Chiapas: Governor announces new General Secretary of Governance

July 20, 2013

Velasco Coello y Ramírez Aguilar @ Twitter

On 3 July, the state governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, announced that Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar would be his new General Secretary of Governance. Ramírez Aguilar will replace Noé Castañón León in this charge, who had served in this role during the majority of the tenure of the previous governor, Juan Sabines Guerrero (2006-2012). Eduardo Ramírez, member of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), was the mayor of Comitán de Domínguez from 2008-2010, and during the past elections of 1 July 2012 was elected as a federal deputy of this party.

For more information (in Spanish):

La Jornada: Designa gobernador de Chiapas a Eduardo Ramírez como secretario general de gobierno (03/07/2013)

Proceso: Velasco Coello releva a secretario de gobierno sabinista (03/07/2013)

Chiapas: State police invade teachers’ assembly, leaving 200 injured

July 20, 2013


During the night of 29 June, more than a thousand police officers invaded the Extraordinary Congress of Section 7 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) which had been held in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez.  As a result of the intervention of public force, more than 200 teachers were left injured, some of them seriously, with 29 arrested, all of whom were released Sunday evening.  According to media reports, the Extraordinary Congress was to hold an election for the leadership of the union; however, during a recess, there was presented a criminal denunciation for kidnapping before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) on the part of the legal representative of the SNTE, given that members of the so-called Democratic Bloc of Section 7 prevented the exit from the building of teachers linked to the national leadership of the union.  These indicated that they were not allowed access to medical attention or food.  For its part, the Democratic Bloc noted that the recess represented a measure to buy off delegates or change locales, toward the end of achieving the election of a state secretary close to the national leadership.  Responding to the denunciation, the police intervened, using tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

The state government of Chiapas, via its General Secretary for Governance, Noé Castañón León, announced that it would hold investigations to determine culpability in the developments.  For its part, the State Council on Human Rights reported that it too would launch investigations, these into possible human-rights violations during the police operation.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a los 29 maestros detenidos el sábado en Tuxtla Gutiérrez (La Jornada, 2 de julio de 2013)

El jaripeo chiapaneco de Juan Díaz (La Jornada, 02 de julio de 2013)

Reprimen a maestros disidentes en Chiapas (La Jornada, 30 de junio de 2013)

Pugnas desatan enfrentamiento entre maestros del SNTE en Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de junio de 2013)

Chiapas: Worsening of situation in Venustiano Carranza; confrontations with public forces and various arrests

June 24, 2013

Mural en la parroquia de Venustiano Carranza @ SIPAZ

Mural in the parish of Venustiano Carranza @ SIPAZ

The situation of tension in the municipal head of Venustiano Carranza, which originates in a conflict between two campesino groups, has worsened in recent days with the entrance of different security forces, including the Mexican Army and Navy.  According to several denunciations and journalistic information, on the morning of 17 June were arrested Miguel Hidalgo Vázquez and Juan Noé Vázquez de la Torre, communards of the ejido of this community, by state police, the Mexcain Army, and the Navy.  On the afternoon of 18 June, confrontations were seen in several neighborhoods of the community between residents and the police, leaving several injured and arrested, according to media reports.

The National Front for Struggle toward Socialism (FNLS) in a 17 June denunciation indicates that the arrests which occurred on that day had been planned during a table of negiation between the state government and the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-Casa del Pueblo (OCEZ-CP).  The FNLS noted that the detention of Hidalgo Vázquez took place in the house of the commissar for the ejido, whom the security forces had been searching without success.  For its part, the OCEZ-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) reported that on 17 June Juan Sebastián Espinoza Arias was arrested in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The OCEZ-RC indicated that Espinoza Arias was part of a delegation of the OCEZ-RC which found itself in the Chiapas state capital to meet with the General Secretary of Governance, Noé Castañón León, when he was beaten by members of OCEZ-Chiapas and subsequently handed over to the police.

Fort its part, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights on 19 June released a bulletin in which it found the state government responsible for hte violent acts, indicating that these took place “precisely within the realm of a negotiation initiated by cabinet members, including the present Secretary of Governance, Noé Castañón León, who must be regarded as a perpetrator of these senseless actions.”

According to journalistic information, presently the members of OCEZ-CP have blockaded access to the municipal head and are holding a commander of the State Preventive Police hostage, toward the end of demanding a negotiation table with the state government.

