Chiapas: Pueblo Creyente organize a pilgrimage on the seventh anniversary of jTatik Samuel Ruiz

February 3, 2018

Photo @SIPAZ

On January 25, the People of Faith (Pueblo Creyente) organized a pilgrimage to honor jTatik Samuel Ruiz, commemorating the 7th anniversary of his death. According to the newspaper Cuarto Poder, “more than five thousand Catholics of the 57 parishes of the diocese of San Cristóbal” participated in the pilgrimage through the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas before gathering in the Plaza Catedral to celebrate a mass officiated by the new bishop, Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, who was accompanied by the bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, Raúl Vera López. Aguilar Martinez stressed in his homily that “we learn from St. Paul and also from so many who in the history of this diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas have spent their lives preaching with their words and their works the magnificent announcement of God’s love in Christ.”

Pueblo Creyente reaffirmed that we are aware of the reality that we live in, and we are moving in many places and in many ways, we have the firm task to go on struggling for freedom, peace with justice and dignity for the benefit of the people, uniting us in a common struggle and building alternatives; and before the indiscriminate exploitation of the Gifts of Creation, today we are also an example and a proof of organization in defense and care of Mother Earth. “

The banners that they carried during their pilgrimage were painted with texts denouncing social and political conflicts. They reflected the issues presented in thier statement, where they strongly rejected the plunder of Land and Territory and the privatization of natural ressources, the effects of the so called “structural reforms”, the corruption and impunity and the fact that “throughout the country, and particularly in Chiapas, adequate consultations are not carried out when laws are drafted or projects are developed that affect the territories and rights of indigenous peoples”. The large number of pilgrims exceeded the participation of the pilgrimages in the previous years.

For more information (in Spanish):

Realizan peregrinación en honor al obispo Ruiz García (Cuarto Poder, 26 de enero 2018)

Pueblo Creyente peregrina en el séptimo aniversario de la pascua de jTatik Samuel Ruiz (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/International: The Zoque Believing People to Receive 2017 Nobel Peace Prize October 28, 2017

Chiapas: Zoque People Mobilizing against Mega-projects in Chiapas July 3, 2017

Chiapas: Believing People Pilgrimage February 5, 2017

Chiapas: Public proclamation on the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power in San Cristóbal

December 26, 2015


Public proclamation in San Cristóbal of the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power (@SIPAZ)

On 5 December, more than 15,000 people, the majority of them indigenous, as well as representatives from seven countries in Central and South America, marched and held a rally in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to proclaim the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power. This initiative seeks to establish the basis for a new political Constitution in Mexico, which would refound the nation and lead to a new social contract.

Raúl Vera López, former assistant bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and present bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, led the event at which the indigenous protestors gave him a command scepter. The bishop acknowledged that the Zapatista uprising of 1994 represented the “ferment” of a new constitutional power, but that at present “it it not just our Mayan brothers and sisters who seek a new social contract, but rather all Mexicans.” He asserted that “we do not want this deviation of power whereby the authority we delegate in a government becomes perverse, placing our resources and lands in the hands of multinational corporations and their home governments and states. Instead, these must be placed at the service of all Mexicans who want peace with justice and development with dignity.”

The Council of the Popular Citizens’ Constitutional Power in Chiapas stressed that “today is an historical day that will be remembered throughout Chiapas and Mexico, because the presence of thousands of people is a clear demonstration that the people have recognized how disastrous our living conditions are, and have armed themselves with valor and dignity, taking on the responsibility of transforming this reality.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan miles en Chiapas para proclamar una nueva Constitución (La Jornada, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Tribunal Permanente de Pueblos urge a la refundación del país (Proceso, 6 de diciembre de 2015)

Presentan indígenas su constituyente ciudadana (El Universal, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Sitio de la iniciativa:

Chiapas: Annual report from Frayba on “Human-Rights Insurgency”

November 21, 2015

Foto @ SIPAZ

Participation by Estela Barco during presentation of report @ SIPAZ

On 5 November, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report that carries the title “The Human-Rights Insurgency,” which deals with the “perspective, questions, and situations” that the CDHFBC has documented and monitored in Chiapas from March 2014 to March 2015. During the presentation of the document, several members of the directive council of CDHFBC spoke, including Blanca Martínez Bustos, director of the Fray Juan de Larios Center for Human Rights; Jorge Santiago Santiago; Estela Barco Huerta, general coordinator for the Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans; and the president of the council, jtatik Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo.

