Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez

March 7, 2012

Bettina Cruz Velásquez @ Oaxaca Digital

On 22 February 2012, the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) detained the human-rights defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, member of the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, in the Santa María Xadani municipality, Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca.  Cruz Velázquez, who is also a member of the movement of Civil Resistance against High-Electricity Prices, was accused by the Federal Public Ministry of the crimes of kidnapping CFE workers as well as a charge against “consumption and national wealth,” supposedly committed last April during a protest outside the Ministry’s offices to demand the release of one of her comrades.  Cruz Velázquez was released on bail after paying this on 23 February; the judicial investigation is still proceeding.  It should be noted that in response to her detention, many social and civil organizations released communiqués demanding her immediate release, alleging that the true reason for her detention was the criminalization of the work of human-rights defenders.

Cruz Velázquez enjoys precautionary measures awarded b the Office for the Defense of Human Rights from the Oaxaca state-government since 14 November 2011 for her having been assaulted by state police during her work of informing indigenous communities regarding their rights to property of land.  According to Alejandra Ancheita, director of the Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Spanish firm Wind Development in Mexico (Demex) had made communities sign contracts for rental of lands without having informed them in their proper languages of the conditions this would imply–even if these might include outright displacement.  Bettina Cruz was a member of a resistance committee to help with the termination of the contracts.  On 8 February 2012 a work-table was agreed to for dialogue to demand the end of rental contracts signed by residents of Unión Hidalgo with DEMEX.  That day it was agreed that there would be a second meeting on Saturday 25 February in Oaxaca de Juárez so as to hear the formal response of the firm to the petition for the cancellation of contracts.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos(Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, 24 February 2012)

Sale libre bajo fianza la defensora de derechos humanos Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez (Boletín de prensa de ProDESC, CRPEUH, APIITDTT y Poder, 24 February 2012)

Detuvieron por orden federal a Bettina Cruz, opositora a los parques eólicos de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 24 February 2012)

Acción Urgente: La PGR detiene a defensora de derechos humanos Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez (Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, 23 February 2012)

Detienen en Oaxaca a la activista Lucila Cruz (La Jornada, 23 February 2012)

PGR detiene a defensora de los derechos humanos (El Universal, 22 February 2012)

Maestros de Oaxaca piden liberación de activista (Milenio, 23 February 2012)

La PGR detiene a defensora de DDHH Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez en Santa María Xadani, Oaxaca (Cencos, 23 February 2012)

Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos (Red todos los derechos para todas y todos, 22 February 2012)



Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos en Oaxaca, México (Pozol Colectivo, 23 February 2012)

Acción Urgente: Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos (Chacatorex, 22 February 2012)

Detienen a la activista y defensora de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas BETTINA CRUZ VELÁSQUEZ (Kaos en la Red, 23 February 2012)

Integrantes del Movimiento de Resistencia Civil Contra las Altas Tarifas de la CFE se movilizan (NSS Oaxaca, 23 February 2012)

Maestros de Oaxaca piden liberación de activista (NSS Oaxaca, 23 February 2012)

“Hartos de abusos y amenazas”, comuneros oaxaqueños buscan anular parque eólico en Unión Hidalgo (Educa, 16 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Communards of San Dionisio del Mar revoke contract for wind-farm (9 February 2012)

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)

Oaxaca: Indigenous individuals from the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants (5 July 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)

Mexico: US approves another 300 million dollars for Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative

March 12, 2009

Source: Terra Actualidad

Source: Terra Actualidad

On March 11, the United States government approved another 300 million dollars for the Mexican government as part of the Merida Initiative, a program of military aid for the war on drugs. The Merida Initiative is an agreement between the US and Mexico with the objective of confronting the drug-trafficking in Mexico and consists of 1.4 billion dollars over a 3 year period. According to the press release by the Embassy of the United States in Mexico, “This renewed funding, when combined with the $400 million made available late last year, demonstrates the United States’ continued and serious commitment to its shared responsibility in working with Mexico to confront drug trafficking and organized crime.” The aid package of 300 million dollars for 2009 was lower than the amount promised by the US: 450 million dollars.

Nevertheless, various social and human rights organizations are concerned about the consequences of the militarization which accompanies the war on drugs. In addition others questioned the right of the United States to condemn Mexico when the US itself has not been capable of controlling the sale of high-powered firearms on the border of both countries. Additionally, according to the Archdioceses of Mexico, “they [the US] have not recognized the consumption of drugs in their own country, the largest market for narcotics”. The government of the United States is giving military aid to Mexico in order to fight the war on drugs, however it is not making an effort to reduce the demand for drugs which is fueling the conflict in Mexico, a conflict which left of death toll of 5,61 in 2008 alone.

For More Information:

Press release from the US Embassy in Mexico, (3/11)

Human Rights Advocates Dismayed At U.S. Military Funding to Mexico, News Blaze (3/10)

In Spanish:

México debe rechazar “limosnas” de EU para lucha antinarco: Iglesia, La Jornada, (11/3)

Iniciativa Mérida es limosna: Iglesia, El Universal, (12/3)

More Information from SIPAZ:

Mexico/US: Mérida Initiative funding released, SIPAZ (12/4/08)

The Merida Initiative in Mexico (SIPAZ, 08/08)

Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ (20/08/08)