Chiapas: Government arrests members of a commission for dialogue on the Montes Azules conflict

June 10, 2014


On May 29, a committee comprised of leaders and representatives of the Council of Communal Properties of the Lacandon Community Zone, members of the Independent ARIC organization, and a member of the civil organization “Services and Advices for Peace (SERAPAZ), Mario Marcelino Ruiz Mendoza, who accompanied the commission as a mediator, were arrested by agents of the State Attorney General of Chiapas.

The arrest occurred near the House of Government in Tuxtla Gutierrez, where the commission was going to start a negotiation table with the Secretary of Government, Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar. The stated objective of the session was to address different issues such as the release of the legal adviser of the Lacandon community, Gabriel Montoya; the recognition and respect of the free choice of the agricultural authorities of the Communal Properties; and the resolution of the agrarian situation in the open conflict in Montes Azules.

Around midnight, the SERAPAZ mediator was released, while the other members of the commission remained detained.

The detainees are accused of riot, attacks on public roads and kidnapping, crimes supposedly committed during the demonstrations, and roadblocks that occurred in recent weeks in the Lacandon Jungle to protest against what their participants consider the interference of environmental organizations in the communities’ decision-making.

Pablo Romo, a SERAPAZ member, expressed that the government of Manuel Velasco betrayed the negotiation process and does not listen to the needs of the population: “The arrest of the 28 people is a clear expression of the government’s insensitivity. People were approaching the government to generate a discussion process to give a solution to their demands. “

For more information (in Spanish)

Accion urgente: Detención de autoridades y representantes del Consejo de Bienes Comunales de la Zona Lacandona, organizaciones sociales y un miembro del equipo de SERAPAZ (SERAPAZ, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Actualización urgente: Mediador de Serapaz libre, persiste detención arbitraria de más de 20 personas (SERAPAZ, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Gobierno de Chiapas detiene a campesinos de la lacandona y a integrante de SERAPAZ (Chiapas Paralelo, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Detienen a 30 indígenas que iban a dialogar con autoridades sobre protesta en Ocosingo (Proceso, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Reportan detención de integrante de Serapaz en Tuxtla Gutiérrez (La Jornada, 29 de mayo de 2014)

Detienen a activistas que fueron citados por el gobierno de Chiapas (Sididh, 30 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle, (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: Social and civil organizations denounce “simulated” kidnapping of Julia Carabias (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state government announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle (2 June 2014)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone (3 May 2014)


Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle

June 10, 2014


Montes Azules (@SIPAZ)

Montes Azules (@SIPAZ)

On May 27, fourteen civil organizations that work in Chiapas, either members of the Peace Network or allies, expressed their concern amidst the growing tension and social conflict that prevail in the Lacandon Jungle and the Montes Azules Biosphere: “We are concerned that, in response to the public dissatisfaction manifested at this time by the CZL [Lacandon Community Zone] and ARIC ID [Rural Association of Collective InterestIndependent and Democratic], governmental actions may use strategies that violate the rights of peoples, such as the implementation of forced evictions of families and communities (like the ones that occurred between 2003 and 2012), or the arrest of local authorities and leaders of this movement.” Therefore, they urged the state and federal government to look for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules and the other six natural protected areas that exist in the Lacandon Jungle.

For almost a week, around 1,500 indigenous people have been organizing demonstrations to demand the release of the Lacandon community advisor, Gabriel Montoya Oseguera (arrested last May 14); the regularization of three villages (Rancheria Corozal, Salvador Allende and San Gregorio); and the expulsion of the environmental researcher Julia Carabias from the reserve where she currently works. Besides intermittent roadblocks, they have closed public buildings such as the city hall, courts, and the prosecutor offices in the city of Ocosingo.

The presence of environmentalists in the Lacandon jungle has continued to generate conflict. Last April, the researcher Julia Carabias was held for 48 hours. On 26 May, two members of the environmental and cultural organization Na-Bolom, Beatriz Mijangos Zenteno and Enrique Roldan Páez, were also detained and released after 22 hours.

