Chiapas: Day of action for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal

November 21, 2015

Evento por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal. Foto: @Sipaz.

Event for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Photo: @Sipaz.

On 7 November there was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas an event for the release of political prisoners Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The event was organized by the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), together with the participation of relatives of prisoners who organize to affirm their rights in different Chiapas-state penitentiaries. At the event, there was read several communiques and an art-making activity was installed to express support for the liberation of both prisoners.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a U.S. journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party. He was incarcerated in 1982, accused of having murdered a police officer, though there is no evidence for this, and indeed considering testimony from witnesses who have come forward to declare that they were pressured into holding him responsible for the killing. Mumia was condemned by the judge “who is known to have condemned more Blacks to death than any other judge in the U.S.,” according to Nodo 50, in a country gripped by racism. During his 33 years in prison, Mumia has written nine books and produced more than 2,000 radio addresses. In March of this year, Mumia suffered serious health problems that were caused by a diabetic crisis, as the administration had denied him the necessary medical treatment. At present, he is slowly recovering.

Alejandro Díaz Santiz is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle issued by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), being the only member of those in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who continues behind bars. Incarcerated since 1999, “he has not given up and while in prison he politicized himself and organized […] by participating in hunger strikes. To date, he has lent his voice to denounce the abuses that the authorities commit in the prison,” notes the GTNET. On 10 September, Alejandro was transferred without warning to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) in Villa Comaltitlán, close to Tapachula. GTNET theorizes that “this forcible transfer is political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners. This brutal way of changing one’s prison, after having remained many years in the same place, is psycho-physical torture because it distances the prisoner from his family and network of friends.”

During the event, the conditions experienced at the state and national levels were also denounced, given that, according to a report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), “there is at present a 25.4% over-crowding of the prisons,” meaning that Mexican prisons hold more than 51,000 people beyond their capacity. In this way, the third visitor general of the CNDH argued that the crowding of prisons “is the result of the unmitigated use of imprisonment” amidst “excessive penal sentences,” leading to “violence, torture, abuse, and lamentable states of health and hygiene.”

For more information (in Spanish):

En Solidaridad con Alejandro Díaz Sántiz: nos organizamos contigo (CGT Chiapas, 9 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Jornada por la libertad de Alejandro Diaz Santiz y Mumia Abu Jamal (Amigos de Mumia México, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Expresiones de solidaridad por Alejandro Díaz Santiz, preso injustamente y trasladado a un penal de máxima seguridad (Kaos en la Red, 16 de sepiembre)

Nuevo penal viola garantías de chiapanecos; “Velasco no quiere contradecir a su jefe EPN”: abogado (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 14 de abril de 2015)

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

El Estado hace uso excesivo de las cárceles: CNDH; hay un 25.4% de sobrepoblación, alerta (Sin Embargo, 14 de octubre de 2015)

La historia de Mumia (Nodo 50, sin fecha)

El lento asesinato de Mumia Abu-Jamal (Ojarasca, abril de 2015)

Carta abierta por la vida, salud y libertad de Mumia Abu-Jamal (SubVersiones, 14 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison (8 October 2015)

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)

Chiapas: Prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis fasting to demand justice (11 October 2014)

Chiapas: 13 days of fasting and praying by Alejandro Díaz Santís to demand his release (14 July 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)

 

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Chiapas: Cries of liberty from the Believing People in Simojovel

October 8, 2015

(Durante la misa @ChiapasDenunciaPública(During mass @ChiapasDenunciaPública)

During the night of 15 September 2015, when President Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed his “Cry of Independence” in the Zócalo of Mexico City, the Believing People from Simojovel made their own cry. Following a Catholic mass at the San Antonio de Pádua parish, the group called into question the spectacle, asking, “What are we celebrating as Mexicans? Are we free and sovereign? If we are free, why are there so many dead? Why is social protest criminalized? Why in Chiapas are there so many displaced? Why so much corruption from the authorities? Why does organized crime have so much power, slowly taking over increasingly more communities? Why is there so much poverty—rising, indeed, with more than 2 million impoverished?” They recognized that “Viva Mexico” cannot be proclaimed if each year brings more poor living under the boot of institutionalized violence and the concentration of wealth among a small minority. They demanded a new face and heart for Mexico, and a change to the system.

