National: Activist Rosario Piedra Ibarra is elected new president of the CNDH

November 11, 2019


On November 7, the Senate elected the new head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH). With 76 out of 114 votes cast in her favor, Rosario Piedra Ibarra, human rights activist and daughter of the founder of the Eureka! Committee, an organization of mothers and relatives of the disappeared, was elected as the new ombudsman, while candidates Arturo Peimbert Calvo and José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez received 24 and 8 votes respectively.

After the vote, members of the National Action Party (PAN) denounced that in reality 116 instead of 114 legislators voted and that there was fraud in the process. “We demand the annulment of the vote to elect the incumbent of the @CNDH. [. . . ] We cannot allow FRAUD to be done in the Senate of the Republic”, Martha Márquez of the PAN reported on Twitter. It should be noted that the only people empowered to count votes are the secretaries of the Board of Directors of the Chamber where the PAN is represented by one secretary.

PAN senators also criticized that Rosario Piedra Ibarra was a candidate for federal congresswoman for Morena: “Today Morena did not vote in favor of the Mexicans, they voted for a president of the @CNDH who will act under the command of the President”.

I am never going to submit to a partisan idea that would be contrary to what is in my own conscience“, emphasized the new president of the CNDH before the accusations. She also stated that she wants to prevent the CNDH from becoming a instance of “simulation” with the promise of putting herself “in the shoes of the victims”.

On voting day she announced on her Twitter account: “A new period for human rights begins today. I heartily thank the people who place their trust in me and rest assured that I will work the same way I have for over 40 years. May this achievement be for all of us.”

For more information:

Rosario Piedra Ibarra en Twitter (November 7, 2019)

Rosario Piedra hace historia: Es la primera luchadora social que llega a la Presidencia de la CNDH (SinEmbargo November 7, 2019)

Oposición acusa fraude en elección de titular de CNDH; es un trámite concluido, dice Morena (Animal Político November 7, 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)

Oaxaca: Founder and Director of Community Radio Murdered. Tenth Journalist Murdered under AMLO Government (May 10, 2019)


Chiapas: Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Killed

December 1, 2009

From EFE Agency

San Cristobal de Las Casas (Mexico), November 27 (EFE) – NGOs reported that an indigenous leader from the municipality of Chicomuselo, located in the mountains of the southern state of Chiapas, was shot and killed today by an unidentified person who attacked him in the doorway of his home.

Activist Mariano Abarca Robledo belonged to the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA) in Chiapas and was the head of organizing the communities in the border region of Guatemala who demanded the shutting down of the Canadian mining company Blackfire.

REMA member Gustavo Castro reported the assassination took place Friday night when the leader was outside of his house talking with another REMA member named Orlando Velasquez, who was also injured in the attack.

According to statements by family, an individual riding a motorcycle opened fire on Abarca, hitting him in the head and chest.

The indigenous leader had been jailed for one week last August for a roadblock set up with his followers to impede the transfer of mining materials to an open pit barite mine operated by Blackfire in the community of Grecia.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Mining in Chiapas: A New threat for the survival of indigenous peoples (december 2008)

Oaxaca: Meetings and Accusations

November 30, 2009

On November 13th and 14th the Oaxacan Collective for the Defense of the Land convened a Second National Forum entitled: “Weaving Resistance in Defense of Our Land.” The meeting took place in the Mixe community of San Juan Jaltepec de Candayoc, in the municipality of San Juan Cotzocon. The objectives were to “exchange experiences in defense of land, territory and natural resources of indigenous people and communities, and explore the possibilities of joining forces to create a common defense.”

The final declaration emphasized: “that the lack of recognition of the autonomy over our land and territory, the lack of legal mechanisms for defense, and the false mediation of agrarian requests has resulted in innumerable agrarian conflicts between communities… Today Chiapas and Oaxaca are examples of an experiment in megaprojects and public policies that have only generated conflict, internal division in communities, looting of land and the violation of our rights… From the hearts of our people we declare that our communities and indigenous people are in resistance. We won’t be defeated by this new neoliberal offensive stripping us of our land. We profoundly believe in the value of our collectivity, of exercising authority as a service, of the collective ownership of the earth and the rebuilding of our land as people, as institutions that give us strength.”

