Chiapas: Public Denunciation on Ranchería Amaytic from Garrucha JBG

March 19, 2010

As of March 16, zapatista support bases from Ranchería Amaytik located in the Ricardo Flores Magón autonomous municipality have been followed and threatened with eviction and death by some 200 member of the  Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (Opddic, Organización para la Defensa de los Derechos Indígenas y Campesinos). The Good Government Council (JBG, Junta de Buen Gobierno) “The Path of The Future” of the Garrucha caracol, recently denounced the actions of armed members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, Partido Revolucionario Institucional) and the Opddic who are following “our compañeros” in an attempt to apprehend them. The women are alone in their homes and they are threatening them, telling them they will kill all of their livestock and that they will be evicted.

The JBG explains the events leading up to this conflict stating that it began on August 25, 2002 with “a problem [concerning] the separation of a couple in Ranchería Amaytic,” in the Ricardo Flores Magón autonomous municipality in which autonomous authorities intervened. Lorenzo Martinez Espinoza, a spokesperson for the autonomous council and Jacinto Hernandez Gutierrez, an autonomous agent, “were murdered with a firearm and machetes and sticks after leaving the place.”

According to the communiqué “the murderers” left the community and sought refuge in the Peña Limonar ejido. The autonomous authorities would not allow them to continue living in the Ranchería Amaytic. On March 15 of this year, the PRI members attempted to return accompanied by people from Peña Limonar, Yoc Navil, Pamanavil, San Antonio Catarraya, Ranchería Ganxanil and Nueva Providencia.

The JBG concludes: “We will defend our compañeros and our land with a solution in agreement with our customs; we do not want problems, we will always seek out a solution that springs from the area where the problem arose, but the bad government always gets in the way and that is when it becomes impossible to solve the problem because of course this is part of their plan known as counterinsurgency.”

For More Information (Spanish):

Garrucha JBG Denunciation

Opddic supports the return of suspects in 2002 murders to Amaytik (La Jornada, 18/3/2010)

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Chiapas: La Garrucha JBG’s communiqué on OPDDIC menace

March 9, 2010

In a communiqué released on 3 March, the Good-Government Council (JBG) Path of the Future of La Garrucha claimed that the Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Campesinos and the Indigenous (OPDDIC) threatened to violently attack the Zapatista communities Casa Blanca and Santo Domingo, both of which hold lands that pertain to this caracol.

The JBG claimed that “the government’s plans are clear:  to pay-off people to engage in activities that screw people who struggle against the system.  As the land has been retaken, they are dividing the people; the bad government granted land to those who hadn’t fought for it.”  The JBG promised to “defend our lands no matter the cost, regardless of what happens.”  The communiqué added that it was thus clear who would be responsible for acts to come.

For more information (in Spanish):

Complete communiqué of the La Garrucha JBG (3 March)

La Jornada:  OPDDIC threatens community with violent attack (5 March)


Chiapas: contradictory stories on new conflict in Bolón Ajaw

February 15, 2010

At the close of last week, several contradictory accounts were presented regarding a new conflict in the fields of Bolón Ajaw, municipality of Tumbalá, in the north of Chiapas.  Managed by the Zapatistas since 1994, these fields, which pertain to the autonomous muncipality of Comandanta Ramona, are located 4km from Agua Azul.  They feature waterfalls that have yet to be exploited for touristic ends.

The first version of these events speaks of a confrontation on 6 February between members of support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and members of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC) that left one dead, 12 injured, and 5 arrested among the Zapatistas.

In a subsequent communiqué, the Attorney General for State Justice (PGJE) confirmed that the conflict had left 1 dead, 5 detained, and 28 injured among members of OPDDIC, as the number of injured among the Zapatistas was said to be unknown.   13 of the 28 injured were hospitalized with injuries that seem to have resulted from firearms, knives and machetes, and fists.  According to the PGJE, the conflict erupted in January when Zapatistas from Bolón Ajaw requested support from sympathetic communities in Oxchuc, Alan Sacjun, Salto del Tigre, and Bachajón in preventing OPDDIC members from cleaning the pathway from the Agua Azul waterfalls to those of Bolón Ajaw, a move that was considered by the Zapatistas to encourage tourism.

On 10 February, the Agustín PRO Center for Human Rights entitled one of the entries in its media synthesis “Confrontation in Chiapas spurs media campaign against indigenous communities–communication media from Mexico City emphasize ‘executions’ and ‘disappearances’ on the part of the Zapatistas on their front pages.”  Other media pointed out the still-relevant judiciary findings against OPDDIC from February 2008 for the charges of aggression, assault, death-threats, murder attempts against non-governmental organizations and EZLN support-bases in Bolón Ajaw.  Other media accounts alluded to the Morelia Good Government Council’s 23 January 2010 report on OPDDIC aggressivity in the same community.  Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle gathered in La Otra Jovel claimed that in the Bolón Ajaw ejido “the population has been now for many years harassed by other indigenous individuals organized and armed by the government as paramilitary groups.”

