Mexico/National: Controversial participation of Rigoberta Menchú as an electoral observer

June 10, 2015

Foto @ La Jornada de Jalisco

Photo @ La Jornada de Jalisco

The Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchú Tum, recipient of the Nobel Peace Price, visited Mexico from 26 to 30 May on the invitation of the National Electoral Institute, which paid $10,000 to the Rigoberta Menchú Foundatjon for the Guatemalan indigenous woman to be present to promote voting and liberal democracy. The INE confirmed that it spent said amount ($153,157 MX) after Menchú conceded in an interview that she had received $10,000 “as well as taxes.” The INE social communication coordinator reported that the amount had been transferred because “at the very hour a benefactor intervened,” explaining that, to pay for Rigoberta’s visit, the INE had taken these resources as a sort of payment for electoral training. The annual rate was said to be unknown.

In the first place, Menchú Tum was accredited as a foreigner by the INE council president Lorenzo Córdova Vianello, who had recently provoked a scandal after mocking an indigenous leader during a telephone conversation. This scandal led different organizations from Oaxaca to publish a communique demanding “the immediate resignation of C. LORENZO CÓRDOVA VIANELLO, who up to now has ostentatiously held the office of President of the [INE], due to his discriminatory and backward attitude toward indigenous people. His insults offend the dignity of the indigenous peoples of Mexico.”

Subsequently, Rigoberta Menchú participed in an event in Acapulco, Guerrero, to promote the vote, when a Guerrero youth interrupted the event to say that many different comunities such as San Luis Acatlán, her Nahua community of origin, are subjected to violence. She added, “Ms. Rigoberta Menchú, our indignation and rage cannot end, and I know you understand. One other thing: we cannot continue to ask for a minute of silence for the disappeared, because to request just a minute for each murder and each disappearance in the country or our own state, we would be remain silent eternally.” This intervention was met with great applause.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sobre las declaraciones de Rigoberta Menchú (Change.org, 29 de mayo de 2015)

Cooperó el INE con 10 mil dólares para estancia de Rigoberta Menchú (La Jornada, 29 de mayo de 2015)

¿Por qué el INE dio 10 mil dólares a Rigoberta Menchú? (Red Política, 29 de mayo de 2015)

Organizaciones civiles de Oaxaca exigen destitución inmediata del titular del INE (Educa, 26 de mayo de 2015)

INE acredita a Rigoberta Menchú como observadora electoral (Aristegui Noticias, 26 de mayo de 2015)

Consígueme a un indígena” (El Financiero, 29 de mayo de 2015)

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Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa

December 7, 2014

©SIPAZ Marcha en San Cristóbal de las Casas de la Brigada Nacional por los desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa

March in San Cristóbal de las Casas by the National Brigade for the disappeared of Ayotzinapa @ SIPAZ

On 12 November, in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, relatives of the disappeared students and the student committee reported on the activities of the National Brigade regarding the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa.

The brigade was organized into three branches, one towards the north (passing through the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Michoacán); one toward the south (visiting the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Tlaxcala), and another state brigade in Guerrero, which visited the municipalities of Tlapa, San Luis Acatlán, Ayutla, Tecoanapa, Zihuatanejo, Atoyac, and Acapulco.  The three caravans met in Mexico City on 20 November to conclude their work with a mass-march and rally in the Zócalo.  The objective of the Brigade was to collect direct information regarding the acts of 26 and 27 September, the investigative process, and the search for the 43 disappeared students, beyond making proposals for the elaboration of a program for struggle and action that would transform the causes led to the events seen in Iguala.

The “Daniel Solís Gallardo” Brigade arrived to Chiapas on 14 November, being named for one of the normalist students who was killed on 26 September, and it led a march through the streets of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, to the applause of onlookers.  “Alive they took them; alive we want them,” “Ayotzinapa, hold on; Chiapas is rising” together with other slogans were heard until the march reached the Cathedral Plaza.

