National: Increase in attacks on journalists in Mexico

December 27, 2015

@Cuartoscuro

@Cuartoscuro

In recent weeks have transpired a number of attacks and acts of harassment against journalists in Mexico.  On 20 November in Mexico City, the home of the journalist Gloria Muñoz Ramírez was raided.  Muñoz Ramírez is the director of the electronic magazine Desinformémonos and a columnist for La Jornada.  Moreover, the editorship of Desinformémonos suffered a robbery and a cyber-attack.  The magazine is dedicated to documenting popular struggles and social movements in Mexico and throughout the world.  “This attack takes place within the context of grave attacks on journalists in the country, thus harming the right to information and putting at risk the lives, integrity, and personal security of those who dedicate themselves to communication,” noted the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in a communique.

Moreover, on 25 November, the journalist Maite Azuela received a death-threat at her home in Mexico City.  The articles written by the journalist are dedicated to human-rights policies and violations, recently related to the Army, as led by General Salvador Cienfuegos, and the state government of Puebla, directed by Rafael Moreno Valle. On 27 November in Guerrero, the general secretary of the state government, Florencio Salazar Adame, interrupted into a radio program and threatened the journalist Sergio Ocampo Arista, a news reporter, who had been discussing “suspicious” acts taken by the State.  According to the Journalistic Investigation Agency, Salazar Adame “arrived violently to the radio station and took the microphone to warn Ocampo […] that he should be careful with the criticisms he launches against the PRI government of Astudillo Flores,” governor of Guerrero.  Recently in Veracruz, at least 12 journalists were attacked by public-security forces.

Amidst these incidents, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) and Amnesty International Mexico (AI Mexico) submitted more than 12,000 signatures to the state authorities to demand that all the necessary measures be taken so that the Mechanism of Protection for Rights-Defenders and Journalists in Mexico function effectively. CMDPDH and AI indicated that the “work of rights-defenders in the country is risky and despite the fact that since 2012, there exists a law establishing a mechanism to protect these defenders and journalists who are at risk, it has not been implemented effectively due to lack of interest on the part of politicians.”  From 2000 to date, the National Commission on Human Rights in Mexico (CNDH) has registered 107 murders of journalists; 20 disappearances of journalists between 2005 and 2015; 48 attacks on media institutions from 2006 to date and a total of 506 complaints from 2010 to 2015.  Beyond this, between 2014 and 2015 the CNDH has authorized 26 precautionary measures.

For more information (in Spanish):

Recibe amenaza de muerte articulista Maite Azuela en el Distrito Federal (Desinformémonos, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Periodistas veracruzanos exigen tipificar delito de “ataque a la libertad de expresión” y garantías de seguridad (Revolución 3.0, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

Secretario general del gobierno priista de Guerrero irrumpe en cabina de radio con sus guaruras y amenaza a periodista (Revolución 3.0, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Basta de agresiones contra periodistas en México (Desinformémonos, 27 de noviembre de 2015)

Exigen eficacia en protección a periodistas (El Economista, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Condenamos agresiones a periodistas y el ataque a Desinformémonos (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women (10 September 2015)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)

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Mexico/National: Deputies approve Federal law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

December 26, 2015

Ubicación de las Zonas Económicas Especiales. Imagen: @Dinero en Imagen

Location of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Image: @Dinero en Imagen

On 14 December the Chamber of Deputies approved the initiative to legalize Special Economic Zones (SEZ) which had been presented to the federal Congress in September of this year. These SEZs will be regions in which investors face financial benefits, particularly in terms of “flexible labor.” In this sense, the SEZs serve foreign economic interests and would institute a special customs regime, all of this toward the end, as the government claims, of promoting development in southern Mexico by means of attracting foreign investment.

In accordance with information from the president’s office, there are plans to build infrastructure projects using an initial investment of nearly 115 billion pesos, including new gaseoducts, railroads, highways, ports, and airports. According to Chiapas Paralelo, this investment would come from public coffers but is “designed for by by private capital, in a mercantile logic […] whereby the people of Chiapas is present only as labor, leaving to the side the question of who owns the natural resources.” In this way, the projects are expected to create 115,000 jobs over the next 10 years, though analysts indicate that it will attract specialists from elsewhere in the country, leaving the most precarious jobs for locals.

