Chiapas: Day of action for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal

November 21, 2015

Evento por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal. Foto: @Sipaz.

Event for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Photo: @Sipaz.

On 7 November there was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas an event for the release of political prisoners Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The event was organized by the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), together with the participation of relatives of prisoners who organize to affirm their rights in different Chiapas-state penitentiaries. At the event, there was read several communiques and an art-making activity was installed to express support for the liberation of both prisoners.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a U.S. journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party. He was incarcerated in 1982, accused of having murdered a police officer, though there is no evidence for this, and indeed considering testimony from witnesses who have come forward to declare that they were pressured into holding him responsible for the killing. Mumia was condemned by the judge “who is known to have condemned more Blacks to death than any other judge in the U.S.,” according to Nodo 50, in a country gripped by racism. During his 33 years in prison, Mumia has written nine books and produced more than 2,000 radio addresses. In March of this year, Mumia suffered serious health problems that were caused by a diabetic crisis, as the administration had denied him the necessary medical treatment. At present, he is slowly recovering.

Alejandro Díaz Santiz is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle issued by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), being the only member of those in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who continues behind bars. Incarcerated since 1999, “he has not given up and while in prison he politicized himself and organized […] by participating in hunger strikes. To date, he has lent his voice to denounce the abuses that the authorities commit in the prison,” notes the GTNET. On 10 September, Alejandro was transferred without warning to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) in Villa Comaltitlán, close to Tapachula. GTNET theorizes that “this forcible transfer is political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners. This brutal way of changing one’s prison, after having remained many years in the same place, is psycho-physical torture because it distances the prisoner from his family and network of friends.”

During the event, the conditions experienced at the state and national levels were also denounced, given that, according to a report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), “there is at present a 25.4% over-crowding of the prisons,” meaning that Mexican prisons hold more than 51,000 people beyond their capacity. In this way, the third visitor general of the CNDH argued that the crowding of prisons “is the result of the unmitigated use of imprisonment” amidst “excessive penal sentences,” leading to “violence, torture, abuse, and lamentable states of health and hygiene.”

For more information (in Spanish):

En Solidaridad con Alejandro Díaz Sántiz: nos organizamos contigo (CGT Chiapas, 9 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Jornada por la libertad de Alejandro Diaz Santiz y Mumia Abu Jamal (Amigos de Mumia México, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Expresiones de solidaridad por Alejandro Díaz Santiz, preso injustamente y trasladado a un penal de máxima seguridad (Kaos en la Red, 16 de sepiembre)

Nuevo penal viola garantías de chiapanecos; “Velasco no quiere contradecir a su jefe EPN”: abogado (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 14 de abril de 2015)

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

El Estado hace uso excesivo de las cárceles: CNDH; hay un 25.4% de sobrepoblación, alerta (Sin Embargo, 14 de octubre de 2015)

La historia de Mumia (Nodo 50, sin fecha)

El lento asesinato de Mumia Abu-Jamal (Ojarasca, abril de 2015)

Carta abierta por la vida, salud y libertad de Mumia Abu-Jamal (SubVersiones, 14 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis fasting to demand justice (11 October 2014)

Chiapas: 13 days of fasting and praying by Alejandro Díaz Santís to demand his release (14 July 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)


National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department

July 21, 2015


The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on the human-rights situation in Mexico. It indicated that, in 2014, the Mexican Army and security forces were involved in forcible disappearances and murder, as in the cases of the 43 disappeared youth from Ayotzinapa and the 22 civilians killed in Tlatlaya. In this sense, the report notes that “significant problems related to human rights include the police and military due to their involvement in serious abuses, such as extrajudicial murders, torture, forcible disappearances, and physical abuse.” Furthermore, the report shared the conclusions come to by Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, who denounced that these crimes are the consequence of the various irregularities that exist within the Mexican judicial system. “Impunity and corruption continue to be serious problems, particularly at the state and local levels, in the armed forces, and the judiciary,” the report notes. With reference to organized crime, it mentions that “organized-crime groups are also responsible for numerous murders, frequently acting with impunity and in alliance with corrupt state, local, and federal security officials.”

With respect to the Tlatlaya case in Mexico State, which took place on 30 June 2014, the report reviewed the confrontation between civilians and soldiers in which “22 individuals were killed under suspicious circumstances, some of them after having surrendered.” With regard to the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, the report sustained the conclusions which the Federal Attorney General’s Office had come to, maintaining the charges against the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, who were directly accused of responsibility for the disappearance of the students.

Beyond this, State highlighted other serious human-rights problems in Mexico, including the lamentable conditions in prisons and arbitrary arrests. In addition, the State report mentioned the death-threats and violence directed against human-rights defenders and journalists, abuse against migrants, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse against people with disabilities, social and economic discrimination against the indigenous population, the exploitation of child labor, and attacks and threats against the gay community.

