Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019


On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)

Oaxaca: Another 2 October with 52 “arbitrary” arrests

October 10, 2015

Foto @ Proyecto AmbulantePhoto @ Proyecto Ambulante

Following the march on 2 October in Oaxaca de Juárez to commemorate the massacre of students in Tlatelolco in 1968, 52 individuals were arrested, including 10 women and minors.

The Network of Female Activists and Human-Rights Defenders from Oaxaca demanded the release of the human-rights defenders Rocío Celeste Martínez Gregorio and Fidel Desiderio Martínez, who were detained “illegally and arbitrarily” as they were en route to a work meeting that was to take place at the offices of the Defense Institute for Human Rights of the Oaxacan People (DDHPO). Of the arrested persons, the Network of Female Activists declared, in their communique, that “only four persons are awaiting the resolution of their juridical situation: the defender Rocío Celeste Martínez Gregorio, his comrade Fidel Desiderio Martínez, Irving Pérez Monjaraz, and Julio Eder Luria Vásquez; [they have clearly been victims] of efforts to criminalize the social movement, accused as they are of causing damage when there is no evidence of this.” According to local media, subsequently it became known that these four had been transferred to different jails before the legal processes had been completed, and even in spite of all lack of evidence against them.

It bears mentioning that Rocío Celeste and Fidel graduated recently from the Institute for Sociological Investigations at the Autonomous Autónoma Benito Juárez University of Oaxaca (UABJO), and both “have played important roles in the student movement in Oaxaca and have carried out actions in solidarity with victims of human-rights violations and political prisoners,” as the Network of Female Activists noted. In addition, they have worked to advance communal defense and have worked together with the New Women’s Collective, which promotes the rights of the women and communal participation.

For more information (in Spanish):

Petición de Change.org: Libertad a Defensores de Derechos Humanos detenidos el 02 de Octubre en Oaxaca

México: Trasladan a penales centrales a 4 de las personas detenidas en Oaxaca el pasado 2 de octubre (Kaos en la Red, )

Oaxaca: 40 desaparecidos, detenidos en la marcha del 2 de octubre (Centro de Medios Libres, 3 de octubre de 2015)

Exige red de mujeres activistas libertad a defensores de derechos humanos detenidos en Oaxaca (Revolución TRESPUNTOCERO, 5 de octubre de 2015)

Defensoras de DH exigen inmediata liberación de defensora de DH Rocío Celeste Martínez Gregorio y Fidel Desiderio Martínez (Consorcio Oaxaca, 4 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 75 arrests following march on 2 October (11 October 2014)

National: More confrontations and repression against social movement, 2 October (25 October 2013)

Oaxaca: New death-threats against Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz from UCIDEBACC

September 13, 2015


@Network of Activist Women and Human-Rights Defenders of Oaxaca

On 26 August, Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz, human-rights defender and spokesperson for the Civic Democratic Union of Neighborhoods and Communities (UCIDEBACC), an organization located in Pinotepa Nacional, received a death-threat: “REFLECT: YOU WILL BE A RED NOTE. IT WOULD BE BETTER IF YOU SHUT UP. YOU KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR THEM.” On 24 August, the Twitter account of InfoMED Agency published comments seeking to delegitimize the work of the defender and the UCIDEBACC. Beyond this, on 3 September, Eva Lucero was followed in Oaxaca City by someone who had previously defamed and intimidated her.

It should be mentioned that Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz had received death-threats beginning in 2013 and suffered an assassination attempt in Pinotepa Nacional, in addition to numerous attacks on members of her family.

For more information (in Spanish):

ACCIÓN URGENTE: Red de Defensoras de DH denuncia amenazas de muerte y hostigamiento contra defensora de DH Lucero Rivero (Consorcio Oaxaca, 7 de septiembre de 2015)

México: Nuevas amenazas de muerte contra la Sra. Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz (Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura, 9 de septiembre de 2015)

México: Nuevas amenazas de muerte contra Eva Lucero Rivero Ortiz (Ciudadanía Express, 9 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Harassment and death-threats directed against members of the Democratic Civic Union of Neighborhoods Colonies and Communities (UCIDEBACC) (1 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Communique by Consorcio in light of multiple attacks by the State (2 July 2012)

Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission

June 29, 2015

(@ADN Sureste)

(@ADN Sureste)

On the ninth anniversary of the attempt to displace the teachers’ sit-in at the zócalo in Oaxaca de Juárez in 2006, on 14 June there was held a public session at the Oaxaca Truth Commission (CVO). 14 witnesses presented testimony, while members of the CVO, including its president Alejandro Solalinde, as well as the journalist Carmen Aristegui and the Mexican representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Javier Hernández Valencia, were also present.

