Oaxaca: More harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

March 22, 2015

Juchitán de Zaragoza, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Juchitán de Zaragoza, @ SIPAZ archive

Mariano López Gómez, member of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), Héctor and Gloria Sánchez López, directors of civil and political organizations from Juchitán, and David Henestrosa, a columnist covering the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have denounced that they have suffered harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation, which began on 3 March in Juchitán de Zaragoza.  They claimed that they were booed and insulted by people in attendance, but they indicated in particular Eduardo Centeno, the legal representative of the Southern Wind-Energy firm (previously, Mareña Renewables Capital), such that they will submit a penal denunciation holding the wind-energy firm responsible for whatever could happen to them and their families.  Mariano López added that the CTM construction union is bringing “yes-men” to the forum who “obey the interests of the PRI, some PRI property-owners, and other abusers.  They are not taking into account the women’s groups, artisans, or fisher-people.”

The consultation process for the installation of the wind-energy park has been gravely challenged since its start in November 2014.  The Assembly of Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), in a letter written to the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, affirmed that it does not oppose wind-energy, “but its use should be based in the form and means of life of the indigenous peoples and communities, promoting communal control,” as has been ignored byt he government and the firms that have installed 21 wind-energy parks by means of “injustice, abuse, and the illegal occupation of our communal lands.”

Beyond this, the organizations Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the Gobixha A.C. Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) documented in a second report from the Observation Mission the “worrying procedural vices” related to the observance of the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as the rights to participation and information on the part of indigenous peoples.  They detected more than 20 security incidents, including threatening phone-calls and text messages, vigilance, and acts of intimidation in homes, verbal aggressions, and threatening actions taken by armed persons.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian asistentes a consulta eólica hostigamiento de empresa eólica Del Sur (Página 3, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Foro de consulta indígena en Juchitán con tintes violentos (Romo Noticias, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Vicios procesales y violaciones a derechos humanos caracterizan consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Prodesc, 23 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepec Isthmus challenged on several fronts (16 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Oaxaca: “Justice in Mexico is slow and selective, and it leaves victims without protection”: Euro-deputies on the Copala case

March 10, 2015

betycarino

Photo: Cuartoscuro/Archive

In mid-February, a committee of female deputies from the European Parliament who participate in the Mixed Parliamentary Commission (CPM) Mexico-European Union lamented that in Mexico justice is slow, selective, and dismissive of protection for the families of victims, after finishing a meeting with Oaxacan officials.  During their seventh visit to Mexico, they came to assess progress in the investigation of the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish citizenship, on 27 April 2010, as they were participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan toward San Juan Copala.  One member of the committee held that it is incredible that, five years after the murders, the Mexican authorities had only made two arrests, and that the 11 arrest-orders against the presumed killers who serve in public office go unobserved.  “The advance in the process has been incredibly slow.  As a European I can really say that this is a simple case that could have been resolved very rapidly, because from the start it has been clear who those responsible have been, but now the lawyers must seek out the suspects as well as possible witnesses.  That is very strange,” she said.

Beyond this, the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD) denounced that two of the principal witnesses in the case are at risk because they have been threatened by members of Unity for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), thus leading them to request political asylum in Finland or another European country.  The Euro-deputies said it would be “disastrous” for the Mexican government if the two primary witnesses in the case find it necessary to flee the country.  “Until November 2014 there was a clear commitment to protect the witnesses with concrete measures, but for some reason it now seems that there is no agreement about who will do it now.  There is a sort of back-and-forth among the federal and state authorities.  It is unacceptable that the victims suffer, and that impunity prevail,” stressed the deputies.

