Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce harassment of members of their organization

December 26, 2015

(@ SIPAZ)

(@ SIPAZ)

On 2 December, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal denounced that three families from its organization had been harassed in the Chenalhó municipality by the agent Antonio Vázquez Gutiérrez and the popular assembly of Los Chorros. As residents of the Jordan River neighborhood of the Miguel Utrilla district of Los Chorros, the families were obliged to accept a governmental project “service” involving sanitation drainage. Furthermore, two men of these families were punished with a fine of 5,000 pesos for having refused communal responsibilities. As members of the Las Abejas Civil Society, an autonomous organization, they do not receive any support from the government and do not pay taxes. In place of this, they demanded that their posture be respected, but the threats on the part of leaders of the assembly and the municipal agent have continued. In this sense, on 24 November Las Abejas submitted a letter to the mayor of Chenalhó, Rosa Peréz Pérez, requesting her urgent intervention to avoid greater threats and violence. Pérez Pérez “has not observed her obligation of protecting the human rights of those under her jurisdiction, even when she had the information at hand to resolve the problem. For this reason the intervention took place.” This made it possible that on 30 November, residents of the Jordan River presented themselves to the homes of three families to cut their water and electricity services. Las Abejas indicated in its communique that the action was led by the municipal agent, and that ex-members of the organization and paramilitaries who participated in the Acteal massacre in 1997 also took part. “The action provoked great fear among the children and the women due to the precedent that exists in the community […]. We find ourselves confronting a human-rights violation.”

The case of Los Chorros is not an aberration: in the Puebla neighborhood a member of Las Abejas has been imprisoned for having refused charges. Other members of Las Abejas from the Kexaluk’um neighborhood who belong to the Xunuch community “are threatened with this month having their electricity cut, if the Directive Table does not ‘convince’ the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) […].” The demands of Las Abejas are unequivocal:

1.) Urgent reconnection to electricity and water services for the affected families, and that the free self-determination of persons and organizations be respected.

2.) Respect for the resistance and autonomy of the comrades.

3.) Determination of the non-approach of those involved in the Acteal massacre to the communities, families, and individuals associated with our organization.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Agresión a miembros de Las Abejas en la colonia Los Chorros, cuna de los paramilitares (Las Abejas de Acteal, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

#Denuncia de la Sociedad Civil de Las Abejas ante el hostigamiento que sufren tres familias en los Chorros (Koman Ilel, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

Las abejas de Acteal, se niegan aceptar programas sociales (Quadratin chiapas, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas reject ‘friendly solution’ with Mexican State (25 October 2015)

Chiapas: Monthly commemoration by Las Abejas de Acteal (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce 6 years of release of paramilitaries (10 September 2015)

Chiapas: A member of the Las Abejas Civil Society is murdered (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: TPP pre-audience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)

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Chiapas: youth denounce rights-violations, impunity, and lack of justice in Puebla

May 3, 2014

@chiapasdenuncia

@chiapasdenuncia

On 26 April, youth from the Chenalhó parish carried out a pilgrimage in solidarity with the formerly displaced members of the Puebla Colony who recently returned to their community, these being the same ones who spent 9 months in Acteal; the mobilization was taken also to denounce the violence that is increasing in general terms.

In their communique, the youth confessed their concern for the “violence and insecurity that we experience in Mexico and in the world,” rejecting the prevailing impunity in the country.  They demanded justice for those returned from Puebla and denounced that justice “is not applied” and that those returning from the Puebla ejido continue to suffer from intimidation.

Finally, addressing themselves to the state and federal governments, the youth emphasized that they hold them responsible “for whatever might happen in the Puebla Colony if justice is not done to those who are truly responsible.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de los jóvenes de la parroquia de San Pedro Apostol(Chiapas denuncia pública, 29 de abril del 2014)

Peregrinan contra la violencia (Diario de Chiapas, 27 de abril del 2014)

Peregrinación de jóvenes creyentes, de la parroquia de San Pedro Chenalhó, contra la violencia y la impunidad (Chiapas denuncia pública, 25 de abril del 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)


Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice

May 2, 2014

Retorno de desplazados en Colonia Puebla (@SIPAZ)

Return of the displaced to Puebla Colony (@SIPAZ)