The CVO is an autonomous organization that seeks to clarify the repressive historical events that took place in Oaxaca between 14 June 2006 and 30 May 2007, the time period covering the displacement of the teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) from the sit-in they had undertaken to demand better working and educational conditions. This police operation was ordered by the then governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and gave rise to the creation of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a social movement that opposed the PRI-led government.

According to an advance copy of the CVO’s report, there were at least 500 cases of torture and 26 executions of social activists and those connected to the struggle. The public session gave voice to the testimony of women who lost their husbands, families that continue to seek out their disappeared, and political prisoners. According to Solalinde, the gravity of the acts is reflected well in the various testimonies that were presented, even if many other victims did not share their experiences out of fear. The public audience, which Javier Hernández Valencia understood as “a first step toward justice,” affirmed words such as those of Carmen Aristegui: “What should happen in the near future must incorporate the truth and memory, but above all justice, as Oaxacan society has sought out now for nearly a decade.” The CVO will put together a final report, to be presented before the judiciary in March 2016. The aim is to pressure authorities to put an end to the impunity of the acts, which represent crimes against humanity, in the view of Solalinde and his lawyer and assessor, Cuauhtémoc Ruiz.

On the same day of the public audience, a march organized by the CNTE took place, with the participation of 10,000 people. Protestors sought to commemorate the attempted displacement of 2006 and repeated their call for justice, the cancellation of articles 3 and 73 of the Constitution, and the cancellation of the educational reforms. They also protested in favor of boycotting the assessment exams for teachers that have been announced by the Secretary for Public Education (SEP).

For more information (in Spanish):

Hubo 500 casos de tortura y 26 ejecuciones en Oaxaca: Comisión de la Verdad (La Jornada, 12 de junio de 2015)

Ciudadanos de Oaxaca exigen justicia por el desalojo policial de 2006(CNN México, 14 de junio de 2015)

Confirman 26 ejecuciones y 500 torturados durante movimiento magisterial en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 15 de junio de 2015)

Sesión Pública de Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca, ejercicio inédito e importante: Aristegui (Educa, 15 de junio de 2015)

CNTE rememoró intento de desalojo del zócalo en el 2006 (e-Consulta, 14 de junio de 2015)

Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca (16 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Commemoration of seventh annivesary of APPO (24 June 2013)

Oaxaca: Sixth anniversary of the beginning of the 2006 social conflict (20 June 2012)

Oaxaca: Presumed killer of Brad Will is detained (5 June 2012)

Oaxaca: Representative of Organization of Indigenous Zapotec Peoples (OPIZ) suffers assassination attempt

October 26, 2013

Juan Sosa Maldonado. Foto @Foro Político

Juan Sosa Maldonado. Photo @Foro Político

During the morning of 16 October in Oaxaca de Juárez, Juan Sosa Maldonado, representative of the Organization of Indigenous Zapotec Peoples (OPIZ), suffered an assassination attempt which left him uninjured.

The attempt took place as he was traveling with his family in a car, when a motorcyclist opened fired on the automobile, with none of the three gunshots hitting any of the occupants of the moving vehicle.

Juan Sosa Maldonado, a former political prisoner, was detained and tortured by the Judicial State Police in 1998, accused of having pertaining to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR).  The activist has been acting to defend prisoners from the Loxicha region who have been accused of pertaining to the EPR and have spent 17 years imprisoned for that reason.  He has moreover denounced the forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions which have taken place in Oaxaca.  It is for these reasons that Sosa Maldonado motivated this latest attack on his person and that of his family.

The Defense Agency for the Human Rights of the People of the Oaxaca has released precautionary measures for the protection of the OPIZ representative and his family.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sufre atentado dirigente de organización zapoteca en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 16 de octubre)

Atentan contra activista indígena en Oaxaca (Proceso, 16 de octubre)

Sufre atentado Juan Sosa Maldonado (Noticias Oaxaca, 17 de octubre de 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Marches against violence against women and femicide

October 26, 2013

Marcha en Oaxaca. Foto @Subversiones

March in Oaxaca. Photo @Subversiones

Marches against violence against women and femicide took place during the weekend of 12-13 October in Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca state, and in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

The march in San Cristóbal, included within a “Campaign against violence against women and femicide in Chiapas,” had as its objective to show the relationship which exists between the violence exercised against women and the prevailing patriarchal-capitalist system, which has in fact been strengthened by the neoliberal policies imposed by the federal government in the country.