Another of the representatives affirmed that “the case of Jyri and Bety is a possible opening to defy impunity.  It is an emblematic case that exemplifies how a relatively straightforward case can be converted into a process full of injustice.”  She added that, “If this case has been so slow, despite all the public attention it has received, we ask how it is for those victims whose cases go unheard.”  The legislators have announced that they will continue to return to Mexico until the Cariño and Jaakkola case is resolved.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a dos funcionarios de Oaxaca por el homicidio de los activistas Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Animal Político, 2 de marzo de 2015)

La justicia en México es lenta y selectiva, y no busca proteger a las víctimas: Eurodiputadas (Sin embargo, 23 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas piden proteger a testigos del caso Bety Cariño (CIMAC Noticias, 18 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas exigen avance en caso Jaakkola (La Jornada, 22 de febrero de 2015)

¿Cómo se ve México desde el extranjero? Corrupto y con dolor, dicen periodistas en EU (Sin embargo, 21 de febrero de 2015)

Testigos del crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola pedirán asilo político en Finlandia (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (1 March 2015)

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (8 February 2015)

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)


Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

March 1, 2015

Conferencia de prensa ante amenazas (@CENCOS)

Press-conference regarding threats (@CENCOS)

In a press-conference, members of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD) denounced the threats received by two female witnesses in the case of the murders of the activists Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish) in San Juan Copalá, a Triqui region of Oaxaca, in 2010.  Karla Michel Salas of ANAD explained that after the arrest of Elías Cruz Merino, “on 25 January the UBISOR leader, Antonio Cruz García, the father of Elías, who is also a municipal authority in Juxtlahuaca, arrived with a truck and armed men to the homes of the witnesses and he told them that they were coming to take them to Oaxaca City so that they would renounce their accusations against Elías, who until 31 December had acted as the Minister of Education for the municipality.”  The women resisted “in light of the risk of being forcibly disappeared.”  Michel Salas added that “the federal and state authorities know that there is great risk.  The risk is so great, in fact, that during the latest audiences that have been carried out, the judge has been strongly protected by more than 30 fully armed investigative police.”

Amidst the lack of protection and effective responses on the part of the authorities, the ANAD reported that it had decided to protect them itself with its own resources in a safety-house and request that Finland grant them asylum for humanitarian reasons.

Omar Esparza, the widower of Bety Cariño, indicated that the father of Elías Cruz Merino returned thereafter to threaten the entire community, that if “these women testified, he would do something to them with his own hands.”  The ANAD lawyers in the end denounced the intimidation and harassment of the judge and prosecutor who are elaborating the case against the UBISORT group, in addition to indirect threats against ANAD and relatives of Bety and Jyri.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acoso contra testigos del homicidio de un defensor y una defensora de los derechos humanos (Acción Urgente, Amnistía Internacional, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Denuncian amenazas de paramilitares a testigos del asesinato de activistas (La Jornada, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Testigos del crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola pedirán asilo político en Finlandia (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2015)

En riesgo, mujeres testigos del caso Bety Cariño (CIMAC Noticias, 11 de febrero de 2015)

Denuncian amenazas a testigos del caso de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola(CENCOS, 11 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (8 February 2015)

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)


Oaxaca: Activist Bettina Cruz is exonerated from federal charges

March 1, 2015

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press-conference, civil organizations reported that Bettina Cruz Velázquez, a human-rights defender who works with organizational processes opposed to the wind-energy megaprojects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus of Oaxaca, was exonerated of the charges that she had faced after a complaint submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

In 2012, she was arrested for having participated in a protest in front of a CFE installation, this being the institution which accused her of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.  The charges were based on her supposed blockading of the entrance and exit to a group of CFE workers during a protest in front of one of the firm’s buildings.

While celebrating the resolution of this case, Santiago Aguirre, subdirector of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, emphasized that this is an emblematic case of harassment that many other defenders suffer from in Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Exoneran de cargos penales a la activista Bettina Cruz (La Jornada, 13 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven a defensora de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (Milenio, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven de dos cargos a la activista Bettina Cruz (Ciudadanía Express, 12 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz (26 de septiembre de 2014)

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

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (7 March 2012)


Oaxaca: in assembly, peoples of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus denounce threats from PEMEX

March 1, 2015

(@romanoticias)

(@romanoticias)

On 8 February, representatives from 25 communities associated with the communities of San Juan Guichicovi, Asunción Ixtaltpec, Matías Romero, Santa María Petapa, and El Barrio de la Soledad met in an assembly with members of the Union of Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI).   They jointly denounced intimidation and threats made by PEMEX workers who had been preparing the land for the construction of the natural gas pipeline spanning Jáltipan, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.   They warned that they would prevent workers from the state firm and their subcontracotrs from entering their lands and ejidos.

