Oaxaca: Omar Esparza denounces group contracted to murder him; threats against lawyers in the case of Bety and Jyri

June 10, 2015

Foto @ Aristegui Noticias

Photo @ Aristegui Noticias

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, a human-rights defender who died alongside Jyri Jaakkola for participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan to San Juan Copala in 2010, denounced the existence of an armed group that seeks to kill him, being contracted by Antonio Cruz (alias “Toño Bird), the leader of the Movement for Triqui Struggle and Unification (MULT), which is allied with the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT). Omar Esparza holds the federal and state governments responsible for whatever attack he or his family would suffer, due to their failures to arrest all those responsible for the murders of Bety y Jyri. In an interview with Revolución Tres Punto Cero, Esparza indicated that “someone heard the conversation and told us to take the necessary security measures. It is not just a death-threat. There exists an armed group that has been hired to kill me.”

Beyond this, David Peña, lawyer from the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD), declared in an interview with Aristegui CNN that the case is pending. Though three have been incarcerated, 10 arrest-orders are still open. He indicated that the “government of Finland (where Jyri Jaakkola had held citizenship) has been present and attentive to the process from the beginning. We have been accompanied by the Finnish Embassy, other embassies from the European Union, and the European Parliament itself held a special audience within the subcommittee on human rights.” He added that “this case was discussed by the Finnish president with Peña Nieto, who reiterated the Mexican State’s commitment to resolving the case. He has made this claim on three or four separate occasions. The problem is that the commitment Peña Nieto supposedy has is not translated into concrete actions.” Regardless, David Peña added that “there has been a near-total absence of the judiciary: no protection for witnesses, or investigation of those responsible. No resources for the arrest of the murderers, nor even now to guarantee the security of those who of us who are promoting the process, who in recent weeks have received death-threats and warnings to abandon the case.”

The lawyer explained the history of the Triqui region, wherein a group was created “by PRI governments with their finances. These groups have been publicly recognized, even by the Federal Attorney General’s Office, as a paramilitary group.” This group “attacked the caravan. We performed a process of documentation and investigation and succeeded in identifying who it was who attacked the caravan. Then the arrest-orders are released, but only three have been implemented, with 10 more pending. We are in an initial process of the trial against these three people, but the problem is that these put us at risk. Though we have 3 people incarcerated, 10 others are free, including two of the principal leaders. They have economic and military power, and with this protection or permissibility toward them on the part of politicians, they continue operating.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Preocupación por la seguridad de Omar Esparza, Viudo de Bety Cariño (Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 3 de junio de 2015)

Ausencia de la Federación en el caso del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola: David Peña en CNN (Aristegui Noticias, 1 de junio de 2015)

Entrevista de Aristegui Noticias (29 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 5 years since the murder of human rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (28 April 2015)

Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (March 1, 2015)

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (February 8, 2015)

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Oaxaca: “Justice in Mexico is slow and selective, and it leaves victims without protection”: Euro-deputies on the Copala case

March 10, 2015

betycarino

Photo: Cuartoscuro/Archive

In mid-February, a committee of female deputies from the European Parliament who participate in the Mixed Parliamentary Commission (CPM) Mexico-European Union lamented that in Mexico justice is slow, selective, and dismissive of protection for the families of victims, after finishing a meeting with Oaxacan officials.  During their seventh visit to Mexico, they came to assess progress in the investigation of the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish citizenship, on 27 April 2010, as they were participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan toward San Juan Copala.  One member of the committee held that it is incredible that, five years after the murders, the Mexican authorities had only made two arrests, and that the 11 arrest-orders against the presumed killers who serve in public office go unobserved.  “The advance in the process has been incredibly slow.  As a European I can really say that this is a simple case that could have been resolved very rapidly, because from the start it has been clear who those responsible have been, but now the lawyers must seek out the suspects as well as possible witnesses.  That is very strange,” she said.

Beyond this, the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD) denounced that two of the principal witnesses in the case are at risk because they have been threatened by members of Unity for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), thus leading them to request political asylum in Finland or another European country.  The Euro-deputies said it would be “disastrous” for the Mexican government if the two primary witnesses in the case find it necessary to flee the country.  “Until November 2014 there was a clear commitment to protect the witnesses with concrete measures, but for some reason it now seems that there is no agreement about who will do it now.  There is a sort of back-and-forth among the federal and state authorities.  It is unacceptable that the victims suffer, and that impunity prevail,” stressed the deputies.

