Oaxaca: Triquis return to their communities following 16 months of sit-in

February 8, 2012

Triqui girls during the press-conference @ La Jornada

The Triqui indigenous people from the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala pertaining to the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULTI) called on society to participate in a caravan on 23 January so as to return to their communities after having been displaced 16 months previously by paramilitaries from the Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (Ubisort).  They had been maintaining a sit-in in front of the Palace of governance in Oaxaca de Juárez since the time of their displacement.

The communiqué read at the press conference expressed that “we have reached some agreements with the state government, and this leads us to think that there exist favorable conditions for our peaceful return to our homes.  We do not understand this to be a provocation.”  The return to their communities was agreed to after 23 work-tables held with the state and federal governments so as to continue with the provisional measures dictated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in their favor.  Reina Martínez Flores, spokesperson for the organization who read the communiqué, clarified that the agreements were reached with the state government only because “the federal government has not demonstrated an actual interest in attending to our demands.”  There was added as well that “We are convinced that this is the only way to strengthen our culture and conserve our history; that our differences in reality do not exist, and that hatred comes from where it has always come: from the powerful, who are assisted by some indigenous persons who have lost their dignity and honor and so lend themselves to cultivating pain among our people, in exchange for some coins.”

In other news, on 1 January there was released an interview in the magazine Contralínea in which a supposed member of the armed group that attacked the caravan that sought to enter the ceremonial center of San Juan Copala to provide humanitarian aid to the besieged populace accuses Antonio Cruz García (also known as Toño Pájaro) and Rufino Juárez Hernández as being the principal perpetrators of the action.  Cruz García was then the “commander” of Ubisort, and he is now at the front of the armed group that since September 2010 has occupied San Juan Copala.  Juárez Hernández was at the time of the attack the political leader of Ubisort; he is now being held on other charges.  In the assault of 27 April 2010 died Alberta Cariño Trujillo, director of the Center of Communal Support Working Together (Cactus), and the Finnish human-rights observer Jyri Jaakkola.  Beyond this, that day there were more than a dozen injured, and two activists and two Contralínea journalists went missing for 60 hours.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del retorno de desplazados a San Juan Copala (Blog Municipio Autónomo de San Juan Copala, 15 January 2012)

Planean regresar a sus comunidades, triquis expulsados hace 16 meses por paramilitares (La Jornada, 15 January 2012)

¡Si vienen, nos los chingamos! (Contralínea, 1 January 2012)

Triquis volverán a Copala el lunes 23 (Oaxaca ya.com, 14 January 2012)

Paz, pide MULTI a MULT; regresan a San Juan Copala (Noticias net, 15 January 2012)

Llaman mujeres triquis de Copala a la paz al MULT (Noticias net, 16 January 2012)

Regresan Desplazadas a San Juan Copala y hacen un llamado de Paz (Frida Guerrera, 15 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)

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Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala

December 14, 2011

Reyna Flores Matrínez (@sanjuancopalaoaxaca.wordpress.com)

In light of the lack of responses by the state government 16 months after their having been expelled from San Juan Copala, displaced women from the Triqui zone have announced that they will engage in a walking march starting on 19 December from the communities of Agua Fría, Santa Cruz Tilapa, and Yosoyuxi toward the capital.  In a press-conference, Reyna Martínez, representative of the group, lamented that to date, and despite the 27 murders in the zone, there have been launched only three criminal investigations, and that in any case substantial advances in the investigation of the events are lacking.  She also denounced the lack of interest on the part of the government to find a solution to the problem, “given that in recent months this has been in the hands of low-ranking officials who have no capacity for creating solutions.”

In other news, following the announcement on 8 December that there would be presented at the European Parliament the report of the Euro-deputies Satu Hassi (Finland) and Franziska Keller (Germany) after their official visit to Mexico last September (a presentation that was deferred to the subsequent year), several media have published articles on said report which identifies several challenges regarding investigations into the murder of activists Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño, which occurred on 27 April 2010 near San Juan Copala: “Change does not come overnight, and now a new party has come into power in Oaxaca following 70 years of PRI governments.  Regardless, lack of coordination between federal and state levels, the co-existence of different judicial systems, and the poor existing standards for investigations continue to serve as obstacles for there to be significant progress, despite the efforts of the government.”  The report also indicates that “We fear that without political will to delimit responsibilities, impunity will continue to prevail.  People feel that the credibility of the Mexican State is at stake.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe europeo: Los crímenes de San Juan Copala, puras disculpas (Proceso, 2 December)

Realizarán mujeres desplazados de Copala caminata a la capital(Noticiasnet.mx, 7 December)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: New wave of violence in the Triqui region

August 18, 2011

(@jovenestriquisdecopala.wordpress.com)

On 5 August, three Triqui indigenous members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULT-I) were ambushed and murdered by gunshots at the crossroads that lead to the communities of Agua Fri and San Pedro Chayuco.  MULT’-I attributed the triple homicide to the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (Ubisort), which are respectively linked to the Popular Unity Party (a state party) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).  MULT, MULTI, and Ubisort have had disputes over control of the area, leaving at least 500 dead within the past three decades.

