Chiapas: mining reactivation is reported in the state

March 3, 2015
Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

In a statement released on February 14, the Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa in Chiapas affirmed that it had received a copy of a letter addressed to the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, which was signed by Dr. Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA). In this letter, the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to access their private and communal territories, and where, in a period of time of three months, he “has programmed to carry out geological mapping of the region comprised of the municipalities of Jitotol de Zaragoza, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Bochil, San Andrés Duraznal, El Bosque, Simojovel, Huitipán, Tapilula, Rayon, Pantepec, Allende Esquipulas, Las Maravillas, Union Zaragoza, Carmen Zacatal,Álvaro Obregón, Rincon Chamula, Competition, El Bosque, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Sitalá, San Juan Cancuc, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán”.

The Committee Digna Ochoa expressed that it “confirms that the government of Chiapas and mining companies are going for more territories and municipalities in the Northern region and Highlands of Chiapas and that the threat of looting and plunder is at the door of peasants and indigenous territories’ lands. (…) A door is opened to legalize the dispossession of land and resources belonging to hundreds of communities and indigenous and peasants peoples without an effective tool of legal defense such as the community consultation supported by ILO Convention 169”.

On February 11, the Believing People of the parish of Santa Catarina Pantelho organized a demonstration in the county seat of this municipality to announce its total rejection of the company GYMSA arrival.

In the last three governments in Chiapas, 144 mining concessions for exploration or exploitation have been granted (some of them for up to 50 years). Recently, in the natural reserve “El Triunfo”, municipality, and after months of opposition, the landowners gave up some plots to a Chinese company it is said for three million pesos per hectare.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se reactiva amenaza minera en municipios del norte de Chiapas, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de febrero de 2015)

Pantelho se moviliza en contra de los proyectos de minas (Espoir Chiapas, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Amenaza la minería a Chiapas; más de un millón hectáreas concesionadas (Reporte Ciudadano, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Tras meses de oposición labriegos de Chiapas aceptan vender parcelas a una minera china (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Carlos Slim, empresarios extranjeros y presta nombres, los dueños de concesiones mineras en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation from and announcement of action on part of the displaced from Banavil and the Aurora Ermita ejido

April 10, 2014

Conferencia de prensa, 31 de marzo de 2014 (@CDHFBC)

Press conference, 31 March 2014 (@CDHFBC)

On 31 March there was held a press conference which featured the displaced from Banavil (Tenejapa municipality) and from the Aurora Ermita ejido (Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán municipality), as well as representatives from the Coordination Table for the Defense of Human Rights.  They denounced the conditions of displacement which they currently suffer, and in light of the lack of responses from the authorities, they reported that on 4 April 2014 they would hold a march in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to demand their rights.

In the Banavil case, they denounced that “nearly a month after Alonso Guzmán López was imprisoned, the PRI is threatening relatives of the displaced by fabricating crimes so as to return them to prison because they supposedly have contact with governmental officials who sell themselves to incarcerate innocent persons.  Meanwhile, ten arrest orders have yet to completed against the aggressors of 4 December 2011.”  In the case of the Aurora Ermita ejido, they noted that “there are nine arrest-orders against the aggressors; two are imprisoned, so seven are left.”

They called on the government to soon return the displaced from Banavil and Aurora Ermita; to apply justice against those who have arrest-orders against them; to guarantee their security upon their return, so that these acts not recur; to clarify the disappearance of Alonso López Luna, an EZLN sympathizer from Banavil; and to comprehensively compensate the two groups of displaced, as mandated by the United Nations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Crean en Chiapas ONG en defensa de desplazados (La Jornada, 1ero de abril de 2014)

Comunicado de la Mesa de Coordinación por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en contra del desplazamiento forzado de las personas desplazadas de Banavil (31 de marzo de 2014)

Video de la conferencia de prensa (Koman Ilel, 31 de marzo de 2014)

Audio de la conferencia de prensa (Radio Pozol, 31 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Two years after the attack in Banavil, displacement and forced disappearance live on,” CDHFBC (9 December 2013)

Chiapas: Public denunciation from those displaced from Banavil (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: The displaced of Banavil, Tenejapa in “precarious and inhumane conditions” (8 April 2013)

Chiapas: CDHFBC published more information on the Banavil case, Tenejapa (9 February 2012)

Chiapas: elections in Chiapas; PRI-Green Alliance wins

July 10, 2012

1 July 2012 in SCLC (@SIPAZ)

On 1 July, beyond the presidential elections, the citizens of Chiapas also voted to elect a new governor, 122 mayors, and 41 local deputies.  Perhaps for the same reason that the local elections to choose mayors are the most popular, these elections saw a participation rate of 63%, an unprecedented percentage for the state.  Nonetheless, nearly 5% of the total were null votes.

