Chiapas: Resurgence of conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in Mitzitón

July 7, 2014
Tala de árboles en los Altos de Chiapas(@cgt)

Photo @ CGT Chiapas

On 29 June, inhabitants of the community of Mitzitón, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle announced that the community assembly of this town has taken “the decision to act against the criminals who operate in Mitzitón and who will be subjected to the sanctions agreed by our assembly, which are that from this moment they lose any land or community rights and therefore they should leave our area immediately.”

They explained: “Our community is divided by external economic interests, which have been harming our forests through the excessive logging of pine trees. And even though we have filed many complaints with the General Prosecutor of Justice of the state, they have not arrested anyone for the crime.”

After a community trial, eight people were detained.  Inhabitants of Mitzitón destroyed and burned about 25 homes of evangelicals belonging to a group that is known as “The Shrimps,” who they identify as logging trees illegally. Afterwards, the group whose houses were destroyed blocked the road from San Cristóbal to Comitán to seek the intervention of the authorities.

On June 30, the police unblocked this road, displacing nearly 100 indigenous evangelicals who were demanding the release of their arrested compañeros, after the Catholics handed them over to the State Police.

It should be remembered that since October 2013, the authorities in Mitzitón who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle have not recognised the land rights of 23 families allegedly engaged in illegal logging.

The evangelical pastor Esdras Alonso González, leader of the grouping Wings of the Eagle, said in an interview with La Jornada that the families whose homes were destroyed have received more than three million pesos from the previous government since 2011 to relocate to another location, but their leaders “kept the money.”

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General of Justice of the State reported that it “issued an arrest warrant against seven” people from Mitzitón accused of kidnapping, for events that occurred on September 11, 2013 in the same area. One of the detainees was released.

For more information (In Spanish):

Denuncia del pueblo de Mitzitón, Chiapas (Enlace zapatista, 29 de junio de 2014)

Católicos retienen a 8 evangélicos en Mitzitón, Chiapas (El Universal, 29 de junio de 2014)

Desbloquean la carretera Panamericana, tomada por indígenas evangélicos de Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de junio de 2014)

Acusa pastor a líderes evangélicos de quedarse con el dinero para la reubicación de 25 familias (la Jornada, 1ero de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Chiapas: people of Mitzitón recognize errors and name new authorities (April 3, 2012)

Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released (November 26, 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats and aggression in Mitzitón (May 31, 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (February 10, 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (October 25, 2010)


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

February 14, 2014

Foto @ Frontera Sur México

Photo @ Frontera Sur México

On 7 February, representatives from the Los Llanos ejido, San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, and the San José El Porvenir community, Huixtán municipality, reported their opposition to the passage of the planned highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque through their communities.  They indicated having knowledge “that they desire to pass the highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through our community and so expropriate from us land that is most productive and gives us all to eat.”  They stressed that two roads had already been built on their lands, “and now they want to build a highway.  This is not fair for us, because it puts at risk many of our children and elders who walk through the communities, as well as our animals.  From those lands we feed ourselves; we survive from them, because we have no salaries or wages; we earn our bread day by day by working our mother earth.  We are not opposed to the highway, but we are opposed to the idea that they will take away our lands, which are of fundamental value for the life of our community.”  Similarly, they denounced that the government “has not come to ask us for our permission or not; they simply are saying that the highway will pass through [here], but we are concerned precisely because this land is what gives us to eat; with what will we eat if they take it from us?”

In the case of the Los Llanos ejido, they explained that the construction would imply the displacement of more than 860 persons in that community.  “They have offered us other lands in Rancho Nuevo, supposedly so as to resettle us, but regardless these lands are under litigation because they pertain to Mitzitón.  We do not accept this because it would imply being in conflict with our indigenous brothers who own these lands,” explained the ejidatarios of Los Llanos.  “They have told us that the highway will pass by force, whether we like it or not.  They are seeking to buy off communal leaders by threatening to refuse them infrastructure projects, such as asphalt projects,” they explained in a public denunciation.

The bishop of the San Cristóbal diocese, Felipe Arizmendi, said that “many campesino and indigenous peoples are not seeing this as a benefit for them, but rather as irreversible damage to their lands, which is like a mother that gives them life.  They say that, although they be paid well for their lands, they will lose them forever and they would have no where to sow maize, beans, and coffee–their source of life.  For this reason, many are expressing total opposition to this proposed project.”  Arizmendi explained that a highway is welcomed when it brings benefits to all, not only for touristic agencies and the rich.

