National: Xochicuautla announces “counter-decree of reappropriation”

September 10, 2015

xochiOn 8 August, some 40 persons participated in a caravan in solidarity with the Otomí-ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma municipality, Mexico State.  With this action, they expressed their disagreement with the expropriatory decree that seeks to plunder the community of more than 37 hectares of its sacred forest for the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway.  The community was never consulted before this decree was announced, thus violating its rights as an indigenous community.  Besides this, the act would threaten to destroy the “water lung for the Toluca and Mexico valleys.”

The spokesperson for Xochicuautla, José Luis Fernández, has denounced that personnel from the construction company and government agents have been invading their forests, this despite the precautionary measures released by the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH).  These ended on 10 August, thus leading to the expression of concern for the well-being of the residents of the community amidst the possibility that the expropriation be carried out.  “We do not doubt that in the next few days, despite the precautionary measures, police will prepare their invasion,” he added.  The spokesperson further noted that there are rumors that the Army will invade to occupy the land, such that he called on civil society to be attentive to what might happen in the next few days.

Beyond this, it was announced that on 30 August the traditional authorities will release a “counter-decree of reappropriation” that would symbolically invalidate the expropriatory decree released by the federal government.  According to Antonio Lara, from the Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (CDHZL), the idea is to counterpose the ancestral vision of rights before the Western concept.  “The public interest is not above any right.  Rights are violated for business.”  Other indigenous peoples are invited to the ceremony, such as the Nahua of Ostula, the Yaquis from Sonora, and San Salvador Atenco, besides intellectuals and the bishop Raúl Vera.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de Prensa del día de ayer en Cencos, #Xochicuautla “NO tenemos nada que festejar” (Frente de Pueblos Indígenas en Defensa de la Madre Tierra, 11 de agosto de 2015)

Comuneros de Xochicuautla realizan caravana en defensa del territorio otomí (La Jornada, 9 de agosto de 2015)

Pueblos indígenas e intelectuales acompañarán a Xochicuautla en “reapropiación” de su territorio (Más de 131, 10 de agosto de 2015)

Pedaleando en defensa del bosque (SubVersiones, 11 de agosto de 2015)

La CNDH ya nos dejó solos: pobladores de Xochicuautla; piden frenar autopista de Higa (Sin Embargo, 10 de agosto de 2015)

Higa destroza cosechas de habitantes de Xochicuautla; “dicen que si nos seguimos oponiendo el Ejército nos va a reprimir” (Revolución tres punto cero, 11 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: March in solidarity with the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla (10 September 2015)

National: Inauguration of the First World Festival of Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion (30 December 2015)

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National: Promotion of Citizens’ Popular Congress

February 10, 2015

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On 5 February, in observance of the anniversary of the entrance into law of the current Mexican Constitution, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, together with Raúl Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the priest Alejandro Solalinde, the poet Javier Sicilia, and the artist Francisco Toledo, together with members of human-rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, and unions participated in the public presentation of the initiative for a Popular Citizens’ Constitution.  The organizational call notes in this sense that “we call on civil society, women and men, without importance to creed, gender diversity, or social class to advance with the refoundation of the nation; to progress toward the creation of a new constitution that bases elections on democracy, ensures that the representatives of a new congress be subject to the will of the people, and forever buries all types of juridical and economic forms of organization that merely make the people into commodities to be plundered.  This constitution must put an end to impunity, racism, and patriarchy.  To serve and to lead by obeying must be the new conditions of those who become representative of civil society.”

Following a series of sessions throughout the country during the past 11 months, the partisans of the Citizens’ Constitution explained the necessity of “refounding the country.”  Toward this end 20 points have been presented, including guarantees for human rights and union organizing, beyond the implementation of a convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

There was also announced a planned meeting on 21 March “to discuss the political reality of the countryin terms of the elections for this year.”  Beyond this, there was made a call for the First National Assembly of the Committee for National Refoundation that will be held on 2 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria Hacia la Constituyente Ciudadana-Popular (Regeneración, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentan activistas el “Primer Constituyente Ciudadano Popular”(Proceso, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Activistas y ONG presentan el “primer constituyente ciudadano” (La Jornada, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Solalinde, Raúl Vera y Sicilia presentan primer Constituyente Ciudadana(Vanguardia, 5 de febrero de 2015)


National/International: German activists reject security agreement with Mexico

February 10, 2015

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German activists in front of the Ministry of the Interior. Photo@México Vía Berlín

On 3 February, dozens of persons protested in front of the German Ministry of the Interior against a security agreement that is planned with Mexico.  The activists submitted a list of 7,830 persons who reject the support Berlin provides for police and juridical authorities in Mexico.  These signatures are the results of a campaign promoted by the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico which has repeatedly pronounced itself against this type of agreement given that, as it argues, conditions do not exist in Mexico for a collaboration of this type.  The petition’s website explains that “this agreement would not serve to regulate the police who are systematically torturing their people, killing innocents, and raping women, besides being involved in the forcible disappearances of tens of thousands of people for decades.”  In response to the German government’s argument that corruption is limited to the local and municipal levels, the activists note that “this is a disingenuous argument, to claim that the problems have to do with the local police […].  The impunity of the security forces is the functional reality of all levels of the Mexican government, and only in a very limited set of situations can it be broken using particular tactics.  For the German police to collaborate with these structures would be to legitimate the principle of impunity.”

