Guerrero: OFPM activist is detained despite having precautionary measures

February 8, 2012

Photo: Especial

Maximino García Catarino, member of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), was detained on 21 January in the community of Juquila, municipality Ayutla de Los Libres, by ministerial police of Guerrero.  He was placed in the custody of a judge, accused of the homicide of a PRI director in the zone which occurred in February 2011, reports the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had awarded García Catarino precautionary measures due to its conclusion that he ran grave risk following the detention, disappearance, torture, and murder of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, directors of the OFPM, whose bodies were found on 20 February 2009.

Lawyers from the organization have indicated that García Catarino was beaten by his captors: “they interrogated him regarding the whereabouts of other indigenous na savi persons (Mixtecos) and other leaders of the OFPM.  When Maximino García Catarino refused to answer, the police kicked and hit him throughout his body.”

Tlachinollan finds the detention of the indigenous man to be “arbitrary,” and it claimed the charge of homicide to be false.  The accusation, they said, contains grave irregularitie, and there are obvious contradictions in the testimonies; furthermore, there was deliberate manipulation of the body in question.

Amnesty International (AI) expressed its concern for the detention of the activist, given that there are indication of serious irregularities in the case, among them that he was subjected to torture after being arrested.  AI stressed that it has documented cases of indigenous activists in Ayutla de Los Libres, Guerrero, who face false criminal charges and have spent several years in prison, due to the fact that they were denied the right to a fair trial, and this case could be similar.

Tlachinollan has noted that the detention of Maximino García shows the persistence in Guerrero of the “deviant and illegitimate utilization of the institutions of justice to persecute and criminalize human-rights defenders.”  It also indicates that this act occurred in a moment of open deterioration of the human-rights situation in the state.  It claims as well that the defense of García Catarino has presented the declarations of three witnesses who assert that the suspect was working communally for his community at the precise hour and date of the murder.

A delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico visited the Mixteco indigenous man.  The objective of the visit was to document the situation in which he finds himself as well as to assess the presumed rights-violations he has suffered following his arrest.

On 27 January, upon the termination of the 144-hour limit for detention as established in the Constitution, the penal judge from the Allende juridical district (municipal head of Ayutla de Los Libres) sentenced Maximino García Catarino to further jail time.  The Mixteco activist has thus been deprived of his liberty by a penal process that accuses him of a crime that he did not commit.

For more information (in Spanish):

Activista de la OFPM, detenido a pesar de medidas cautelares (La Jornada, 26 January 2012)

Reprueba Amnistía Internacional detención de activista en Guerrero(Proceso, 25 January 2012)

Emprende Tlachinollan campaña urgente para liberar a líder indígena(La Jornada de Guerrero, 26 January 2012)

ACCIÓN URGENTE: Un defensor indígena de los derechos humanos se enfrenta a un jucio injusto (CDH Tlachinollan y Amnisitia Internacional, 26 January 2012)

Arrestan a defensor de DH protegido por la CIDH en Guerrero (La Jornada en Linea, 25 January 2012)

Detención arbitraria del Sr. Maximino García Catarino – MEX 002 / 0112 / OBS 013 (FIDH, 26 January 2012)

Seguridad y protección para Maximino García, defensor de derechos humanos mixteco (Red TDT, 25 January 2012)

México: Detención arbitraria del Sr. Maximino García Catarino(Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura, 26 January 2012)

Piden Amnistía Internacional y Misereor la libertad del dirigente mixteco de Ayutla (El Sur de Acapulco, 26 January 2012)

ONG piden juicio justo para activista de Guerrero (El Universal, 26 January 2012)

Visitan enviados de la ONU a activista preso (La Jornada, 27 January 2012)

Dictan Auto de Foral Prisión a Maximino Defensor Indígena en Guerrero (CDH Tlachinollan, 27 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

Guerrero – briefs: Teachers in Acapulco denounce extortion; 20 youth are kidnapped in Tierra Caliente; persecution against NGOs continues, says Tlachinollan; invitation to the XVI anniversary of the Communal Police

October 7, 2011

Photo: Cuartoscuro

Since 25 August, teachers in the suburban areas of Acapulco have denounced that they have been victims of kidnapping, extortion, and robbery of vehicles, for which reason they have decided to strike in hundreds of schools.  They have carried out marches and protests denouncing insecurity and extortion.  The number of extortion cases has tripled since 2004.  Ángel Aguirre Rivero, governor of the state, assured that it a meeting with the teachers to determine their return to classes is needed, as they cannot continue waiting.  He warned that if no agreement was reached, sanctions would be placed on the teachers.