For his part, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, secretary of governance of Chiapas, noted that there will be “no retreat” for the project of constructing the highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque.  At a press conference he said that “all the rights of free transit” have been established in the Palenque municipality, this following dialogues taken with residents of all the localities through which the highway would pass.  He added that in Ocosingo there also “have been negotiations and only in two communities is there resistance, but we have now progressed through more than 60 percent of the pathway.”  He observed that in Tenejapa, through where a large part of the highway would pass, “we are building consensus so that people authorize the permits through dialogue.”  With regard to the case of San Cristóbal, he mentioned that “we have a problem with a kilometer in Los Llanos and 14 in Huixtán; that is where we see the most resistance.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Conferencia de Prensa de la Comunidad Indígena Tsotsil de Los Llanos por la Defensa de su territorio (Frontera Sur México, 7 de febrero de 2014)

Tzotziles rechazan autopista entre San Cristóbal de las Casas y Palenque(La Jornada, 9 de febrero de 2014)

Una comunidad tzotzil contra la carretera San Cristóbal-Palenque(Desinformémonos, 10 de febrero de 2014)

En riesgo la paz social por la autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque (Chiapas Paralelo, 3 de diciembre de 2013)

Ejidatarios se oponen a entregar sus tierras para autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque (Chiapas Paralelo,22 de noviembre de 2013)

“No habrá marcha atrás” en proyecto de autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque: gobierno de Chiapas (La Jornada, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Audio-Video:

Conferencia prensa de la Comunidad de Los Llanos (Los Tejemedios, 7 de febrero de 2014)


Chiapas: people of Mitzitón recognize errors and name new authorities

April 3, 2012

Mitzitón (@pozol.org)

In a communiqué released on 26 March 2012, residents of the Tzotzil community of Mitzitón, San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, recognized having committed errors with regard to the hunger strike and fasting of prisoners who pertain to the Other Campaign that took place in October 2011.  This action made possible the release of two prisoners from Mitzitón.

It should be remembered that on 14 October 2011 it was made public news that Mitzitón authorities had sent a letter thanking the Chiapas state-government for having released the two prisoners, “something that made all the struggle for their release at that moment, as their strength was being lost.”  The communiqué notes that “That letter sent to the bad government was signed by the authorities and representatives that at that moment were competent and had that power.  Regardless, the means by which was had the signature of the document was through deception and lack of clarity toward the community and the majority of the community’s authorities.  It was prosecuted by only a few representatives.  This was an error, and we recognize it.”  They added: “Now, we would like to denounce that we are aware that these representatives had been bought off and so betrayed the trust of the people.  They sold themselves to the bad government for some projects; we still do not know how much money they asked for their dignity and the struggle of the people of Mitzitón.”  They warned that “we have held our assemblies and we have named new authorities and representatives for the people, whom we will watch more closely for the people–with greater clarity, that is.  Above all, this our word is to tell you all that we continue to struggle.  The people of Mitzitón continues resisting, and it has not sold out.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Habitantes de Mitzitón admiten falla estratégica (La Jornada, 30 de marzo de 2012)

Comunicado completo del Pueblo de Mitzitón (26 de marzo de 2012)

For  more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released (26 November 2011)


Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released

November 26, 2011

On 15 November, at approximately 5:00pm were released 2 of the 8 indigenous individuals who for 39 days had engaged in a hunger strike in the State Center for the Reinsertion of the Sentenced (CERSS) no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

José Díaz López, from San Andrés Larráinzar, and Andrés Núñez Hernández, from San Juan Chamula, were freed after their cases were revised, their sentences suspended.  The two members of the prisoners group “Those in Solidairty with La Voz del Amate,” adherents to the Other Campaign, had been accused of homicide and were held in prison for more than 9 years.  Díaz López, 36 years of age, and Núñez Hernández, 39 years of age, participated together with eight other prisoners in a hunger strike that began on 29 September and ended on 6 November.