The Believing People noted that there exists a generalized cry within the country, as expressed by the Mexican bishops: “Enough! We do not want more blood to be spilled. We do not want more dead. We do not want more disappeared. We want neither more pain nor more shame […]. We unite ourselves to the general cry for a Mexico in which truth and justice provoke a profound transformation of the institutional, judicial, and political structures that will assure that events such as these will never recur.” For this reason, they proposed cries that come increasingly from organized communities that are struggling for truth. Beyond this, they invited all the people of Chiapas to organize themselves to defend and protect the lives of their communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gritos de libertad en Simojovel (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Creyentes “celebran” Fiestas Patrias (Diario de Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Pueblo Creyente de Simojovel (Vida Nueva, 24 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against the priest and members of the Believing People (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Believing People of El Bosque march for a halt to violence in their region (30 June 2015)

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest (23 April 2015)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)


Guerrero: Valentina Rosendo renounces MORENA candidacy after attack

June 9, 2015

Valentina Rosendo Cantú (@Amnesty International)

Valentina Rosendo Cantú (@Amnesty International)

Valentina Rosendo Cantú has renounced her candidacy for the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador) for the mayorship of Acatepec, after she received death-threats and suffered a motor-vehicle accident that she qualified as an attack on her person. On 10 May, she was followed on the highway that leads to Tlapa de Comomfort, and for this reason had an accident. Pablo Amílcar Sandoval Ballesteros, the MORENA candidate for Guerrero state, reported the decision.

It should be recalled that Valentina Rosendo Cantú is an indigenous woman who was raped in 2000 by Army soldiers in the Ayutla de los Libres municipalities. In 2010, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights sentenced the Mexican State in the case, and demanded compensation for damages, and ordered an adequate investigation and punishment for those responsible, among other dictates.

For more information (in Spanish):

Atentan contra Valentina Rosendo y renuncia a candidatura de Morena en Guerrero (Proceso, 20 de mayo de 2015)

Una candidata de Morena en Guerrero deja la contienda por seguridad (CNN México, 20 de mayo de 2015)

La mujer a la que el gobierno de México pidió perdón renuncia a su candidatura en Guerrero (Animal Político, 20 de mayo de 2015)

Candidata de Morena a edil renuncia por temor (EL Universal, 20 de mayo de 2015)

From more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: SCJN decision in the case of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo “far from the heights” of the Court’s decision on the Radilla case (2010) (17 May 2015)

Guerrero: Murders and death-threats against candidates for June elections (17 May 2015)


National: Entry into law of bill on the rights of children and adolescents

December 29, 2014

(@elconstituyente.com)

On 3 December, President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) signed into law the new bill on the rights of minors that was shortly thereafter published in the Official Diary of the Federation (DOF).  Peña Nieto affirmed that it would represent “a legal instrument for progress to create the appropriate conditions for the comprehensive development of minors.”

In a press-bulletin, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Mexico stressed “the creation at the highest level of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, of the Federal Prosecutorial Office for Protection, and of the National System for Information on Infancy, as well as the obligation of assigning an adequate budget to observe the implementation of the law, among other things.”

UNICEF considered the consolidation of a legal mark that would provide greater protection to the 40 million children and adolescents who live in Mexico a great opportunity.  Nonetheless, it stressed the following challenges faced by minors in the country:

“• Slightly more than half of children and adolescents in Mexico (21 million) lived in poverty in 2012; of these, 5 million suffered extreme poverty.

• There are still 6.1 million children between 3 and 17 years of age who do not attend school, despite the fact that attendance in basic and middle-school education has increased.  Child mortality (defined as applying to those under 5 years of age, per 1,000 children born) is still high in states like Guerrero (19.4), Chiapas (19.5), Puebla (19.7), and Oaxaca (20), despite the fact that the national rate has declined considerably (from 41 in 1990 to 16 in 2012).

• Six of each 10 children and adolescents have directly experienced some form of violence in their homes or schools.

• In 2013 15,561 unaccompanied children and adolescents were deported from the United States to Mexico.  These migrants have been exposed to all types of dangers and human-rights violations.

• 2.5 million children and adolescents work, despite efforts in recent years to reduce the rate of child labor.”

