Chiapas: New Arrests of Members of Las Abejas in Rio Jordan, Chenalho

August 15, 2018

AbejasArrested in Rio Jordan (@Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society)

The Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal denounced the arrest of two of its members, Manuel Jimenez Santiz and Alonso Jimenez Mendez, from the community of Rio Jordan, municipality of San Pedro Chenalho, on August 6th.

The arrest came after Manuel Santiz Vazquez, a municipal agent of Chenalho, called an assembly in which it was reported that Manuel and Alonso did not do community work in a local clinic, so “people from the political parties” agreed to punish them with 72 hours of prison, according to the Las Abejas statement, “without letting them eat or letting them go to the bathroom.” It explained that “this problem in Rio Jordan arose in the year 2015, but, both the community party authority and the municipal authority of the municipality of Chenalho, never showed interest and respect when, on several occasions, we looked for them to build a path of true dialogue. On the other hand, they have only defamed our colleagues for “breach of community services””. It recalled that in January of this year there was a similar case in which nine members of Las Abejas were detained, but, according to the statement, “they did not have the political will to resolve this conflict at the root, and what they did was to cover up their injustice and their inability to negotiate.”

In a later communiqué, Las Abejas clarified again: “the root is because of their decision [of Las Abejas] not to accept government programs that do not benefit them and not accept positions that are not community, such as the clinic, that those who benefit from this service are the women who receive the PROSPERA assistance program and the compañeras of Las Abejas from Rio Jordan do not accept this governmental program. We want to make it clear that our compañeros who on other occasions have been arbitrarily detained, by the people of the political parties of Rio Jordan, are not for “noncompliance with community positions”, as the agent and the local people are saying, but rather, that it is a punishment for our compañeros for criticizing the policies of bad government and for rejecting dispensable public works that damage Mother Earth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Nuestros dos compañeros llevan más de 50 horas en la cárcel, pedimos condenar y denunciar este grave atropello a los derechos humanos (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 9 de agosto de 2018)

Detienen a integrantes de las Abejas de Acteal (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de agosto de 2018)

Retienen a integrantes de Las Abejas de Acteal (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 8 de agosto de 2018)

Denunciamos detención arbitraria de dos compañeros nuestros del barrio Río Jordán (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 7 de agosto de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Las Abejas desmienten versión gubernamental de lo sucedido en Los Chorros (18 de enero de 2018)

Chiapas: detención arbitraria y riesgo de desplazamiento forzado en Río Jordan, Chenalhó (10 de enero de 2018)

Chiapas : a 20 años de la masacre de Acteal (26 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas : Se mantienen amenazas contra Abejas de Los Chorros, municipio de Chenalhó (21 de abril de 2017)

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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)

Audio-Video:

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: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community

April 26, 2014

Retorno de las familias desplazadas en Colonia Puebla. Foto (@Sipaz)

Return of the displaced families to the Puebla ejido. Photo (@Sipaz)

As they had announced in their press-conference on 12 April, the displaced from the Puebla ejido returned to their homes on 14 April, after spending nearly nine months outside of their community.

Before the mass presided over by Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, that was given on the land recently granted to the Catholics, the displaced shared their words.  They once again affirmed that their return has been performed without any sort of justice having been done, and they stressed the role of the authorities in what had passed: “if something happens, it will be their responsibility,” they told the Secretary of Governance, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, and the Subsecretary for Religious Affairs, Víctor Hugo Sánchez Zebadúa, who were present at the event, as was the CNDH (National Commission on Human Rights).

Both the bishop and the representatives of the displaced and the parish council of Chenalhó insisted that what was most important was justice, and that the displaced must “continue struggle toward it.”  The bishop emphasized the suffering that the displaced families and Father Manuel (parishioner of Chenalhó) had experienced, and he insisted that those who had supported them “should continue doing so, not only at the material level but also toward the end of achieving peace, harmony, and reconciliation.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Retornaron 17 familias indígenas desplazadas al poblado de Puebla, municipio de Chenalhó (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de abril de 2014)

Retornan desplazados al ejido Puebla en Chiapas (La Jornada, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan desplazados a comunidad (Cuarto Poder, 15 de abril de 2014)

Regresan a sus hogares 17 familias de tsotsiles desplazados (Proceso, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas : “return without justice” of those displaced from the Puebla ejido (26 April 2014)

Chiapas: Arrest of those presumed responsible for the burning of a house in the Puebla Colony an “insult to the displaced” (Las Abejas Civil Society) (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: House of displaced family is burned down in Puebla Colony, Chenalhó. Two are arrested (16 March 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony once again postpone possible return following new aggression (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Authorities hand over land in dispute to Catholics in Puebla Colony.  ”This is not the priority solution for the displaced,” note Las Abejas (2 March 2014)


National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day

March 16, 2014

Marcha-peregrinación en Chenalhó para el Día Internacional de la Mujer (@SIPAZ)

Pilgrimage-march in Chenalhó for International Women’s Day (@SIPAZ)

Multiple activities were organized in Mexico on 8 March for International Women’s Day.  More than a celebration, these actions became platforms for denunciation: as Amnesty International has stressed, “on International Women’s Day, there is little to celebrate and many challenges to face.”  AI indicated that “in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, women confront a reality of discrimination and injustice every day, including the threat of death for merely belonging to the feminine sex.”  AI added that “the Mexican government should act now to arrest the epidemic of violence that women must face.”