The planned SEZs include the “Lázaro Cárdenas” port, incorporating municipalities straddling Michoacán and Guerrero toward the end of exploitation; the “Interoceanic Corridor of Tehuantepec,” which will affect Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Salina Cruz, and Oaxaca, and will permit commercial transit between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; and lastly, the “Chiapas Port” which would facilitate exports to Asia. The permits to construct and administer a zone can be granted for up to 40 years.

It bears mentioning that organizations like the Indigenous and Campesino Front of Mexico (FICAM) have expressed their rejection of the SEZ initiative, given that “it is a new embestida against the peoples and communities of this country” which “seeks to legalize the plundering of lands of the people” and that “it is the complement to the energy reform, which aimed at reassuring transnational firms juridically.”

FICAM members opined that the SEZs will worsen levels of social marginalization, only “make the rich richer,” and will take advantage of cheap labor in these zones, precisely among those which experience the highest levels of poverty in the country. Lastly, they shared that “the proposal for the [SEZs] instead of being accompanied by public policies to transform the country, but only represents the presentation of the wealth of the country to grand capital on a silver platter.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Diputados aprueban ‘zonas económicas especiales’ en México (Aristegui Noticias, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

Aprueban diputados ley para crear Zonas de “Explotación” Especial (EDUCA, 15 de diciembre de 2015)

Prevé expropiar terrenos el plan de zonas económicas especiales (La Jornada, 1 de octubre de 2015)

Zonas Económicas Especiales, una iniciativa para el despojo (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de septiembre de 2015)

Zonas Económicas de EPN legalizarán despojo de tierras; complementan la energética para dar certeza a empresas: FICAM (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 17 de octubre de 2015)

México en el giro de tuerca mundial: Zonas Económicas Especiales (Parte I) (Subversiones, 20 de noviembre de 2015)

Otro eslabón para el despojo (La Jornada, 6 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mining reactivation is denounced in the state (3 March 2015)

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

 


Chiapas: nine municipalities declare their lands free of mining and dams

December 26, 2015

Lectura del pronunciamiento. Foto: @DesInformémonos

Public reading of the declaration
Photo: @DesInformémonos

Nine municipalities of the Sierra Madre and the Soconusco in Chiapas state have ratified the declaration that their lands have been freed of mining operations and dams. Using the III Declaration of Tapachula for Lands Freed of Dams and Mining in the Sierra Madre and Llanura Costera of Chiapas, some 40 indigenous and campesino ejidos, communities, and social organizations reaffirmed their commitment (adopted in 2013) to the defense of their territories against plundering as carried out by transnational corporations. The municipalities of Tuzantan, Huehuetan, Motozintla, Tapachula, Escuintla, Acacoyagua, Chicomuselo, and Comalapa denounced the collusion of municipal and state governments with the firms to obtain permits for the exploitation of lands and rivers. They also rejected the models of development, water management, and energy policy that have been imposed in Mexico by structural reforms, particularly the energy reform.

“In light of the opposition against extractive projects on our lands, we propose to organize and link ourselves with other struggles that seek to defend their rights and the natural resources of water and land.” In this way, the representatives of the municipalities affirmed that they have ties with other movements, especially in Jalisco, Nayarit, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Veracruz. These are alliances with other struggles over the right to decide what happens on their lands, in favor of living well and strengthening oneself amidst the repression meted out toward defenders of the Earth.

It bears recalling that on 30 November the Union of Campesinos and Fisherfolk of the Sierra and Coast of Chiapas also declared their municipalities free of dams and mining operations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran libre de minería y represas a nueve municipios de la Sierra , Costa y Soconusco (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

TERCERA DECLARACIÓN DE TAPACHULA, POR TERRITORIOS LIBRES DE REPRESAS Y MINERÍA EN SIERRA MADRE del SUR Y LLANURA COSTERA DE CHIAPAS (Luna Sexta, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

40 ejidos de Chiapas se declaran libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (DesInformémonos, 11 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Movilización 30 de Noviembre por la defensa de la tierra y el territorio (Otros Mundos, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mining reactivation is denounced in the state (3 March 2015)