At the rally, two women spoke, being the mothers of two of the disappeared.  They said that they no longer have fear, and that they are prepared to give their lives to find their sons, because though the government says they are dead, they believe in their hearts that they are still alive.

On 15 November, the members of the Brigade visited the Zapatista caracol of Oventik, where they met with the high command of the Revolutionary Clandestine Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and the EZLN expressed its sympathy for the pain, rage, and powerlessness of the parents who still have yet to find their sons.

The activities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas concluded with a press-conference during which Brigade members noted that the EZLN had suggested that they “visit those who like us have suffered forcible disappearances or extrajudicial executions–who are not few in number in this country–because it is only they who will understand us and accompany us in our pain and struggle.  It is they with whom we can articulate a movement, a larger and more powerful nucleus with all the social organizations that would like to join,” following their return through Oaxaca.

For more information (in Spanish):

Expresa el EZLN total apoyo a familias de normalistas desaparecidos, La Jornada, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Caravanas por Ayotzinapa llegan a Chiapas y Chihuahua, Proceso, 14 de noviembre de 2014

Concluye visita a Chiapas de la caravana de Ayotzinapa, Proceso 16 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras del Comandante Tacho en el inicio del encuentro del EZLN con la caravana de Ayotzinapa, el 15 de noviembre del 2014, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras de la Comandancia General del EZLN en voz del Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Palabras del Comandante Javier, dando la bienvenida en el caracol de Oventik a la caravana de Ayotzinapa, el 15 de noviembre del 2014, Enlace Zapatista, 15 de noviembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)


Guerrero: Communities support new CRAC coordinator and announce rescue of communal system of justice

May 2, 2014

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Photo @SIPAZ archive

On 21 April 2014, a march was held in San Luis Acatlán to support the nomination of the four new coordinators of the Regional Coordinator of Communal Authorities (CRAC) and to reject Eliseo Villar Castillo, the former coordinator who has now been deposed.

The march made a call for the rescue of the communal justice system and security for the Communal Police.  Furthermore, it indicated to the federal and state governments that the justice system is on the side of the people and not for sale or conditioned by a budget.  “We tell the state government that we will not accept the million pesos on offer, and now it will be the people who will maintain the movement, as before.  We prefer this setup to having a conditioned budget and to have to keep accounts.”

In the march participated some 3500 residents of at least 60 communities which adhere to the CRAC.

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan en respaldo a los cuatro nuevos coordinadores de la Crac (La Jornada de Guerrero, 22 de abril de 2014)

Marchan 3 mil integrantes de la CRAC de Abad en San Luis Acatán; defienden el sistema comunitario (El Sur, 22 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Police operation provokes confrontations and new arrest of member of CRAC-PC in Tixtla (30 March 2014)

Guerrero: Ministerial Police detain Gonzalo Molina, CRAC promoter, en Tixtla (14 November 2013)

Guerrero: Navy kidnaps coordinator of CRAC in Olinalá (13 September 2013)

Guerrero: Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) pronounces itself against state decree (26 February 201


Guerrero: CRAC inaugurates fifth House of Justice in the Ometepec municipality

December 18, 2013

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Photo @SIPAZ

On 15 December, during the eighteenth anniversary of the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC), a fifth house of justice was inaugurated, which is to be based in Cochoapa, Ometepec municipality.  The protest action also included the integration of the communities Juchitán Callejones de San Luis Acatlán, Chapultepec de Marquelia, Totomixtlahuaca de Tlacoapa, Tixtla, Acatempan, El Troncón, and Los Amates to the CRAC-PC.  In fact, the action to found a new House of Justice in Cochoapa divided the councilors and other members of the CRAC. Adelaida Hernández Nava, coordinator of the House of Justice based in San Luis Acatlán, departed from the march which took place on the anniversary, while the four coordinators of other Houses of Justice in El Paraiso similarly left the scene prematurely so as not to be seen to support the mobilization.