The CDHFBC described the present context as a moment that “is a dark time, amidst the implementation of saddening repressive measures that constitute State terrorism, whereby military occupation and the state of siege are normalized. With this, the violations that make up crimes against humanity such as torture, forcible disappearance, extrajudicial executions, femicide, and forcible displacement, among other crimes, are daily occurrences in Chiapas and Mexico.”

The document proclaims the comprehensive defense of human rights that is the work of the CDHFBC. The questions it addressed include torture, impunity, defense of land and territory, as well as the ongoing war context, which in the report corresponds to four chapters: Torture, an implicit negation; A look at the cracks of impunity; War in Chiapas, territory, and peoples; and Reality of war-context.

The CDHFBC expressed that torture “is engrained and generalized in the Mexican justice system, and it is not only denied but even rationalized.” From the perspective of historical memory, remembrance is the principal pillar “of the struggle of victims and their families in the cases of crimes against humanity […]. They collectively protect and transmit memory against forgetting and impunity.” With regard to the “internal armed conflict in Chiapas,” the “communities and organizational processes persist and resist in defense of their autonomy and territory amidst State policies that seek to plunder land, spirit, and culture.” Lastly, the chapter on “Reality” is dedicated to the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014 in La Realidad, official municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos

Boletín Frayba presenta su Informe Anual: La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos (CDHFBC, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Despojo territorial, espiritual y cultural, una constante en Chiapas: Frayba (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba” (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


Guerrero: Caravan “A light against impunity” ends in Acapulco after visiting Ayutla de Los Libres

February 14, 2014

Raúl Vera López, Ayutla de los Libres, febrero de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Raúl Vera López, Ayutla de los Libres, February 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 11 February, the caravan “A light against impunity” led by the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl López Vera, visited the municipalities of Ayutla de los Libres and Acapulco.

In Ayutla de los Libres, there was held a march comprised of indigenous persons, members of social organizations such as the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), and communal police from the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC).  Upon the arrival of the march to the principal plaza, a rally was held.  Survivors of the El Charco massacre demanded from bishop Raúl Vera López the demilitarization of the region and compensation for the deaths of the 11 campesinos killed by the Mexican Army nearly 16 years ago.  Families of the Communal Police from the El Paraíso House for Justice demanded the release of nine detained persons being held in Acapulco.

Raúl Vera López called on the state government to invest in the communal system of the CRAC, which he finds to be “exemplary” as an alternative to harassment and incarceration.  He called on members of the CRAC to protect the authenticity of their organizational process and not to allow themselves to be corrupted.  He also pronounced himself in favor of the clarification of the El Charco massacre and a cessation of the militarization of the area.

The caravan ended this same day in Acapulco, where it also held a rally in the zócalo.

For more information (in English):

Vital, la policía comunitaria en Guerrero, dice el obispo Vera (La Jornada, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Recomienda Raúl Vera al gobierno invertir en el sistema de la Crac (La Jornada de Guerrero, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Mixtecos piden salida del Ejército en Guerrero (Milenio, 11 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Beginning of Civil Observation Mission “A light against impunity”(14 February 2014)

Guerrero/National: Network Solidarity Decade against Impunity denounces intimidation against two members days before Observation Mission to Guerrero (5 February 2014)

Guerrero: Beginning of Civil Observation Mission “A light against impunity”

February 14, 2014

Raúl Vera López (@Desde abajo; archivo)

Raúl Vera López (@Desde abajo; archivo)

On 9 February there began the Civil Observation Mission “A light against impunity” in Guerrero, which is slated to visit several municipalities to document violations of the human rights of social activists in the state.  Led by Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the mission includes among other civil and social organizations (local, national, and international) the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity, the Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, the Guerrerense Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations (REDGROAC), the Front of Democratic Organizations of Guerrero State (FODEG), the Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Guerrero, and SIPAZ.

