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)

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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: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal

February 13, 2014

Colonia Puebla, Chenalho (@SIPAZ)

Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (@SIPAZ)

On 7 January, the 17 families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, returned to the Acteal community, given their conclusion that the necessary conditions which would allow for their stay in their community of origin do not exist.  Displaced in a conflict with Evangelicals over land on which they had been building a Catholic chapel, the 98 persons had been in the Puebla ejido for 20 days (since 17 January) to harvest and dry their coffee crops.

In a communique, those displaced from the Puebla Colony, the Parish Council of San Pedro Chenalhó, and the Las Abejas Civil Society explained that “the necessary conditions for us to remain in Puebla with peace and tranquility are absent.  Perhaps some believe that because some government officials have visited the community (including Governor Manuel Velasco), the problem has been solved.  The conditions for our return we have already explained to the government; these include the recognition of our property in the land on which is located the Catholic church, the recognition and reparation of damages incurred (both communal due to the destruction of the chapel and of communal houses), in addition to the personal damages we suffered due to robbery and degradation of the homes of the displaced.  We also ask that the various crimes to which we have been subjected not remain in impunity […].  We would like to believe that the visit of the governor is a reflection of his will to resolve the problem, but, as with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Michoacán, it is not enough to take a photo and make promises to resolve problems, while they in fact desire to solve everything with promises of support but they do not make justice.  As long as this is the case, there can be no solution.”

The groups denounced verbal aggressions and stoning to which they were subjected during their 20 days in the ejido, particularly as directed against Juan López Méndez, “who they greatly dislike, since, not being Catholic, he chose not to support the attacks on Catholics.”

In conclusion, the groups noted that “we would like to have peace and reconciliation in Puebla, as in all other communities.  We are open to dialogue, but what we cannot accept is impunity and the repetition of crimes, because we have seen that it was in this way that we were displaced in 1997.  Once again this happened in 2013, and all because of the same people, precisely because they have not been punished.  If they continue not to be, there will continue to be displacements.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Desplazados de la Col. Puebla Municipio de Chenalhó, regresan a Acteal(Comunicado de los Desplazados de la Col. Puebla, el Consejo Parroquial de San Pedro Chenalhó y la Sociedad Civil de las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de febrero de 2014)

Desplazados de Chenalhó exigen justicia y reparación de los daños (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Regresaremos hasta ver señales reales de justicia: desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

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: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)


Chiapas: Communique of the Las Abejas Civil Society, 22 November

December 8, 2013

Acteal (@SIPAZ)

Acteal (@SIPAZ)

On 22 November, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the 1997 Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society recalls its martyrs and newly indicated the intellectual authors of this cruel act: “Acteal has remained in the history of a country as a crime against humanity.  We would like strongly to note that Emilio Chuayfett, who in 1997 was Secretary of Governance of the administration of Ernesto Zedillo, when one of the worst massacres in the history of country [took place].  Now he is Secretary for Public Education (SEP) and [he is responsible] for the death of 45 of our brothers and sisters who were shot down during 6 hours.”

Las Abejas warned that “the paramilitaries are reactivating themselves because they have been released by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation, and they are now in the communities of Chenalhó.  In particular the ex-mayor Jacinto Arias Cruz from the Puebla Colony now is at large and still organizes his subordinates.  Due to the Supreme Court for Impunity in the Nation, our Catholic brothers and sisters find themselves displaced from the Puebla ejido, in addition to two Baptists.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Por culpa de la Suprema Corte de la Impunidad de la Nación se encuentra desplazados nuestros (as) hermanos (as) (22 de noviembre de 2012)

Revientan conferencia de Chuayfett en Madrid, por la matanza de Acteal(La Jornada, 9 de noviembre de 2013)

Increpan a Chuayffet en Madrid; le recriminan la matanza de Acteal(Proceso, 8 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 22 October communique from Las Abejas: “We continue to resist” (23 de octubre de 2013)

Chiapas: Press-conference by Las Abejas, 4 years after the beginning of the release of those incarcerated for the Acteal massacre (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society warns of violence in Chenalhó “reminiscent of the year 1997″ (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Survivor of Acteal massacre dies (16 November 2012)


Chiapas: 22 October communique from Las Abejas: “We continue to struggle and resist”

November 12, 2013

IMGP7678

Photo @SIPAZ

On 22 October 2013, in commemoration of the December 1997 Acteal massacre, members of the Las Abejas Civil Society published a denunciation contradicting an article from Milenio and stressing the continued existence of impunity in Mexico.

“We survivors and members of the Las Abejas organization would like to publicly correct a writer named SARA S. POZOZ who writes for Milenio.  On Saturday 5 October she claimed on that on 22 December 1997 a supposed group of paramilitaries invaded an Evangelical church and killed more than 40 Tsotsil indigenous persons from the Chenalhó municipality.  This claim does not specify who it was who killed our brothers [and sisters].  We would like to clarify that those who participated in the Acteal massacre are PRI Evangelicals and Cardenists who are our neighbors, and for this reason we make this claim.

This publication made by the writer is full of lies.  Is it not true then that she feels no shame for publishing lies that should never be published?  This we ask her: with what right does this journalist publish something on the conflict without having any idea what the roots of the conflict are?  She has no right to publish whenever she feels the desire to change the facts of the massacre; if she does not know, it would be better for her to be arrested.  The 45 brothers [and sisters] of ours and the four unborn were not Evangelicals, but instead were members of the Las Abejas Civil Society who struggled in favor of peace; they furthermore were Catholics.  They had been fasting and praying for two days to seek the well-being of our people and the world.  Their prayers and fasting sought peace, given that months previously there had been burning down of homes, robbery of possessions, and displacement as prosecuted by paramilitaries.

Our demand is against the material and intellectual authors of the Acteal massacre, though the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation has released the paramilitaries and never punished the planners of the attack.  For this reason we call them ministers of injustice.  The Abejas and survivors continue to struggle and resist; nearly 16 years have passed since the massacre but we still have yet to see justice done.  We are resolved to continue struggling peacefully; we will never agree with taking arms, robbing the things of others, or killing anyone who be the child of God–despite the fact that this is how the majority of Presbyterian act, as in the Puebla ejido.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Otros no se olvida (Milenio, 5 de octubre de 2013)

Las Abejas seguimos en pie de lucha pacífica en la resistencia y en la autonomía (22 de octubre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press-conference by Las Abejas, 4 years after the beginning of the release of those incarcerated for the Acteal massacre (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society warns of violence in Chenalhó “reminiscent of the year 1997″ (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)