The corpses of Álvaro Jacinto Cruz, Francisco Ramírez Merino, and José Luis Ramírez, from Agua Fría Copala, were taken to the Palace of Government of Oaxaca to protest the violence that grips the region.  Reina Martínez Flores, leader of the dipslaced Triquis who find themselves at a sit-in at the Palace, requested that Governor Gabino Cué punish the murderers of the three Triquis and that he stop the violence so that the displaced can return to their community.  She asked, “How many more brothers should die so that the government acts?”

At the end of the protest, once the protestors had taken the bodies to a truck so as to leave to bury them in their place of origin, there occurred an altercation with state police who attempted to close the area so that health personnel sanitize it.  Reina Martínez Flores denounced that before the police intervention state functionaries had already threatened to remove them, arguing that the corpses could propagate some sort of disease.  The secretary of Public Security, Marco Tulio López Escamilla, rejected the idea that there was an attempt to exacerbate the pain suffered by MULT-I, insisting instead that the Health Secretary personnel had concluded that the state of the dead was a bad one, and that others took advantage of this situation so as to generate confrontation.

For more information (in Spanish):

Triquis llevan a sus muertos al palacio de gobierno de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 8 August)

UBISORT se deslinda de asesinatos en Agua Fría (NSS Oaxaca, 8 August)

Gabino Cué manda a golpear a las mujeres desplazadas de San Juan Copala (Comunicado del Municipio Autónomo de San Juan Copala, 8 August)

Se deslinda MULT de balacera en Copala (NSS, Oaxaca, 7 August)

Triquis velan a sus muertos en Palacio de Gobierno (El Universal, 7 August)

Comunicado del Municipio Autónomo de San Juan Copala sobre la masacre del MULT-PUP en Agua Fría Copala (6 August)

Asesinan a tres indígenas Triquis en Oaxaca (El Universal, 5 August)

Comando ataca a indígenas triquis; mueren tres (Proceso, 5 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)


Oaxaca: Detention of Rufino Juárez, director of UBISORT

June 2, 2011

On 12 May Rufino Juárez Hernández, director of Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), was arrested.  He is suspected to be one of those responsible for the grave climate of violence experienced lately in the Triqui region, particularly the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.

In accordance with information released by the State Police, Juárez Hernández is accused of being the intellectual author of the murder of Celestino Hernández Cruz, who belongs to the Movement for the Unification of Triqui Struggle-Independent (MULTI).  This was a murder registered on 17 April 2010 in the center of San Juan Copala.

Rufino Juárez is also a suspect in the attack on the humanitarian caravan that was head to San Juan Copala on 27 April 2010 in which were killed Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.  Days before the departure of the caravan, Juárez Hernández publicly made grave threats to the lives and security of its members.

MULTI and UBISORT, as well as the Movement for Unification of Triqui Struggle (MULT), conflict over local power in the Triqui region, as has been reflected in the high levels of violence employed by militants associated with each of these organizations.  In 2010 at least 36 murders were counted in that region of the state of Oaxaca, all of them the result of different ambushes.

Amnesty International hopes that this action on the part of the State Attorney General’s Office will constitute the beginning of actions taken to dismantle the armed illegal groups found in the region and to put an end to the impunity that has left anxiety among a people that has been subjected to attacks and harassment.  The organization hopes that this judicial action will be the prelude to further clarifications regarding the murder of the human rights defenders Alberta “Bety” Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola as well as clarifications on the presumed ties to be found among municipal and state authorities  and illegal armed groups like UBISORT.

Non-governmental organizations believe this detention is no act of goodwill or concession on the part of the Oaxaca state government but rather the product of national and international pressure to demand justice for the murder of Bety and Jyri.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen por homicidio a líder triqui en Oaxaca, El Universal, 14 May 2011

Acusan de homicidio a líder de la Ubisort, Enfoque Oaxaca, 13 May 2011

México: Un primer paso hacia la justicia en la región Triqui de Oaxaca, Amnistía Internacional

Pronunciamiento Público, Zapateando, 18 May 2011

Comunicado de Prensa, Viento Nuevo, 24 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)


Oaxaca: impunity continues, one year after the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 4, 2011

On 27 April 2010, Bety Cariño (human-rights defender and member of the organization Center for Communal Support Working Together-CACTUS) and Jyri Jaakkola (a Finnish human-rights observer) were murdered while participating in a humanitarian caravan en route to San Juan Copala.

Non-governmental organizations, university collectives, and members of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala paid the two their respects and denounced the impunity of the case by means of different activities taken up in Oaxaca as elsewhere in the country and the world.  For their part, 250 displaced individuals from San Juan Copala marched to demand justice once again.