For more information (in Spanish):

Proceso: Policía entra a desbloquear pueblo tomado por comuneros (18/06/2013)

La Jornada: Dos heridos y varios detenidos en riña de agentes con OCEZ (19/06/2013)

Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (pdf) (19/06/2013)

La Jornada: Mantienen integrantes de OCEZ CP bloqueos en Chiapas; piden mesa de diálogo (19/06/2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 5 are arrested for violence in the Venustiano Carranza municipality (7 June 2013)

Chiapas: Conflict erupts in Venustiano Carranza, with two dead and several injured (17 May 2013)

Chiapas: Denunciation of residents of Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza regarding the “El Desengaño” territory (25 March 2012)

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


Chiapas: New denunciation by the Roberto Barrios JBG regarding threats to the Comandante Abel community

October 12, 2012

By means of a communiqué published on 30 September, the Zapatista Good-Government Council (JBG) of Roberto Barrios, located in the northern zone of Chiapas, denounced the direct participation by Noé Castañón León, secretary of Governance, in the planning and implementation of the violence directed against the Comandante Abel community and the Zapatista support-bases in Unión Hidalgo, which has resulted in the forcible displacement of 83 indigenous persons who have for three weeks now sought refuge in other communities.

The JBG notes in its communiqué that “On 12 September at 10am, the paramilitaries entered to rob and cut down a great number of trees in the collective milpa that our comrades maintain, while others stood guard, armed with high-caliber firearms.  Upon finishing their logging, they all went to Unión Hidalgo.  The same day at 2pm, 7 cars full of officials and 3 municipal police vehicles arrived at San Patricio.  At 6pm a public security vehicle showed up to decide where to install its camp so as to fulfill the bad government’s plan to have police presence there.  On 13 September Noé Castañón, general secretary of governance, and Maximiliano Narváez Franco, subsecretary for governance, arrived in Sabanilla to meet with the invaders of Unión Hidalgo and the PRI members of San Patricio to confirm to them that the lands are theirs.  They justified this with projects of legalization, promising to provide security by making available police patrols and the presence of public security so as to care for the invaders and support them with materials to build their homes, and even to hand over property to the paramilitaries.  To fulfill the commitment they made with the invaders and delinquents during the same afternoon of 13 September, patrols of the recuperated land began.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian escalada paramilitar contra zapatistas en Chiapas, La Jornada, 1 de octubre de 2012

Tercera denuncia de la JBG Nueva Semilla que Va a Producir sobre los ataques, desalojos, amenazas, robos, intimidaciones y desplazamientos que siguen sufriendo las BAZ de las comunidades Comandante Abel y Unión Hidalgo, Enlace Zapatista, 30 de septiembre de 2012

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: report of the Mission for solidarity and documentation to Nuevo Poblado Comandante Abel (28 September 2012)

Chiapas: Attacks, forced displacements, and disappearances of Zapatistas in the Comandate Abel community (21 September 2012)

Chiapas: Roberto Barrios JBG denounces attack on Comandante Abel community (19 September 2012)

Chiapas: visit by governor to San Patricio, northern zone; challenge to official strategy by OSC (4 November 2011)

Chiapas: Update regarding the situation in San Patricio, northern zone (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on hunger strike, and Zapatistas (10 de octubre de 2011)

Chiapas: OPEZ-MLN leader is detained

April 19, 2012

On 12 April at around  7:45pm in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Caralampio Gómez Hernández, leader of the Emiliano Zapata Proletarian Organization (OPEZ-MLN), was detained following his participation in a negotiation-table with the Secretary of Governance of the Chiapas state government, as he was traveling in a vehicle together with his daughter and a granddaughter.

“The crimes of which he is accused are unknown,” reported his son, Pablo César Gómez Alfaro. He said that his father since 10 April had been participating in a sit-in in front of the palace of governance in that city, together with hundreds of other campesinos, to demand a solution to agrarian demands and a release of political prisoners.  He assured that on 13 April Noé Castañón León, secretary general for Governance, told him that his father would be released in exchange for the suspension of the “sit-in” and the demobilization of the movement, a demand that as rejected by the organizations.

Gómez Hernández had been released last November after having been held prisoner in the Amate prison for a year and four months, accused of the crime of looting and disturbance of the peace.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen en Chiapas al dirigente campesino Caralimpio Gómez, Cencos 13 de abril de 2012

Preso, líder de la OPEZ, Cuarto-Poder, 13 de abril de 2012

Detienen a líder de la OPEZ en Chiapas, La Jornada, 13 de abril de 2012

Chiapas: visit by the governor to San Patricio, northern zone; challenge to official strategy by OSC

November 4, 2011

Visit by the governor to San Patricio (@ state government)

A press-release from the Chiapas state-government that was published in different local media the following day has reported that governor Juan Sabines Guerrero visited the La Lámpara stretch of land belonging to the community of San Patricio in the Sabanilla municipality on 23 October so as to take account of “the reconciliation work that Chiapas authorities have undertaken,” given the “good results [that have been seen] thanks to the efforts of the interested.”  It should be recalled that since 10 September there have been denounced death-threats, robbery, injuries, and looting against residents of the community of San Patricio, autonomous municipality of La Dignidad (official municipality of Sabanilla) in the northern zone of Chiapas.