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)


National: XI Caravan of Mothers of Central American Migrants seeking out their sons in Mexico

December 26, 2015

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

On 30 November 39 mothers of disappeared Central Americans migrants began their XI caravan through Mexico. Using slogans like “We are missing everyone” and “A mother never tires of looking,” these women from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua left from the “72” migrant home in Tenosique, Tabasco, for Villahermosa. Subsequently they were received in Palenque, from where they continued to Veracruz and Puebla before arriving to Mexico City. From there they continued on to Oaxaca, concluding their caravan on Saturday 18 December in Hidalgo, Chiapas. Dressed with shirts that identify the caravan and showing photos of their lost relatives, they demanded “Not another disappearance!” and held expositions in public plazas, visiting different migrant homes, prisons, and hospitals, among other sites. Accompanied by human-rights defenders and civil national and international organizations, they followed migratory routes, performed ceremonies on railways, and consulted officials from the three levels of government to request their assistance in the search. All of this they expressed with the hope of finding their sons. According to the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement and of the caravan itself, Martha Sánchez Soler, this caravan is “something special” because it is the first time that they have submitted denunciations before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) against the Mexican State for forcible disappearance. For her, the phenomenon is that “migrants arrive in Mexico, disappear, and the authorities make no investigations. It’s a perfect crime.” Another participant in the caravan demanded that the Mexican government not discriminate or stigmatize migrants, for this is a demand that they have made “each year we have visited Mexico. We seek our sons and we are gladdened whenever one of us does find her loved one.” During the last 10 years of caravans, there have been more than 200 reunions between mothers and sons. In the caravan of this year a mother has found her sound in Tabasco. It is because of such experiences that the women continue to search with hope.

It bears mentioning that Mexico is considered one of the countries in which the question of migration is especially complicated. It has high internal migration and besides that, it is crossed by migrants emanating from Central America en route to the U.S. Although there are no official statistics, the United Nations International Organization for Migration said that “every year some 150,000 people cross the southern border of Mexico illegally.” A 2011 report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) indicates that there at least 20,000 kidnappings of Central American migrants in Mexico every half-year.

These data strengthen the women from the caravan to continue with their search. For the priest Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, founder of the migrant home “Brothers on the Path” in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, “this struggle is the work of women who for 11 years have been seeking out their children. Some of them have not known about their fate for the past 20 years, and still they have not tired of looking for them. It is a great hope that this caravan represents.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Entregar vivos a sus hijos, exigen madres centroamericanas al gobierno mexicano (La Jornada, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

Mujeres centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijos visitan penales del Istmo (La Jornada, 13 de diciembre de 2015)

Madres de migrantes centroamericanos inician búsqueda de desaparecidos (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Inicia la XI Caravana de Madres Migrantes Centroamericanas (El Economista, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA – INICIA LA XI CARAVANA DE MADRES CENTROAMERICANAS #NosHacenFaltaTodos (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Columna: La dolorosa travesia de la caravana de madres centroamericanas (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)


National: IACHR carries out visit to Mexico

October 10, 2015

(Tres integrantes de la CIDH antes del encuentro en Tenosique, @ La 72)(Three members of the IACHR before the meeting in Tenosique, @ La 72)

From 28 September to 2 October, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IAHCR) held a visit to Mexico to observe the human-rights situation in the country, with an emphasis on extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances. Bertha Santoscoy, a representative from the Organization of American States (OAS), indicated that one of the criteria most utilized by the IACHR to carry out the investigation is “the gravity and elevated number of denunciations regarding systematic violations of human rights that are detected in any given country.” The delegation sought to monitor the human-rights situation, collect information, and evaluate the observation of international law. “Our concern has been constant in recent years, but it is true that at this time there have been a series of very grave incidents,” remarked Cavallaro, member of the IACHR. Beginning on 28 September, the delegation visited Guerrero, Tabasco, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Veracruz, and Mexico City. The delegation led by the president of the IACHR, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, interviewed governmental authorities from the three levels of government and met with civil-society representative as well. As part of the visit, on 29 September, the delegation also met with several organizations working with migrants and refugees in Tenosique, Tabasco. In this way, it collected testimonies of victims regarding human-rights violations and from relatives of victims in the different places it visited. Beyond this, the IACHR carried out a meeting with the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) to address the latter’s report on the events of Ayotzinapa.