The visit began in Iguala where dozens of campesinos welcomed the observation mission with flower necklaces.  A contingent of workers from the Taxco mine similarly welcomed the delegates by taking off their helmets.  The mission was received by Sofía Lorena Mendoza Martínez, wife of the deceased Arturo Hernández Cardona, leader of Popular Unity in this municipality, who was kidnapped together with seven comrades on 30 May 2013.  Three of them were killed and all showed signed of torture.  Suspicions abound in terms of the involvement of councilmember José Luis Abarca.  The Taxco miners denounced for their part that despite their strike of 6.5 years against the Mexico Group, the federal government continues without attending to their demands. Before those present, Raúl Vera warned that “These politicians who now persecute and hurt you should know that they are now observed by society, that they are not fully removed [from their actions], and that justice will be done, however late it comes.”

The Mission then traveled to the capital, Chilpancingo, where bishop Vera offered a mass in front of the cathedral, noting that “there is a persecution of human-rights defenders, social activists, and all those who have the courage to defend human rights […].  Human-rights defenders become the enemies because they want to establish a regime that is different from the status quo–that is all.”

The bishop said that other paths must be taken to achieve peace: “it must be a peaceful path of reason, demanding that those who govern us establish the state of right and do not bear complicity with those who hire them, because there are strong feelings suggesting that these murders (of social activists) are performed by hired killers, in place of establishing true social justice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunes, el secuestro y asesinato de tres luchadores sociales en Iguala, Guerrero (La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Critica Raúl Vera que el Estado trate como enemigos a luchadores sociales(La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Pide Vera en Chilpancingo que cesen los crímenes contra los luchadores sociales (EL Sur de Acapulco, 10 de febrero)

Guerrero: crisis profunda (La Jornada, 7 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: Network Solidarity Decade against Impunity denounces intimidation against two members days before Observation Mission to Guerrero (5 February 2014)

Guerrero: 3 of 8 disappeared PRD Members found dead in Iguala (10 June 2013)

Guerrero/National: Solidarity Network Decade against Impunity denounces intimidation against two members days before Observation Mission to Guerrero

February 5, 2014


On 28 January, María Magdalena López Paulino and Ericka Zamora Pardo, members of the Solidarity Network Decade against Impunity, were intimidated just days before the visit they were planning to Guerrero as part of a Civil Observation Mission that seeks to document the violations of the human rights of social activists in the state.

The two denounced that they were meeting at a restaurant in Mexico City to plan the final details of the mission which is to take place 9-10 February and be led by the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera López.  At the meeting were also present Jorge Salazar Marchán, president of the Commission on Human Rights from the Guerrero State Congress, and the film-maker Braulio Gutiérrez Hidalgo y Costilla, who will present the documentary El Charco, the Republic of Silence during the observation mission.  Several military-looking persons were filming the restaurant meeting for more than 4 hours, and López Paulino and Zamora Pardo were followed after leaving the space.  Later, police from the Secretary of Governance arrived to arrest and transfer them to the Public Ministry.  For this reason, the Network has written authorities to demand a clarification of the events and the protection of the rights-defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

AU: Seguimiento policiaco a las Defensoras de DDHH María Magdalena Lopéz Paulino y Ericka Zamora Pardo, integrantes de la Red Solidaria Década Contra la Impunidad (31 de enero de 2014)

Intimidan a activistas que vendrán con Raúl Vera (La Jornada de Guerrero, 2 de febrero de 2014)

Interponen queja por hostigamiento contra tres activistas (Proceso, 29 de enero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero: 14th anniversary of the El Charco massacre (17 June 2012)

Chiapas: Awarding of Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Recognition

February 3, 2014

(@koman ilel)

(@koman ilel)

On 21 January 2014, the jTatic Samuel, jCanan Lum Award was given to the Migrants House, the House of the Wandering jTatic Samuel Ruiz García of Pakal-na, based in Palenque, Chiapas; to Fray Tomás Gonzales Castillo, responsible for the “72” Migrant Home in Tenosique, Tabasco; and to the Ecumenical Group of Organic Agriculture belonging to Pablo L. Sidar, from Chicomuselo, Chiapas.