Another of the representatives affirmed that “the case of Jyri and Bety is a possible opening to defy impunity.  It is an emblematic case that exemplifies how a relatively straightforward case can be converted into a process full of injustice.”  She added that, “If this case has been so slow, despite all the public attention it has received, we ask how it is for those victims whose cases go unheard.”  The legislators have announced that they will continue to return to Mexico until the Cariño and Jaakkola case is resolved.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a dos funcionarios de Oaxaca por el homicidio de los activistas Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Animal Político, 2 de marzo de 2015)

La justicia en México es lenta y selectiva, y no busca proteger a las víctimas: Eurodiputadas (Sin embargo, 23 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas piden proteger a testigos del caso Bety Cariño (CIMAC Noticias, 18 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas exigen avance en caso Jaakkola (La Jornada, 22 de febrero de 2015)

¿Cómo se ve México desde el extranjero? Corrupto y con dolor, dicen periodistas en EU (Sin embargo, 21 de febrero de 2015)

Testigos del crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola pedirán asilo político en Finlandia (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (1 March 2015)

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (8 February 2015)

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)


Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice

December 7, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ Cencos

Starting on 5 November, Eve y Raimo Jaakkola, parents of the Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola, carried out their fifth visit to Mexico to meet Mexican authorities and demand punishment for those responsible for the murder of their son and of Bety Cariño, who died in an ambush in April 2010 conducted by a paramilitary group in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca.  Since then, 4 and a half years have passed, and though an agreement was made between relatives and lawyers on the one hand and the federal government on the other, impunity persists for the murders of Bety and Jyri, and the existing arrest-orders have yet to be implemented.  These agreements were made on 14 May of this year, after Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, launched a hunger strike of 16 days in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to demand that the institution sign a list of agreements to guarantee justice in the case.

Furthermore, Jyri’s parents reported that they would newly request that the European Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights demand the Mexican government to provide a report on the case.  “For me it is impossible to understand that in the first few weeks, we already knew who were the probable suspects, and they still have yet to be arrested […].  There are municipal authorities who are possibly responsible.  They go to Oaxaca to work, and there are arrest orders against them, but nothing happens,” noted Jyri’s mother.  She added that “the Eurodeputies see a connection between our case and that of Ayotzinapa.  They know that impunity exists behind these acts, and that this makes it likely that things like this will recur.”

Regarding the delay in arrests, Karla Michel Salas, lawyer with the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), noted that the authorities have claimed that those responsible live in San Juan Copala and environs, where the group Unity and Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT) holds power and “has arms and is dangerous.”  She added: “With this, the federal authorities accept that there is a region where the State cannot intervene, and where extra-legal groups terrorize the people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Padres de Jyri Jaakkola exigen justicia por asesinato de su hijo y Bety Cariño (Cencos, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Ningún avance para dar justicia por el asesinato de Bety Cariño (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


Oaxaca: Two years after the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 16, 2012

 

On 27 April 2012, 2 years passed since the murder of the human-rights defender Beatriz Cariño and of the Finnish international observer Jyri Jaakkola, an event that took place as they were traveling in a humanitarian caravan toward the community of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region of Oaxaca.

Many civil-society organizations, both national and international, pronounced themselves on the occasion: “During all this time we have observed the weak advance of investigations into the murders.  None of the corresponding institutions have committed themselves seriously to resolving the cases; on the contrary, the investigations are on hold, demonstrating yet again the total lack of political will to resolve the aberrant crimes that were committed against Bety and Jyri.”

The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) emphasized for its part that “On this 27 of April, two years have passed since the murder of our comrade and friend Alberta Cariño and the Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola, who died as they were attempting to enter the Triqui community of San Juan Copala on a humanitarian mission.   Despite the fact that the murderers from the UBISORT paramilitary gang have been plainly identified, to date neither the Federal nor State Attorney General’s Offices have proceeded with investigations corresponding to this double homicide.  This has allowed that the material and intellectual authors of the crime continue enjoying impunity.  It would seem that the idea is to protect them.”

The organization Agrarian Indigenous Zapatista Movement (MAIZ) of which Omar Esparza is a part, being the widower of Bety Cariño, has noted that “Because today once again after two years we continue to see how the assassins and tyrants such as Ulises Ruíz Ortiz and all others who decided on the attack on the caravan en route to San Juan Copala on 27 April 2010 are protected and defended.  In light of the absence and incompetence of the Attorney General, it has had to be we the families who have investigated, and we will seek the truth.  On the other hand, in recent days, representatives of the federal government have sought by all means to evade legal actions being taken against Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.”  It should be remembered that just previously to the anniversary of the double murder, the Mexican lawyers for the Jaakkola family, David Peña and Karla Michel Salas, who found themselves in Brussels, Belgium, to report to human-rights organizations and Eurodeputies about the state of the investigations in the case, indicated their surprise at the unexpected presence at the event of Max Diener Sala, subsecretary for Juridical Affairs and Human Rights from the Secretary for Governance.

