Chiapas: Ninth anniversary of the Viejo Velasco massacre

November 21, 2015

ViejoVelasco

Beginning at dawn on 13 November, members of the XINICH organization, which pertains to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in their proper communities began a day of prayer and fasting that will last 13 Sundays in commemoration of the nine years since the Viejo Velasco massacre. Relatives of victims and survivors of the massacre called on “all brothers and sisters from civil society to join this action so that, with your families, organization, and communities, you carry out symbolic actions to accompany us.”

Nine years after the massacre, they manifested that they have not “found justice. The government has not punished those responsible, and there has been no effective or efficient investigation of those intellectually and materially responsible for these human-rights violations.” Beyond this, they denounced that the “bad government has not sought out and thus does not know the whereabouts of our brothers Antonio Peñate López and Mariano Pérez Guzmán, who continue to be forcibly disappeared.”

It bears mentioning that on 13 November 2006, at 6am, in the community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, adjacent to the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle, a group of 40 persons from the New Palestine community accompanied by 300 units from the sectorial police invaded the community and attacked its indigenous Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol residents, leaving four dead, four others disappeared, and 20 men, 8 women, and 8 children forcibly displaced, being survivors of the assault.

For more information (in Spanish):

Noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Frayba, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (Rostros de Despojo, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

Chiapas “Civiles armados, policías, funcionarios y servidores públicos, cometieron la Masacre de Viejo Velasco en Ocosingo”, DDHH. (Radio Pozol, 13 de noviembre de 2015)

A nueve años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco, pobladores anuncian jornada de oración y ayuno (14 de noviembre de 2015)

Jornada de oración y ayuno en el noveno aniversario de la Masacre de Viejo Velasco (CGT Chiapas, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Palenque, eight years after the Viejo Velasco massacre; beginning of “Faces of looting” campaign (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

 


Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Palenque, eight years after the Viejo Velasco massacre; beginning of “Faces of looting” campaign

December 6, 2014

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Participants present names of victims, Photo@Sipaz

On 13 November there was held a pilgrimage to commemorate the victims of the Viejo Velasco massacre, Ocosingo municipality, and to demand justice amidst the impunity that prevails.  The same day in 2006, 40 civilians from the Lacandon community together with sub-communards from Nueva Palestina who were accompanied by approximately 300 armed members of the now-defunct Sectorial Police of the State attacked the community of Viejo Velasco, leaving four dead and another four disappeared.

The pilgrims demanded justice and the immediate clarification of the case, as well as compensation for damages incurred by the 36 persons displaced by the massacre.  Death-threats and harassment against the affected communities, as hailing from the agrarian offices of Ocosingo and Palenque, were detailed.  Furthermore, participants expressed their solidarity with the 43 disappeared students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa and with their relatives in their struggle for justice.

In parallel terms, seven organizations for the defense and promotion of human rights in Chiapas began a campaign called “Faces of Looting” this same day, which seeks to “make visible the ways in which indigenous peoples are violently displaced from their territories.”  Viejo Velasco is an emblematic case that the campaign will highlight during its estimated 6-month run.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo (Pozol Colectivo, 13 de noviembre, 2014)

Organizaciones exigen justicia y el esclarecimiento de la masacre de Viejo Velasco (Chiapas Paralelo, 14 de noviembre de 2014)

Campaña “Rostros del Despojo”

Inicia campaña Rostros del Despojo en Chiapas (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)

Chiapas: Viejo Velasco, a year after the unjust detention of Diego Arcos Meneses (24 November 2007)


Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre

March 25, 2011

(Viejo Velasco @chacatorex.blogspot.com)

In a joint press-release issued on 14 March, several civil organizations that work in the defense of human rights denounced serious irregularities in the judicial investigation into the death of three indigenous individuals and the forced disappearance of another four persons during the violent incursion of civilians into the community Nueva Palestina and of 300 police officers to the community Viejo Velasco, municipality of Ocosingo, on 13 November 2006. These organizations accuse the government of Chiapas of “committing grave irregularities, in addition to reiterating its lack of interest in clarifying the acts, doing justice, putting an end to impunity, and present the whereabouts of the four persons disappeared during the Viejo Velasco massacre.”

The organizations noted that “This massacre occurred within a context of intense struggle and resistance that attempted to assert the locals’ rights to territory and the management of the natural resources located in the heart of the Lacandon Jungle, as set forth in accounts of the rights of indigenous peoples. During the time of the massacre there was experienced a situation of social tension and juridical uncertainty with regard to the land-tenancy of more than forty communities, as promised by the State, in an area rich in biodiversity, water, forest-cover, and with a strong scenic-touristic attractiveness, as found within the Montes Azul Biosphere Reserve.”

The organizations reported that the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF)—a world-renown group—analyzed the human remains made available by the judicial authority of Chiapas, finding that these were different than those discovered in the place in question. The group of forensic investigators affirmed moreover that “Grave deficiencies were found during the exhumation of the remains,” which points up “the negligence of the public ministry with regard to the process for exhumation.” According to the forensic report, “the biological and non-biological evidence, together with the documentation of such, was carried out in a precarious and incomplete fashion.”

Human-rights organizations demanded the recovery of the remains discovered by the committees who have followed the case; these were promised by the Public Ministry in July 2007 and were presumably hidden by authorities. Similarly, these organizations demand that the location of the remains be investigated and clarified, that the personnel who intervened to manipulate these be investigated, and that the officials who “arbitrarily replaced the remains” be sanctioned, together with “those who gave the orders to so do.”

In light of the denounced, the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office announced that the case would be re-opened, noting that “it will be the Special Prosecutorial Office for the Investigation of the Crime of Homicide that will handle the penal investigation, while for its part the Special Prosecutorial Office for Attention to Crimes Related to Public Servants will initiate an exhaustive investigation toward the end of observing the behavior of all those public servants and authorities who ordered and executed the investigations previously carried out.” In its communiqué, the Office stressed that “in November 2006, the investigations were realized by the now-extinct Special Prosecutorial Office of State, with Mariano Francisco Herr<!–án Salvatti in charge, who has been incarcerated since January 2009 and who now faces new processes against his person.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Obstaculizan investigación en masacre de Viejo Velasco: ONG(InfoChiapas, 15 March)

Boletín de prensa conjunto de Organizaciones civiles (14 March)

Boletín de prensa de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) (17 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)

Chiapas: Viejo Velasco, a year after the unjust detention of Diego Arcos Meneses (24 November 2007)