On 2 October, the delegation will give a press-conference to share its preliminary observations. For 2016 it plans to publish a report regarding its findings.

For more information (in Spanish):

La CIDH ve graves violaciones a derechos humanos en México (Informador, 30 de septiembre de 2015)

CIDH revisará graves violaciones a Derechos Humanos en México (Centro Prodh, 28 de septiembre de 2015)

Visita in loco a México de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. (Diario de Chiapas, 20 de septiembre de 2015)

CARTA INVITACIÓN DE LA CIDH PARA REUNIÓN EN LA 72 EL 29 DE SEPTIEMBRE (La 72, 20 de septiembre de 2015)

CIDH realiza visita in loco a México (Organización de los Estado Americanos, 17 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and crime against humanity (10 April 2015)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (21 March 2015)


Chiapas/National: Barometer presented as a measurement of state of human rights in the southern border of Mexico

October 10, 2015

@ fronterasurmx.wordpress.com

@ fronterasurmx.wordpress.com

The Social Observatory on Human Rights and Migration at the southern border of Mexico has presented a new means of contributing to the analysis of social organizations and the citizenry in general regarding the situation of permanent conflict that is lived in the zone of the southern border of Mexico: that is, in Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz, and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

This barometer is a monthly tool of information and analysis regarding human-rights violations committed against people and social organizations in the region of the southern border. The barometer examines public denunciations and communiques that have been organized by the Observatory on the southern border. The objective is to contribute to the construction of an early warning system on human-rights violations and to strengthen the protective mechanisms for human-rights defenders in the area.

For more information (in Spanish):

EL BARÓMETRO (Observatorio Social de Derechos Humanos y Migraciones en la Frontera Sur de México)


Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison

October 8, 2015

Foto de archivo @ Revolución Tres Punto CeroArchive photo @ Revolución Tres Punto Cero

In the morning of 10-11 September, the political prisoner Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, being held at Jail No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, being a member of the Voz del Amate and an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, was transferred together with 386 other prisoners from 13 state jails to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) No. 15 in Villa Comaltitlán, close to the city of Tapachula. According to the Diario del Sur and other media, despite the risks posed to the prisoners due to ongoing construction at the CEFERESO, located on unstable ground, and the intense popular mobilizations opposed to the construction of the prison, the unit opened its door just days before the mass-transfer. It is capable of holding 2,500 prisoners. According to the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), the transfer was carried out by more than 2,000 police. During the operation, “high-risk” prisoners were prioritized for transfer, a claim that the GTNET characterized as “political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners,” given that Alejandro had carried out a work in favor of the defense of human rights within the prison’s walls. The GTNET indicated that “during this transfer the laws and codes of the proper System were violated, for Alejandro Díaz’s crime is not federal, and his life in prison cannot be considered as justifying the label of ‘high-risk.’”

Beyond this, prisoners from the San Cristóbal, including Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Lucio Hernandez Patishtán, and Juan de la Cruz Ruíz, have denounced the transfer and called on the “independent state organizations, national and international, to add your voices to our demand for the return of our comrade in struggle to this center.”

Beyond this, Alejandro Díaz, while on a 13-day hunger strike in July 2015, recalled Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco Coello that he had two years prior committed himself to “finding those means or links with the authorities from Veracruz to obtain my release, a promise which to date” he has not observed. “Once again I ask the governor to fulfill his word.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

Trasladan a reos a nuevo penal (Diario del Sur, 11 de septiembre de 2015)

Presos injustos del CERESO 5 denuncian traslado de Alejandro Diaz Santiz, Solidario de la Voz del Amate (Koman Ilel, 10 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena tsotsil es trasladado a penal de máxima seguridad, pese a “compromiso” de Velasco por obtener su libertad (Pozol Colectivo, 13 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs “La lucha en las cárceles sigue“ (CGT Chiapas, 12 de septiembre de 2015)

Desde Europa: Solidaridad con Alejandro Diaz Santiz y los 400 presos que fueron trasladados a las prisiones de máxima seguridad (CGT Chiapas, 15 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)