In Chiapas, hundreds of women marched in the Teopisca and San Cristóbal de las Casas municipalities to demand a cessation of violence and discrimination against them.  The organizations and individual members of the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas asked “How many more women will die for the State to consider there to be a wave of violence against the women of Chiapas? […] Of the 51 deaths that the State Attorney General’s Office has registered as violent, it recognized only 47 as femicides and clarified that 37 of them had led to penal action, though only 2 cases have ended in condemnatory sentences [implying incarceration].  The efficacy presumed in Chiapas is shameful, for it recognizes that in reality there has been no resolution of the more than 90% of cases of femicidal violence.”  In light of the official rejection of a request for a gender violence alert, as presented on 25 November 2013, these women declared a “POPULAR PERMANENT ALERT.”

In Chenalhó, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a pilgrimage-march.  In a communique, women from this organization emphasized that “More than 16 years since Acteal, we have not forgotten that our female comrades were murdered by the bad government.  This massacre brought us great sadness, fear, and illness; our pain has been great, but greater still are our memory and hopes.  Our massacred female comrades died organized; they died saying the truth; they died rejecting the violence sowed by the bad government in our community of Ch’enalvo´.  Now we will continue this brave and dignified example of our massacred sisters.”

In Oaxaca, Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE and social organizations held a march; the declaration of a gender alert for the state is another demand made by civil society in the state.  In what has passed of the administration of Gabino Cué Monteagudo, there have been seen a total of at least 268 femicides and 734 cases of gender violence in Oaxaca.

In Guerrero, Rosario Herrera Ascencio, head of the Ministry for Women (SEMUJER) in the state, stressed the need to legalize the decriminalization of abortion because many women die annually performing this in a clandestine manner.  With the slogan “without memory there is no justice; they will die when we give up struggle; let us honor them,” the social organizations of Atoyac commemorated International Women’s Day, reporting that the state occupies the eighth most violent state in terms of gender in the country.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado: “!En el Día Internacional de la Mujer hay poco que celebrar y muchos retos por enfrentar(Amnistía Internacional , 8 de marzo de 2014)

Frenar epidemia de violencia contra las mujeres, exige Amnistía Internacional(La Jornada, 8 de marzo de 2014)

Nada que festejar, dicen mujeres en su día; feminicidios, violencia, partos mal atendidos(La Jornada, 9 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de la Campaña contra los feminicidios: “Nos declaramos en alerta popular de género (8 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de las mujeres de Las Abejas en el Día Internacional de la Mujer (8 de marzo de 2014)

Reclaman ONG que Aguirre no cumpla su promesa de lograr la igualdad de género (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (2 March 2014)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women (8 December 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Conmemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

Chiapas: Women declare alert over gender violence (20 July 2013)

Oaxaca: March of releatives of victims of feminicide and members of human rights organizations for women (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: More feminicides under Gabino Cué than in the final years of Ulises Ruiz (24 January 2013)


Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó return to Acteal

February 13, 2014

Colonia Puebla, Chenalho (@SIPAZ)

Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (@SIPAZ)

On 7 January, the 17 families displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, returned to the Acteal community, given their conclusion that the necessary conditions which would allow for their stay in their community of origin do not exist.  Displaced in a conflict with Evangelicals over land on which they had been building a Catholic chapel, the 98 persons had been in the Puebla ejido for 20 days (since 17 January) to harvest and dry their coffee crops.

In a communique, those displaced from the Puebla Colony, the Parish Council of San Pedro Chenalhó, and the Las Abejas Civil Society explained that “the necessary conditions for us to remain in Puebla with peace and tranquility are absent.  Perhaps some believe that because some government officials have visited the community (including Governor Manuel Velasco), the problem has been solved.  The conditions for our return we have already explained to the government; these include the recognition of our property in the land on which is located the Catholic church, the recognition and reparation of damages incurred (both communal due to the destruction of the chapel and of communal houses), in addition to the personal damages we suffered due to robbery and degradation of the homes of the displaced.  We also ask that the various crimes to which we have been subjected not remain in impunity […].  We would like to believe that the visit of the governor is a reflection of his will to resolve the problem, but, as with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Michoacán, it is not enough to take a photo and make promises to resolve problems, while they in fact desire to solve everything with promises of support but they do not make justice.  As long as this is the case, there can be no solution.”