The nomination of the jCanan Lum (a term that in Tseltal signifies caretaker of the people and land) is a charge that Samuel Ruiz García, bishop of the San Cristóbal diocese, received in Amatenango del Valle from the Ch’ol, Tojolabal, Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Zoque people in 1999.  The award now recognizes work in favor of the people and Earth as taken on by individuals, groups, and peoples.

This year, the award committee was led by the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera López, and by Professor Alberto Patishtán, who received this recognition from the bishop himself in 2010, while he was incarcerated.

For more information (in Spanish):

Entregan reconocimiento fundado por Samuel Ruiz a la casa de migrantes La 72 (La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2013)

Activistas de apoyo a migrantes y conservacionistas recibirán el Reconocimiento jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum (Chiapas Paralelo, 21 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Launch of call for 2014 jTatic Samuel Jcanan Lum (5 February 2013)

Chiapas: First anniversary of the death of bishop Samuel Ruiz García; third award of the Jtatik Samuel jCanan Lum recognition (2012) (8 February 2012)

Chiapas: presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award during the assembly of the Believing People (7 March 2011)

Chiapas: Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organizations XI’NICH (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: celebration and presentation of 2011 jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 July 2010)

Chiapas: Communique and pilgrimage of the Believing People

January 29, 2013

Misa del Pueblo Creyente en Plaza de la Paz @ SIPAZ

On 25 January the Believing People, an organizational process associated with the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, carried out a pilgrimage in this city in Chiapas to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of bishop Samuel Ruiz García, the twenty-fifth anniversary of bishophood for Raúl Vera López, and the fifteenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre.  The pilgrimage of some 10,000 people demonstrated their concern regarding “the launching of the National Crusade against Hunger, precisely in the municipality of Las Margaritas, given that with this action the federal government’s strategy of not attending to the structural necessities of the people is shown clearly,” as they declared in a public communique.

In their message, the Catholics demanded “the release of many unjustly imprisoned persons, including our brother Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a prisoner of conscience and an inspiration to all those who have suffered in the jails where he has been held,” beyond welcoming “the peaceful mobilization of the EZLN on 21 December, which unequivocably shows their desire for peace.”  Similarly, they denounced “the concessions for mineral exploitation that the federal government has awarded, particularly to foreign firms, thus totally violating the peoples’ fundamental right to prior informed consent,” among other demands.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del Pueblo Creyente 25 Enero 2013 (Koman Ilel, 25 de enero de 2013)

Desconfían indígenas católicos en Chiapas de cruzada contra el hambre (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2013)

Agrupación católica de Chiapas critica la cruzada de Peña Nieto contra el hambre (La Jornada, 27 de enero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Believing People call for invitation to join the Great Pilgrimage – 25 January (24 January 2013)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (27 November 2011)

Chiapas: pilgrimage against “death projects” (3 December 2010)


Chiapas: “Day of Fasting and Prayer for Memory, Resistance, and Life,” 14 years after the Acteal massacre

January 6, 2012


14 years after the massacre in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, in which died 16 children, 20 women (4 of them pregnant), and 9 men, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a series of activities to commemorate these acts and continue to denounce not only the impunity that continues to prevail in the case but also the violent situation lived in Chiapas and throughout the country.

After holding a two-day pilgrimage with flowers and religious imagery from San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Acteal, there was had a ceremony in this community in the presence of more than a thousand persons from the area, in addition to that of members of national and international organizations.Raúl Vera (@SIPAZ)

Mariano Peréz Vázquez, president of the directive table of Las Abejas, denounced that “14 years after Acteal, we see that the government of Felipe Calderón and Juan Sabines Guerrero has not done justice but rather has ridiculed our organization and our struggle.  The federal and state governments in no way want justice, liberty, peace.  Not only do they not want justice, but they also are continuing with the policies of previous governments, and even worse.”