The Chiapas state government announced on 10 February that EZLN support-bases had released 5 OPDDIC members, thus confirming the PGJE statement.

In a communiqué released on 11 February, the Good Government Council (JBG) of Morelia clarified the recent events in Bolón Ajaw by referring to its previous communiqué:  “15 days ago we released our statement; for us, this period of time was to represent a time of waiting to see if they wanted to dialogue, but they never approached us.”  The JBG added that “this is the restarting of the types of tricks used by previous governments that would simply make up crimes so as to be able to justify their repressiveness.”

Regarding the conflict of 6 February, the JBG noted that “the OPDDIC lies claim that it to have been us that surprised the population at dawn, when in fact it was us who were thus surprised.”  The communiqué further claimed that OPDDIC members “arrived with pistols and rifles in hand firing at our compañeros.  We estimate that they expended some 250 cartridges of .22 ammunition (…).  40 OPDDIC members arrived in Bolón Ajaw with weapons at hand; they went to the village church, forcibly entering by destroying the door, and destroyed much inside (…).  The indiscriminate firing that they engaged in while in Bolón Ajaw itself was the cause of the deaths among them.”

The JBG admitted that “of course we detained 7 of them, but we have respected them at all moments and indeed have given them to eat (although not high-quality food, since we ourselves do not have such) and water to drink as well as a room in which to sleep (although, again, not a terribly comfortable one, since this is how we live) and blankets.  In sum, we have respected their rights as humans; even if they are animals, we know how to respect them (…).  We proposed that they be released on condition that they promise not to occupy the land and that tranquility be restored.  This was our proposal, which we have observed with honor and truth.”

The JBG also mentioned that “Pedro Raúl López, special prosecutor for matters pertaining to non-governmental organizations, shared the message of Juan Sabines Guerrero, who insinuated that the military could be ordered in, with the result that dialogue would collapse and hostilities be reinitiated if the problem were not resolved through dialogue.”

For more information (in Spanish):

The Morelia JBG clarifies recent events in Bolón Ajaw (11 February)

EZLN support-bases release 5 OPDDIC members previously detained in Agua Azul (La Jornada, 11 February)

Pending judicial findings against OPDDIC members (La Jornada, 10 February)

Confrontation in Chiapas spurs media campaign against indigenous communities (media synthesis from the Agustín Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights, 10 February)

Agua Azul residents call for justice after having been assaulted by Zapatistas (Milenio, 10 February)

EZLN group executes an indigenous individual and disappears 5 (Razón, 10 February)

Alleged Zapatistas detain indigenous individuals (El Universal, 10 February)

Confrontation at Bolón Ajaw field leaves 12 indigenous people injured (La Jornada, 8 February)

The JBG of Caracol IV in Morelia denounced aggression on part of OPDDIC (communiqué of 23 January)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: aggression against members of CAPISE and SERPAJ (9 February 2008)


Chiapas: CDHFBC employee injured by OPDDIC in armed attack

September 21, 2009

http://sipaz.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/img_1152.jpg

An employee of the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas (Frayba) was brutally attacked on September 18th. The attack occurred in Ejido Jotola, in the municipality of Chilon. The attackers were armed and are members of OPDDIC – the Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Indigenous and Campesinos. Because of the seriousness of the attack, please find below the Frayba press release in its entirety.

“San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas September 18th, 2009

Press Release No. 30

Frayba employee injured by OPDDIC in armed attack

The paramilitary group Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Indigenous and Campesinos (OPDDIC) has ambushed and attacked a Frayba member and shot and injured a resident of San Sebastian Bachajon.

Today, at approximately 12 noon, Frayba employee Ricardo Lagunes Gasca was attacked while he was travelling in the area of Tila. The event occurred when Ricardo stopped in Ejido Jotola, in the municipality of Chilon, to get information for a legal action he is undertaking in his role as lawyer for Frayba. The legal action is to defend residents of San Sebastian Bachajon who have been jailed. At the time, the people of San Sebastian Bachajon were holding a work meeting with the residents of Jotola, both of whom are supporters of The Other Campaign.

After getting up to date about the situation of the prisoners Ricardo tried to leave the place in one of Frayba’s vans, but approximately 40 meters ahead the road was closed with rocks and a tree trunk. Unable to continue along the road, he was forced to stop. Ricardo was then ambushed and beaten by a group of approximately 60 people armed with sticks, rocks, machetes and guns. The attackers were all members of OPDDIC. While beating him, they forced Ricardo out of the van and took the car keys to try to take him to an unknown location.

Despite Ricardo’s attempts to talk to the OPDDIC members, the attack continued, putting his life in danger. The residents of Jotola and San Sebastian Bachajon (supporters of the Other Campaign) came to his aid and the OPDDIC attackers became distracted. Ricardo used this opportunity to flee, leaving all his belongings in the van.