With the liberty of these 2 prisoners now there have been freed 4 prisoners from this movement after 2 prisoners from the community of Mitzitón were released in October.  Regardless, there still remain 8 other hunger strikers in prison, among them Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who was transferred to a federal prison in Sinaloa.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a 2 indígenas tzotziles que realizaron huelga de hambre (La Jornada, 16 November 2011)

Liberan a dos indígenas del CERSS número 5  (Cuarto Poder, 16 November 2011)

Liberan a 2 de 8 reos en huelga de hambre en penal de Chiapas (La Jornada, 16 November 2011)

Salen libres Joé Díaz López y Andrés Núñez Hernández, presos de Chiapas, (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 16 November 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: End of hunger strike (14 November 2011)

Chiapas: Two more prisoners join the hunger strike; concentration of family-members at sit-in (4 November 2011)

Chiapas: National and international support for Patishtán and the prisoners fasting and on hunger strike (26 October 2011)

Chiapas: New denunciation by Las Abejas (28 October 2011)

Chiapas: 20 days into hunger strike and 11 days into sit-in of relatives, 2 prisoners are released (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: 15 days of hunger strike and  days of sit-in (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: Sit-in of relatives of relatives of prisoners on hunger strike(17 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on strike, and Zapatistas (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: 8 days of hunger strike at CERSS no. 5 (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: Prisoners fasting and on hunger strike (4 October 2011)

Chiapas: Public day for Fasting and Prayer for Peace in the San Cristóbal prison (26 September 2011)


Chiapas: 20 days into hunger strike and 11 days into sit-in of relatives, two prisoners are released

October 27, 2011

Plantón de familiares @ SIPAZ

On the evening of Friday 14 October, Manuel Heredia Jiménez and Juan Jiménez Pérez, residents of Mitzitón, were released after having been held for 9 years and 4 months, 16 days after initiating a hunger strike and fasting with other prisoners.

The ejidal authorities of the community of Mitzitón, municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, made public a letter sent to the governor of Chiapas expressing their gratitude for his intervention through the Reconciliation Table.  It is hoped that said Table take into account the remaining cases of prisoners who continue on hunger strike and fasting.

Referring to these others, the ejidatarios of Mitzitón declare that “We are struggling for the freedom of all those who are inside the prisons as well as those outside.  Do not think, bad government, that we will give up.  On the contrary, we will continue to struggle even more until we also see our comrade Artemio Días Heredia and all the adherents [to the Other Campaign] who continue to fast and be on hunger strike.  They are not alone.”

The only prisoner who is fasting, Rosa López Díaz, noted that “Today [16 October] I have spent 18 days fasting for 12 hours during the day.  The days have gone by full of threats that they will remove my son from me.  There is also the constant harassment on the part of the women’s governmental prosecutorial office where they take photos of me every so often, and even when I find myself in my cell there comes a psychologist named Tomas Trejo Lievano who comes to bother me.  They take pictures of me so that I will give up my fast.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberados 2 de los compañeros presos en el cereso 5 de San Cristobal. 15.10.2011, CGT Chiapas, 15 October 2011

Liberados dos compañeros de Mitzitón presos en el cereso 5, Enlace Zapatista, 17 October 2011

Comunicado de las autoridades de Mitzitón, Expreso de Chiapas, 18 October 2011

Denuncia de la Voz del Amate y Solidarios del 14 de octubre

Denuncian su injusto encarcelamiento los pres@s polític@s de Chiapas y exigen su liberación. Actualizado 17 de octubre, Enlace Zapatista, 13 October 2011

Cartas de la compañera Rosa Lòpez Dìaz a 18 dias que inició su ayuno en el penal No 5 de San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Radio Pozol, 17 October 2011

Denuncia del Preso Solidario de la Voz del Amate Juan Collazo Jiménez, Noestamostodxs, 17 October 2011

Torturan y encarcelan a pareja tzotzil por un secuestro que no se cometió, La Jornada, 14 October 2011

Indígena preso realiza ayuno diario de 12 horas en Chiapas, La Jornada, 18 October 2011

Audio:

Liberación de los 2 de Mitz, una estrategia + del gobierno para desgastar acción de hh, Centro de Medios Independientes, 18 October 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 15 days of hunger strike and  days of sit-in (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: Sit-in of relatives of relatives of prisoners on hunger strike(17 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on strike, and Zapatistas (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: 8 days of hunger strike at CERSS no. 5 (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: Prisoners fasting and on hunger strike (4 October 2011)

Chiapas: Public day for Fasting and Prayer for Peace in the San Cristóbal prison (26 September 2011)


Chiapas: Prisoners fasting and on hunger strike

October 4, 2011

Photo @ Zapateando

On 29 September, 7 prisoners being held in prison no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas began a total and indefinite hunger stirke, while 4 others initiated a daily fast to last 12 hours.  Both initiatives have been taken to protest the diseases these prisoners suffer.  Adherents to the Other Campaign, they pertain to the Political Prisoners of the Voz del Amate, those in solidarity with la Voz del Amate, and prisoners who are adherents to the Mitzitón Other Campaign as well one other prisoner from Voces Inocentes.