On 22 April, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre (1997), the Las Abejas Civil Society challenged the Mexican justice system by calling into question the responsibility of the two persons arrested in the Puebla Colony on the charge of burning the home of one of the ejidal members who were at that time displaced in Acteal.  Referring to the case of the three prisoners who were recently released, they affirmed that “we think that the government is acting in the same way as with the three persons from Simojovel […].  The three were accused of fabricated charges and were tortured as though they weren’t human […].  They were unjustly punished.  Would this be because as indigenous persons they discriminate against us and insult us with all these cruel and inhuman acts, treating as though we were not human.”  They remarked that “indeed, they have not arrested those who kidnapped Father Manuel Pérez Gómez” in Puebla in August of last year.  They asked, “Would this be because this is the custom of the government, to arrest rapidly those who are innocent and do nothing to those who are in fact culpable?”

With regard to the return of the displaced from the Puebla Ejido on 14 April, the Las Abejas Civil Society denounced that “this was a return without justice, a return lacking the security conditions so that they could return to their homes; this return does not imply that the problem has now been resolved.  It is only because it was very difficult to live in camps that our brothers decided to return.  These 17 families now returned have experienced displacement twice,” previously in 1997.  The Las Abejas indicated that in this sense, the Secretary General of Governance, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, warned that, if problems continued, “what will follow will not be dialogue but instead application of the law.”  The spokesperson added that Las Abejas would not accept “this climate of injustice” and would continue denouncing and seeking “true Justice and Peace.”  The Society requested that the ejidal commissioner of the Puebla ejido “build peace and unity among all members of the community without regard to religion or political organization, because we are all children of God.  Those who recognize God’s word should not be violent with their brothers or make false accusations; they should instead love all and respect their human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (22 de abril de 2014)

Abejas de Acteal denuncia prefabricación de “culpables” en el caso de agresiones contra desplazados (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)


Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community

April 26, 2014

Retorno de las familias desplazadas en Colonia Puebla. Foto (@Sipaz)

Return of the displaced families to the Puebla ejido. Photo (@Sipaz)

As they had announced in their press-conference on 12 April, the displaced from the Puebla ejido returned to their homes on 14 April, after spending nearly nine months outside of their community.

Before the mass presided over by Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, that was given on the land recently granted to the Catholics, the displaced shared their words.  They once again affirmed that their return has been performed without any sort of justice having been done, and they stressed the role of the authorities in what had passed: “if something happens, it will be their responsibility,” they told the Secretary of Governance, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, and the Subsecretary for Religious Affairs, Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa, who were present at the event, as was the CNDH (National Commission on Human Rights).

Both the bishop and the representatives of the displaced and the parish council of Chenalhó insisted that what was most important was justice, and that the displaced must “continue struggle toward it.”  The bishop emphasized the suffering that the displaced families and Father Manuel (parishioner of Chenalhó) had experienced, and he insisted that those who had supported them “should continue doing so, not only at the material level but also toward the end of achieving peace, harmony, and reconciliation.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Retornaron 17 familias indígenas desplazadas al poblado de Puebla, municipio de Chenalhó (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de abril de 2014)

Retornan desplazados al ejido Puebla en Chiapas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan desplazados a comunidad (Cuarto Poder, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan a sus hogares 17 familias de tsotsiles desplazados (Proceso, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas : “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)


Chiapas : “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido

April 26, 2014

Conferencia de prensa de los desplazados de Colonia Puebla. Foto (@Sipaz)

Press-conference of those displaced from the Puebla ejido. Photo (@Sipaz)

At 10am on Friday 11 April, there was held a press-conference at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights by representatives of the 17 families of the Puebla ejido who find themselves displaced for nearly a year in Acteal due to aggressions they suffered in their community of origin.

Following a failed attempt to return on 20 August 2013 and a temporary return in January to harvest coffee crops, the displaced decided to return to their community.  In a communique, they noted that the problems have not been resolved, but that “life in a camp of displaced persons is very difficult” and that they must “work [their] milpas and coffee-crops so as to sustain our families.”

They termed their return a “return without justice,” denouncing that little to no progress has been made in these terms: “impunity continues.  The aggressors have not received any punishment.”  The representatives indicated the existence of a two-tiered justice system, given that there are problems which have yet to be resolved for years “in the cases in which there has been evident complicity on the part of the communal authorities.”  In contrast, said authorities proceeded quickly to detain three colleagues of the displaced when they were accused of having poisoned the community’s water supply and to arrest two men for the burning of the home Macario Arias Gomez a month ago–these being people who had nothing to do with the crime, according to the displaced.

