and the termination of criminalization and persecution of human rights defenders in Chiapas.