It should be noted that this new pipeline will occupy 315 kilometers of land within these communities in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Those affected have denounced that the state firm has entered their lands without their permission to carry out topographical surveys.  To date there exist more than 500 who have displaced by works and disasters in these municipalities, and they indicate that PEMEX has “acted very irresponsibly in the face of oil spills, like the one that occurred on 31 December.  The victims still have not been compensated.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Pemex reprime y despoja a a comunidades istmeñas (Comunicado de prensa de UCIZONI, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Piden resultados creíbles de estudio sobre incendio en pozo de Tabasco(La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Pueblos de la zona norte del Istmo, denuncian intimidación de Pemex(Página3, 10 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Violent displacement of UCIZONI members for blockade of refinery in Salina Cruz (8 February 2015)


Oaxaca: organizations submit to Congress a legislative agenda to support gender equity

February 10, 2015

Manifestación contra los feminicidios en Oaxaca (@SIPAZ archivos)

Protest against femicide in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ archivos)

On 4 February, members of organizations that work in favor of the human rights of women, such as Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, submitted to the state congress a legislative agenda that would permit the development of gender equity.  This agenda consists of a package of initiatives that would modify the penal and civil codes and have impacts on the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence.  It would allow the prevention of violence against women, and it reaffirms the recommendations of the Commitee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Among the proposals is stressed the call to document obstetric and political violence, within the mandate of the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence.  The question of arrest-orders is also advanced in the agenda.  With regard to the penal code, the proposal is to broaden the category of domestic violence and to increase punishment for offending males.  Another component is to sanction those who refuse to provide child support.

“This congress has a very clear debt to women, as seen in its legislative exercise.  We will be vigilant and announce that we will accompany the discussion that will revolve around these initiatives that promote the well-being and security of women in Oaxaca,” noted Consorcio.

For more information (in English):

Presentan Agenda Legislativa para la equidad de género en Oaxaca(Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la equidad Oaxaca, 4 de febrero de 2015)

Iniciativas en pro de la mujer, en la ‘congeladora’ del Congreso: IMO(NoticiasNet, 4 de febrero de 2015)

Confían que Congreso responda a demandas de justicia de las mujeres(NoticiasNet, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women (8 December 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Commemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

Oaxaca: March of relatives of victims of feminicide and members of human rights organizations for women (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: More feminicides under Gabino Cué than in the final years of Ulises Ruiz (24 January 2013)


Chiapas/National: Bishops of southern Mexico pronounce themselves on the “drama of migration”

February 8, 2015

movilidad-humana-head-2

At the end of January, the Episcopalian Pastoral Commission for Human Mobility, part of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopals (CEM), held a three-day meeting in Tapachula with the participation of nine bishops working in the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Campeche, and Veracruz. At the end of the meeting, in the document entitled “No to Indifference before the Drama of Migration,” the bishops pronounced themselves, declaring that “the Church is not indifferent to this drama.  The constant calls from the Pope and the bishops in light of this reality are a voice for the conscience of Christians and those who should offer efficient responses to society before this situation.  This is a voice that is lamentably not heard, above all by those who with their criminal practices make each day that passes more painful and more insecure for so many of our Central America brothers.”

Furthermore, they emphasized that “to the authorities we want to remind them to address the question of migration with more gravity in all aspects: above all, working decisively to promote dignified sources of work, the only way forward to eradicate poverty, which is a fundamental factor in this human drama.  It is urgent moreover to find and guarantee physical and legal security for those who transit through our territory.  Hospitality and the human values of Mexicans cannot be allowed to continue deteriorating due to external political interests or pressures.  The policy in this country should be defined by the values and principles of solidarity and respect for human life and dignity, as enshrined in our Constitution.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del CEM No a la indiferencia ante el drama de la migración (30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos a México y EU abrir las fronteras (Milenio, 30 de enero de 2015)

Obispos repudian plan Frontera Sur (Proceso, 30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos mayor atención y seriedad al tema de migración (Chiapas Paralelo, 31 de enero de 2015)

Infructuoso, el Plan Frontera Sur: obispos (La Jornada, 31 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)


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