For more information (in Spanish):

Critican a Calderón por impedir denuncia contra Ulises Ruiz en Finlandia (Proceso, 28 de abril de 2012)

Pronunciamiento nacional e internacional: ¡Justicia para Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola! (OSC, 28 de abril de 2012)

Betty y Jyri, 2 años, Copala, e impunidad (Noticias.net, 27 de abril de 2012)

Comunicado de MAIZ (Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista, 26 de abril de 2012)

Comunicado de Ucizoni en demanda de justicia para Bety Cariño (26 de abril de 2012)

Busca Calderón impedir denuncia contra Ulises Ruiz en Finlandia(Proceso, 25 de abril de 2012)

La ANAD demandará a Ulises Ruiz en Finlandia (La Jornada, 22 de abril de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Triquis return to their communities after 16 months of sit-in (8 February 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: Triquis return to their communities following 16 months of sit-in

February 8, 2012

Triqui girls during the press-conference @ La Jornada

The Triqui indigenous people from the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala pertaining to the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULTI) called on society to participate in a caravan on 23 January so as to return to their communities after having been displaced 16 months previously by paramilitaries from the Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (Ubisort).  They had been maintaining a sit-in in front of the Palace of governance in Oaxaca de Juárez since the time of their displacement.

The communiqué read at the press conference expressed that “we have reached some agreements with the state government, and this leads us to think that there exist favorable conditions for our peaceful return to our homes.  We do not understand this to be a provocation.”  The return to their communities was agreed to after 23 work-tables held with the state and federal governments so as to continue with the provisional measures dictated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in their favor.  Reina Martínez Flores, spokesperson for the organization who read the communiqué, clarified that the agreements were reached with the state government only because “the federal government has not demonstrated an actual interest in attending to our demands.”  There was added as well that “We are convinced that this is the only way to strengthen our culture and conserve our history; that our differences in reality do not exist, and that hatred comes from where it has always come: from the powerful, who are assisted by some indigenous persons who have lost their dignity and honor and so lend themselves to cultivating pain among our people, in exchange for some coins.”

In other news, on 1 January there was released an interview in the magazine Contralínea in which a supposed member of the armed group that attacked the caravan that sought to enter the ceremonial center of San Juan Copala to provide humanitarian aid to the besieged populace accuses Antonio Cruz García (also known as Toño Pájaro) and Rufino Juárez Hernández as being the principal perpetrators of the action.  Cruz García was then the “commander” of Ubisort, and he is now at the front of the armed group that since September 2010 has occupied San Juan Copala.  Juárez Hernández was at the time of the attack the political leader of Ubisort; he is now being held on other charges.  In the assault of 27 April 2010 died Alberta Cariño Trujillo, director of the Center of Communal Support Working Together (Cactus), and the Finnish human-rights observer Jyri Jaakkola.  Beyond this, that day there were more than a dozen injured, and two activists and two Contralínea journalists went missing for 60 hours.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del retorno de desplazados a San Juan Copala (Blog Municipio Autónomo de San Juan Copala, 15 January 2012)

Planean regresar a sus comunidades, triquis expulsados hace 16 meses por paramilitares (La Jornada, 15 January 2012)

¡Si vienen, nos los chingamos! (Contralínea, 1 January 2012)

Triquis volverán a Copala el lunes 23 (Oaxaca ya.com, 14 January 2012)

Paz, pide MULTI a MULT; regresan a San Juan Copala (Noticias net, 15 January 2012)

Llaman mujeres triquis de Copala a la paz al MULT (Noticias net, 16 January 2012)

Regresan Desplazadas a San Juan Copala y hacen un llamado de Paz (Frida Guerrera, 15 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño y Jaakkola

October 17, 2011

Franziska Keller, Satu Hassi, and Gabriela Küppers @ Oaxaca entrelíneas.com

The Eurodeputies Franziska Keller, Satu Hassi, and Gabrielle Küppers met on 3 September during their tour from 2 to 7 September with Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo to request information regarding the advance of investigations into the murders of the Mexican activist Beatriz Alberta Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola that occurred on 27 April 2010 in San Juan Copala.  The representatives of the European Parliament lamented that to now those responsible for the deaths of Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño have to date not been detained, though they see progress in that the government at least attends to them, given that the previous administration of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz denied audiences with the Commission of the European Parliament altogether.

