Guerrero: OFPM leader released; he receives death-threats upon leaving prison

April 2, 2012

Maximinio being released @ Tlachinollan

On 20 March 2012, Maximino García Catarino, indigenous director of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who has been awarded precautionary measures by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR), as released unconditionally after having been arbitrarily detained on 21 January 2012 by the Ministerial Police of Ayutla de Los Libres.  His release was made possible thanks to the support of his organization and the intense work of defense, documentation, and distribution of information as carried out by the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.

The Superior Tribunal for Justice of Guerrero concluded that the judge had not adequately taken into account the evidence presented by Maximino and also had ignored the contradictions of the two material witnesses.  For these reasons it decided to revoke the jail sentence, given that there was insufficient evidence to process the indigenous defender.

“The decision of the Superior Tribunal for Justice of Guerrero to release Maximino García is a recognition of his unjust arrest,” said Rupert Knox, investigator for Amnesty International (AI) in Mexico.  Furthermore, AI requested that the authorities guarantee Maximino García’s security, as he finds himself in immediate danger of attacks by those who falsely accused him of the charges for which he was imprisoned.  AI notes that during the time he was incarcerated, Maximino was a prisoner of conscience.

According to Tlachinollan’s communiqué, the justice system continues to be used against the work of human-rights defenders.  They also claim that there exists a tendency toward criminalization that is translated into the creation of false evidence, and that the justice system lacks impartiality and independence.

Some minutes after leaving the Ayutla jail, Maximino García received a telephone call threatening him with death if he did not suspend his work in defense of justice for his community of Juquila.  Maximino denounced that “they told me that I should not have been released, that they would kill me either today or during the week, because I demand justice for the rights of the indigenous.”

“We have demanded that the government respect our rights, that it give us access to education and health, but the government instead meets us with repression, imprisonment, and the repression of voices that demand justice such as my own case or that of Álvarzo Ramírez,” he noted.

For his part, the judicial coordinator for Tlachinollan, Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, claimed that the incarceration of Maximino is evidence that in Guerrero “there is systematic persecution against human-rights defenders,” and he claimed it as worrying that the justice system continues to be used to persecute human-rights defenders and to silence the voices of the indigenous.

For more information (in Spanish):

Amnistía Internacional recibe con satisfacción la liberación del activista indígena Maximino García (Boletin de prensa, 21 de marzo 2012)

Libre Maximino García Catarino; fue preso de conciencia: AI (Centro ProDH, 22 de marzo 2012)

Tlachinollan saluda la libertad absoluta del defensor indígena Na Savi Maximino García Catarino (Comunicado CDH Tlachinollan, 21 de marzo 2012)

Amenazan de muerte a dirigente de la OFPM (La Jornada, 22 de marzo 2012)

Amenazaron de muerte a Maximino García apenas dejó la cárcel, denuncia (La Jornada Guerrero, 22 de marzo 2012)

Libera tribunal a indígena de Guerrero (Milenio, 22 de marzo 2012)

Ordenan magistrados dar libertad incondicional a Maximino García (La Jornada Guerrero, 21 de marzo 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Spanish lawyers confirm the innocence of Maximino García (12 March 2012)

Guerrero: OFPM activist is detained despite having precautionary measures (27 January 2012)

Guerrero: briefs – Attack on OPFM leader (3 September 2011)

Guerrero: Leader of the OFPM liberated (25 June 2011)

Guerrero: briefs – Attack on OFPM leader; new attempt to kidnap daughter of Inés Fernández

September 3, 2010

Líderes de la OFPM – desaparecidos y asesinados en 2009

On 30 August, the director of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), Álvaro Ramírez Concepción, was attacked by eight men carrying firearms.  The attack lasted some 20 minutes; it took place on the land owned by Jorge Luis García Catarino, recipient of provisional precautionary-protective measures granted by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.  Álvaro Ramírez received several gunshot-wounds, two of which were grave.  The gunfire also struck his brother Audencio Ramírez as well as Ambrosio García Catarino and Ramón García Guadalupe.  The aggressors managed to escape while the injured were aided by members of the community of Juquila, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, from where they originate.  Later Álvaro Ramírez was taken to the hospital in Ayutla de los Libres, where doctors have reported his state of health to be delicate but stable.
The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights has requested that the state’s Secretary of Public Security grant protection to the injured OFPM members who find themselves in the General Hospital of Ayutla, “because nothing guarantees that, in this environment of impunity, the aggressors will not take their lives.”  In a 31 August communiqué, Tlachinollan mentions that “this aggression is part of a series of attacks on indigenous rights-defenders who find themselves totally defenseless, despite the fact that the Inter-American Court has granted provisional precautionary-protective measures to 108 defenders associated with the OFPM, in addition to Inés Fernández, Valentina Rosendo, Tlachinollan, and relatives of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce.” Responding to an urgent call from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, SIPAZ sent a letter to federal and state authorities, demonstrating its concern for the situation.
In other news, on 28 August two individuals attempted to kidnap the daughter of Inés Fernández, an indigenous Me’phaa woman who was raped by soldiers in 2002–this for the second time.  She and her relatives have been threatened with death and harrassed during the entirety of these 8 years of their struggle for justice.
For more information (in Spanish):Attack against Mixteco leader (La Jornada, 1 September)Daughter of Inés Fernández Ortega is threatened (1 September)