The groups denounced verbal aggressions and stoning to which they were subjected during their 20 days in the ejido, particularly as directed against Juan López Méndez, “who they greatly dislike, since, not being Catholic, he chose not to support the attacks on Catholics.”

In conclusion, the groups noted that “we would like to have peace and reconciliation in Puebla, as in all other communities.  We are open to dialogue, but what we cannot accept is impunity and the repetition of crimes, because we have seen that it was in this way that we were displaced in 1997.  Once again this happened in 2013, and all because of the same people, precisely because they have not been punished.  If they continue not to be, there will continue to be displacements.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Desplazados de la Col. Puebla Municipio de Chenalhó, regresan a Acteal(Comunicado de los Desplazados de la Col. Puebla, el Consejo Parroquial de San Pedro Chenalhó y la Sociedad Civil de las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de febrero de 2014)

Desplazados de Chenalhó exigen justicia y reparación de los daños (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Regresaremos hasta ver señales reales de justicia: desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla ejido do not find conditions for return (3 February 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee (22 January 2014)

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)


Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee

January 22, 2014

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

(@http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/)

On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants.  They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.

These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built.  In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months.  White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.

Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision.  The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)

Blog de la Misión de Observación: http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/

Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)


Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal

September 13, 2013

Durante el traslado, 26 agosto 2013 @ SIPAZ

During the transfer, 26 August 2013 @ SIPAZ

On 20 August there was a failed attempt to return to the Puebla Colony of Chenalhó on the part of some of the members of the same ejido after they had spent 30 days displaced in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. This return could not be carried out because the displaced were attacked with stones and insults, together with the civil caravan that had been accompanying the attempted return, according to public denunciation.  In this caravan traveled a representative of the state-government of Chiapas and a patrol of the State Preventive Police: “in light of this attack, they did nothing,” notes the communique from the Las Abejas Civil Society, continuing: “[w]hen our brothers and sisters saw that there were no conditions for return, they had to abandon this place and return once again to San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. In the late afternoon of this same day, the young Evangelicals from the Puebla Colony burned down two communal houses belonging to our brothers and sisters, so as to express their hatred of Catholics.”

On 21 August, Manuel Pérez Gómez, parishioner of San Pedro Chenalhó went together with a governmental representative and municipal leader of Chenalhó to the Puebla ejido to sign an agreement as part of a process of detente that began days before with the ejidal authorities.  When the parishioner arrived at the chapel, he was arrested by a group of persons, beaten, and taken to a school where he was bound and tied for 5 hours and threatened with being burned with gasoline.  On 23 August, nearly all the Catholic families–and some of other religions–left from the Puebla Colony for San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

On 26 August, the displaced families decided to return to the zone, though no to their community.  A total of 95 persons, 12 Catholic families, and 2 Baptist families moved from Yabteclum to Acteal, near Chenalhó, accompanied by the Parish Council and national and international organizations to guarantee their security.  In Acteal there was held a press-conference and mass during which the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal confirmed that the religious conflicts run parallel to counter-insurgent strategies, and that there has been seen a “return of paramilitary groups that committed the Acteal massacre, so we should remember that Puebla Colony and the Miguel Utrilla Los Chorros Colony are the principal cradles of the paramilitaries who in 1997 prosecuted the Acteal massacre.”

For more information (in Spanish):

15 familias católicas y bautistas de colonia Puebla, se desplazan en Acteal, consecuencia de guerra de contrainsurgencia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 27 de agosto de 2013)

Impiden a desplazados el retorno a su comunidad (La Jornada, 21 de agosto de 2013)

Operación de limpieza religiosa en Chenalhó vinculada a paramilitares (La Jornada, 25 de agosto de 2013)

AU: Detienen, golpean y amenazan de muerte en el ejido Puebla a Manuel Pérez Gómez, párroco de Chenalhó (CDHFBC, 21 de agosto de 2013)

Acteal, las heridas abiertas (Chiapas Paralelo, 22 de agosto de 2013)

Retornan desplazados del Ejido Puebla, municipio de Chenalhó, a un mes de clima de violencia en la comunidad (Subversiones, 19 de agosto de 2013)

Comunicado de la Red por la Paz: Preocupación por situación en el Ejido Puebla municipio de Chenalhó, Chiapas (23 de agosto de 2013)

Liberación de paramilitares desata ataques en Chenalhó: Centro Frayba (La Jornada, 11 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English): 

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Las Abejas of Acteal on 22 May 2013 (7 June 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas denounce lack of justice in the Acteal case (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas lament release of yet another of those charged for Acteal massacre (27 March 2013)