Chiapas: A year since the “unjust” incarceration of communal defender from Salto de Agua: Chiapas Denuncia Pública

October 8, 2015

Rueda de prensa @ChiapasDenunciaPú

Press conference @ChiapasDenunciaPública

At a press conference held on 14 September, families, catechists, and human-rights defenders from the local diocese demanded the release of the Ch’ol indigenous man, Salomón Vázquez Sánchez, who has been imprisoned for more than a year, accused of the crime of kidnapping a federal police officer. At the press-conference, held at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), those assembled said that the “unjust” incarceration took place eight years after the events took place in 2006, when Salomón was working as a rural municipal agent from the Suclumpa ejido, municipality of Salto de Agua.

Nicolás Méndez Arcos, coordinator of the Valle Tulijá Communal Committee for Human Rights, affiliated with the Salto de Agua parish, affirmed that “we as promoters of human rights affirm that there was no crime, because the behavior of Salomón conformed with the communal law as deliberated internally within the ejido, in accordance with the uses and customs that prohibit the carrying of firearms, as well as the Organic Municipal Law.” He also expressed that Salomón, who is being held in the El Amate prison, located in the Cintalapa municipality, “is accused of being responsible for the five thousand pesos that were charged [the police officer] for his rescue, but this is not true, as this was in conformity with a fine based on the uses and customs that sanction the firing of weapons within the community.” Isabel López Sánchez, the prisoner’s wife, demanded his release because “he did not commit any crime,” and she said that her six children “have suspended their studies due to the lack of economic resources, given that our only familial income was what my husband made.” The catechist Agustín Peñate Jiménez expressed that “from the word of God we see that the incarceration of brother Salomón is unjust, because the crime of which he is accused is totally false.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Salomón Vásquez Sánchez encarcelado injustamente (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 15 de septiembre de 2015)

Exigen en Chiapas liberación de indígena chol (La Jornada, 14 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena preso por impedir que un policía federal disparará dentro de poblado (Chiapas Paralelo, 14 de septiembre de 2015)

Convocatoria a conferencia de prensa (Frayba, septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: CAM, SADEC, and X’inich demand a home for ill residents of their communities

July 21, 2015

Presidencia municipal de Palenque @ Revista Poderes

Palenque City Hall @ Revista Poderes

The organizations Ixim Antsetic Women’s Home, Communal Health and Development (SADEC), and X’inich published an open letter to the Palenque mayor, Marcos Mayo, calling on him to “observe his electoral-campaign commitment that is of great importance to the people: the construction of a home for the relatives of the ill residents of our communities (we know it is very late, but the idea is that a budget will be assigned, and construction begun).”

The document recalls the primacy of the right to health, emphasizing the “problems that women face in pregnancy, labor, and the post-partum period, as many have nowhere to go after their children are born. They are told that it isn’t yet time for the child to be born, and so they are returned to their communities, and this has been the reason for major complications in labor or perinatal deaths.” Beyond this, they added that the Palenque hospital must attend to 400,000 residents from 9 neighboring municipalities, including Tila, Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, and Tumbalá, all of which have more than 90% indigenous populations with few resources. Additionally, Palenque itself has a 50% indigenous population.

For more information (in Spanish):

Casa de la Mujer Ixim Antsetic, SADEC y Xinich, Exige al Presidente Municipal de Palenque cumplimiento de promesas de campaña ante constantes violaciones a derechos de la salud y la vida (Casa de la Mujer Ixim Antsetic, )

Chiapas: Mobilizations against the planned San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque highway

September 29, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

On 16 and 17 September, there were held new mobilizations against the planned construction of a highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque, both in the Tseltal ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Chilón municipality, as in the Tsotsil ejido of La Candelaria, San Cristóbal municipality.  The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory was created through the mobilizations organized against this project.