After the intervention of the Other Campaign members the OPDDIC attackers reacted by shooting their guns, resulting in a bullet wound in the thigh of the left leg of Mr. Carmen Aguilar Gomez the 2nd, resident of San Sebastian Bachajon. After the gun attack, the Other Campaign members fled to avoid more confrontation with the OPDDIC. Despite this, the OPDDIC attackers surrounded the residents’ homes and threatened to come in as well as take over the main meeting hall by force.

As of 4:00 pm today (Friday) Frayba employees had received information from the residents of Ejido Jotola saying they have sought shelter in their homes. The residents have told us that approximately 20 people from OPDDIC are on guard with guns of various calibers and they have taken possession of the main meeting hall.

Background:

In the morning prior to the attack residents of Jotola saw individuals from the Preventative Police force (PEP) interviewing members of OPDDIC. According to several witnesses they could hear the OPDDIC members saying they were going to enter the main meeting hall and destroy the sign and attack the followers of the Other Campaign. Moments later, when Ricardo got in his vehicle, men and women from OPDDIC blocked the way even though our colleague identified himself as a worker from the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas.

While the residents of Jotola and Bachajon were together in the meeting hall in the morning, members of OPDDIC were gathered 40 meters away where there was a patrol of the Preventative Police (PEP). The individuals of the Preventative Police maintained a dialogue with the OPDDIC. The events occurred after a sign had been placed in the meeting hall – the same one that had been robbed by members of OPDDIC the week before.

On August 20th residents of Jotola and Bachajon who are followers of the Other Campaign held a press conference to denounce the climate if harassment and threats because of OPDDIC. It was revealed at this time that those responsible for the harassment were originally from the communities of Jotola and Bachjon. They had previously been expelled from Monte Libano and had outstanding arrest warrants for murder and rape.

Also during the press conference Nemesio Ponce Sanchez, the General undersecretary of the government, was denounced for refusing to meet with the residents who had completed their promise of meeting in the offices of Frayba. They were supposed to fix a deadline for releasing two of the eight indigenous tseltals who remain behind bars in CERSS No. 14, also known as “El Amate”. The prisoners have been accused of criminal association and armed robbery, both false accusations as revealed by Frayba.

Later that same day the residents called Frayba to report they were being harassed by members of the Preventative Police (PEP) and there were patrols set up close to their homes, and especially close to the house of the head of the cooperative land association, Pascual Sanchez Perez. Since then, the PEP has maintained permanent patrols. A the beginning of September an official source told Frayba the accusations made at the August 20th press conference bothered General undersecretary Nemesio Ponce Sanchez. Apparently Ponce Sanchez had ordered officers of the Ministerial and Preventative Police to detain Pascual Sanchez Perez, the head of the cooperative land association, and professor Ricardo Sanchez, the spokesperson for Jotola, during the press conference.

Frayba condemns this act of aggression. It is an act of aggression that has been carried out within a context of hostility as well as the targeting different actors and methods of communication that work for the defense of human rights. Frayba points out the role the State government, including that of Juan Sabines Guererro, as promoters of aggression that goes against the work of this human rights center in areas of defense and accompaniment.

List of OPDDIC attackers as identified in Jotola:

1. Agustin Hernandez Santis ? (carried and fired a shotgun)

2. Guadelupe Cruz Mendez ? (carried a .22 rifle and a pistol, fired and shot Carmen Aguilar.)

3. Medardo Cruz Mendez ? (carried a .22 rifle)

4. Miguel Gomez Hernandez ? (carried .22 rifle and 16-shot semi-automatic)

5. Manuel Moreno Perez ? (carried a machete and stick)

6. Daniel Moreno Perez ? (carried a gun)

7. Rogelio Cruz Mendez (carried a shotgun)

8. Eva Guzman Hernandez

9. Ernestina Guzman Hernandez

10. Margarita Miranda Perez

11. Marian Sanchez Sanchez

12. Ofelia Cruz Jimenez

13. Maria Hernandez Lopez

14. Maria Elena Gomez Lopez

15. Ema Maria Sanchez Gomez

16. Juana Sanchez Gomez

17. Juan Cruz Mendez ? (carried a pistol)

18. Leandro Mendez Hernandez.”

For more informationn (in Spanish):

Ataca Opddic en Chiapas a ejidatarios adherentes a la Otra Campaña (Jornada, 19/09/09)


Chiapas: New threats against campesinos, adherents to the Other Campaign in Agua Azul; Urgent Action from CDH Frayba

August 19, 2008

Waterfalls at Agua Azul

As reported by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDH Frayba) in an Urgent Action released on August 1, 2008, members of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC) have threatened members of the San Sebatián Bachajón ejido (adherentes to the Other Campaign) with assault and eviction.

 

Urgent Action from CDH Frayba