National: Tensions in Ostula in light of possible transfer of Commander Cemeí

September 10, 2015

(@Cuartoscuro)(@Cuartoscuro)

Tensions in the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Aquila municipality, Michoacán, have not ceased since an Army group entered on 19 July to arrest the commander of the communal police, Cemeí Verdía Zepeda, as it attacked a communal blockade, in an act that left a girl of 12 years of age dead, and 10 others injured.

According to Ojarasca, the government announced that it would enter to disarm the communal police (PC).  In light of this threat and the four arrest-orders against the PC commanders, Ostula strengthened its communal defense.  “There are communal-defense patrols all day.  New support commissions are being organized, and the assemblies are determining the way forward,” declared Gregorio Santos García, spokesperson of the community.  Different sources documented testimony regarding the presence of shock-groups and Navy in the region surrounding Ostula.  Santos García added that “we are not confronting them, and we will not do so.  We will instead dialogue.  They are soldiers, and we are not.  What they seek is for us to respond with violence, but we will not.  We will respond with organization.”  In declarations made by Germán Ramírez Sánchez, the substitute commander of the communal police during the absence of Cemeí: “I am saddened because instead of going after the criminals, they come against a community and its self-organization, when all we seek is justice.”

Beyond this, there were developments in the case of the arrest of Commander Cemeí Verdía. He was absolved of the accusation of homicide and bearing of arms for the exclusive use of the Army but then immediately accused of robbery.  This change could lead to his being transferred to the Lázaro Cárdenas prison in Michoacán, where members of the Knights Templar cartel are held.  This is the precise group that the Ostula PC has been organizing against.  The residents of the community fear for the life of the commander, in case the transfer is carried through.

In a communique, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) manifested its concern regarding the allegations of the participation of public forces in grave acts of violence in Mexico, including the events of 19 July in Ostula.  In this way, it reiterated that the affairs that have to do with citizen security should be the sole task of civilian police forces, given that the armed forces are trained for national defense against an external aggressor, and so lack the training to observe the law.  “Moreover, the history of the region shows that the intervention of the armed forces in internal security questions generally is accompanied by human-rights violations.”  It should be stressed that the murder of the Hidilberto girl and the damages incurred by the other 10 injured persons continue to go unpunished, thus contradicting the agreements made with the government.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ostula, en Michoacán, no puede bajar la guardia (Ojarasca, 8 de agosto de 2015)

Comunitarios de Ostula se niegan a desarmarse (La Jornada, 7 de agosto de 2015)

Tensión en Ostula tras movimientos y bloqueos de grupos de choque (DesInformémonos, 7 de agosto de 2015)

CIDH expresa su preocupación respecto de alegaciones de participación de la fuerza pública en hechos de violencia en México (CIDH, 7 de agosto de 2015)

Ostula exige que Cemeí Verdía Zepeda no sea trasladado al penal de Lázaro Cárdenas porque temen por su vida (DesInformémonos, 4 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Nation: Denunciations of new attacks against indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán (10 June 2015)

Nation: A minor murdered and ten others wounded in Santa María Ostula (16 August 2015)

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Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado, newly accused

June 29, 2015

(@Revolución tres punto cero)

(@Revolución tres punto cero)

Nestora Salgado García, the ex-commander from the Communal Police (PC) of Olinalá, has been told by the Guerrero State Attorney General that she now faces three additional charges, including kidnapping, robbery, and homicide. Her attorney, Sandino Rivero, reported that her new accusers are unknown, and that the identity of the presumed murder victims is also unknown. The charges are still informal, but they will soon be applied against her. Furthermore, he adds that these three new charges were not detailed in her original arrest on 21 August 2013, nearly two years ago. According to CIMAC News, the defense counsel’s analysis is that the State Attorney “had been keeping” these other charges, thus indicating that its office would not desist, despite the calls made by the Guerrero State Governor, Rogelio Ortega.

The PC ex-commander has been imprisoned on three charges of kidnapping of people who were being re-educated at the Justice House in El Paraíso. She is presently being held in the Center for Social Readaptation in Tepepan, where she had been transferred after a hunger-strike that lasted 31 days, one she undertook to demand her transfer and that of her PC comrades who are also imprisoned. Until 29 May, she had been held in the high-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, 1,100 kilometers from her land of origin.