On 16 September, banners and signs were raised in communities and parishes to express popular opposition to the highway project.  On 17 September, ejidatarios from San Jerónimo Bachajón blockaded the Temó crossways en route to Palenque to demand “the cessation of harassment and threats against our ejidal authorities and other comrades, in light of the decisive defense of our territory and our disagreement with the highway project.”

Furthermore, on 17 September there was held in Laguna Suyul, La Candelaria ejido, a ceremony and joint declaration of more than 2,000 Tsotsil, Tseltal, Ch’ol, and Tojolabal persons from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Zinacantán, San Juan Chamula, Huixtán, San Pedro Chenalhó, San Pablo Chalchihuitán, San Juan Cancuc, Tenejapa, Amatenango, Chilón, Tila, Salto de Agua, Comitán, and Las Margaritas municipalities expressing opposition to the highway project.  In the declaration of Laguna Suyul, considered sacred land of the peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas, the writers indicate that “we will defend the environment, the fabric and veins of mother earth: rivers, lakes, springs, mountains, caves, and hills.  We will defend the lives of animals, sacred places, the ecosystem of Mother Nature, and the lives of human beings.”

Also, on 21 September, some 3000 Ch’ol indigenous persons from the Tila parish carried out a pilgrimage in the municipal center against the planned highway projects between San Cristóbal and Palenque as well as between Villahermosa and Palenque, as against the plundering of lands for mineral extraction, and they denounced the increase in drug addiction rates, alcoholism, and prostitution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acciones de protesta contra la Autopista Sancris-Palenque (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de septiembre de 2014)
Anuncian nuevas protestas contra construcción de supercarretera San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque (La Jornada, 14 de septiembre de 2014)
Casi 3000 personas rechazan la autopista y organizan la resistencia a la autopista. + historia de Suyul(Espoir Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Chiapas: Desde Laguna Suyul indígenas manifestan su rechazo a la Supercarretera San Cristóbal – Palenque (Pozol Colectivo, 17 de septiembre de 2014)
Denuncian en Bachajón acoso y persecución judicial por protestar contra autopista (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Peregrinación en Tila contra autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque, megaproyectos y cantinas (Chiapas Paralelo, 22 de septiembre de 2014)


Ejido La Candelaria: “No a la autopista San Cristóbal – Palenque (Koman Ilel, 12 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Candelaria express their opposition to the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway (16 September 2014)

Chiapas: An assembly of Tzeltal communities from Chilón municipality reject the SCLC-Palenque highway (9 September 2014)

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (14 February 2014)

Chiapas: Denuncia PUDEE amenazas y hostigamiento de la CFE

April 8, 2013


On 23 March, representatives from communities in resistance and members of the People United for the Defense of Electricity (PUDEE) from the Tila, Sabanilla, Tumbala, and Salto de Agua municipalities released a communique in which they denounce “the climate of confrontation among communities being provoked by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in the communities of the northern zone of Chiapas.”  The communique mentions that, since the beginning of the year, the CFE has been visiting the communities of these municipalities toward the end of finding the authorities of the communities in resistance who refuse to pay for electricity prices, which in recent years been very high.  “[They call for] meetings in the communities to inform that starting this year, the indebted must pay for their consumption of electricity, and the CFE will install meters, so as supposedly to offer quality services.  They also offer a convention whereby users commit to paying their debts over the course of five years.  They are saying that they will be changing to digital meters and other technological equipment to control electrical services.  This is one of the means of controlling us and refusing us service.  In some communities, there are confrontations, because ejidal authorities and rural agents are accepting these tricks.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado PUDEE (23 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE (24 March 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE

March 24, 2012

cartel del PUDEE @ SIPAZ

In a public denunciation released on 8 March, the organization People United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) warned of harassment and electricity cut-offs directed toward members of its organization in several communities.  With presence in the Sabanilla, Salto de Agua, Tila, and Yajalón municipalities, the adherents to Other Campaign reported that on 8 March, personnel from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), accompanied by the rural agent, cut off electricity to the 25 families organized with PUDEE in the Jol-Ako community, in the zone below the Tila municipality.  Furthermore, they threatened to install digital meters, which the communities in resistance reject, a situation that has been seen since the beginning of the year also in Nicolás Bravo, Belisario Domínguez, Jolnopa Guadalupe, and Cantioc, from the same municipality.  In the denunciation, they also reported that PUDEE members have been harassed by members of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), whom they indicate as being members of the “Paz y Justicia” paramilitary group.  It should be remembered that members of this organization have been investigated for their presumed responsibility for murders and forced disappearances during the years 1996-2011.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia del PUDEE del 8 de marzo (1a parte)

Denuncia del PUDEE del 8 de marzo (2a parte)

Denuncian chiapanecos agresiones de CFE y manipulación política en favor de PRI y PVEM (La Jornada, 11 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Masojá Shucjá, commemoration of the victims of the conflict of ’95 and ’96

October 7, 2011

On 1 October there was held a celebration in commemoration of the victims of the conflict of the years 1995 and 1996 in the northern zone of Chiapas.  It was held in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, where 8 were killed at the hands of the organization “Paz y Justicia” during those years.

The event was attended not only by people of the community and neighboring ones but also by persons of other regions, including a delegation of the Las Abejas Civil Society (municipality of Chenalhó, in the highlands of Chiapas, which was another region that was particularly affected by violence at the end of the 1990s).  The choir of Las Abejas sang songs while a group of youth from this organization presented a theatrical work regarding the Acteal massacre of 1997.

Following the religious celebration and the play, participants at the event walked to a small pantheon where some of the victims have been buried; there, relatives of the dead and disappeared prayed and presented their word, as did present and past victims in addition to others invited to the celebration.  Four women from Jotalá spoke about how they experience violence today on the part of the government.  A resident of the Nuevo Retorno community gave his word by narrating how it was that those displaced from Miguel Alemán, a bastion of Paz y Justicia at the time, relocated themselves in 2002 to Nuevo Retorno after having lived for years in Masojá Shucjá.

The entire commemoration was a call to maintain alive memory and to continue demanding justice for the victims: Romeo Pérez Pérez, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, Mateo Hernández López, Juan Ramirez Torres, Hector Pérez Torres, Encarnación Pérez Pérez, Maria Rebeca Pérez Pérez, Sebastián Pérez López, among those who fell in Masojá.

A canvas explained what happened in the following manner:

In this place, where the waters cross, 15 years ago the Mexican government began to apply violence against the communities by means of a coordination among the military and the paramilitary organization Paz y Justicia.  In this way the Mexican government engaged in a politics of death in our Ch’ol region of the northern zone.

Our community was besieged and our brothers and sisters ambushed, disappeared, and executed.  They besieged us so that we would suffer hunger, fear, and disorganization.  In this way they brought us death.

Now we through prayer and celebration save our memory and create life.  Our memory is against forgetting; it is for true justice, so that these acts of death do not repeat themselves.  The armed conflict in Chiapas is part of a strategy of counter-insurgency; the Mexican government incentivized the creation of paramilitary groups in different regions of the conflict zone.

Among these paramilitary groups was distinguished for its cruelty and operative capacity the organization Paz y Justicia, which operated in the Ch’ol territory of the northern zone of Chiapas in the municipalities of Salto de Agua, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, and Sabanilla.  This documented counter-insurgency strategy left 122 cases of disappearances and executions in the period from 1995 to 2001, of which 37 were forced disappearances (32 men and 5 women) and 86 executions (74 men and 7 women).

