Chiapas: Minerva, half of her life disappeared, with no justice

June 29, 2015

Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres

Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres

On 20 June 2015, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres would have had her thirty-eighth birthday. That same day in 1996, she was “headed to the Masojá Shucjá community, Tila municipality, Chiapas, to visit her ill father. On her route, in the Miguel Alemán community, she was intercepted by members of the ‘Development, Peace, and Justice’ paramilitary group, who kidnapped her, tortured her sexually and otherwise for three days, and then forcibly disappeared her. Nearly two decades after, her whereabouts are entirely unknown,” indicates the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBLC). Beyond this, a public bulletin reported that the relatives of Minerva and other forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed persons are receiving notes “to confront their aggressors, the paramilitary leaders of Development, Peace, and Justice: Diego Vázquez Pérez, Sabelino Torres Martínez, Marcos Albino, and Samuel Sánchez, who are ordered to appear before a judge or face a fine of $2,048 [Mexican pesos] if they fail to comply.”

This aforementioned group was trained and protected by the State Police and the Mexican Army in the 1990s as a counter-insurgency weapon, as demonstrated in the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94. The CDHFBLC documented that Development, Peace, and Justice carried out 85 executions, 37 forcible disappearances, and forcibly displaced more than 4,500 people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Minerva Guadalupe: Verdad y Justicia hasta encontrarte (CDHFBLC, 23 de junio de 2015)

La indígena chiapaneca Minerva Guadalupe Pérez, lleva desaparecida más de la mitad de su vida (Desinformémonos, 23 de junio de 2015)

Desaparición forzada en Chiapas, bajo una loza de impunidad (Centro Prodh, 23 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 18 years since the disappearance of Minerva Pérez, her case remains unpunished (25 June 2014)

Chiapas: 17 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, her case is taken up at the IACHR (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: 16 years of impunity in the case of the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Masojá Shucjá, commemoration of the victims of the victims of the conflict of ’95 and ’96 (7 October 2011)

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Chiapas: 17 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, her case is taken up at the IACHR

June 25, 2013

(@CDHFBC)

On 20 June, 17 years passed since the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, a Ch’ol indigenous woman from the Tila municipality in northern Chiapas.  On this occasion, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) released a bulletin informing that “in light of the lack of justice in Mexico, Minerva’s relatives together with relatives of other victims of this region in 2004 presented a petition against the Mexican State before the IACHR (Inter-American Court on Human Rights).”  The IACHR, in turn, released in March 2013 a report indicating that the Mexican State is presumed to be responsible for human-rights violations in this case, as in 7 others.

In the initial petition, the CDHFBC handed over “information regarding the forced disappearance of 32 men and 5 women, as well as the execution of 7 women and 78 men, all of them Ch’ol indigenous persons, as a significant demonstration of the depth of the low-intensity warfare implemented in the northern zone of Chiapas between 1995 and 2000.  This legacy continues today to have psycho-social effects on the indigenous of this region.  Of the 122 cases documented by this Human Rights Center, eight comprise the petition before the IACHR.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín del CDHFBC a 17 años de la desaparición forzqada de Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres (CDHFBC, 20 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 16 years of impunity in the case of the forced disappearance of Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Masojá Shucjá, commemoration of the victims of the victims of the conflict of ’95 and ’96 (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demand for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996 (7 October 2010)

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)

 


Chiapas: Masojá Shucjá, commemoration of the victims of the conflict of ’95 and ’96

October 7, 2011

On 1 October there was held a celebration in commemoration of the victims of the conflict of the years 1995 and 1996 in the northern zone of Chiapas.  It was held in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, where 8 were killed at the hands of the organization “Paz y Justicia” during those years.

The event was attended not only by people of the community and neighboring ones but also by persons of other regions, including a delegation of the Las Abejas Civil Society (municipality of Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, which was another region that was particularly affected by violence at the end of the 1990s).  The choir of Las Abejas sang songs while a group of youth from this organization presented a theatrical work regarding the Acteal massacre of 1997.

Following the religious celebration and the play, participants at the event walked to a small pantheon where some of the victims have been buried; there, relatives of the dead and disappeared prayed and presented their word, as did present and past victims in addition to others invited to the celebration.  Four women from Jotalá spoke about how they experience violence today on the part of the government.  A resident of the Nuevo Retorno community gave his word by narrating how it was that those displaced from Miguel Alemán, a bastion of Paz y Justicia at the time, relocated themselves in 2002 to Nuevo Retorno after having lived for years in Masojá Shucjá.