According to the “Sin Embargo” media, beyond having raised consciousness about irregularities in the health center and promoting unions in Olinalá to re-educational campaigns, Salgado revealed that, before her arrest, she had shown several officials videos evidencing the rapes of children. These authorities then went to an Admiral of the Navy, a General from the Secretary for National Defense (SEDENA), and the then-governor, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, who then committed himself to referring the matter to the Federal Attorney General (PGR), but in the end nothing was investigated. Nestora holds that she surely disturbed powerful interests with her denunciations of these cases of the rapes of children, with this being the actual reason she has been imprisoned.

In an interview with Proceso, she adds that “they are hurt that I have told them that the system is corrupt; they are trying to bury my voice, which was heard.” She assures that the system has failed everyone. “If I am released, as I hope I will (it must be this way), or if I must give my life for this struggle, I will do it. I will not be silent; I am not afraid. I am someone who believes in the systematic re-education of the people (of the CRAC), and I believe we can indeed change many things—not just in Guerrero, but throughout the country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

La delincuencia nos respetó, el que quiso destruirnos fue el gobierno”: Nestora Salgado (Proceso, 22 de junio de 2015)

Ahora Fiscalía de Guerrero acusa a Nestora Salgado de homicidio(Cimac Noticias, 19 de junio de 2015)

Nestora revela que mostró a jefes militares y a Aguirre videos de abuso a menores (Sin Embargo, 22 de junio de 2015)

A punto de ser liberada, la ex comandanta Nestora Salgado acusada de secuestro, robo y homicido, nuevamente (Revolución tres punto cero, 22 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado is transferred to a Mexico City prison (10 June 2015)

Guerrero: Still on hunger strike, Nestora Salgado continues to hope for transfer as her health declines (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: political prisoner Nestora Salgado, coordinator of the Communal Police of Olinalá, begins hunger strike (16 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR calls on Mexican government to guarantee medical attention to Nestora Salgado (8 February 2015)


National/Chiapas/Oaxaca/Tabasco: Founding of the Collective of Defenders of Migrants and Refugees (CODEMIRE)

April 23, 2015

Conformación Codemire (@izq.mx)

CODEMIRE Group (@izq.mx)

In an 8 April press-conference, there was announced the founding of the Collective of Defenders of Migrants and Refugees (CODEMIRE), comprised of 28 migrant homes located in southern, centrla, and northern Mexico.  Members of the new grouping expressed their rejection of the Southern Border Plan, launched by President Enrique Peña Nieto in July 2014, considering it to have contributed to greater human-rights violations against the migrants who cross through Mexico toward the United States.  They added that in comparison with 2013, there was a 47% increase int he number of arrests in 2014–not just on the border, but also aboard buses, on highways, and on freight-trains, among other locations.  They stressed that migrants’ vulnerability has not declined, for they face multiple challenges: extortion by the police, agents from the National Migration Institute (INM), the Navy, and the Army; kidnapping, disappearance, rape, and assault from organized-rime groups “that have found more fertile land after this plan was implemented.”

The members of the new collective have announced that they will unify their efforts toward the end of attending to and defending migrants transiting through the country, and protecting the rights-defenders of this populace who are threatened with death, criminalized, and persecuted for carrying out their work.

They called on the Mexican State to observe its obligation of providing security and protection to migrants; to cease the operations of migratory verification which imperil life, physical integrity, and human rights; to suspend the Southern Border Plan; and never to allow a plan of this magnitude to be implemented again without social scrutiny.

For more information (in Spanish):

Crean red de albergues y casas para desplazados (La Jornada, 9 de abril de 2015)

Defensores de migrantes en México rechazan Plan Frontera Sur (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de abril de 2015)

Organizaciones exigen la cancelación del programa Frontera Sur, por “poner en riesgo” a migrantes (Emeequis, 8 de abril de 2015)

Fore more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of INM agents, says La 72 (22 March 2015)

Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Fray Tomás González(13 November 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)


Guerrero: The Navy has tried to arrest him, denounces brother of CECOP spokesperson

December 30, 2014

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Vicente Suástegui Muñoz, brother of spokesperson of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), who has been imprisoned since June, publicly denounced that on 13 December, marines attempted to arrest him outside his home in Ciudad Renacimiento.  He asserted that his relatives began to record what was happening, so that the marines would suspend their operation of detaining him and transferring him to an official vehicle. Vicente Suástegui held the Navy responsible for anything that could happen to him or his family.