Tlachinollan communiqué (31 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Leader of the OFPM liberated (25 June)

Guerrero: Briefs — CECOP demonstrates before Senate/Press-conference on the cases of Inés and Valentina is held (27 May)

Guerrero: Leader of the OFPM liberated

June 25, 2010

The leader of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), Álvaro Ramírez, who had been detained by Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM) on Sunday, June 6, was liberated on Saturday, June 12. He had been accused of the murder of Andrés Feliciano Modesta as well as the attempted murder of Policarpo Patriarca Agustín, but without evidence of his involvement in the crimes, he was acquitted six days after his incarceration in the prison of Ayutla de los Libres.  For the OFPM, it is clear that the Mexican state is persecuting the indigenous organization, and thus trying to stop their work to defend human rights. In fact, after his liberation Álvaro Ramírez denounced the Guerrerense Governor, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo for forming a pact to stop the OFPM – in alliance with the cacique, Policarpio Patriarca Agustín of Ayutla de los Libres. In a joint press release on June 14, the Guerrerense Network of Civil Society Organizations and the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights of the Montaña, also noted the work of repression against the OFPM by the government of Torreblanca.

For more information (in Spanish):

Torreblanca, aliado de caciques: OFPM (La Jornada, 15 de junio)

En Guerrero, dejan en libertad al líder indígena mixteco Álvaro Ramírez (La Jornada, 14 de junio)

La libertad del dirigente mixteco Álvaro Ramírez evidencia la persecución que sigue enfrentando la OFPM (Boletin de prensa Red Guerrerense de Organismos Civiles  de Derechos Humanos / Tlachinollan: 14 de junio)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Guerrero – Briefs : Police detain a leader of the OFPM/ Anniversary of El Charco (June 19, 2010)

Guerrero – Briefs : Police detain a leader of the OFPM/ Anniversary of El Charco

June 19, 2010

Leaders of OFPM disappeared and murdered in 2009.

On Sunday, June 6, the Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM) detained Álvaro Ramírez Concepción, a leader of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM),  in the zócalo of Ayutla de los Libres. He is accused of the murder of Andrés Feliciano Modesta and the attempted murder of Policarpo Patriarca Agustín, events of November 15, 2009 in the vicinity of Ayutla de los Libres. The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña declared that the accusations were fabricated and that the judge, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, denied adequate defense to the Mixteco leader. They charged that the judge rejected evidence in Ramírez Concepción’s defense and that the copies of the dossier arrived 24 hours late after the request of Tlachinollan.

There are also arrest warrants for Luis García Catarino, treasurer of the OFPM, as well as Victoriano y Alicio Ponce Lola, brothers of the human rights defender, Manuel Ponce Rosas who was disappeared, tortured and murdered in February of 2009. Tlachinollan released an Urgent Action asking for the immediate release of the Mixteco leader and an end to the repression against indigenous organizations OFPM  and the Organization of the Me´phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).

Furthermore, on June 7, an event was organized to commemorate the 12 year anniversary of the massacre at El Charco (also in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres), in which 11 peasants were killed by the Mexican Army. Various indigenous, peasant, social and human rights organizations participated, such as Tlachinollan, the Workshop for Community Development (TADECO), OPIM and OFPM. The director of Tlachinollan, Abel Barrera Hernández, lamented that 12 years after the massacre of El Charco, “they continue to encourage the presence of the military to end the lives of indigenous peoples and peasants”.

For more information:

Detiene la policía de Ayutla al dirigente mixteco de la OFPM Álvaro Ramírez (La Jornada, 10 de junio)

Fabrican acusación de homicidio contra un dirigente mixteco de Ayutla, denuncia Tlachinollan (El Sur Acapulco, 11 de junio)

Irregularidades y omisiones en juicio de indígena defensor Na´savi en Ayutla (Boletín de prensa /Tlachinollan, 10 de junio)

A 12 años de la masacre de El Charco, Guerrero (Boletín de prensa /Tlachinollan, 8 de junio)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Torreblanca acepta revisar la investigación del asesinato de Raúl y Manuel (9 de enero 9 de 2010)

Guerrero: ONGs denuncian graves negligencias en la investigación de las ejecuciones de 2 lideres mixtecos (5 de enero de 2010)

Guerrero: NGOs denounce grave negligence in the investigation of the killing of 2 Mixteco leaders

January 13, 2010

Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo

On the 28th of December 2009, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) published a recommendation to various authorities of the state of Guerrero regarding the case of two leaders of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, who were originally abducted in February 2009 and later discovered to be dead.  When found, their bodies indicated severe physical abuse.

