Chiapas: Events to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

December 26, 2015

Mitin del MODEVITE y del Movimiento de Mujeres en Defensa de la Tierra, el Territorio y por el Derecho de las Mujeres a decidir. Foto: @SIPAZ

Rally by MODEVITE and the Movement of Women in Defense of the Land and Territory and for the Right of Women to Decide
Photo: @SIPAZ

On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, several events were held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

For one, the Movement of Women in Defense of the Land and Territory and for the Right of Women to Decide held its first assembly on 23-24 November. Through this action, the organization released a communique “in favor of social property, in opposition to all forms of privatization of the land and territory” and denouncing “the energy reform as well as its continuation in the strategic rural reform.” The women, together with some men, ended the meeting with a march against violence against women. Beyond this, the Movement in Defense of Land and Life (MODEVITE), from the Believing People of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, also marched on the same day. Simultaneously, thousands of persons (30,000 according to Proceso) mobilized in ten other municipalities in the state, “to remember that Mother Earth must be protected against the mining, oil-extraction, and hydroelectric-dam megaprojects, among others, that are being imposed on our lands […]. We will raise our voices to prevent the sale of alcoholic beverages, drugs, and prostitution in our communities, and we will denounce the ineptitude and corruption of authorities in terms of failing to resolve these problems.” Both marches converged and reached Central Park jointly.

Despite the fact that the two groups had already announced their events, in the Cathedral Plaza, where the marches traditionally end to give way to rallies, the space was occupied by the state-government. From early in the morning, privatized space was installed for the event at which Governor Manuel Velasco Coello awarded support “From Heart to Heart” to 4,000 single mothers. It bears noting that initiatives like the Movement of Women in Defense of the Land and Territory and for the Right of Women to Decide have denounced the welfarism promoted by the state governments, which lead to dependency and end up becoming a form of social control over women.

For more information (in Spanish):

#SanCristóbal de las Casas sale a la calle contra las agresiones machistas y en defensa del territorio #Chiapas (Koman Ilel, 25 de noviembre de 2015)

Comunicado del l Movimiento de Mujeres en Defensa de la Tierra, el Territorio y por el Derecho de las Mujeres a decidir (Koman Ilel, 25 de noviembre de 2015)

Realizan mujeres Asamblea en Defensa de la Tierra (Cimac Noticias, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

Marchan miles en Chiapas en pro de la vida y la defensa del territorio (Proceso, 25 de noviembre de 2015)

Miles de indígenas integrantes del Pueblo Creyente marcharon en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Peregrinación en defensa de la vida y el territorio en 11 municipios de Chiapas (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

Por la vida y la libertad de las mujeres (Cimac Noticias, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Center for Women’s Rights in Chiapas denounces threats (26 December 2015)

Chiapas: During International Women’s Day on 8 March, a meeting, a march, and a rally (10 March 2015)

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (2 March 2014)

 


Mexico/National: Deputies approve Federal law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

December 26, 2015

Ubicación de las Zonas Económicas Especiales. Imagen: @Dinero en Imagen

Location of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Image: @Dinero en Imagen

On 14 December the Chamber of Deputies approved the initiative to legalize Special Economic Zones (SEZ) which had been presented to the federal Congress in September of this year. These SEZs will be regions in which investors face financial benefits, particularly in terms of “flexible labor.” In this sense, the SEZs serve foreign economic interests and would institute a special customs regime, all of this toward the end, as the government claims, of promoting development in southern Mexico by means of attracting foreign investment.

In accordance with information from the president’s office, there are plans to build infrastructure projects using an initial investment of nearly 115 billion pesos, including new gaseoducts, railroads, highways, ports, and airports. According to Chiapas Paralelo, this investment would come from public coffers but is “designed for by by private capital, in a mercantile logic […] whereby the people of Chiapas is present only as labor, leaving to the side the question of who owns the natural resources.” In this way, the projects are expected to create 115,000 jobs over the next 10 years, though analysts indicate that it will attract specialists from elsewhere in the country, leaving the most precarious jobs for locals.

The planned SEZs include the “Lázaro Cárdenas” port, incorporating municipalities straddling Michoacán and Guerrero toward the end of exploitation; the “Interoceanic Corridor of Tehuantepec,” which will affect Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Salina Cruz, and Oaxaca, and will permit commercial transit between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; and lastly, the “Chiapas Port” which would facilitate exports to Asia. The permits to construct and administer a zone can be granted for up to 40 years.

It bears mentioning that organizations like the Indigenous and Campesino Front of Mexico (FICAM) have expressed their rejection of the SEZ initiative, given that “it is a new embestida against the peoples and communities of this country” which “seeks to legalize the plundering of lands of the people” and that “it is the complement to the energy reform, which aimed at reassuring transnational firms juridically.”