The entire commemoration was a call to maintain alive memory and to continue demanding justice for the victims: Romeo Pérez Pérez, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, Mateo Hernández López, Juan Ramirez Torres, Hector Pérez Torres, Encarnación Pérez Pérez, Maria Rebeca Pérez Pérez, Sebastián Pérez López, among those who fell in Masojá.

A canvas explained what happened in the following manner:

In this place, where the waters cross, 15 years ago the Mexican government began to apply violence against the communities by means of a coordination among the military and the paramilitary organization Paz y Justicia.  In this way the Mexican government engaged in a politics of death in our Ch’ol region of the northern zone.

Our community was besieged and our brothers and sisters ambushed, disappeared, and executed.  They besieged us so that we would suffer hunger, fear, and disorganization.  In this way they brought us death.

Now we through prayer and celebration save our memory and create life.  Our memory is against forgetting; it is for true justice, so that these acts of death do not repeat themselves.  The armed conflict in Chiapas is part of a strategy of counter-insurgency; the Mexican government incentivized the creation of paramilitary groups in different regions of the conflict zone.

Among these paramilitary groups was distinguished for its cruelty and operative capacity the organization Paz y Justicia, which operated in the Ch’ol territory of the northern zone of Chiapas in the municipalities of Salto de Agua, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, and Sabanilla.  This documented counter-insurgency strategy left 122 cases of disappearances and executions in the period from 1995 to 2001, of which 37 were forced disappearances (32 men and 5 women) and 86 executions (74 men and 7 women).

All these actions were carried out by Paz y Justicia with the support of the Mexican Army and the Ministry of Public Security, resulting in over three thousand forced displacements.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demand for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996 (7 October 2010)

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)


Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demands for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996

October 7, 2010

Photo: relatives demand justice for Romeo Pérez Pérez, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, Mateo Hernández López, Juan Ramirez Torres, Hector Pérez Torres, Encarnación Pérez Pérez, and Sebastián Pérez López (@SIPAZ)

On 29 August 2010, in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, there was held a commemoration of the victims of conflict during the years 1995 and 1996–some from Masojá Shucjá, others from neighboring communities.  Some of the victims were buried, while others continue disappeared to date.

People from several communities of the municipality came to Masojá Shucjá to join the residents of the community in this act of memory.  After a celebration held in the church, all joined a rosary-prayer in the pantheon where, together with members of their family, lies Mateo Hernández López, ambushed and killed by Paz y Justicia while en route to his milpa in 1996.

Due to the recent rains and landslides experienced in recent days, not all the invited reached the community.  The absence of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in particular was lamented, given that it is the CDHFBC that is taking the case before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights and that accompanies the community in its efforts of historical memory.  All the children of the community’s primary school attended the event, so that they come to know what it is that happened, and that it continues in impunity.  There it was explained that, although justice does not come from above, memory is a means by which to make justice from below.

On this occasion, not only was justice demanded for the victims of the conflict and their relatives, but also for the losses of possessions that occurred during that time.  As was claimed in a poster exhibited in the pantheon, “in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, Chiapas, we demand that the possessions we lost during the time of conflict with Paz y Justicia and the bad government in the year 1996 be compensated”: 424 cattle, 23 horses,a number of farm-birds, and 20 burnt houses.

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)


Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by paramilitaries of Paz y Justicia

July 5, 2010

On June 20, 1996, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres became a victim of forced disappearance. While she was originally from Masojá Shucjá in the municipality of Tila, the offense was carried out by 30 members of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia in the community of German Miguel. 14 years later, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (CDHFBC)  has recalled this and other disappearances, noting that the State has not complied with the obligation to handle these as crimes against humanity as defined by the International Criminal Court.

According to a bulletin from CDHFBC, “despite its obligations, the state has not complied and continues to deny the existence of paramilitary groups in Chiapas, which contradicts the contents of the report on Criminal and Subversive Groups in Chiapas, headed by General of Chiapas state government, dated May 27, 2009, where there appears a  descriptive file on the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia, their links to the state through the Mexican army, and their financing via public resources from Campo and Desarrollo Social de Chiapas. The report shows why it is believed that these groups had relationships with state political operatives who have participated in and continue to participate with this policy against the indigenous peoples ¹.”

¹Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, Derechos Humanos en Chiapas, Frayba, Balance Anual 2009, véase en: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/informes/100609_balance_anual_2009_digital.pdf

For more information (in Spanish):

Complete CDHFBC bulletin (pdf) (23/06/2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: memorial in Masojá Shucjá for the victims of the Paz y Justicia paramilitary group (07/09/2009)