In light of these outstanding issues a communiqué denouncing the intimidation of the people of Paso de la Reina was circulated on November 19, a few days before the Forum. The previous day a mass had been held in support of their cause and was presided over by the Bishop of Puerto Escondido.

Before that, on November 18, the “Meeting for Justice and Against Impunity: Cases Before the Supreme Court of Mexico” was held in the city of Oaxaca. The goal of the event was to analyze the Supreme Court’s resolutions in the cases of Lydia Cacho, Atenco, Acteal and Oaxaca, and the implications for the social movement, victims of repression, and defenders of justice and human rights.

The final resolution underlined the fact that in all the cases presented there was a “prevalence of deep-rooted impunity” and pointed out that “Mexican administrative bodies and legal officials are quick and expeditious when it comes to punishing and reprimanding citizens who are defending their rights against government abuses, but they’re slow and inefficient when it comes to correcting an injustice, and are practically powerless when it comes to trying to apply justice to a higher official.”

For more information:

Declaración de Jaltepec, Foro la resistencia por la defensa de nuestros territorios (14 de noviembre)

Denuncia Paso de la Reina

Pronunciamiento final del Foro por la Justicia y contra la Impunidad

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Rechaza asamblea ejidal autorización a la CFE para construcción de presa en Paso de la Reina

Oaxaca: Foro Tejiendo Resistencias por la Defensa de Nuestros Territorios

Chiapas: Attack on K’inal Antsetik

November 10, 2009


Sorry for the delay in translating this post, regretfully still a topical subject.

On September 26, 2009, the K’inal Antsetik Women’s Leadership Center (Tierra de Mujeres) in San Cristobal de las Casas was attacked.

According to the statement provided by K’inal, on Saturday, September 26th at 8pm, at least one unidentified individual, dressed completely in black with his face covered with a ski mask, entered from some neighboring property and he (or them) sprayed white gasoline on some of the wooden main beams of the construction that was being built and set them on fire.

The people who live in the facilities and were there at that time were able to put out the fire with buckets of water.

It is important to underline that this was not the first attack on this organization, which dedicates itself to promoting the struggle for respect for women’s rights and combating all types of violence against women. One of its members, Yolanda Castro Apreza (who is also part of FNLS), has been the victim of repeated assaults and, at the end of 2008, her home was broken into. Also, there were reports of individuals in the K’inal Antestik Center who were offering money in exchange for information about Yolanda Castro. Finally, the reports mentioned that in the most recent days, the state Attorney General was understood to be creating a case against Yolanda Castro, falsely imputing crimes against her with the goal of criminalizing her role as a human rights defender.

For more information:

Denuncia Pública K´inal Antsetik

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Concern regarding threats faced by human rights defenders

Chiapas: March against mining

September 19, 2009

On September 16th, 2009 – the 199th anniversary of the independence of Mexico – more than 1000 members of the National Socialist Front (FNLS) marched from Mazapa de Madero to Motozintla in the Sierra of Chiapas. The marchers demanded respect for their position of “strong rejection to mining activity” in the region.

In a press release the FNLS pointed out that international companies operate mines in various municipalities in the Sierra. In the past few months opposition from the people has increased, especially in the municipalities of Chicomuselo, Mazapa de Madero, Motozintla and Siltepec.

A call was made for unity “because only in unity can we face the dark future brought on by the looting of our mineral resources and the complete destruction of our forests, rivers and ecosystems.”