After the reading of this communiqué, Las Abejas awarded a command baton to Bishop Vera López, bishop of Saltillo and president of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights in Chiapas, in gratitude for his support and accompaniment.  In another communiqué they noted that “Totik Raúl, your mission here in this world we do not regard as nothing more than being a simple servant of the church; you go much farther than that.  A true servant has no limits; he thinks, walks, and struggles.  You, Totik Raúl, do not know how to silence yourself in light of injustice, above all now when our country is bleeding and impunity reigns.”

Raúl Vera acknowledged the recognition and reviewed the history of the massacre to date.  He recalled that 14 years ago, victims of low-intensity warfare used in a counterinsurgent strategy against the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) were killed.  He affirmed that to date the intellectual authors of this war have not been judged, and several material authors have succeeded in being released due to the intervention of the Supreme Court of Justice in the Nation (SCJN).  He added that “today as yesterday the police are complicit with those who commit crimes, murders, kidnappings, and forced disappearances.”  And now as before, “the criminals also have allies within the three levels of government; if this were not so, they would not have 98% impunity in the crimes they have committed.”  He also expressed that “in light of the panorama that we live in the country, one of an open war declared by the president, in which the principal victims come from the Mexican people, like here in Chiapas, justice does not matter.  In this so-called war against organized crime the Army is once again utilized, and it continues to violate human rights and carry out extrajudicial executions.  Its crimes too continue in impunity.”

On this 22 December, members of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity also protested in front of the representation of the government of Chiapas in Mexico City to demand justice for the 45 killed in Acteal.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ni Calderón ni Sabines quieren hacer justicia por la masacre en Acteal, señala Las Abejas (La Jornada, 23 December 2011)

Indígenas mantienen reclamo de justicia en Acteal (El Universal, 23 December 2011)

Acteal recuerda a sus muertos con misa (El Universal, 22 December 2011)

Prevalece impunidad a 14 años de la matanza de Acteal (Proceso, 22 December 2011)

‘Nunca más, Acteal’, pide Movimiento por la Paz (El Universal, 22 December 2011)

Comunicado de las Abejas de Acteal 22 de diciembre de 2011(Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 December 2011)

Comunicado en el marco del Reconocimiento de las Abejas de Acteal a Totik Raúl Vera (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 December 2011)


Boletín: La Memoria como construcción de dignidad e identidad (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 22 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New denunciation by Las Abejas (28 October 2011)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal distance themselves from demand against ex-president Zedillo (27 September 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican ex-president Zedillo is denounced in US court for the Acteal massacre (26 September 2011)

Chiapas: Day of Action for Justice and Truth of Las Abejas of Acteal (19 August)

Chiapas: The CDHFBC presents Don Raúl Vera as new president

January 31, 2011

On 28 January, the “Fray Bartolomé de las Casas” Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) held a press-conference in which it presented Don Raúl Vera López as new president of the organization.  On 21 June 2010, the CDHFBC noted in a press-release that Don Raúl had assumed the position of co-president of the Center alongside Don Samuel Ruiz García, founder of the organization and bishop emeritus of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, who died on 24 January.

Don Raúl had been co.bishop with Don Samuel from 1995 to 2000, year in which Ruiz García left this charge at the age of 75, defined by the Vatican as retirement-age for bishops.  The Vatican then assigned Don Raúl the diocese of Saltillo, where he remains bishop.  Following the teachings of Don Samuel, he has sided with organized and oppressed peoples, giving voice to their claims and demands, pronoucing himself against the criminalization of social movements and rights-defenders.  He stresses his support to the cause of of migrants and miners of the Pasta de Conchos; in September 2010 he received the Rafto Prize 2010, awarded by the Norwegian foundation Rafto.

For more information (in Spanish):

Information note from CDHFBC (28 January 2011)

Raúl Vera will lead the Fray Bartolomé Center for Human Rights (CNN México, 28 January 2011)

Raúl Vera, new president of Frayba (El Universal, 29 January 2011)

Raúl Vera López, new president of Frayba (La Jornada, 29 January 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Bishop José Raúl López Vera receives the Rafto Prize 2010 (28 September 2010)

Chiapas: Burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Mexico: Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia dies (26 January 2011)