Oaxaca: Omar Esparza denounces group contracted to murder him; threats against lawyers in the case of Bety and Jyri

June 10, 2015

Foto @ Aristegui Noticias

Photo @ Aristegui Noticias

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, a human-rights defender who died alongside Jyri Jaakkola for participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan to San Juan Copala in 2010, denounced the existence of an armed group that seeks to kill him, being contracted by Antonio Cruz (alias “Toño Bird), the leader of the Movement for Triqui Struggle and Unification (MULT), which is allied with the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT). Omar Esparza holds the federal and state governments responsible for whatever attack he or his family would suffer, due to their failures to arrest all those responsible for the murders of Bety y Jyri. In an interview with Revolución Tres Punto Cero, Esparza indicated that “someone heard the conversation and told us to take the necessary security measures. It is not just a death-threat. There exists an armed group that has been hired to kill me.”

Beyond this, David Peña, lawyer from the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD), declared in an interview with Aristegui CNN that the case is pending. Though three have been incarcerated, 10 arrest-orders are still open. He indicated that the “government of Finland (where Jyri Jaakkola had held citizenship) has been present and attentive to the process from the beginning. We have been accompanied by the Finnish Embassy, other embassies from the European Union, and the European Parliament itself held a special audience within the subcommittee on human rights.” He added that “this case was discussed by the Finnish president with Peña Nieto, who reiterated the Mexican State’s commitment to resolving the case. He has made this claim on three or four separate occasions. The problem is that the commitment Peña Nieto supposedy has is not translated into concrete actions.” Regardless, David Peña added that “there has been a near-total absence of the judiciary: no protection for witnesses, or investigation of those responsible. No resources for the arrest of the murderers, nor even now to guarantee the security of those who of us who are promoting the process, who in recent weeks have received death-threats and warnings to abandon the case.”

The lawyer explained the history of the Triqui region, wherein a group was created “by PRI governments with their finances. These groups have been publicly recognized, even by the Federal Attorney General’s Office, as a paramilitary group.” This group “attacked the caravan. We performed a process of documentation and investigation and succeeded in identifying who it was who attacked the caravan. Then the arrest-orders are released, but only three have been implemented, with 10 more pending. We are in an initial process of the trial against these three people, but the problem is that these put us at risk. Though we have 3 people incarcerated, 10 others are free, including two of the principal leaders. They have economic and military power, and with this protection or permissibility toward them on the part of politicians, they continue operating.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Preocupación por la seguridad de Omar Esparza, Viudo de Bety Cariño (Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 3 de junio de 2015)

Ausencia de la Federación en el caso del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola: David Peña en CNN (Aristegui Noticias, 1 de junio de 2015)

Entrevista de Aristegui Noticias (29 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 5 years since the murder of human rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (28 April 2015)

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

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


Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months on, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended

February 8, 2015

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On 21 January, Elías Cruz Merino, leader of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and official of San Juan Copala, was arrested as one of the presumed murderers of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish).  Both were killed in April 2010 as they participated in a humanitarian caravan headed to San Juan Copala.  Cruz Merino is accused of the premeditated murder of the two activists.

Since April of last year, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers denounced that those responsible for the murders had been plainly identified, but that the government had refused to implement the corresponding arrest-orders.

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño and leader of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), affirmed that this arrest constitutes an advance, but he observed that 10 other arrest-orders remain unobserved.  He noted: “For us it is clear that they continue to be protected by certain power-groups in Oaxaca.  Still, we will continue to demand that justice not be delayed but instead expedited.”    Esparza Zárate also announced that European parliamentarians will carry out a visit to Mexico in February to pressure the Mexican State and continue demanding justice.

For more information (in Spanish):

Capturan a policía implicado en crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola (Proceso, 22 de enero de 2015)

Encarcelan a dirigente del MULT por homicidio de ‘Bety’ Cariño y de finlandés (Radio Formula, 22 de enero de 2015)

Capturan a presunto homicida de Bety Cariño (Noticias.net, 23 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice

December 7, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ Cencos

Starting on 5 November, Eve y Raimo Jaakkola, parents of the Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola, carried out their fifth visit to Mexico to meet Mexican authorities and demand punishment for those responsible for the murder of their son and of Bety Cariño, who died in an ambush in April 2010 conducted by a paramilitary group in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca.  Since then, 4 and a half years have passed, and though an agreement was made between relatives and lawyers on the one hand and the federal government on the other, impunity persists for the murders of Bety and Jyri, and the existing arrest-orders have yet to be implemented.  These agreements were made on 14 May of this year, after Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, launched a hunger strike of 16 days in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to demand that the institution sign a list of agreements to guarantee justice in the case.

Furthermore, Jyri’s parents reported that they would newly request that the European Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights demand the Mexican government to provide a report on the case.  “For me it is impossible to understand that in the first few weeks, we already knew who were the probable suspects, and they still have yet to be arrested […].  There are municipal authorities who are possibly responsible.  They go to Oaxaca to work, and there are arrest orders against them, but nothing happens,” noted Jyri’s mother.  She added that “the Eurodeputies see a connection between our case and that of Ayotzinapa.  They know that impunity exists behind these acts, and that this makes it likely that things like this will recur.”

Regarding the delay in arrests, Karla Michel Salas, lawyer with the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), noted that the authorities have claimed that those responsible live in San Juan Copala and environs, where the group Unity and Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT) holds power and “has arms and is dangerous.”  She added: “With this, the federal authorities accept that there is a region where the State cannot intervene, and where extra-legal groups terrorize the people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Padres de Jyri Jaakkola exigen justicia por asesinato de su hijo y Bety Cariño (Cencos, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Ningún avance para dar justicia por el asesinato de Bety Cariño (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)