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/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour communities of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

June 29, 2015

Delegación de Ayotzinapa en Palenque, Chiapas @OmarEl44

Ayotzinapa delegation in Palenque, Chiapas @OmarEl44

On June 16, a caravan of relatives and comrades of the disappeared and murdered students from Ayotzinapa arrived to Chiapas to meet with indigenous communities organized within the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle. Doña Bertha Nava and Don Tomás Ramírez, the parents of Julio César Ramírez Nava, who was murdered on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, Doña Cristina Bautista Salvador, mother of Benjamín Ascencio Bautista (disappeared), and Omar García, a student from the Rural Normal School, comprised the caravan. The caravan began its first day in the community of San Francisco, municipality of Teopisca, with the participation of Semilla Digna, a collective from the Chiapas highlands, the Network in Defense of Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas, and the Las Abejas Civil Society. Omar García noted that “Ayotzinapa has united many of us, and if we are not all against the system, we still work together, because we do not count ourselves by number, but rather by strength of relationships that are weaved in this struggle.Regarding the pain of Acteal, he said, what you have suffered, we too have suffered. Now we must confront that pain, together, with you.”

On June 17, the caravan continued onto San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, with the presence and participation of members organized in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, representatives of communities that make up the People United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) and the ejido of Tila. In Cumbre Nachoj, the headquarters of the ejido where the meeting took place, Doña Berta expressed that “in Tixtla Guerrero, we thought it was just us, but all of us have been beaten down by the government in one way or another.” The conclusion of the caravan took place in Palenque with the organization XINICH that is comprised of indigenous communities of the northern Lacandon jungle, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, the Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone, human-rights defenders, and the civil society in solidarity, demanding justice for Ayotzinapa and also for the case of the massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Ocosingo municipality that continues in impunity and took place in 2006.

For more information (in Spanish):

Que no nos pisoteen, que no somos gusanos, somos seres humanos y estamos en pie de lucha”, madres de Ayotzinapa, en Palenque Chiapas.(Radio Pozol, 20 de junio de 2015)

#Ayotzinapa visita CNI Chiapas: San Francisco (Koman ilel, 19 de junio de 2015)

Encuentro entre familiares de los normalistas de Ayotzinapa y comunidades del CNI en Chiapas – San Sebastián Bachajón (Radio Zapatista, 17 de junio de 2015)

#Ayotzinapa visita a las comunidades del CNI en Chiapas: Día 1, San Francisco (Koman Ilel, 16 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)


Chiapas: Ocosingo Public Ministry threatens human-rights defender

May 14, 2015


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In a press-release published on 23 April, the Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada Center for Human Rights denounced the threats made by the prosecutor from the Public Ministry, Rodolfo Manuel Gómez Gutiérrez, against the human-rights worker Manuel Hernández Aguilar, originally from Betania, Ocosingo municipality.

In a document, the Center reported that on 6 April, communities from the Betania region agreed to arrest someone who had been indicated by several witnesses of the crime of stealing cattle.  Since then, efforts have been made to open a dialogue toward an agreement that would compensate for the damages incurred and be established as a precedent with which to avert future problems.

The human-rights center indicated that, despite the intervention of the Governance Delegation, based in Ocosingo, the Public Ministry prosecutor denied any possibility of a communal arrangement, and he made available several different pronouncements threatening the authorities of the Betania ejido with the possibility of opening criminal investigations into the charge of kidnapping.  The Center added that the “Betania region, which includes 15 communities, is organized in a traditional way, whereby the indigenous seek to find solutions together to the conflicts which arise in the area.  These people have the internal rules and agreements that have been made in assembly to resolve these issues.”