Present at the protest was a Mexican delegation, which included the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, and members of the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity.  After the protest, close to 40 activists met with officials from the Ministry, including Peter Steck and Siegfried Helmut Mueller. Bishop Vera handed over the list of signatures against the controversial security proposal and expressed the same sort of worry evinced by the other activists: “At this time, as Ayotzinapa has shown, the police, the Army, and organized crime act jointly together against the people of the country.  And the federal government knows that part of civil society disagrees with this, such that they feel insecure.  And this force that you are giving to the police will not be used to fight organized crime but instead people like us.”  For his part, Peter Steck promised the activists that he would transmit the information to be considered in the negotiations regarding the security accord.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campaña “No al acuerdo” de la Coordinación Alemana por los Derechos Humanos en México

Activistas rechazan en Berlín convenio de seguridad con México(LaJornada, 4 de febrero, 2015)

Obispo Vera pide al gobierno alemán evitar firma de acuerdo con México(Proceso, 3 de febrero, 2015)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 8 de diciembre, 2014)

Los peligros del Acuerdo de Seguridad entre México y Alemania (eltoque, 4 de febrero, 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case (17 December 2014)


Chiapas/National: Several activities to observe the fourth anniversary of the death of Samuel Ruiz García, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas

February 8, 2015

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Beyond the pilgrimage and mass that were held on 24 January, several other activities were organized in observance of the fourth anniversary of the death of the bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruiz García.

On 27 January, the jTatik Samuel Museum was inaugurated in the El Caminante Communal Center of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (km 1.5 on the road toward Chamulá, passing Esquipulas).  The new space contains five rooms that show the life and work of bishop Samuel Ruiz García, as well as the history and religions of Chiapas, from before the Spanish conquest, Evangelization, and the most recent history after the EZLN’s armed uprising.

Maldonado Quiroga, a member of the administration of El Caminante, detailed that the museum was created after seven years of data gathering by 11 individuals who comprised the council for the space.  All 11 spent time next to Don Samuel during some point of his life.

On 26 January in Mexico City, there was held an event entitled “Sparkles in the darkness: the teachings of jTatic Samuel Ruiz four years after his passing,” in which several persons who were close to Don Samuel participated.

Raúl Vera, the bishop of Saltillo, recalled for example that “he changed my life, because I entered the indigenous world through the heart of Don Samuel.  I never stopped seeing the future that God was building, and I saw that the evidence that we could create a new world was that we were attempting to so at that very moment.”

For more information in Spanish:

Inauguran Museo en honor al obispo Samuel Ruiz García (Diez Noticias, video, 28 de enero de 2015)

Celebran el cuarto aniversario luctuoso del obispo Samuel Ruiz (La Jornada, 28 de enero de 2015)

Inauguran Museo Jtatik Samuel (Prensa libre, 27 de enero de 2015)

Reconoce Manuel Velasco al obispo Samuel Ruiz (El Sol de México, 26 de enero de 2015)

Más información sobre Samuel Ruíz García (Serapaz)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: burial of Samuel Ruiz in the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (31 January 2015)

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)


National: Final audience of the Mexican Chapter of the People’s Permanent Tribunal

December 7, 2014

Sobrevivientes de la masacre de Viejo Velasco durante el TPP en El Limonar, Chiapas, julio 2014. Foto@SIPAZ

Survivors of the Viejo Velasco massacre during the TPP session in El Limonar, Chiapas, July 2014. Photo @ SIPAZ

From 12 to 15 November, the final audience of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP) was held, after having begun in October 2011.  After 3 years of collecting information and analyzing the totality of testimonies provided by victims, organizations, and experts regarding 10 thematic questions, the sentence “Free Trade, Violence, Impunity, and Rights of the People in Mexico (2011-2014)” was published.  This sentence concludes that juridical responsibilities exist among four actors: the Mexican State, transnational corporations, other countries (such as the US and Canada, among others), and international institutions (like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, and so on).  The four tiers are assigned varying degrees of responsibility.

The sentence is the culmination of 10 thematic and multidisciplinary audiences, themselves the fruit of 40 preaudiences, as well as the participation of nearly a thousands organizations of diverse character that involved thousands of individuals.  The cases that were presented showed the open violations of individual and collective human rights resulting from economic and commercial treaties.  It was also decided that the Mexican State is the party that “has objective international responsibility for the violation of rights, civil and political, social and cultural, as for the creation of a healthy environment and access to justice.  Such changes presuppose the observance of numerous international laws and of the Mexican Constitution.”