The FNLS also denounced the harassment and threats against their members and leaders like Yolanda Castro and Daniel Luna, as well as harassment and threats against communities who are organized in opposition to mining.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Chiapas: repudian a mineras y al gobierno”, La Jornada (17/09/09)

More information from SIPAZ:

Mining in Chiapas: A New threat for the survival of indigenous peoples (december 2008)

Chiapas: Indigenous Communities demand a stop to repression for defending their territory

August 28, 2009

Conferencia de prensa

On August 20th, a press conference was held by followers of “the Other Campaign” representing three communities affected by the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway: Mitziton, Jotola and San Sebastian Bachajon. At the press conference, held at the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, the representatives denounced the current situation, saying they are face to face with “bad neoliberal projects that offer no benefit to indigenous people in any way” and the plundering of land that threatens their very presence on the land.

The Other Campaign members of Mitziton condemned the fact that after one month there has been no arrest made in the murder case of Aurelio Diaz Hernandez, who was killed on July 21st, 2009. They also reported that paramilitaries continue to “threaten with their guns, firing them often into the air during the evening and night” and that public officials from the Ministry of Communication and Transportation have made new attempts to “trick us into signing a meeting certificate to give them permission to pass through our territory to build the highway to Palenque.”

Members of the Other Campaign in San Sebastian Bachajon demanded the “immediate release” of Geronimo Gomez Saragos and Antonio Gomez Saragos, who were arrested between April 13th and 18th during police operations in the Chilon region. They also demanded that arrest warrants for Ricardo Sanchez Luna, Alberto Mendez Lopez, Isabel Moreno Miranda and Pascual Sanchez Perez be withdrawn. They reported the recent “illegal occupation of their land by state and federal police” and said members of the Other Campaign have been threatened by OPDDIC – the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights. The Jotola communal landowners have received similar threats and said OPDDIC members are “firing their guns, scaring our ‘compañeros´ and our children.”

To conclude the press conference, the representatives of the three communities explained they had met on this occasion to defend their land, their rights and their indigenous culture that “the bad government wants to destroy and continue destroying like they did with our ancestors.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de los ejidos San Sebastián Bachajón, Jotolá y Mitzitón(20/08/2009)

“Persiste injusticia e impunidad contra pueblos indígenas de Chiapas”, Boletín 29, CDHFBC (20/08/2009)

“Teme el Centro Frayba agresiones de los liberados por el caso Acteal”, La Jornada (21/08/2009)

Links to audiovisual materials during the press conference:

Oaxaca: Liberation of 4 Loxicha prisoners

July 31, 2009


On the 18th July, four indigenous prisoners from the Loxicha region were granted early release from prison. Estanislao Martínez Santiago, Ricardo Martínez Enríquez, Cirilo Ambrosio Antonio and Urbano Ruiz Cruz had been imprisoned since 1996, accused of having committed a variety of different crimes of federal order.

The freed indigenous peoples come from a marginalized area, where they are routinely subjected to both violence and repression at the hands of the government, which, on the 25th September 1996 resulted in the detention of 12 individuals. The arrest occurred when, “on the 25th September 1996, the state and federal government implemented an operative in the Loxicha region that resulted in murders, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and grand-scale arbitrary and unjust detentions”, according to organizations that have followed the process, such as the Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño A.C, as well as the Zapatista Collective of Oaxaca and the priest Wilfredo Mayren Pelaez, spokesperson for the prisoners of Loxicha. “We must recognize that 8 political prisoners are still imprisoned, who, on the 25th September, will complete 12 years in jail; 4 of them remain in prison awaiting the resolve of their legal situation, whilst the other 4 will complete sentences of 30 to 34 years, during which time they are being deprived of their freedom.”

For more information (in Spanish), see:

“Liberan en Oaxaca a cuatro presos políticos”, CENCOS (20/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 presos Loxichas, después de 13 años”, Disidente Radio (19/07/2009)

“Liberan a 4 compañeros de la region Loxicha”, El Enemigo Común (20/07/2009)

More information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: people march for the liberation of 12 political prisoners in Loxicha

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization takes place in La Esperanza, Honduras

October 16, 2008

Slideshow of the II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization took place between 3 and 6 October, 2008 in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras. The meeting saw the participation of some 800 individuals and 175 organizations from 27 different countries including: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada and five European countries.