Manuel Velasco Coello, candidate for the coalition Chiapas Unites Us (PRI-Green-PANAL), won the gubernatorial elections with a clear majority, giving the Green Ecological Party of Mexico its first governorship in history.  Some 58% of voters went for Velasco Coello, 23% for the PRD candidate María Elena Orantes, 12% for the PAN candidate Emmanuel Nivón, and 7% for Marcela Bonilla (POCh).  The statistics may not be final yet, given that the votes continue to be processed; regardless, the victory for Velasco Coello is clear.

The PRI-Green coalition, beyond winning the governorship, also obtained two offices of the Senate (Roberto Albores Gleason and Luis Armando Melgar), 12 federal deputy-ships, 24 offices in the local congress, and 90 of 122 municipalities.  The forces of the PRI and the PVEM will dominate the Chiapas congress, followed then by the PRD-PT-Progressive Movement alliance, with the PAN in third place.

In the presidential election, 11 of the 12 federal electoral districts went to the PRI in alliance with the PVEM, such that the alliance comprised of the PRD, PT, and the Citizens’ Movement won only district IX in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital.

These elections saw several incidents that made the state one of the most conflictive at the national level.  In Rincón Chamula, in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, PRI and PVEM sympathizers (in the municipal elections the two parties were separate) engaged in confrontations with firearms, leaving 3 dead, 3 injured, and several electoral booths burned to the ground.  In San Andrés Duraznal, three ballot packets were burned.  José Luis Zebadúa Maza, leader of the IEPC (the General Council of the Institute on Elections and Citizen Participation), minimized these electoral happenings.  Regardless, workers in the same organism denounced several other irregularities to the press.  Members of #IAm132 also have reported on several irregularities since the beginning of election day.

Beyond this, Rafael Hernández Soriano, representative of the PRD before the IEPC, challenged the functioning of the firm Proisi Group, as contracted by the PREP.  He indicated that the “failures” of the system that were registered by the end of the night on Sunday generated uncertainty and lack of confidence toward the local electoral process.  He noted that the firm in the north of the country and the program have not produced the wanted results; he calls on the IEPC and its advisors to be transparent in their contract with the company that could imply the spending of more than 100 million pesos.

For more information (in Spanish):

Programa de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (PREP)-Resultados completos (gobernador, diputados y ayuntamientos)

Obtiene PRI gubernatura y nueve diputaciones en Chiapas (Proceso, 2 de julio de 2012)

Por primera vez, aspirante del Verde obtiene Chiapas (El Universal, 2 de julio de 2012)

Reportan quema de papelería electoral en Mazatán, Chiapas (La Jornada, 2 de julio de 2012)

Chiapas: Denunciation of torture by FECDO agents

September 8, 2011

Press-conference @ SIPAZ

On 19 August, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBLC) denounced the torture, kidnapping, and violation of due process in the case of the brothers Andrés and Josué López Hernández, residents from the municipality of Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Chiapas, perpetrated by agents of the Special Police assigned to the Special Prosecutorial office against Organized Crime (FEDCO) from the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapoas.

Fabiola Calvo Jiménez, wife of Andrés, reported in a press-conference the following about the January detention: “Upon seeing that they were beating them violently, we wanted to intervene so as to stop it, but we only succeeded in having them beat us as well, pushing us with the babies that we had with us, threatening us with their firearms, telling us they would kill us if we did not be quiet.  In those moments we thought they were kidnappers.  Immediately afterward they covered their faces and took them out of the house beating them.  They were directed to a white truck and taken away.”

She continued to tell what happened afteward to the detained:  “My husband and brother-in-law were tortured in a bar and were thrown onto the floor of the FECDO office, where they were blindfolded and bound.  In the bar they disrobed my husband Andrés and later beat him in the stomach.  Until now my husband complains of pain in his left ribs.”  “We are indigenous people who speak Tsotsil and we have come to know our rights; we know we have the right  to stay close to our place of origin to be judged and that the same law supports us with translators and lawyers familiar with our customs.”  Calvo Jiménez also mentioned the long distance that family-members must cross to visit the Huixtla jail, where they are being held.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de Tortura de Andrés y Josue López Hernández, Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 August 2011

Boletín: Tortura y detención arbitraria cometidas por elementos de la FECDO a dos indígenas tsotsiles,, 19 August 2011

Tortura y detención arbitraria cometidas por elementos de la FECDO a dos indígenas tsotsiles Boletín Frayba, Zapateando, 19 August 2011

Frayba: Tortura y detención arbitraria cometidas por elementos de la FECDO a dos indígenas tsotsiles, El imparcial de Chiapas, 20 August 2011

Tortura policíaca, Noticias, 22 August 2011