He reported these acts during a press-conference that was held in the community of La Concepción, during which members of the Guerrero Popular Movement and the State Coordination of Educational Workers of Guerrero (CETEG) expressed their support for CECOP:  “those members of MPG and CETEG here present would like to manifest our concern for the exacerbation of the policies of harassment and repression against CECOP which nobly defend its territory against the bad government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Intentaron detenerlo marinos, denuncia el hermano del vocero de los opositores a la presa La Parota (El Sur de Acapulco, 15 de diciembre de 2014)

 Liberar a Suástegui y a comuneros detenidos, exigen MPG y CETEG a los gobiernos federal y estatal (El Sur de Acapulco,

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Attack on CECOP members leaves 5 dead (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Arrest of María de la Cruz Dorantes, CECOP member (25 October 2014)

Guerrero: demand for release of political prisoners in observance of the eleventh anniversary of CECOP (2 September 2014)

Guerrero: soldiers and policemen burst into the La Concepción Commmunity after a Cecop assembly in which the case of Marco Antonio Muñoz Suástegui was reported on (29 August 2014)

Guerrero: Arrest of a leader of the opposition to the La Parota Dam (23 June 2014)


Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa

November 3, 2014

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Mobilization “A light for Ayotzinapa” in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Photo@SIPAZ

On 22 October, the protest-day “A light for Ayotzinapa” was held in dozens of cities in Mexico and abroad.  In Mexico City itself, 50,000 participated in the march, according to city authorities.  In Iguala, protestors marched the same route taken by the normalist students before they were attacked by police.  In Chiapas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) carried out a prayer and protest.  Furthermore, thousands of citizens, including students and teachers, participated in the mobilizations in several cities of the state.  Students from different educational centers throughout the world joined the action, manifesting themselves in their countries for the disappearances of the 43 students.

On 23 October, Navy units arrested José Luis Abarca, former mayor of Iguala, and his wife Maria de Los Ángeles Pineda Villa, who have been indicated by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) as those who ordered the disappearance of the 43 students on 26 September.  Following their arrest, they were required to declare themselves before the Specialized Subprosecutorial Office for Investigations into Organized Crime (SEIDO).  The arrest was executed by the Navy with support from the PGR in a hotel in the capital of Veracruz state.

Also on 23 October, following weeks of calls to this end from all standpoints, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, governor of Guerrero, publicly announced his resignation before the state congress over the Iguala case.  He began the announcement by summarizing the advances his administration had made in the Iguala case, though he did not provide any information regarding the actual whereabouts of the disappeared.  In fact, the administration of Ángel Aguirre Rivero began with the murder of two other normalist students from Ayotzinapa: Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús and Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino were shot dead by federal and ministerial police on the Sol Highway on 12 December as they were clearing a blockade. This case continues in impunity.

The same day, nine new mass-gravesites were located in the La Parota zone near Iguala by communards who are members of the Union of Peoples and Organizations from Guerrero State (UPOEG).  They referred their findings to the federal police for investigation.

In other news, the European Parliament on 23 October approved a resolution condemning the events in Iguala that calls for the European Union (EU) to restrengthen its cooperation with Mexico in terms of human rights.  The resolution demands the continuation of investigations “until the students [are found to be] safe,” lamenting the “apparent infiltration of organized crime in local police and administrative organizations.”  The resolution presented the government of Enrique Peña Nieto as a victim of organized crime, and not as a principally responsible party in the acts.  In this sense, the European Green Party and the Unified European Left/Nordic Greens decided to distance themselves from this declaration and instead released their own proposal for resolution.  Both groups support the intervention in Mexico of the International Criminal Court (ICC) located in the Hague, as well as the suspension of the bilateral Global Mexico-EU accord, security agreements, and the arms trade with Mexico.  This alternative resolution interprets the events of Ayotzinapa as a spiral of violence that originates in years of impunity and broken promises by Mexican authorities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detiene a exedil de Iguala y a su esposa (Eje Central, 24 de cotubre de 2014)

Parlamento Europeo condena desaparición de normalistas (El Universal, 23 de octubre de 2014)

Rechaza Parlamento Europeo condenar a México (El Universal, 22 de octubre de 2014)