In a public communiqué they expressed that “after having been subjected to the injutsices that have caused our families and us great pain, given these unjust incarcerations and the fabrication of crimes that take from us our liberty just because we have defending rights in some cases or in others due to illiteracy or poverty.  In this way they have violated our rights, as they continue to do on many occasions, in light of the many occasions on which we have been ignored for demanding justice on the part of the corresponding institutions.”

In their demands, they direct themselves to the governor of the state with these words: “We demand that Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, intervene immediately to effect the unconditional liberty that is owed to us.”

They invite civil society to continue with its struggle: “Finally we invite our comrades and independent national and international organizations as well as NGO human-rights centers to keep watch over our cause to demand justice and liberty for all political prisoners in the country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Los presos políticos del CERSS Nº 5 Chiapas se declaran en huelga de hambre. La RvsR Chiapas llama a solidarizarse, Enlace Zapatista, 29 September2011

Campaña por la libertad del compañero Alberto Patishtan  (Enlace Zapatista)

En huelga de hambre adherentes de la Otra Campaña en el CERSS no. 5, Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 29 September 2011

Con ayuno exigen su liberación indígenas presos en Chiapas, Proceso, 29 September 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Public day for Fasting and Prayer for Peace in the San Cristóbal prison (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Rosario Diaz, imprisoned for six years, and denunciation by Voz del Amate (8 September 2011)

Chiapas: Fifth anniversary of the “Voz de Amate” (8 January 2011)

– Chiapas: the case of Alberto Patishtán Gómez presented before the IACHR, and denunciation by la Voz de Amate (10 August 2010)

– Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 July 2010)

Chiapas: prisoner Alberto Patishtán Gómez’s latest communiqué and its coverage by La Jornada (19 July 2010)

Chiapas: medical neglect in the case of Alberto Patishtán (25 March 2010)


Chiapas: Death-threats and aggression in Mitzitón

May 31, 2011

Photo @ Kaosenlared.net

On 7 May, during and following the March of Peace with Justice and Dignity held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a group of Mitzitón residents who are adherents to the Other Campaign denounced aggression and shots fired on the part of the so-called Army of God.

In its public denunciation the group declared that at approximately 1pm “some comrades were having sheep graze on land close that of the 31 Military Zone of Rancho Nuevo,” when they were fired upon.  “They succeeded in seeing two paramilitary aggressors, but they only recognized the son of Roberto Vicente Pérez, known as a paramilitary owner of the truck used in the attack we suffered on 13 February.”  After 7pm on Saturday “we were arriving from the march when we heard four detonations.”  An hour later, “yet again, the paramilitaries opened fire.”

On 15 May they once again felt threatened upon discovering that “they took out our little virgin, beat her, and furthermore on other occasions have kidnapped our female comrades and beaten them,” showing that tensions and conflicts continue on in the area because, as they declared, “they do not respect our saints.”

Those denouncing from Mitzitón blamed the aggresions on the planned San Cristóbal-Palenque road project, which they say is “not dead and will be carried out as has been agreed.”

For more information (in Spanish)

Ataques en Mitzitón durante y después de la Marcha del Silencio por la Justicia y contra la Impunidad, Radio Zapatista, 8 May 2011

Membros del Ejército de Dios disparan a bases del EZLN, La Jornada, 11 May 2011

México: Denuncia pública del pueblo de Mitzitón por nuevas amenazas y provocaciones por parte de paramilitares, Kaosenlared.net, 17 May 2011

Denuncia pública del pueblo de Mitzitón por nuevas amenazas y provocaciones por parte de paramilitares, Enlace Zapatista, 17 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (25 October 2010)

Chiapas: New conflict in Mitzitón (8 September 2010)