For more information (in Spanish):

Red por la Paz en Chiapas denuncia clima de violencia y conflicto en Selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 28 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de la Red por la Paz y organizaciones hermanas (27 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen indígenas se regularicen asentamientos en la Selva Lacandona (Proceso, 27 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen libertad de líder tzeltal (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Toman indígenas oficinas de gobierno y exigen la expulsión de Carabias de la Selva Lacandona (Proceso, 23 de mayo de 2014)

Campesinos protestan en Ocosingo, Chiapas (El Universal, 22 de mayo de 2014)

For more information of SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Social and civil organizations denounce “simulated” kidnapping of Julia Carabias (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state government announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle (2 June 2014)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone (3 May 2014)

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre

December 7, 2013


Lacandona Jungle, photo @

On 13 November, several civil organizations released communiques commemorating the 2006 massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Lacandona Jungle, which resulted in the death of seven persons, two disappearances, and 36 displaced.  The organizations emphasized that the crimes remain unpunished to date.  The civil organization People’s Wood, for example, mentioned that “Seven years since the Viejo Velasco massacre […] the Mexican State still has not clarified the events nor punished those intellectually and materially responsible for the brutal attack on the Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol indigenous community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, which was perpetrated by a group of approximately 40 individuals from the neighboring community of New Palestine who were accompanied and supported by 300 units from the Chiapas Sector Police.”  The communique adds that “It should be noted that this bloody event took place within the context of intense struggle and resistance for the right to land and the management of the natural resources of the indigenous communities settled within the heart of the Lacandona Jungle.  This resistance confronted an aggressive policy of territorial displacement, social looting, and privatization of nature on the part of the Mexican State, as exercised over more than 40 communities located within the limits of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity, water, forest cover, and scenic and touristic attractiveness in our country.”

The communique from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) notes that “seven years after these events […] 36 persons […] continue to be forcibly displaced […and] Mariano Pérez Guzmán and Juan Antonio Peñate López continue to be disappeared, and police investigations have stagnated.  At the same time, state authorities in Chiapas still have yet to arrest those responsible for this paramilitary action.  The undersigned organizations [including the Committee for teh Defense of Indigenous Freedoms {CDLI}, Xi’nich, the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. {Cediac}, Communal Health and Development A.C. {SADEC}, and Services and Assessment for peace, A.C. {SERAPAZ}] indicate that such crimes against humanity should never remain unpunished.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 7 años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco (Madres del Pueblos, 13 de noviembre de 2013)

Comunicado Frayba – Viejo Velasco (13 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 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: The La Garrucha JBG denounces harassment against Zapatista support-bases

November 14, 2013
Marcha silenciosa zapatista, Palenque, 21 de diciembre de 2012 (@SIPAZ)

The “Path of the Future” Good-Government Council (JBG) of the La Garrucha caracol (III) has in recent days released two denunciations regarding acts of harassment targeting Zapatista support-bases.

The first communique denounces the harassment exercised since April by the Truck Center of Ocosingo against independent truck-drivers, including one Zapatista support-base, who has been detained and his trucks confiscated.

Though the JBG has attempted to hold a meeting with representatives of the Center to come to an agreement to resolve the conflict, the other party has refused to participate.

For this reason, the JBG demands the return of the confiscated trucks and the cancellation of the arrest-orders against 8 independent truck-drivers.

The second denunciation relates the false accusation and arrest-order directed against a Zapatista support-base for cutting down a tree.  According to the JBG account, the tree was cut down with the Junta’s authorization and that of autonomous Zapatista municipalities.  Given this, the JBG is requesting the cancellation of the arrest-order and furthermore denounces indiscriminate logging of the forest by other actors who are supported by the “three levels of the bad government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

JBG El Camino del Futuro exige cancelación de ordenes de aprehensión contra ocho personas (Enlace Zapatista, 8 de noviembre de 2013)

JBG El Camino del Futuro exige cancelación de orden de aprehensión contra compañero base de apoyo (Enlace Zapatista, 8 de noviembre de 2013)

Denuncia junta de buen gobierno persecución judicial a base zapatista (La Jornada, 8 de noviembre de 2013)

Chiapas: Mobilizations on 12 October, day of indigenous, black, and popular resistance

October 26, 2013


Different mobilizations took place on 12 October in the state of Chiapas to commemorate 521 years of indigenous, black, and popular resistance, as well as to protest the neoliberal policies being developed by the cabinet of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto.

