Chiapas: Climate of violence between PRI and Green Ecologist Party in days before elections

July 22, 2015


Photo @Juan Orel

The final days in the run-up to local elections in Chiapas were marked by violence. In terms of the alliance for local deputies, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) are in coalition for 16 of the 24 electoral districts. However, in at least 12 Chiapas municipalities there have been documented incidents and attacks between members of the two parties: in Playas de Catazaja, Oxchuc, Tzimol, Tumbala, Chilón, Cacahoatán, Tila, Frontera Comalapa, Ocotepec, Tuxtla Chico, Huixtla, and Mapastepec.

During the night of 16 July, a group of masked men armed with sticks, stones, and rockets (presumably allied to the PVEM) robbed photographic equipment and cash, and beat the journalist Juan Orel, during his coverage of an incident in the Boulevard of the Federations in the Comitán municipality. The incident in question occurred when the reporter was covering an attack by the masked men against a group of PRI militants. Another case of aggression took place in Tila. The Committee on Human Rights Digna Ochoa made public that residents of the Tila municipality denounced that “there prevails in the Tila municipality a climate of generalized terror among the population, provoked by the presence of armed groups that serve the PRI and PVEM.” Beyond this, the communique from the Digna Ochoa Committee mentions that “among the residents there exists a fear that the electoral process will end with a massacre, given that, to date, the Chiapas state government led by Manuel Velasco Coello has been totally absent in terms of guaranteeing the right to life, integrity, and personal security of the people of the Tila municipality.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Grupo de choque ligado al PVEM agrede y roba equipo de reportero (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Se confrontan PRI y Verde en Comitán (Chiapas Paralelo, 17 de julio de 2015)

Conflictos entre PRI y PVEM marcan elecciones en Chiapas (Red Política, 8 de julio de 2015)

Comunicado Comité de Derechos Humanos de Base de Chiapas Digna Ochoa (15 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce confrontation between PVEM and PRI, with 4 injured (21 July 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila receive threats following march to commemorate 80th anniversary of the ejido (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce new attempt to loot land (22 January 2014)

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: mining reactivation is reported in the state

March 3, 2015
Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

In a statement released on February 14, the Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa in Chiapas affirmed that it had received a copy of a letter addressed to the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, which was signed by Dr. Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA). In this letter, the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to access their private and communal territories, and where, in a period of time of three months, he “has programmed to carry out geological mapping of the region comprised of the municipalities of Jitotol de Zaragoza, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Bochil, San Andrés Duraznal, El Bosque, Simojovel, Huitipán, Tapilula, Rayon, Pantepec, Allende Esquipulas, Las Maravillas, Union Zaragoza, Carmen Zacatal,Álvaro Obregón, Rincon Chamula, Competition, El Bosque, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Sitalá, San Juan Cancuc, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán”.

The Committee Digna Ochoa expressed that it “confirms that the government of Chiapas and mining companies are going for more territories and municipalities in the Northern region and Highlands of Chiapas and that the threat of looting and plunder is at the door of peasants and indigenous territories’ lands. (…) A door is opened to legalize the dispossession of land and resources belonging to hundreds of communities and indigenous and peasants peoples without an effective tool of legal defense such as the community consultation supported by ILO Convention 169”.

On February 11, the Believing People of the parish of Santa Catarina Pantelho organized a demonstration in the county seat of this municipality to announce its total rejection of the company GYMSA arrival.

In the last three governments in Chiapas, 144 mining concessions for exploration or exploitation have been granted (some of them for up to 50 years). Recently, in the natural reserve “El Triunfo”, municipality, and after months of opposition, the landowners gave up some plots to a Chinese company it is said for three million pesos per hectare.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se reactiva amenaza minera en municipios del norte de Chiapas, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de febrero de 2015)

Pantelho se moviliza en contra de los proyectos de minas (Espoir Chiapas, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Amenaza la minería a Chiapas; más de un millón hectáreas concesionadas (Reporte Ciudadano, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Tras meses de oposición labriegos de Chiapas aceptan vender parcelas a una minera china (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Carlos Slim, empresarios extranjeros y presta nombres, los dueños de concesiones mineras en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)

Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón

February 10, 2015


On 29 January, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, published a communique which reports that they will maintain their posture of defending their lands and that, toward this end, they have installed a regional headquarters for the ejido between the Agua Azul crossroads at the entrance of the waterfalls of the same name and the limits of the Tumbalá municipality.

They denounced furthermore that since the displacement operation they suffered on 9 January 2015, police presence has been constant, such that they have called on Governor Manuel Velasco Coello to immediately order the withdrawal of public security forces and to discontinue intimidation and repression.

They reported as well that the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, together with his security advisor are organizing shock-groups that “fire into the night with high-caliber weapons,” thus frightening local residents.