Seventeen months after the crimes, which also led to more than a dozen injuries and the disappearance of four persons for 60 hours, no one responsible has been arrested.  “This is a problem of impunity that prevails in all of the country,” say Hassi and Keller.  Though they noted the arrest of Rufino Hernández, leader of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), as a positive development, given that he presumably participated in the death of the Finnish citizen and Bety Cariño, they indicated that this arrest has to do with other crimes committed by the leader.

In May of this year, on days 18 and 20, a delegation of the Subcommittee for Human Rights from the European Parliament visited Mexico.  In a recent report they observed that the “militarization” of the war against drugs launched by the government of Felipe Calderón itself represents “a problem in terms of human-rights violations.”

The document also indicates that despite the fact that high officials within the Calderón government with whom they interviewed “have expressed a storng commitment to bring national law into conformity with international conventions,” the representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) have complained that the same authorities “very rarely” take seriously the rights-violations documented by them.

The Eurodeputies expressed their concerns regarding the “excessive power of the military.”  Mexican senators, according to the report, “have told us that they do not have any interest in allowing the military to break the law, but that in fact the Army enjoys a much greater public trust than any other public organization, including the Church and obviously the Congress.”

In other news, the visitor of the CNDH confided to the Eurodelegation that “the lack of ongoing investigations into the murder in Oaxaca of Jyri Jaakkola, whom he knew personally, is emblematic of the climate of impunity” that prevails in the country.

“The European Parliament respects the concern Mexico has for its international standing, but the spirit of solidarity with the NGOs and the victims obliges us to continue demanding that Mexico observe its obligations under international human-rights law,” says the report.

For more information (in Spanish):

Contradicciones de México en derechos humanos: Parlamento Europeo, Proceso, 23 September 2011

Paramilitares de Oaxaca, en la impunidad: eurodiputadas, Contralínea, 29 September 2011

Lamentan representantes de Parlamento Europeo que aún no haya detenidos por muerte de Jaakola y Cariño, Oaxaca Entrelíneas.com, 3 September 2011

Eurodiputadas visitan Oaxaca para conocer avance sobre caso Copala, Ciudadanía Express, 1 September 2011

Eurodiputadas en Oaxaca, para pedir resultados de casos Cariño y Jaakkola, E-Oaxaca, 3 September 2011

Contradicciones de México en derechos humanos: Parlamento Europeo, Chacatorex, 28 September 2011

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: Detention of Rufino Juárez, director of UBISORT

June 2, 2011

On 12 May Rufino Juárez Hernández, director of Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), was arrested.  He is suspected to be one of those responsible for the grave climate of violence experienced lately in the Triqui region, particularly the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.

In accordance with information released by the State Police, Juárez Hernández is accused of being the intellectual author of the murder of Celestino Hernández Cruz, who belongs to the Movement for the Unification of Triqui Struggle-Independent (MULTI).  This was a murder registered on 17 April 2010 in the center of San Juan Copala.

Rufino Juárez is also a suspect in the attack on the humanitarian caravan that was head to San Juan Copala on 27 April 2010 in which were killed Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.  Days before the departure of the caravan, Juárez Hernández publicly made grave threats to the lives and security of its members.

MULTI and UBISORT, as well as the Movement for Unification of Triqui Struggle (MULT), conflict over local power in the Triqui region, as has been reflected in the high levels of violence employed by militants associated with each of these organizations.  In 2010 at least 36 murders were counted in that region of the state of Oaxaca, all of them the result of different ambushes.

Amnesty International hopes that this action on the part of the State Attorney General’s Office will constitute the beginning of actions taken to dismantle the armed illegal groups found in the region and to put an end to the impunity that has left anxiety among a people that has been subjected to attacks and harassment.  The organization hopes that this judicial action will be the prelude to further clarifications regarding the murder of the human rights defenders Alberta “Bety” Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola as well as clarifications on the presumed ties to be found among municipal and state authorities  and illegal armed groups like UBISORT.

Non-governmental organizations believe this detention is no act of goodwill or concession on the part of the Oaxaca state government but rather the product of national and international pressure to demand justice for the murder of Bety and Jyri.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen por homicidio a líder triqui en Oaxaca, El Universal, 14 May 2011

Acusan de homicidio a líder de la Ubisort, Enfoque Oaxaca, 13 May 2011

México: Un primer paso hacia la justicia en la región Triqui de Oaxaca, Amnistía Internacional

Pronunciamiento Público, Zapateando, 18 May 2011

Comunicado de Prensa, Viento Nuevo, 24 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)