In other news, on 25 September between 10:00 and 12:30 at least 20 youth were kidnapped in the municipalities of Cutzamala de Pinzón and Tlalchapa, Tierra Caliente, as confirmed by Aguirre Rivero.  He declared that an operation is being carried out in the zone due to the disappearance of these 20 persons.  Some of the kidnapped have been released, but the governor has rejected giving more details.  Those who have been found responsible for the the mass-kidnapping have been men in trucks who intercepted the victims in distinct actions: as they walked through the streets, rode on motorcycles, or simply were in their homes or workplaces.  The region of Tierra Caliente is presently suffering much insecurity and violence.  The previous week was reported another six kidnappings, all in the municipality of Tlalchapa.  On 28 September, a man and woman were executed in the community of La Iguana, municipality Coyuca de Catalán in this same zone.  The man was identified with a person kidnapped on 15 September in Altamirano; the woman continues to be unknown.

Beyond this, two years after the Bar Association of Lawyers of England and Wales (BHRC) visited Guerrero, the situation of human rights in the state has not improved, in accordance with the report presented by the BHRC on 21 September in Chilpancingo.  The authorities continue to harass defenders of individual rights and have not rectified the irregularities in the judicial system, says the report.  An example of this is that there has been no punishment for those who in 2009 murdered Raúl Lucas and Manuel Ponce, militants of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OPFM), nor for the killers of Lorenzo Fernández Ortega, murdered this very year.  He was the brother of the indigenous woman Inés Fernández Ortega, who was sexually assaulted by soldiers in 2002; both pertained to the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).  Vidulfo Rosales, law coordinator of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, has lamented that the state government continues to deny justice to victims.

Lastly, the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC), in the mark of its XVI anniversary, has called with other organizations for the XXX meeting of the National Indigenous Congress.  The event, entitled “For the defense of our territories,” will be held on 14 and 15 October in the community Paraje Montero, municipality of Malinaltepec, in the region of La Montaña.  There will be 3 work-tables on “defense of territory,” “articulation of indigenous movements,” and “alternative media.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Endurece Aguirre su postura y advierte el cese de maestros de Acapulco si no regresan a clases (Sur de Acapulco, 29 September)

La industria de la extorsión, un boom en #Guerrero (Animal Político, 26 September)

Miles de profesores marchan en Acapulco; exigen medidas reales de seguridad (Animal Político, 22 September)

Miles de profesores marchan en Acapulco; exigen seguridad (La Jornada, 22 September)

Guerrero confirma plagio de 20 jóvenes (El Universal, 27 September)

Ejecutan en Coyuca de Catalán a un joven que estaba secuestrado y a una mujer (Sur de Acapulco, 29 September)

Persiste persecución a ONG en Guerrero: Tlachinollan (La Jornada, 28 September)

Convocatoria XVI aniversario de la CRAC-PC

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Mobilization of the Communal Police against mining (9 August)

Guerrero: Lucio Cabañas’ widow and her sister are murdered (17 July)

Guerrero: Second murder of ecologists in the Sierra de Petatlán (9 June)

Guerrero: The ecologist campesino Javier Torres Cruz is murdered (6 May 2011)

Guerrero – briefs:  Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena (28 December 2010)

Guerrero – briefs: Human-rights centers meet with Governor Aguirre; IACHR requests protection for Torres family in the Sierra de Petatlán; CECOP celebrates its 8th anniversary

August 18, 2011

Eighth anniversary of the CECOP.  @Jóvenes en Resistencia Alternativa

On 2 August, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (CRFK) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights reported that they had had a meeting with Ángel Aguirreo Rivero, governor of the state, and Alberto López Rosas, State Attorney General, as well as several other state functionaries.  The meeting had the objective of discussing the observance of the provisional measures granted to members of the Organization of Me’phaa Indigenous Peoples (OPIM), the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), and Tlachinollan.  The question of the implementation of the sentences handed down by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo against the Mexican State was also raised.  At the end of the meeting, Aguirre committed himself to observing the sentences of the IACHR in both cases and assured that the state government is committed to reiterating its recommendation that the investigations be transferred to the appropriate federal institution.  Furthermore, the government committed itself to soon reinstalling the public-security units for the protection of the offices of Tlachinollan in Ayutla de Los Libres.