In a communique released for the occasion, there is indicated that the structural reforms promoted by the government worsen poverty for the majority of families, women, and men of the country.  The economic crisis modifies the patriarchal model of the man as provider and chief of the family, thus implying a crisis in the traditional gender and power relations which leads to an increase in violence on the part of men against women as a means of maintaining traditional relations of power and subordination.  The synergization of the structural factors which incentivize violence, the construction of new forms of personal relations, and the demand on the State to govern for all the people (rather than a small group of large firms) and to guarantee the right to life and the rights of women are all important means by which to eradicate violence against women and femicide, notes the communique.

In Oaxaca dozens of women marched through the center of the city, this being the main action carried out by the collective “Radical Antipatriarchal Action.”

“We have decided to organize ourselves, being women of different sectors, ages, and places of origin, but we all share this common lack of conformity, anger, and rage toward the violence we experience,” noted members of the women’s collective.

“Radical Antipatriarchal Action” seeks to demonstrate all types of violence which are exercised against women, whether they be physical, psychological, symbolic, economic, structural, or what have you, and they propose self-defense and autonomy as means of changing the situation of subjugation, oppression, and violence which they suffer: “Solely through ourselves will we be able to create change, only through ourselves will we exit and raise our voices to be heard […].  In light of this all, we say ‘basta,’ we rebel, and we decide to organize ourselves outside of institutions like political parties, NGOs, and governmental agencies, given that these in their majority reproduce the same logic of the patriarchal system which oppresses us.  We believe in our own capacity to act collectively.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado 12 de Octubre: Campaña contra la violencia hacia las mujeres y el feminicidio en Chiapas (Observatorio Frontera Sur de México, 12 de octubre de 2013)

Mujeres conforman frente “anti-patriarcal” contra violencia feminicida en Oaxaca (NSS Oaxaca, 13 de octubre de 2013)

Oaxaca: “¡No somos pobres mujeres, sino mujeres fuertes, que no se conforman, no callan y luchan!” (Subversiones, octubre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Careful, patriarchy kills! Presentation of the “Campaign against violence against women and femicide in Chiapas” (3 October 2013)

Chiapas: Women declare alert over gender violence (20 July 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in feminicide and State Accord for Gender Equality (22 April 2013)

Chiapas: Colem Group of Women take action against feminicide (19 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Events and marches in observance of International Women’s Day

March 20, 2013


On 8 March in Oaxaca state, there were had several marches and events to observe International Women’s Day.  The state of Oaxaca is one of the states with the highest increase in number of feminicides.  During the course of the year 2013, the Institute of Oaxacan Women has reported 11 homicides against women.

The march that occurred in Oaxaca de Juárez was carried out by more than 1500 persons, including teachers from Section 22 of the National Educational Workers’ Union (SNTE) and members of social organizations.

In San Pedro Amuzgos, more than 200 women organized to march through the principal streets of the community, demanding respect for their rights and a halt to violence against women.  For its part, the Committee of Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights Gobixha (Código DH) presented the campaign “Pain is never love” as part of its activities to prevent violence against women in the region, given that it maintains an office in San Pedro Amuzgos.

It should be mentioned that in 2012 the Oaxacan state Congress approved the reforms to the Penal Code which classify the crime of feminicide, sanctioning it with 40 to 60 years imprisonment.  However, this law has not been sufficient to halt violence against women, given that every 4 days there is registered a feminicide in Oaxaca.  Over the course of the administration of Gabino Cué Monteagudo so far, there have been observed 176 feminicides, as denounced by the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI).

For more information (in Spanish):

176 Feminicidios en el gobierno de Gabino Cué: Ucizoni (Frontera Sur, 5 de marzo de 2013)ç

Oaxaca: 11 femenicidios; crece el odio hacia mujeres (Tiempo en Línea, 7 de marzo de 2013)

Desfilan mujeres en San Pedro Amuzgos exigiendo el respeto de sus derechos (CodigoDH, 9 de marzo de 2013)

Obligan a desnudarse a mujeres y niños en cárcel de Oaxaca(Excelcior, 10 de marzo de 2013)

Marchan S-22 y organizaciones sociales hacia el Zócalo de Oaxaca, piden respetar derechos de las mujeres (ADN Sureste, 8 de marzo de 2013