In a joint letter, the widows of these Mixteco leaders together with several human-rights organizations from Guerrero and Mexico City denounced the glaring omissions and general negligence of the Public Ministry and municipal and state governments in the case:  first for failing seriously to have investigated the whereabouts of Raúl and Manuel in the first few days of their disappearance, and also for not adequately pursuing those responsible for their deaths.

In addition, the letter’s authors reproach the CNDH’s publication on the matter, stating that it “at no point discloses that Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas in fact were human-rights defenders or that their murders likely resulted from their very promotion of these rights.”

To read the communiqué in full (in Spanish):

The government of Guerrero was negligent in its investigation of the extrajudicial executions of Raúl and Manuel (All Rights for All, 04/01/10)

To read the CNDH’s recommendation on the case (in Spanish):

Recommendation 078/2009

For more information (in Spanish):

The CNDH releases a recommendation to the government of Guerrero (article, Milenio Online, 04/01/10)

The CNDH requests historical truth in the killing of Mixtecos (article, El Sur de Acapulco, 04/01/10)

Silenced: violence against human-rights defenders in southern Mexico (PBI-Mexico report, May 2009)

For more information on SIPAZ:

Guerrero: the bodies of two mixteco leaders, reported disappeared since February 13, are found (SIPAZ blog, 02/24/09)

Guerrero: National and international organizations demand an investigation into the killing of the two human rights defenders (SIPAZ blog, 03/02/09)

Guerrero: The IACHR grants precautionary measures to 107 human rights defenders in Guerrero (SIPAZ blog, 04/05/09)

Presentation by OPIM and OPFM (SIPAZ document, in Spanish)

Guerrero: Intent of assassination against members of the OFPM

July 16, 2009
Meeting of Human Rights Defenders with widows of Mixteco leaders assassinated

Meeting of Human Rights Defenders with widows of Mixteco human rights defenders assassinated in february 2009

On June 22nd, there was an attempt to assassinate Margarita Martin de las Nieves and Santiago Ponce, widow and brother of Manuel Ponce Rosas (executed extrajudicially in February 2009). Both are indigenous peoples and members of Organizacion para el Futuro del Pueblo Mixteco (Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People or OFPM). They were stopped while on their way from the Office of Trachinollan in Ayutla to Margarita’s residence, after holding meetings with Fondo Para la No Violencia (Funds for Non-Violence) and with functionaries of the US and Canadian Embassies where they testified about the threats they have suffered and also about the extra-judicial execution of Rual Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas, whose cases remain unpunished.

The Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (Center of Human Rights of the Montaña Tlachinollan) condoned the assassination attempt against the indigenous advocates and requested that the Mexican State implement without delay security and protection measures, according to what is dictated by the Inter-american Human Rights Court. It is important to remember that on April 9, the Interamerican Human Rights Court (Corte) gave provisional measures to 107 human rights advocates from Guerrero, most of them indigenous people, by considering that their physical integrity is in grave danger.

For more information (spanish only):

More information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest

May 4, 2009

On April 20 and 21 of 2009, the “International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest” took place in the Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero. It was organized by various human rights organizations from Guerrero and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF, based in the US), with the goal of dealing with the serious situation which confronts human rights defenders in Mexico and in Guerrero in particular, as well as discussing possible responses to this situation. The long title of the forum is a result of the wide definition of human rights defenders (from the UN), a concept which is wider than just legal defense and involves many social movements as well.

Katya Salazar, the director of the DPLF, and Abel Barrera, the director of the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) began the forum by denouncing the general tendency to criminalize human rights defenders, which has worsened in the last few months, especially in the Guerrero with the cases of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who were abducted, tortured, and executed in February, the closing of the offices of the CDHM Tlachinollan in Ayutla for security issues, and the threats and violence that the members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM) have suffered. Emilie Joly, of the DPLF, stressed that in Guerrero there existed a three-step pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders: the closing of channels of dialogue and negotiation, the repression of civil, peaceful protests, and the use of judicial processes against human rights defenders (disproportionate or fabricated crimes against them, and the lack of investigation into threats and violence against human rights defenders).

The next day, the tables of discussion analyzed the reality of the situation and evaluated plans of action. They concluded with a final declaration including various denunciations and demands.

To Read the Final Declaration of the Forum (In English and Spanish)

For More Information (In Spanish):

artículo de prensa: Asesinato de Lucas y Ponce agrava situación de derechos en Guerrero, La Jornada Guerrero (21/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Criminalización de la protesta, patrón incesante en Guerrero, concluyen en Foro Internacional, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Señalan desprecio a ONG humanitarias en Guerrero, La Jornada (20/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Rinden homenaje a viudas de Raúl Lucas y Manuel Ponce; les entregan retratos de los líderes, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

Comunicado: ONG denuncian las tendencias de desprestigio al trabajo de los defensores en AL, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos \”Todos los derechos para todas y todos\” (20/04/09)

boletín de prensa: En América Latina hay una tendencia a desprestigiar el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (20/04/09)