The Center has denounced the threats made by Gómez Gutiérrez, holding him responsible for the peril in which he has placed the defenders and authorities who might intervene in this communal mediation process.  It has called on the Chiapas state government, particularly the State Attorney General’s Office, to instruct its workers to respect the communal agreements of the Betania region, Ocosingo muncipality, as based in their indigenous rights and culture.  It reiterated its willingness to enter a dialogue, requesting the immediate intervention of the corresponding authorities in finding a favorable solution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro de la Nada (23 de abril de 2015)


Chiapas: Pilgrimages and marches against violence against women, and other demands

December 15, 2014

Peregrinación de Pueblo Creyente en San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

Pilgrimage of the Believing People in San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

On 25 November, in observance of the International Day against Violence and Exploitation of Women, thousands of Catholics pertaining to the Believing People from the San Cristóbal diocese engaged in simultaneous pilgrimages in 12 municipalities of Chiapas to demonstrate their opposition to the planned highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque; to demand justice for the disappeared of Ayotzinapa; to oppose violence against women, alcoholism, energy reform, and corruption, among other issues.  Approximately 3500 engaged in the action in San Cristóbal, with 7000 in Ocosingo, 10,000 in Chilón, 1000 in Oxchuc, and 800 in Tenejapa.  Participants indicated that they engaged in the pilgrimage “in a peaceful manner, requesting respect for our constitutional right to protest, be heard, and have our complaints addressed by municipal, state, and federal authorities” and to “express solidarity with the more than 100,000 victims of organized crime and especially the families of the murdered youth and the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, in Iguala, Guerrero, as well as with the victims of Acteal who, nearly 20 years since the massacre, still plead for justice from the government, thus strengthening the impunity that has led 73 of the 75 imprisoned for this crime against humanity to be released.”

Marcha en San Cristóbal de Las Casas @ SIPAZ

Beyond this, after the end of the “Forum for Women, Peoples, and Organizations in Defense of the Land and Territory” that was held from 23-24 November, close to 250 women and men marched on 25 November in San Cristóbal, given that they see “with great alarm that big capital is at war with all the peoples of the world because it wants to plunder our lands to make way for investments for mining firms, airports, hotels, highways, seaports, transgenic seeds, monocultures, dams, etc.”  They added in the communique that “another strategy has been to generate conflicts among the people to divide the struggle and so control land.  But the most dangerous thing is to allow the drug-traffickers free reign to convert out land into a crossfire zone, leaving a hundred thousand dead and disappeared.  For this reason we affirm that the firms, the bad government, and the drug-traffickers all seek the same thing: To gain control of our communities, our ancestral resources, our bodies, our lives, and even our future.”

Beyond this, some 500 persons from the Light and Power of the Highlands Region organization, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, marched with banners listing various historical massacres in Mexico.  As one of the banners read, “in the future, the next massacre could involve you or your children.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alto a las distintas formas de corrupción del gobierno y violencia al pueblo Queremos Justicia y Paz (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

Comunicado del Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas (25 de noviembre de 2014)

Marchan en Chiapas contra autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque (La Jornada, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

Miles marchan en San Cristobal contra los megaproyectos y violencia contra las mujeres (Espoir Chiapas, 25 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (June 13, 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People holds pilgrimage in Simojovel to denounce the increase in violence in the municipality (26 October 2013)


National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution

December 7, 2014

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March in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Photo @SIPAZ

On 20 November, in observance of the Day for Global Action for Ayotzinapa, protests were held in solidarity with the relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzianapa in many cities throughout the world.  From three points in Mexico City, thousands of persons marched, accompanying caravans of students and relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa to arrive at the rally in the Zócalo of the capital.  After the rally, when the mobilization that had been peaceful to that point ended, a group of youth launched rockets and attempted to break down the principal entrance of the National Palace.  Riot police intervened against them, as against the rest of the protestors who had not participated in this intensified phase.  People were injured and arrested, but the authorities have not released any official data.  Meanwhile, on social networks photographs emerged demonstrating presumed infiltrators in the protests, who were placed there supposedly to destabilize the protests.

The parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa expressed, before hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Mexico City’s Zócalo, that “this is not just about Guerrero: all throughout Mexico there are secret graves full of persons who have been executed outside the law and forcibly disappeared.”  This was their conclusion following the tour they carried out in several states of the country during the previous week, including the north and south of the country.  At the act at the Zócalo, one of the organizers reported that in more than 185 cities of the world, people had come out to the streets to demand the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.

In Chiapas, thousands of students, teachers, campesinos, and citizens in general marched in a dozen municipalities to demand the presentation of the students who were disappeared on 26 September.  At least 4000 marched peacefully in the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, a protest was organized that counted with the participation of a thousand people.  After a group of presumed infiltrators burned down shops after looted them, a strong police presence was deployed, leading to the arrest of several protestors.  Regardless, the police had been nowhere to be seen until 2pm; the morning of the protest progressed without any visible police presence.  The protestors distanced themselves from the counter-violence that was exhibited at the beginning of the march, when some set an Oxxo and part of a Soriana store on fire.  They accused the government of sending agents provocateurs.  Later, authorities announced the arrest of 13 “anarchists.”  Also in Comitán, Venustiano Carranza, Ocosingo, Tapachula, as elsewhere, protests were held.  Dissidents shared similar slogans, including, “You took them alive; alive we want them back,” and “Zapata lives; the struggle continues!”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Les decía ‘no me peguen, ya nos vamos’”; múltiples agresiones policiacas en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Marcha pacífica realizan en la capital chiapaneca (Diario de Chiapas, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Videos: Histórica marcha por Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Culmina la Jornada de Acción Global por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

La refriega en el Zócalo después de una marcha pacífica (Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Identifican en redes a encapuchados, antes de la marcha en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Fosas por todo el país: padres de los 43 normalistas (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Multitudinarias movilizaciones de solidaridad en ciudades del mundo (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

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

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


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: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol

September 2, 2014

índiceIn a new Urgent Action published on 15 August, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the persistence of attacks against support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in communities of Ocosingo, as prosecuted by members of the Regional Organization of Coffee-Cultivators of Ocosingo (ORCAO). The events began in “recuperated” lands that are collectively worked in the San Manuel autonomous rebel Zapatista municipality (MAREZ), which pertains to the La Garrucha caracol: on 13 August, nine Zapatista families founded the Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto on said lands, which adjoin the Egipto and El Rosario communities.

The bulletin noted that on 14 August, an armed group of 18 ORCAO members for the Pojcol community (Chilón municipality) surrounded the land and began to shoot into the air for 40 minutes and warning the BAEZLN that they had 6 hours to withdraw definitively. The 9 families (40 persons in total) and the 250 BAEZLN who were supporting them “decided to withdraw to a different place.” After this, the ORCAO members destroyed the houses, robbed store merchandise and cash from the homes, among other crimes.

The bulletin details that on 14 August, the women and children of the El Rosario community who belong to ORCAO abandoned the community, leaving only the men, while witnesses claim that these men were threatening the BAEZLN with immediate displacement. The female and children BAEZLN, for their part, also decided to leave amidst the risk of a possible confrontation. The CDHFBC reported that the threats of the ORCAO against BAEZLN in El Rosario “were intensifying to the point of indicating a possible forcible displacement” in the late hours.

For this reason, the CDHFBC expressed its “concern for the imminent risk to life, security, and physical integrity to which the BAEZLN” of the El Rosario, Kexil, Egipto, and Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto communities face. The Center held the Chiapas state government responsible “for being absent during the initial denunciations, thus allowing the perpetration of increasingly flagrant violations of human rights.” It called on State and federal authorities to cease the death-threats and attacks that have served as the basis for the displacement of BAEZLN from three communities, in addition to the adoption of measures to protect the life, integrity, and security of the BAEZLN from the San Manuel autonomous municipality.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC, 15 de agosto de 2014)

Denuncia Centro Frayba agresiones contra bases de apoyo zapatistas en Ocosingo (La Jornada, 16 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)