At the site, the governor noted that “We are here to endorse and hand over this document so as to newly give you the juridical certainty of possession of this land and these homes, given that the invading group was not only removed from these lands–taken to another municipality far from here, so that they no longer bother you, so that they no longer disturb the peace of this community–if someone else were to do so, we are ready to listen to denunciations and act in accordance with right to protect the human rights of the residents.”  Noé Castañón, secretary of governance, detailed that 19 trusteeships were handed over, including some for seven persons who are a part of the “autonomous group.”

However, approximately 60 organizations and collectives as well as hundreds of people acting personally distributed a public letter on 24 October that was directed to Felipe Calderón and Juan Sabines Guerrero.  In this they question the strategy of both levels of government regarding the management of the conflict in different communities of the state of Chiapas.  In their words: “worry and rejection that these observed tendencies as governmental policies [continue], among the most recurring ones: omission of multiple denunciations and requests for intervention made, as they know; their complicity in destroying the social fabric of communities with the polarization of conflicts; the generation of emergency food and health conditions in communities that are besieged; the political administration of justice which flagrantly violates the human rights of indigenous peoples in Chiapas.”

They stressed moreover that “the official discourse of the Chiapas state-government has been converted with regard to human rights to a public slogan that favors the the perpetuation of grave faults that hurt the population in general.  The use in media of language has not only costed millions to the state budget, which is in fact increasingly indebted, but the highest cost is that of hundreds of lives and communities that are condemned to the abandonment, marginalization, and structural injustice in which the state of Chiapas has been mired since time immemorial.”

They concluded by alerting that “today, as always, we note the fragility in which the weak conditions of ‘peace’ are arranged amidst this context of war.  Finally we warn that under this scenario the autonomous communities in resistance whose populations comprise Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) are those who are in the focus of a possible confrontation and indeed a reactivation of hostilities like those which we keep within the collective memory of our besieged Mexico.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Autoridades chiapanecas dan solución al problema de San Patricio (La Crónica de Hoy, 25 October 2011)

Acude Juan Sabines a la restitución del predio “La Lámpara” en la comunidad San Patricio(Boletín de prensa, gobierno del estado de Chiapas, 23 October 2011)

Noticia: Carta Pública a Felipe Calderón (presidente de México) y Juan Sabines Guerrero (gobernador de Chiapas) (OSC, 24 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Update regarding the situation in San Patricio, northern zone (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on hunger strike, and Zapatistas (10 de octubre de 2011)

Chiapas: harassment and risk of forced displacement in autonomous community of San Patricio in the northern zone (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: FNLS denounces harassment following return to Las Conchitas

September 22, 2011

Members of the FNLS upon suspension of their sit-in SCLC @SIPAZ

The National Front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) denounced that following its return to the community fo Las Conchitas, municipality of salta de Agua, the 5 families that were displaced in July find themselves newly subjected to harassment and intimidation on the part of armed persons, according to Marciano Gaspar González.  In its urgent action published on 24 August the FNLS denounces that “the paramilitary group continues to ambush our comrades in their lands, carrying out nocturnal rounds and firing at whichever hour as acts of intimidation, showing their power to kill our comrades.”

They added that the authorities have not moved judicially against the aggressors of the violent displacement perpetrated on 4 July, something which they see as reflecting “that the government of Juan Sabines, the secretary of government Noé Castañón, functionaries of the federal CONANP, PROFEPA, and SEMARNAT not only organize, finance, and direct the paramilitary groups in coordination with military structures but also allow them total impunity so that they can continue carrying out counter-insurgent actions against organized peoples and communities.”

They concluded that tension and uncertainty is what is lived daily since the return of their comrades who saw it as necessary to return so as to work the land and so survive, given that the state authorities were deaf to their pleas, leaving them defenseless and at the mercy of criminals and murderers.

For  more information (in Spanish):

FNLS; El gobierno reorganiza los ataques y hostigamientos a los compañeros de la organización del MRPS-FNLS, retornados hacia la Comunidad Las Conchitas, preparando una nueva masacre  (Acción Urgente, 28 August 2011)

Fin del plantón, retorno y solicitud de garantías: FNLS (Boletín de Prensa FNLS, 15 August 2011)

Exiliados vuelven a Conchitas (Cuarto Poder, 16 August 2011)

Desalojan plantón de la CNDH y de la Plaza Catedral en SCLC (El imparcial de Chiapas, 17 August 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: End of sit-in and return to Las Conchitas (FNLS) (19 August 2011)

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua (27 July 2011)

Mexico: National Day against Forgetting and Impunity by the FNLS (8 June 2011)