These differences have to do with the internal rule demanding that two years should pass for new members to exercise their rights and so integrate themselves into this alternative system of justice and security.  However, Eliseo Villar Castillo, coordinator of the House of Justice in San Luis Acatlán, recalled that a general assembly had approved the creation of the House of Justice in Cochoapa.  Several members of the CRAC opted for prudence, consensus, and observance of internal regulations.  Councilor Ignacio Navarro called on the new members of the PC to observe the internal rules of the CRAC and to proceed slowly so as not to commit errors.  Valentín Hernández, assessor for the CRAC, noted that there was a silence in terms of the imprisoned communal police: “We are not all here; there are still 13 comrades who are imprisoned.  In case they have made mistakes, this should be discussed and potentially sanctioned by the CRAC, but not by the federal government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan policías comunitarios en Ometepec, Guerrero (Excelsior, 15 de diciembre de 2013)

La nueva casa de justicia divide a la CRAC (Novedades Acapulco, 15 de diciembre de 2013)

Crea la Crac casa de justicia; tendrá su sede en Cochoapa, Ometepec (La Jornada de Guerrero, 16 de diciembre de 2013)

Marcharon 3 mil policías comunitarios en Ometepec (El faro de la Costa, 17 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Navy kidnaps coordinator of CRAC in Olinalá (13 September 2013)

Guerrero: Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) pronounces itself against state decree (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Authorities linked to the UPOEG occupy the House of Justice of the CRAC in San Luis Acatlán (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Governor Aguirre intervenes in situation of insecurity in Ayutla. Communal Police repeats: “it is not us” (24 January 2013)

Guerrero: Self-defense against organized crime in 4 municipalities (15 January 2013)

Guerrero: Social insurrection in Olinalá against organized crime (9 November 2012)


Guerrero: CRAC makes announcement in favor of release of arrested coordinators

September 16, 2013

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Nestora Salgado and José Ávila, foto @Los Ángeles Press

On 31 August, in the Playa Larga colony, at a regional assembly which dealt principally with the budget recently assigned them by governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero, the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC) pronounced itself in favor of the release of Nestora Salgado García and Bernardino García Francisco, coordinators from Olinalá y Ayutla, and the 21 communal police who have similarly been detained, in addition to publicly denouncing militarization in communal lands.  The coordinator of the justice house in San Luis Acatlán, Eliseo Villar Castillo, was found guilty of the mistake of having signed an agreement with the government which would officially integrate the communal police into the State structure.  Villar Castillo testified that he had no other option but to accept the imposed credentialing process, as had been agreed to by the rest of the coordinators from San Luis Acatlán, so as to slow down the forcible disarmament processes overseen by the Army.

In other news, Jośe Luis Ávila Baez, husband to Nestora Salgado García, or Commander Nestora, undertook an indefinite hunger strike starting on 28 August in his city of residence in Seattle, Washington.  Nestora Salgado, coordinator of the Communal Police of Olinala, which is associated with the CRAC-PC, has been accused of kidnapping criminals.  She was formally imprisoned, according to the Guerrero state-government’s bulletin, leading her husband to request the intervention of the government of the U.S. toward the end of the immediate release of Nestora, who is a U.S. citizen.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acuerda la Crac exigir la libertad de los comandantes y policías detenidos (Jornada de Guerrero, 1 de septiembre de 2013)

Esposo de Comandante Nestora inicia huelga de hambre en EEUU (Los Angeles Press, 28 de agosto de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Release of 6 members of Communal Police who were detained on 6 May

May 17, 2013

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Meeting in San Luis Acatlán, 17 February 2013. Photo @SIPAZ

Members of the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC) were released after having paid bail of 62,000 pesos, as reports Vidulfo Rosales, defense counsel and representative of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.  He explained that six communal police had been released after having been arrested for 24 hours in Acapulco by the Subdelegate of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) for the crime of carrying firearms.  Raúl de Jesús, coordinator of the Communal Police in San Luis Acatlán, declared to the media that the crime was of carrying firearms of 9mm caliber, which are supposedly used for defense, taken from arrested persons.