During the 4 day gathering 19 regional based cases of “solidarity/urgent actions” were presented in which participants denounced the current militarization status of Haiti, Colombia, The United States, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Triple Border (between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay), Honduras, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala y Paraguay.

On October 3 and 4 workshops were presented on several diverse theme including: Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Americans and Campesinos; Immigration; Social Movements; the Criminalization of Social Struggle; the Fourth Fleet; the Triple Border; Military Bases; the Military Industrial Complex; the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America); Free Trade Agreements; the Mesoamerican Project (formerly the PPP, Plan Puebla Panama); IIRSA (Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America), the Merida Initiative and Plan Colombia. The reflection on possible plans of action was divided into regions: South America, Mesoamerica (including southern Mexico), the Caribbean and the North (including northern Mexico).

At the closing of the meeting the Final Declaration was read to the participants and later made public (in Spanish, see below). On the morning of the 6th, the gathering was concluded with a march and subsequent demonstration held in front of the United States military base located in Palmerola, Comayagua, Honduras.

Final Declaration of the II Hemispheric Forum Against Militarization (Spanish)

More information:

Hundreds Gather to Confront Militarization of the Americas (Americas Policy Program, 05/10/08)

More Information (in Spanish):

Sitio del II Encuentro Hemisférico contra la Militarización

Campesinos e indígenas protestan en base de Palmerola y exigen su cierre (Proceso, 06/10/08)

Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas

Oaxaca: XXII Extended Plenary Meeting of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

September 29, 2008

On September 19th, 20th, and 21st of 2008, the extended plenary meeting of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, Congresso Nacional Indígena) took place in the indigenous community of Cacalotepec, in the municipality of Santos Reyes Pápalo, home to the Cuicateco people, who are located in the highlands of the Región Cañada in the state of Oaxaca.

The meeting, which was organized by the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magón (CIPO-RFM, Consejo Indígena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magón), was broken down into plenary meetings as well as four themes of discussion: 1.- Our path as indigenous peoples in the face of capitalist projects; 2.-The strengthening of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI); 3.- The situation of indigenous women in the face of capitalist projects; 4.- The repression of indigenous peoples.

Representatives from the following peoples participated: the Cuicateco people; the Mixteco people from both the coast and the highlands; the Zapoteca people; the Mixe people; the Tsotsil people; the Tseltal people; the Nahua people; the Purhepecha people; the WIX’ARIKA people; the Triqui people; the Chinanteco people. In addition representatives from various NGOs and social organizations participated. Members of SIPAZ attended as international observers.

More Information (In Spanish):

Final Address of the National Indigenous Congress

Oaxaca: National Forum “Building Paths and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”

September 25, 2008

On September 19th and 20th, the National Forum “Construyendo Caminos y Articulando Proyectos para la Transformación Política” (“Building Paths and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”) occurred in Oaxaca. According to the organizers, the meeting was a gathering of 240 people; this included men, women, representatives and members of seventy-three social and civil organizations, including social movements from Chiapas, Morelos, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and the state of Mexico, as well as representatives from Australia and the United States.

The final political declaration emphasized that “this event is occurring within the context of a serious institutional crisis and of a fragile democracy, in which we as a country are immersed; it is occurring within the many experiences of struggle and resistance from many diverse social movements in Mexico and through the necessity of re-articulating the social and political processes of the people of Oaxaca in the face of the authoritarianism of the government”.

The proposed objectives of this event were: to generate a space of discussion for the diverse range of social movements in the country; to identify common elements between the national and local settings, as well as to reach a consensus on the priority courses of action within the social agenda.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Political Declaration of the National Forum “Building Roads and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”

Opening Speech by Dolores Gonzáles (SERAPAZ: Services and Consulting for Peace)