In San Cristóbal de las Casas, thousands of persons marched in an event organized by the Movement of Social Organizations of the State of Chiapas, a group which brings together a dozen indigenous and campesino organizations in the state.  “After a long march and a few difficult moments, we arrived today to this great effort toward unity to once again march together […].  We struggle to defend our rights, the national sovereignty, the territory, natural goods and resources, mineral wealth, and the rights of the peoples to exploit these in a sustainable manner, and moreover we affirm the right to develop the territory and to realize the peoples’ demands,” declared members of the Movement.

In other cities such as Ocosingo and Palenque there were also held different protest activities, such as roadblocks, occupations of city halls, and marches.

In Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital, at least 10 thousand persons, members of different organizations such as the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), health workers, and employees of the Institute of Social Security for Workers of the State of Chiapas (ISSTECH) marched to protest the educational reform and the totality of structural reforms imposed by the federal government in the spheres of health, housing, and energy.

For more information (in Spanish):

Protestan miles en Chiapas por políticas colonizadoras y reformas de Peña(Proceso, 12 de octubre de 2013)

Marchan por el Día de la Raza (Diario de Chiapas, 13 de octubre de 2013)

Movilizaciones por el “Día de la Resistencia Indígena Campesina Negra y Popular” (Expreso, 13 de octubre de 2013)

Recuerdan 12 de octubre con marcha (Cuarto Poder, 13 de octubre de 2013)

Chiapas: Denunciation of death-threats and fabrication of evidence on part of PGJE made by those displaced from the Busiljá and Cintalapa ejidos

April 29, 2013


On 23 April, families who have been displaced from the Busiljá and Cintalapa ejidos (Ocosingo municipality), publicly denounced that agents of the Public Ministry (which belongs to the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas, PGJE) in Ocosingo had pressured and threatened Mrs. Elena Morales Gutiérrez to sign a document affirming knowledge of the whereabouts of her daughter Gabriela Sánchez Morales, who was kidnapped in 2011. Regardless, in a denunciation the families claim now that the girl still has not been located.  It should be noted that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has awarded the precautionary measures requested by the family of the minor.  Furthermore, those displaced expressed their disappointment with the lack of execution of penal action against the presumed kidnappers.  In this sense, they indicate that “the PGJE seeks to trick the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” given that the PGJE must inform the IACHR on progress in the investigations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de los desplazados de Busiljá y Cintalapa (23/04/2013)

Proceso: Procuraduría de Chiapas falsea pruebas sobre el plagio de una niña indígena (25/04/2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Civil society expresses its concern for the situation of those displaced from Busiljá (26 February 2013)

Chiapas: Civil society expresses concern for the situation of those displaced in Busiljá

February 26, 2013


In a communique published on 18 February, civil society and human-rights organizations from Chiapas expressed their “concern for the critical situation that began in 1997 in the Busiljá ejido, Ocosingo municipality, which during 16 years has left a number of dead, injured, imprisoned, displaced, and disappeared in Ocosingo.”

They stressed in particular that “the situation lived by the seven families displaced from the Busiljá ejido not only expressed a profound humanitarian crisis, but it also puts into doubt the will and effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms for the realization of justice in our state of Chiapas, making evident the impunity which reigns for persons and groups that have perpetrated crimes, as well as the acts that constitute grave and continuous violations of the human rights for which state authorities are responsible.”

In light of this, the organizations request “the serious, impartial, and timely application of measures to justly resolve the right of the situation that affects the displaced, and makes them vulnerable.”

For more inforamtion (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento completo de la Red por la Paz: “Organizaciones civiles expresan preocupación por situación que viven desplazados de Busiljá” (18 de febrero de 2013)