The CRAC released a bulletin on 6 May declaring that “IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE EXISTS AN INTENTION AND OBJECTIVE TO DISMANTLE OUR COMMUNAL INSTITUTION BY REPRESSING IT, HARASSING IT, AND LEADING OUR PEOPLES TO ASSUME DEFENSIVE POSTURES.  IN LIGHT OF ALL THIS, THE GOVERNMENT DENIES THE WORK OF OUR COMMUNAL POLICE AND THE CRAC, WHICH DURING THE PAST 17 YEARS HAVE EFFICIENTLY RESOLVED THE PROBLEMS OF INSECURITY AND JUSTICE IN THE REGION OF THE MOUNTAIN AND LA COSTA CHICA.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletin CRAC 6 DE MAYO 2013

Liberan a policías comunitarios en Acapulco tras pagar fianza (Radio Fórmula, 7 de mayo de 2013)

PGR libera a los dos últimos detenidos de la policía comunitaria en Guerrero (Crónica, 7 de mayo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: CRAC-PC demystifies journalistic claims regarding UPOEG (20 March 2013)

Guerrero: Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) pronounces itself against state decree (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Authorities linked to the UPOEG occupy the House of Justice of the CRAC in San Luis Acatlán (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Governor Aguirre intervenes in situation of insecurity in Ayutla. Communal Police repeats: “it is not us” (24 January 2013)

Guerrero: Self-defense against organized crime in 4 municipalities (15 January 2013)

Guerrero: Social insurrection in Olinalá against organized crime (9 November 2012)


National: Thousands of persons participate in the March for Life in Mexico City

March 26, 2013

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Photo @megafono.lunasexta.org

Thousands participated in the March for Life organized by the Network of Autonomous Anticapitalist Resistance (RRAA) left from the Ángel de la Independencia toward the Zócalo of Mexico City on Wednesday 13 March, while activities in solidarity were carried out in another 20 states of Mexico.  During the march there were made many slogans, including rejections of the war against the people and opposition to the rape of Mother Earth, megaprojects, the disappearance of employment, militarization, repression and criminalization of social protest, and attacks on the autonomy of indigenous peoples.

Raúl de Jesús Cabrera, coordinator of the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) from the House for Justice in San Luís Acatlán, Guerrero, once again stressed the posture of the CRAC in terms of the context of the present discussions regarding self-defense processes and communal police: “Today we have come with 50 people to demonstrate to the federal government that our struggle has always been from below.  We come to totally reject the place of mining firms in Guerrero, which operate mainly in communal territories.  We also reject the decree that the Guerrero state governor Ángel Heladio Aguirre has released, calling for the Communal Police to integrate into the state apparatus, and for the community to be the subject of the federal government, as he desires.  We will not allow this, because our rulers are the people.  There is our base […].  We would like to report to Mexican society that it not be deceived by the media, because the media at times lie.  There is a great deal of confusion now regarding the relationship between the Communal Police and the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG) and self-defense in Guerrero.  We do not have links or ties with them.  We are independent and autonomous.”

For more information (in Spanish):

México DF: Voces desde la Marcha por la Vida(www.megafono.lunasexta.org 14 de marzo de 2013)

México: Durante Marcha por la Vida, Viudas de Pasta de Conchos piden justicia (Kaos en la Red, 15 de marzo de 2013)

El variopinto México de abajo marcha por la vida (Desinformémonos, 18 de marzo de 2013)

For more information (in Spanish):

Guerrero: CRAC-PC demystifies journalistic claims regarding UPOEG (20 March 2013)

Guerrero: Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) pronounces itself against state decree (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Authorities linked to the UPOEG occupy the House of Justice of the CRAC in San Luis Acatlán (26 February 2013)

Guerrero: Governor Aguirre intervenes in situation of insecurity in Ayutla. Communal Police repeats: “it is not us” (24 January 2013)

Guerrero: Self-defense against organized crime in 4 municipalities (15 January 2013)

Guerrero: Social insurrection in Olinalá against organized crime (9 November 2012)