It should be mentioned that the conclusions of the report will serve as evidence for the U.S. Congress to consider when reviewing the amount of economic assistance to be granted next year to Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos en materia de Derechos Humanos 2014, versión en inglés: Mexico 2014 Human Rights Report

Ejército y fuerzas de seguridad de México, involucradas en asesinatos y desaparición de personas: EU (Proceso, 25 de junio de 2015)

Unilateral informe de EU sobre derechos humanos, responde Gobierno de México (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de junio de 2015)

Impunidad y corrupción son “problemas serios” en México, advierte EU(CNN México, 25 de junio de 2015)

Chiapas: Alejandro Diaz denounces human rights violations by the new director of San Cristóbal de Las Casas prison

June 11, 2014
(@Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad)

(@Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad)

Alejandro Diaz Sántiz, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle who is incarcerated at the San Cristobal de Las Casas prison, reported that “since the arrival of this new director named José Israel López Escandon along with Commander Juan Humberto Pablo Vazquez, our rights and individual guarantees have been violated: there were very regrettable abuses such as intimidations against us and against our family members that come to visit us. They also suffer these violations by the guardians (male and female) by order of the director.” On June 1st, a visit came to see Alejandro Diaz and the entry to the prison was denied. He also questioned the behavior of the custodians that review things “such as food, fruits and vegetables, pozol and tortillas that visitors bring to share with their prisoners. These guardians seize most of the things. For us, as indigenous people, those are elements of our basic nutrition. What they seize gets lost, or maybe they consume it. “

He also noted that discrimination against them persists “for being indigenous and poor people […] The food they gave us previously has been reduced, along with the amount of tortillas. We spoke with José Asunción Chacón Mendes, but he says that he does not have sufficient resources, that the undersecretary has not deposited funds in the bank, and that the supplier was unable to provide the food that was needed in this prison.We know all of these are pretexts.”

Finally, he “called on President Enrique Peña Nieto and the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, to consider my early release because I have been unjustly imprisoned for over 15 years.”

For more information (in Spanish)

Denuncia de Alejandro Diaz Santiz Solidario De la Voz del Amate (Enlace Zapatista, 3 de junio de 2014)

Alejandro Díaz Santis, indígena injustamente preso, denuncia vulneración de sus derechos (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 3 de junio de 2014)

Niegan alimento a reos del penal de San Cristóbal. No hay recursos dice director (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Alejandro Díaz Santis from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Overcrowding of female prisoners and their children

September 26, 2011

Female prisoners and their children crowded in Oaxaca @

Patricia Briseño, reporting for CIMAC News, has denounced the overcrowding suffered by the 234 female prisoners held in the 14 institutions that exist in the state of Oaxaca, a demonstration of the situation of mistreatment to which women in the penitentiary system of the state are subjected.

In accordance with the state Secretary of Public Security (SSP), the number of female prisoners in the jails of Oaxaca represents 6 percent of the total prisoner population in the state.  In the jails are found those being held before trial as well as the sentenced, both by state civil and federal courts.

The majority of these women are poor and find themselves in the prisons of Ixcotel, Pochutla, and Tehuantepec, distributed in the 14 state prisons, given that there exists no institution solely for women.  Nearly all of the imprisoned have children younger than 5 years of age at their charge whom they care for and maintain with the help of no one, including penitentiary authorities that give them no special food for the children.  Some have been detained for drug-trafficking, others for homicide.

Concepción Núñez Miranda, author of the book Narcotrafficking, poverty, justice and human rights: indigenous women imprisoned for crimes against health, notes that as long as there is in Mexico no solution to the problem of extreme poverty, migration toward the north of Mexico or the US will continue, as will the imprisonment of more people for trafficking.

The state subsecretary for Prevention and Social Reinsertion, Emmanuel Castillo Ruiz, recognizes that the presence of children in the jails implies that they also will suffer the daily limitations resulting from prison overcrowding.

For more information (in Spanish):

Mujeres presas y sus hijos padecen hacinamiento en Oaxaca, CIMAC Noticias, 8 August 2011

Mexico: Prison issues intensified nationwide

December 3, 2008

On November 25, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) acknowledged in the 2008 National Report on Prison Supervision, that “for the third consecutive year” Chiapas, along with 7 other states, “has failed [to meet] conditions” in terms of human rights. The CNDH also stated that, “the dysfunctional prison systems in the majority of the country is one of the weakest parts of public security”.

In the case of Chiapas, the beginning of a hunger strike by dozens of prisoners in three different prisons in February of this year exemplified the problems in prisons as one of the biggest issues with the justice system. As a whole and to date, the government of Chiapas has freed more than 300 prisoners, however this has been done without publishing a list of names, or information about their political or organizational affiliations. However, it is known that 41 of those released had participated in the hunger strike.

Among the prisoners who initiated the hunger strike, six people remain incarcerated, all of them members of the groups “La Voz de Amate” and “La Voz de Los Llanos”, organizations which are members of the Other Campaign.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Diagnóstico Nacional de Supervisión Pentienciaria 2008, CNDH (noviembre de 2008)

Se agrava la problemática en las cárceles del país, según analisís de la CNDH, La Jornada (26/11/2008)