FICAM members opined that the SEZs will worsen levels of social marginalization, only “make the rich richer,” and will take advantage of cheap labor in these zones, precisely among those which experience the highest levels of poverty in the country. Lastly, they shared that “the proposal for the [SEZs] instead of being accompanied by public policies to transform the country, but only represents the presentation of the wealth of the country to grand capital on a silver platter.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Diputados aprueban ‘zonas económicas especiales’ en México (Aristegui Noticias, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

Aprueban diputados ley para crear Zonas de “Explotación” Especial (EDUCA, 15 de diciembre de 2015)

Prevé expropiar terrenos el plan de zonas económicas especiales (La Jornada, 1 de octubre de 2015)

Zonas Económicas Especiales, una iniciativa para el despojo (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de septiembre de 2015)

Zonas Económicas de EPN legalizarán despojo de tierras; complementan la energética para dar certeza a empresas: FICAM (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 17 de octubre de 2015)

México en el giro de tuerca mundial: Zonas Económicas Especiales (Parte I) (Subversiones, 20 de noviembre de 2015)

Otro eslabón para el despojo (La Jornada, 6 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mining reactivation is denounced in the state (3 March 2015)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

 


National: Journalist house of Contralínea and Desinformémonos harassed, with computer equipment and documentation stolen

September 13, 2015

Documentación y equipo de computo fue sustraido @ DesinformémonosStolen documentation and computer equipment @ Desinformémonos

On 8 September, the home of the journalists Elva Mendoza, journalist of the Contralínea magazine, and Flor Goche, collaborator with Contralínea and journalist for Desinformémonos, was broken into. Computer equipment and journalistic documentation was stolen from the apartment, located in Mexico City, leaving intact valuable objects such as screens and cash. The act took place during the day, and the door did not show evidence of forcible entry.

The members of the Contralínea magazine had been awarded precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Beyond this, since July 2014, both journalists were incorporated into the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders administered by the Secretary for Governance.

It bears mentioning that Flor Goche has been following the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, beyond other human-rights violations and femicides. Elva Mendoza has followed lines of investigation on megaprojects for investment, environmental destruction, transgenic crops, and the destruction of natural resources.

Mexico has been identified as being one of the most dangerous countries in which to practice journalism.

For more information (in Spanish):

Allanan casa de reporteras de Desinformémonos y Contralínea (Desinformemonos, 9 de septiembre de 2015)

Allanan domicilio de reporteras de Contralínea (Revista Contralínea, 9 de septiembre de 2015)

Domicilio de reporteras de Contralínea y Desinformémonos es allanado; roban documentos y equipo de trabajo (Sin embargo, 9 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women (10 September 2015)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)


Oaxaca: Second Day for the People, Water, Life, and Land

April 23, 2015

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In observance of the Second Day for the People, Water, Life, and Land on 10 April, there was held a Meeting of Experiences for Consultation amidst Infrastructural and Developmentalist Projects in the city of Oaxaca de Juárez.  Representatives from indigenous and campesino peoples and members and organizations of civil society hailing from the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas, Tabasco, Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, Veracruz, and Distrito Federal met “to discuss and analyze the exercise of our right to decide about legislative and administrative measures as well as ‘developmental’ projects which affect our lands and territories, putting at risk our ways of life.”

At this meeting, the organizations and social processes defending land and territory shared their experiences, including the use of “closed season” for the use of water in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca; the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco; the wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus; the Las Cruces (Nayarit) and Paso de la Reyna (Oaxaca) dam projects and the “Independence Aqueduct” in Sonora; the hydroelectric dams in Puebla and Veracruz; and the Plan for Territorial Exploitation on the Usumacinta River in Chiapas and Tabasco. As a central question, the great difficulty of implementing consultative processes vis-a-vis megaprojects was debated, given that “the Mexican State is promoting a series of consultations that do not respect international standards, but rather lead to a climate of harassment against communal defenders who oppose these projects,” as participants expressed in a final document.  They added that the “information we receive is only partial and distorted; it does not allow us to have a clear understanding of what the impacts are of said projects.  Furthermore, the process that continues is rigged, as there is no guarantee of impartiality.  The result is a number of simulated consultations.  In this way, we denounce the interference of power-groups and armed bands that are allied to the firms within this consultative process.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del Encuentro de Experiencias de Consulta ante Proyectos de Infraestructura y Desarrollo (Educa, 10 de abril de 2015)


Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region

December 17, 2014


Marcha en Tapachula (@Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

March in Tapachula (@Observatory on Mining Conflicts in Latin America)

On 8 December 2014, representatives from 39 ejidos, communal land-holdings, communities, and social, indigenous, and campesino organizations from the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, Huehuetán, and San Cristóbal de las Casas municipalities held a march to express their rejection of planned dam and mining projects in the region.

Protestors affirmed that their lands and territories “ARE FREE OF HYDROELECTRIC DAMS AND MINERAL EXPLOITATION.”  In the same way as 10 December 2013, they agreed that to “continue demanding that the federal, state, and municipal authorities heed and respect the decision of the ejidos, communal land-holdings, organizations, and peoples, and cancel all types of contracts, agreements, concessions, or permits to build these megaprojects that they have awarded on our lands and territories.”