The displaced Catholics clarified that “we hold the authorities responsible for applying the law as they should” and noted that they had “never attacked anyone,” believing instead that “all members of other religions are our brothers and sisters, and we await the possibility of advancing with them toward the construction of a peaceful coexistence in our community.”  Lastly, they once again stressed that “the great missing factor here is the situation of justice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de los desplazados del ejido Puebla sobre su retorno (11 de abril de 2014)

Convocatoria a acompañar el retorno de desplazados del ejido Puebla, Chenalhó, Chiapas (11 de abril de 2014)

Retornan a su tierra desplazados del Ejido Puebla (La Jornada, 11 de abril de 2014)

Transmisión Conferencia de Prensa Desplazados del Ejido Puebla (Koman Ilel, 11 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)


Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony “an insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society)

March 30, 2014

Casa de familia desplazada quemada en Colonia Puebla (@Koman Ilel)

House of displaced family burned in the Puebla Colony (@Koman Ilel)

In observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre in the Chenalhó municipality, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a communique referring to the context in the Puebla Colony which pertains to this municipality: “although they arrested two persons as the presumed responsible [ones] for the burning of the house of our brother Macario Arias Gómez, it is very clear that it is a move to merely cover up the shame of the bad government of Manuel Velasco Coello, because those displaced from Puebla clarified that those two persons have never entered the conflict of the Catholic land in the community in mention.”

They stressed that “We members of the civil and peaceful organization qualify this type of ‘justice’ applied by the bad government of Manuel Velasco with the arrest of 2 persons as those presumed responsible for the burning of the house as being an insult to the displaced Catholics from the Puebla Colony, who since August 2013 have sought justice, compensation, and return.”

It should be recalled that since 12 March, Maximiliano Sántiz Cruz and Domingo Cruz Méndez have been held by the Special Prosecutorial Office on Indigenous Justice for the crime of arson.  Stressing their “opportune attention to the case,” the state government stressed that the ejidal authorities of Puebla “assisted with the identification and arrest of those presumed responsible.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (22 de marzo de 2014)

Atención oportuna al ejido Puebla: ERA (Cuarto Poder, 23 de marzo de 2014)

Detienen a dos tzotziles por quemar casas en Chiapas (El Universal, 12 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

 


Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested

March 16, 2014

Acteal (@Espoir Chiapas)

Acteal (@Espoir Chiapas)

On 12 March, the house of the family of Normelina Hernández López and Macario Arias Gómez was burned to the ground in the Puebla Colony.  The family is one of 17 others that was forcibly displaced from the community in August 2013 and now has taken refuge in the Acteal community.  The previous week there had already been burned the door of a catechismal house.  The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights indicated that “these acts took place despite the presence of approximately 30 officers from the State Preventive Police who seemed not to notice.”  For this reason, the Center expresses its “concern over the persistence of the violence climate and for the risky situation in which the forcibly displaced families find themselves.  In light of the gravity of the latest events, return looks more difficult.  For the situation we find the governmental authorities responsible by omission, for, instead of administering justice, they maintain and permit an impunity that generates tension and violence.”

Since April 2013, Catholics and Evangelicals from the Puebla Colony have been in conflict regarding land on which had been located a Catholic chapel.  On 23 February, the state government awarded the land in dispute to the San Cristóbal de las Casas diocese and for this reason, the displaced announced that they would return to their community on 14 March, a return that was cancelled after the burning of a door of the catechismal house.

Sources within the Chiapas state government reported that two people have been arrested from the Puebla ejido for the burning of the house of the family of Macario Arias and placed under the control of the State Preventive Police (PEP).

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman casa de familia desplazada del ejido Puebla (Parroquia de Chenalhó y desplazados de Colonia Puebla, 12 de marzo de 2014)

 Boletín: Persiste la violencia contra las personas desplazadas forzadamente del ejido Puebla (CDHFBC, 13 de marzo de 2014)

Pobladores del ejido Puebla, en Chenalhó, incendian vivienda de familia católica (La Jornada, 13 de marzo de 2014)

 Incendian dos casas de indígenas en Chiapas (El Universal, 12 de marzo de 2014)

Detiene a dos tzotziles por quemar casas en Chiapas (El Universal, 12 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal (13 February 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)