In this way, with regard to the normalist students who were disappeared and murdered in September 2014 in Iguala, it was mentioned “the events in Ayotzinapa constitute yet another chapter in the long list of violations of the rights to dignity and to life among the Mexican people: they are the dramatic expression, both real and symbolic, of present reality, and of the significance of the proposals for the TPP […].  All this that has been meticulously documented for three years was condensed in Iguala in a number of hours of barbarism.  And in this reign of impunity that is Mexico today, there are murders without murderers, torture without torturers, and sexual abuse without rapists.  This is a permanent deviation from social responsibility that has led to thousands of massacres, murders, and systematic violations of collective rights.  [For the State] these are crimes that are always isolated or marginal, rather than true crimes for which the State is responsible.”

The sentence specifies the gravest crimes, including crimes against humanity, that have been committed during the six-year terms of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Vicente Fox Quesada, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and Enrique Peña Nieto.  It concludes with a battery of recommendations directed to international groups, Mexican civil society, and international media, calling for a “refoundation of Mexico” to accord with the 20 lines of recommendations, so as to bring the country back from the “deviation of power” it has experienced.

One of the judges at the final audience, Bishop Raúl Vera, affirmed that what took place at the TPP “is a comprehensive study of the unjust system that deliberately has been promoted by the Mexican government”; he indicated the “lack of responsibility on the part of the State” which “is judged principally for its deviation of power to favor transnational corporations; its commitments do not identify with the people in the least.”  “Social discontent prevails because the people feel abandoned,” noted Raúl Vera.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sentencia de la audiencia final del Capítulo México del TPP (TPP México, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Desde Salinas, gobiernos son “responsables de crímenes de lesa humanidad”: TPP  (Proceso, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

El Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos: a la sombra de Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Violaciones del Estado, desde Salinas hasta EPN: documento del Tribunal de Pueblos (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Tribunal establece crímenes de Estado y señala “desviación del poder” en México: Vera (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: TPP preaudience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)

Chiapas: Invitation to the TPP preaudience, “With justice and peace we will find truth” (19 July 2014)

National: the Mexican government does not comply with the recommendations of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (23 June 2014)


Chiapas: Celebration of 20 years since the Zapatista uprising

January 15, 2014

Año nuevo en Caracol III Resistencia hacia un nuevo amanecer @ SIPAZ

New year’s in Caracol III Resistance until a new dawn @ SIPAZ

On 31 December 2013 and 1 January 2014, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) celebrated its twenty-year anniversary of resistance since its insurrection on 1 January 1994, which demanded land, food, work, health, education, housing, justice, and equality for indigenous peoples.  The uprising coincided with the entrance into law of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  There were celebrations in the five caracoles, with sports games, dance, and food.  At 12am, the Mexican and Zapatista flags were presented, while both anthems were sung, as followed by the reading of a communique which mentioned those who are not present, such as Subcomandante Pedro and Comandanta Ramona; as each name was read, a “presente” could be heard cried out.

20 years since its armed uprising, the EZLN spoke to its successes.  With regard to health, for example, the Zapatistas have constructed four regional hospitals staffed with surgeons, some of them specializing in reproductive and sexual health, in addition to dozens of municipal clinics, and it estimated that more than 1100 widwives and 1500 herbalists have been trained in this period.

“20 years ago we threw the political parties into the trashcan.  We are trying to improve our health, educational, and governmental systems.  We know that much remains to be done, but we also know that our struggle will continue,” read Comandanta Hortensia in Caracol II Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity.  She added: “We exist and continue here.  20 years ago we had nothing, no system or educational systems based in the people.  There was no governmental authority of the people.  Now we have our own autonomous governments.  Whether it be good or bad, it has been based on the will of the people.”

The bishop from Saltillo, Raúl Vera, indicated that “the rendering visible of the demands and needs of the indigenous peoples of the country who have been among the most marginalized sectors in historical terms has perhaps been the greatest contribution made by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), whose social and political proposals have transformed Mexico and continue to be relevant, though this group does not for the moment dominate the media’s attention.”  With the public appearance of the EZLN in January 1994, the conscience was awakened that “we Mexicans cannot continue being inactive.  We learned from our indigenous brothers [and sisters] that democracy cannot be attained without efforts and sacrifices, that we will not get out of this if we do not move ourselves from the base, as they have done.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Dar a conocer necesidades indígenas, principal aportación zapatista: Vera(La Jornada, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

Los combates duraron 12 días; la lucha sigue (La Jornada, 31 de diciembre de 2013)

Lanza EZLN nuevo llamado a la rebeldía (Proceso, 1 de enero de 2014)

EZLN gobierna a 250 mil indígenas (Red política, 2 de enero de 2014)

El Ya basta! en América Latina (La Jornada, 27 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Tens of thousands of Zapatistas mobilize themselves in 5 cities (27 December 2012)

Chiapas: Communiqué by the EZLN: For reflective criticism, individuals and collectives (15 April 2011)