Presenting the Second Declaration of Tapachula, the communal representatives claimed that “the three levels of government [will be responsible for] any conflict that is generated toward the end of sowing divisions and imposing projects of plunder at the cost of violating our human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

II Declaración de Tapachula (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

Emiten declaratoria por territorios libres de represas y minerías en Tapachula (Diario Contrapoder en Chiapas, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Se manifiestan contra hidroeléctricas y mineras, en Tapachula (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mobilization of 56 communities in Tapachula against mines and dams (17 December 2013)

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)


International/National: national and international warning regarding the increase in the number of aggressions against defenders of the land, territory, and environment

December 16, 2014

index

In observance of the presentation of the report “We no longer fear: Defenders of the land, attacked for confronting savage development,” Mexican civil-society organizations warned of the increase in the number of attacks on defenders of the land, territory, and environment in the country.

In the report that was presented, the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH) documents 106 cases of harassment against 282 defenders of the land and 19 civil organizations in this line of work throughout the world.  It denounces that 95% of the cases have gone unpunished, due to the “incapacity of the States to hold perpetrators accountable, either through their actions or inaction.”

In the case of Mexico, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) calculates that, from the beginning of 2013 to April 2014, 82 attacks took place on environmentalists, 35 of them in Oaxaca, with 9 in Puebla, 8 in Mexico State, 6 in Morelos and Veracruz, and 3 cases in Chiapas, Mexico City, and Sonora each.

The majority of the registered attacks took place within the context of wind-energy projects (30), mines, dams, highways, public policies, geothermal energy, and aqueducts.

37 of the attacks were perpetrated by authorities; in 30 cases, the perpetrators were unknown; in 5, attacks were carried out by people of the same community (who generally favor the project in question), in 3, organized crime was to blame, while in another 3, the question was related to people associated with firms who promote megaprojects.  Lastly, in 6 cases perpetrators were described as having ties to the authorities.

In the presentation of the FIDH, Adrián Ramírez, from the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH), warned also of the recently announced 10 points made by President Enrique Peña Nieto, given that these “place emphasis on supporting the states where megaprojects have been attempted to be imposed, amidst strong popular objections.  That is to say, the idea is to provide economic incentives to these megaprojects, as if the problem in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero has to do with development and not social inequality.”

Axel García, from the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), noted that for his part the number of documented cases registered by the Observatory “does not reflect all the attacks suffered by defenders.  These are only paradigmatic cases.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe de la FIDH “No tenemos miedo. Defensores del derecho a tierra: atacados por enfrentarse al desarrollo desenfrenado

Informe sobre ataques a personas defensoras ambientales 2014 (CEMDA)

Preocupantes, ataques a defensores del derecho a la tierra por proyectos eólicos (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2014)

106 casos de violencia contra defensores de la tierra en los últimos tres años (Animal Político, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

En 16 meses hostigan y atacan a 82 ambientalistas en México, acusa el Cemda (Sin Embargo, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Aumentan agresiones contra defensores de la tierra y de los pueblos indígenas (Proceso, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders (12 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Opponents to the Paso de la Reina dam denounce pressure

July 20, 2014

Foto (@SiPaz)

Photo (@Sipaz)

In a press conference held on 15 July, members of the Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Verde River (COPUDEVER) accused the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the local PAN deputy Sonia López of having pressured local authorities and residents of the region to accept the construction of the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric dam.  According to the protestors, pressure has increased since Enrique Peña Nieto released details some weeks ago about the National Infrastructure Program (PNI), which means to build 189 projects in the southern and southeastern regions of the country, including the Paso de la Reina dam.  COPUDEVER declares that “Outside of all democratic and legal processes, the hydroelectric project and the infrastructure plan constitute a public policy that is contrary to the right to autonomous development.”

On the same occasion, the CFE’s attempt to pressure local communities by promising them public-works projects was also denounced, including plans for electrification, drinking water, and education: “This action represents an undue use of resources which violates the collective rights of communities, as the support and projects are conditional upon acceptance of said megaproject.”  They furthermore warned that “the Mexican Army has been presenting itself in the territory to be affected by the project, toward the end of intimidating the people using the pretext of improving local security.”

Lastly, they recalled that the project is also opposed by the diocese of Puerto Escondido which, by means of a pastoral letter signed by more than 30 parishes, it has pronounced itself openly against the dam and denounced the pressure exercised by the CFE against local communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

CFE Y PAN PRESIONAN A COMUNIDADES A ACEPTAR PROYECTO “PASO DE LA REINA” (EDUCA, 15 de julio de 2014)

CFE y PAN presionan a comunidades oaxaqueñas a aceptar proyecto “Paso de la Reina”(Sididh, 16 de julio de 2014)

Denuncian intimidación del Ejército por proyecto de presa Paso de la Reina (EDUCA, 16 de julio de 2014)

Más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Communities opposed to the Paso de la Reina report harassment and intimidation by Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) (28 June 2014)

Oaxaca: The Diocese of Puerto Escondido expresses its full support to the communities in resistance to hydro project Paso de la Reina (June 13, 2014)

National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace (May 16, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (March 28, 2014)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (July 19, 2013)


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