In other news, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested that the State authorities urgently grant protective measures to the relatives of Javier Torres Cruz, a campesino who was murdered on 18 April in the community of La Morena, Petatlán.  The measures that the IACHR is demanding for the Torres family are due to the incursion on 21 July by armed men dressed as Marines and civilians into the community of La Morena which developed into a confrontation with state police who were guarding the area.  The harassment against Javier Torres and his family began starting in 2007 when police were told that evidence had been found regarding the presumed murderer of the lawyer Digna Ochoa.

Finally, on 28 July in the community of Aguacaliente, a rural part of Acapulco, the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota (CECOP) commemorated the eighth anniversary of its struggle against the construction of the La Parorta dam.  Felipe Flores, spokesperson for CECOP, stressed that those who formerly had been in favor of the dam “now are on our side; that gives us much strength.  Today we celebrate eight years of struggle.  To live it is difficult because it implies much exertion.”  He also mentioned that “now the members of CECOP have a responsibily and a commitment, because other organizations have approached us to ask us how we have kept up the fight.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado CRFK y Tlachinollan (2 August)

Pide la CIDH medidas cautelares para familiares de Javier Torres (La Jornada, 4 August)

Pide la Comisión Interamericana protección para la familia Torres de la sierra de Petatlán (El Sur de Acapulco, 4 August)

Celebra el Cecop octavo aniversario (La Jornada, 29 July)

Fotos del aniversario del CECOP (Jóvenes en resistencia alternativa, 3 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (February 4, 2011)

Guerrero: “Indigenous peoples are subject to rights and are not electoral merchandise” (February 4, 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota (January 13, 2011)

Guerrero: Lucio Cabañas’ widow and her sister are murdered (17 July)

Guerrero: The ecologist campesino Javier Torres Cruz is murdered (6 May 2011)

Guerrero – briefs:  Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena (28 December 2010)

Guerrero: Torres reappears with signs of torture (29 December 2008)

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: the bodies of two mixteco leaders, reported dissapeared since February 13, are found

February 24, 2009

On February 22, 2009, the bodies of two members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (Organización para el Futuro del Pueblo Mixteco, OFPM), who had been reported disappeared, were discovered. On February 13, Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, president and secretary of the OFPM, were forcibly abducted by 3 armed men who were presumed to be agents of the Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM). These armed men arrived at a public event taking `place in the town of Ayutla de los Libres, they threatened Ponce Rosas and Lucas Lucía, and forced them into a car without license plates.

According to the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan), “Participating at the same event was the director of Public Security of Ayutla, an ex-military member, Luis José Sánchez Hernández who along with police escorts left the event just minutes before Raúl Lucas and Manual Ponce were abducted in a car without license plates and taken to an unknown location”.

On Sunday morning, February 22, the wives of Lucas Lucía and Ponce Rosas identified their husbands’ bodies in the Forensic Medical Center in Acapulco. The bodies were found buried 80 centimeters underground in plastic bags. Their bodies showed clear signs of torture and execution.

The two members of the OFPM had worked for many years as human rights defenders for indigenous peoples in the mixteco region. Amnesty International, in an urgent action report on the February 16, stated that “the disappearance of Manuel Ponce Rosas and Raúl Lucas Lucía could have been motivated by the work that both have done promoting human rights of the indigenous mixteco people of the region”.

In its communiqué on February 22, the CDHM Tlachinollan stated: “As Human Rights Center we are convinced that the killing of these indigenous human rights defenders is a “crime of the state”, because it has not made guarantees for the safety of human rights defenders so that they can carry out their work, in addition it has failed to ensure that they are not the target of attacks, threats, forced disappearances, and assassination as a consequence of their work”.

For More Information:

Mexico: Alleged enforced disappearance of indigenous rights defenders, Mr Manuel Ponce Rosas and Mr Raúl Lucas Lucía (Frontline Defenders, 2/17)

Urgent Action from Amnesty International “Mexico: Further Information on Fear for safety” (2/25)

More Information (In Spanish):

Comunicado del CHDM Tlachinollan (22/2/09)

AU de Amnestia Internacional “Posible desaparición / temor por la seguridad” (16/2/09)

Crimen de Estado, la doble ejecución de líderes mixtecos, asegura ONG: La Jornada (23/2/09)

El doble homicidio, un crimen de Estado, acusa Tlachinollan: La Jornada Guerrero (23/2/09)