They noted lastly that “private meetings are being held between the Chilón delegate Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, a local deputy, to plan for [more] looting, such that our comrades are guarding the regional headquarters and are charging the quotas at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  We hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attack or confrontation that could develop.”

For his part, the “official” ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, has told the media that “at present we are being affected by a group of approximately 100 persons, men and women who hail from different municipalities of the state of Chiapas, adherents to an organization called the Other Campaign or the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, who have violently appropriated ejidal lands […].  We demand respect for the autonomy of the ejido and for non-violence.  They must put down their arms and opt for the path of dialogue and social peace.”

The first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth who went to visit San Sebastián Bachajón ein January stresses the attempt made by the ejidal commissioner to “portray these events as an inter-communal conflict that only has to do with the internal politics of the Bachajón community rather than the interests of the government and tourist firms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo de las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón(29 de enero de 2015; incluyendo vídeo)

Piden menos violencia y más diálogo en Bachajón (, 29 de enero de 2015)

Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón continúan en la defensa de su territorio, ante la amenaza de desalojo del gobierno de Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls

January 21, 2015

Cascadas de Agua Azul (@SIPAZ)

Agua Azul waterfalls (@SIPAZ)

Early in the morning on 9 January, at least 900 officers from the Chiapas state police as well as federal forces displaced the camp that indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, had installed at the entrance of the eco-tourist park, the Agua Azul waterfalls.  Though the site belongs to the Tumbalá municipality, one must traverse the Bachajón ejido to access the waterfalls.

On 21 December, more than 300 ejidatarios had retaken the lands, explaining that they “had been plundered by the bad government beginning on 2 February 2011, with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón,” making reference to the control-point that had been administered by the ejidatarios since September 2009 until the day they were forcibly displaced, leaving one dead, at least two injured, and 117 arrested.

Within the context of this new displacement, initial reports had indicated the forcible displacement of eight individuals.  During the night of the displacement operation, these persons in question were found, and they explained that they had succeeded in escaping the police after they had been arrested.

In a new communique, the ejidatarios denounce that “the true interest [of the government] is to plunder our lands.  They are truly unabashed, corrupt traitors to the country.  Their bad policies will not put an end to our struggle, because we will not allow them to continue looting us as they please.  We will continue with our actions in defense of Mother Earth.”

Following the displacement, the police established surveillance in the zone and installed checkpoints to review the vehicles that pass through.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobierno desaloja a indígenas adherentes al EZLN, en Bachajón (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de enero de 2014)

Desalojan a indígenas de Bachajón por Cascadas de Agua Azul; reportan 8 desaparecidos (SDP Noticias, 9 de enero de 2014)

Indígenas tzeltales denuncian violento operativo policiaco en las Cascadas de Agua azul (Radio Pozol, 9 de enero de 2014)

Los de abajo- Cascadas de Agua Azul (La Jornada, 10 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

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: harassment and threats from the CFE directed at organizations resisting high-electricity prices denounced

March 5, 2013


In a communique published on 22 February, the Laklumal Ixim organization (Our People of Maize) denounced the harassment and threats carried out by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against organizations resisting high-electricity prices in the Tila and Tumbala municipalities (northern Zone of the state of Chiapas).  Laklumal Ixim note that CFE employees have systematically visited those in civil resistance (of indigenous majority) so as to give them documents to pay.The organization denounced that “the CFE threatens to demand penal penalties, if payment is not received for the continued use of electricity […].  In this way they seek to facilitate the robbery of the people and the repression of their struggle for the right to just prices that accord with the conditions of poverty in which the majority of people of Chiapas live.”  Laklumal Ixim affirmed that in a similar sense, female beneficiaries of the “Opportunities” program have been threatened with having their benefits revoked if they did not pay for these bills.The organization noted that more broadly, “communities of the northern jungle regions who pay for their electricity find themselves rather worried about the CFE’s decision to increase electrical energy prices and to suspend subsidies, such that prices have skyrocketed, making payment practically impossible.”Laklumal Ixim stressed moreover that “it is lamentable that the present governor, instead of attending to the enormous structural challenges and social conflicts [in the state], spends his time on tour, celebrating, and promoting his image as a wasteful spender, as though he were in an electoral campaign.  We seriously call on the Chiapas state-government soon to assume its constitutional responsibilities and to observe its promises, such that during this government there comes to be a just price for all those in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Iniciará CFE en Chiapas procesos legales por resistencia al pago de energía (Milenio, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Comunicado completo de Laklumal Ixim (22 de febrero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mobilizations at the national level against high electricity prices (12 February 2013)

Mexico: National day of protests against high electricity prices (4 April 2012)

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

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

Campeche: Arrest of activist campaigning against high electricity prices (26 May 2010)

Mexico: AI Declares Activists against High Electricity Tariffs Prisoners of Conscience (10 March 2010)


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