All these actions were carried out by Paz y Justicia with the support of the Mexican Army and the Ministry of Public Security, resulting in over three thousand forced displacements.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demand for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996 (7 October 2010)

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)

Chiapas: End of sit-in and return to Las Conchitas (FNLS)

August 19, 2011

FNLS members in the Plaza Catedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 15 August @SIPAZ

In a 15 August press-conference in the Plaza Catedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the National front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) reported that the residents of the ranch “Las Conchitas,” municipality of Salto de Agua, decided to suspend their sit-in and return to their community following 42 days of having been robbed of their lands, 34 of which they spent in front of the offices of the CNDH and the San Cristóbal cathedral.

The 33 Ch’ol indigenous individuals, presumably evicted by armed men on 3 July, installed the protest in both sites to demand guarantees for their return, compensation for damages incurred, and regularization of the lands to which they were relocated in 2002 when they were voluntarily evicted from the Montes Azules Reserve.

They assured that after several meetings with authorities they came to no agreement for the observance of their demands, and so they return to Las Conchitas “without guarantees” for their safety.  Before boarding the two buses given to them by the CEDH for their return, their representatives proclaimed that “We want to clarify that on the part of the FNLS there was political will for dialogue, but the only audience granted by the secretary of Government […] made no serious commitment to our demands for the generation of the conditions of a dignified return, much less reparation for the damages and punishment of the aggressors.”

For this they invited human-rights defenders, both national and international, to accompany their return: “with their support and solidarity we can make known to the public our suffering […], given that certain media are controlled by the budget of this government, thus closing off such spaces.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Fin del plantón, retorno y solicitud de garantías: FNLS (Boletín de Prensa FNLS, 15 August 2011)

Exiliados vuelven a Conchitas (Cuarto Poder, 16 August 2011)

Desalojan plantón de la CNDH y de la Plaza Catedral en SCLC (El imparcial de Chiapas, 17 August 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua (27 July 2011)

Mexico: National Day against Forgetting and Impunity by the FNLS (8 June 2011)

Chiapas: protests regarding displacement of 5 families of Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipality of Salto de Agua

July 27, 2011

Protest regarding the case of Ranchería Las Conchitas (@FNLS)

According to the affected, on the evening of 3 July, 10 armed men entered their homes violently, beating them and threatening them with high-caliber weapons, machetes, and chains.  The victims, members of five families that comprise 32 persons (including 23 minors), fled in light of the aggression, leaving all their belongings in their homes which were constructed on the land of 90 hectares that was awarded them in 2002 on Ranchería Las Conchitas, municipliaty of Salto de Agua, in northern Chiapas.  In 2002, they had been relocated from the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve to the municipality of Salto de Agua by the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas and the Federal Prosecutorial Office for the Protection of the Environment, following their voluntary abandonment of the reserve.

They have relocated to San Cristóbal de las Casas, where, on 12 July, they initiated a sitín in the offices of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) in this city.  On 19 July, they extended their protests with a second sit-in in the cathedral plaza of San Cristóbal.  On 21 July they engaged in roadblocks on 4 principal highways of Chiapas.

Beyond guarantees to return to their homes, the victims demand regularization of lands and compensation for damages suffered.  They warn that they will maintain their protests until the government resolves the communal conflict.

For more information (in Spanish):

FNLS bloquea vías carreteras (Cuarto Poder, 22 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (21 July 2011)

Choles instalan plantón en San Cristóbal tras desalojo de predio (La Jornada, 18 de julio de 2011)Choles continúan protestas por desalojo(El Universal, 18 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (18 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (15 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (13 July 2011)

Plantón de choles en San Cristóbal de las Casas (La Jornada, 13 July 2011)

Indígenas se plantan frente a CNDH de Chiapas (El Universal, 12 July 2011)

Violencia política contra mujeres indígenas: Desalojos y Represión(Comunicado del Área de Mujeres Rosa Luxemburgo y del Área de Derechos Humanos de K’inal Antsetik, 11 July 2011).

Choles denuncian desalojo en reserva forestal (El Universal, 9 July 2011)

Boletín de prensa del FNLS (5 July 2011)

Denuncia de desalojo violento (FNLS, 3 July 2011)