Se divide Parlamento Europeo por desapariciones en Ayotzinapa(Proceso, 22 de octubre de 2014)
Tomó por sorpresa a diputados decisión de Aguirre de renunciar: Campos Aburto (La Jornada de Guerrero, 24 de octubre de 2014)

Hallazgo de 9 fosas más en Iguala; “había mochilas y lapiceros”: UPOEG(Aristegui Noticias, 24 de octubre de 2014)

Cobertura de marcha por Ayotzinapa: padres dan plazo de 2 días a autoridades (La Jornada, 22 de octubre de 2014)

“Nuestra luz es una forma de abrazar a quienes hoy hacen falta”: EZLN (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

Guerrero: Contradictory versions regarding findings from graves in Iguala three weeks after the forced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa – Protests are radicalized (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)

Guerrero: municipal police of Iguala fire on students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. Six have died (11 October 2014)

Guerrero: Impunity continues in the Ayotzinapa case (17 May 2013)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapa (21 December 2011)


Chiapas: OCEZ-RC installs sit-in in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

April 10, 2014

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On 31 March, some 200 members of the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) held a march and installed an indefinite sit-in in downtown San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  They demand that the state authorities respond to their series of demands, denouncing “the politics of closure to dialogue on the part of the government led by Manuel Velasco Coello.”

Said demands include among others the regularization and redistribution of 1000 hectares of land from the Venustiano Carranza municipality; the cancellation of arrest-orders; the “retirement of nocturnal patrols of the specialized forces of the Army and Navy in our communities, as well as overflights performed by airplanes and even drones as well as helicopters belonging to the security forces and the Army”; the regularization of transport concessions from MOTO-TAXI, in addition to several productive, educational, and health projects.

Mariano Díaz Ochoa, subsecretary for Governance in the highlands region, has signed a document in which he committed himself to a dialogue between an OCEZ-RC commission with governmental authorities, to take place in Tuxtla Gutiérrez on 7 April.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la OCEZ-RC al instalar su plantón (OCEZ-RC, 31 de marzo de 2014)

OCEZ instala plantón en San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas Paralelo, 31 de marzo de 2014)

Se plantan ocesistas en la plaza de la paz (Noticias.net.mx, 3 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: new public denunciation from the Candelaria El Alto community (16 January 2012)

Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza (28 September 2011)


Oaxaca: Members of the communal police of Álvaro Obregón detained

March 30, 2014

Policía Comunitaria de Álvaro Obregón. Foto (@Sipaz)Communal police of Álvaro Obregón. Photo (@Sipaz)

According to a denunciation from the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT), on 22 March 12 members of the communal police and the communal authorities of Álvaro Obregón were arrested by units of the municipal police of Juchitán. Those arrested in the Zapata ejido were transferred by Navy units and handed over to the Public Ministry of Juchitán. During the early morning of 23 March, all those arrested were released, given that, as APPIITDTT notes, “there existed no type of charge that would justify their detention.”

On this same 22 March, unknown persons set fire to part of the communal police camp in the ex-hacienda of General Heliodoro Charis in Álvaro Obregón.

The APPIITDTT has denounced Saúl Vicente Vásquez, mayor of Juchitán, as the principal instigator of the acts, a week before the first Session of the National Indigenous Congress, Isthmus of Tehuantepec Region, in Álvaro Obregón.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a compañeros detenidos de la Policía Comunitaria de Álvaro Obregón pues no existía ningún tipo de cargo (Tierra y Territorio, 23 de marzo de 2014)

Integrantes de la Asamblea Comunitaria de Álvaro Obregón fueron puestos a disposición del Ministerio Público de Juchitán (Tierra y Territorio, 22 de marzo de 2014)

Continúan ataques contra asamblea comunitaria de Álvaro Obregón, policía municipal detiene a elementos de la policía comunitaria Gral. Charis sin motivo (Tierra y Territorio, 22 de marzo de 2014)

Video: Bandidos queman barricada del Ex-general Heliodoro Charis Castro (Gubidxa Guiní, 23 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Denunciation of new attacks in Álvaro Obregón and organizational call for National Indigenous Congress in the Isthmus Region (28 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People denounces attack on wind-energy camp (26 October 2013)

Oaxaca: Death by gunfire of opponent to wind-energy projected promoted by multinational Fenosa Natural Gas (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: “The Isthmus at the Crossroads” Seminar (20 August 2013)