Significantly, on the day before the one-year anniversary, Omar Esparza Zárate, husband to Bety and member of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), together with Fernando Urbano Morales of CACTUS, were detained for 8 hours by federal police on the Mexico-Oaxaca highway.  By means of a communiqué, CACTUS denounced that “Beyond arbitrariness, we know that this arrest takes place within a context of violence, harrassment, and repression against human-rights defenders and ‘coincides’ as well with the fact that tomorrow 27 April marks one year of the murder of our comrade Bety Cariño, shot by paramilitary bullets in the humanitarian caravan to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.  This shows the intentionality of the Mexican State to intimidate and terrify those who have since last year demanded justice for the founder of CACTUS and other social activists who have been incarcerated and murdered in this period of mobilization and social repression.”  CACTUS noted that the activities called for to demand justice for the murders of Bety and Jyri would carry on regardless.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)


Oaxaca: presumed material author of the murder of Heriberto Pazos Ortiz (MULT) is apprehended

May 2, 2011

Heriberto Pazos Ortiz (@chacatorex.blogspot.com)

On 25 April, members of the State Agency of Investigation (AEI) of Oaxaca detained the university student Roberto Jorge Navarro Martínez, also known as El Thín.  He is accused of being one of the material authors of the murder of Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, president of the Communal Political Council and founder of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT), which was committed by two men riding on motorcycle on 23 October 2010 in Oaxaca de Juárez.  In a press-conference, the procurator general of justice in the state, Manuel de Jesús López, stressed that the suspect is known to have been riding a motorcycle near the site of the murder minutes after the crime was committed.  He also emphasized that he had the testimony of several persons who affirmed that since April 2010, Jesús Rubén Marmolejo Maldonado (El Dragón) and Iván de Jesús Espinosa Luis (El Talibán) had been offering 300,000 pesos for the murder of Heriberto Pazos Ortiz.  López López recognized that, although the motive of the homicide is still unknown, as is just who it is who made available the 300,000 pesos to El Dragón and El Talibán to hire the suspect and his accomplice.  It should also be noted that El Dragón and El Talibán, the presumed contractors of the attack, were killed seven days after the murder.

For more information (in Spanish):

Arrestan a porro universitario ligado a homicidio de líder triqui en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 26 April 2011)

Detienen a presunto implicado en asesinato del líder Triqui en Oaxaca(Milenio, 25 April 2011)

Capturan a uno de los presuntos asesinos de líder triqui (Proceso, 25 April 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)


Oaxaca: Amnesty International addressed an open letter to the new governor, Cue Monteagudo.

December 14, 2010

Gabino Cué Monteagudo (@Mexican Senate)

On December 10, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the new governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cue Monteagudo, which provides a summary of the main challenges concerning the human rights situation in the state and calls onhim to develop a plan of action in the matter. In observance of International Human Rights Day, the organization highlighted four of the pending matters in the state: the abuse of undocumented migrants, the attacks against human rights defenders, the situation in the Triqui region and the impunity in the cases of human rights violations in the context of the 2006 crisis. Amnesty International stated: “The new government faces an unprecedented opportunity to build a culture of respect for human rights and to make them real in the daily performance of the state and municipal authorities.”

On December 1st, in a ceremony in the local congress at which over 3000 people were invited, Gabino Cue took up his new position while street protests were held not only to repudiate the government of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz but also to ask for a response to the demands of the people from the new governor. While members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULTI), displaced from San Juan Copala, remained in their sit-in, the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) marched to ask for clarification in the case of the death of its leader Heriberto Pazos, killed in October. Section 22 of the SNTE demanded that former Governor Ulises Ruiz be brought to justice and iwarned Cue it will not accept representatives of the leader of the SNTE (National Union of Education Workers), Elba Esther Gordillo in the cabinet. Other groups associated with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) also marched that day.

The new governor has assured that he will conduct an investigation of the outgoing administration, although not in a spirit of revenge or “witch hunting”. He has publicly stated that he won’t stand for impunity and that finances, political murders and high-impact human rights violations will be investigated.

For more information (in Spanish):

– México: Amnistía Internacional llama al nuevo gobernador de Oaxaca a priorizar la agenda de derechos humanos – Pronunciamiento completo (AI, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

– AI exige poner fin a impunidad en Oaxaca (El Universal, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

Amnistía Internacional dirige carta abierta al Gobernador Cué Monteagudo (Oaxaca Libre, 10 de diciembre de 2010)

– Exigen justicia al nuevo gobierno (El Universal, 2 de diciembre de 2010)

– Revisaré cuentas y asesinatos: Cué (El Universal, 2 de diciembre de 2010)

– El equipo de Gabino Cué asume control del gobierno de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 1 de diciembre)

Repudio hasta el último día (La Jornada, 1 de diciembre)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Events in observance of the commemoration of the repression in 2006 (December 14, 2010)

– Oaxaca: Coalition “United for Peace and Progress” defeats PRI in state elections (July 12, 2010)