UNICEF stresses that “This law will be transcendental for the future and present of children in the country, and for this reason for development in Mexico with regard to social and economic questions, as well as matters related to justice, such that the next step will consist in assuring the adequate implementation of the law and guaranteeing that new mechanisms and institutions stipulated by this law will have the means to operate in an efficient manner.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El presidente Peña promulga la nueva ley sobre derechos de los menores(CNN México, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga EPN Ley de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes, fundamental para progreso y paz social (Radio Fórmula, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga Peña la ley de niños y adolescentes (El Universal, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

Más de 40 millones de niños podrán contar con un mejor marco legal(Boletín de prensa, UNICEF, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


Chiapas: Resurgence of conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in Mitzitón

July 7, 2014
Tala de árboles en los Altos de Chiapas(@cgt)

Photo @ CGT Chiapas

On 29 June, inhabitants of the community of Mitzitón, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle announced that the community assembly of this town has taken “the decision to act against the criminals who operate in Mitzitón and who will be subjected to the sanctions agreed by our assembly, which are that from this moment they lose any land or community rights and therefore they should leave our area immediately.”

They explained: “Our community is divided by external economic interests, which have been harming our forests through the excessive logging of pine trees. And even though we have filed many complaints with the General Prosecutor of Justice of the state, they have not arrested anyone for the crime.”

After a community trial, eight people were detained.  Inhabitants of Mitzitón destroyed and burned about 25 homes of evangelicals belonging to a group that is known as “The Shrimps,” who they identify as logging trees illegally. Afterwards, the group whose houses were destroyed blocked the road from San Cristóbal to Comitán to seek the intervention of the authorities.

On June 30, the police unblocked this road, displacing nearly 100 indigenous evangelicals who were demanding the release of their arrested compañeros, after the Catholics handed them over to the State Police.

It should be remembered that since October 2013, the authorities in Mitzitón who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle have not recognised the land rights of 23 families allegedly engaged in illegal logging.

The evangelical pastor Esdras Alonso González, leader of the grouping Wings of the Eagle, said in an interview with La Jornada that the families whose homes were destroyed have received more than three million pesos from the previous government since 2011 to relocate to another location, but their leaders “kept the money.”

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General of Justice of the State reported that it “issued an arrest warrant against seven” people from Mitzitón accused of kidnapping, for events that occurred on September 11, 2013 in the same area. One of the detainees was released.

For more information (In Spanish):

Denuncia del pueblo de Mitzitón, Chiapas (Enlace zapatista, 29 de junio de 2014)

Católicos retienen a 8 evangélicos en Mitzitón, Chiapas (El Universal, 29 de junio de 2014)

Desbloquean la carretera Panamericana, tomada por indígenas evangélicos de Chiapas (Proceso, 30 de junio de 2014)

Acusa pastor a líderes evangélicos de quedarse con el dinero para la reubicación de 25 familias (la Jornada, 1ero de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Chiapas: people of Mitzitón recognize errors and name new authorities (April 3, 2012)

Chiapas: 2 prisoners who carried out hunger strike in Chiapas are released (November 26, 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats and aggression in Mitzitón (May 31, 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (February 10, 2011)

Chiapas: violence continues in Mitzitón (October 25, 2010)


National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day

May 16, 2014

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

Since 1924, 30 April has been celebrated as International Children’s Day.  In theory, the day was established to promote the rights of children.  However, the date has now become a “political festival of balloons and clowns,” as the daily newspaper El Universal charged, while Chiapas Paralelo indicated the “proselytism” of politicians who take advantage of the organized events to take pictures with children.  El Universal also mentioned the absurdity of inverting in toys and spectacles “more than in solutions to protect those who are being celebrated.”

Certainly, little can be celebrated, as these media and others have stressed: Mexico is one of the 30 countries in which children suffer conditions of slavery.  Beyond this, more than half of all children (20 million) live in poverty, with 10% of them residing in Chiapas.  The statistics regarding children in this state are equally alarming in terms of education, access to health services, and nutrition, among other things.  Melel Xojobal A.C. noted for its part that “the country has very little to celebrate when more than a half of its children and adolescents live in conditions of poverty, exclusion, and violence.”  The group observed for example that in Chiapas more than 21,000 minors live in the streets, that the state has the lowest percentage of school attendance in the country, that it has a rate of child labor higher than the national average, and that more than half of the children of the Highlands region suffer from malnutrition.

For more information (in Spanish):

Proselitismo con juguetes y despensas, en el marco del Día del Niño y la Niña (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Más de dos millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes en pobreza y exclusión en Chiapas: Melel Xojobal (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Día del Niño… o de los políticos? (El Universal, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño con mucho que trabajar (Cuarto Poder, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño, detrás de una sonrisa inocente está la pobreza y la desigualdad (Crónica de los Altos, 30 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


Oaxaca: Concern for the alarming increase of murders in the state

April 26, 2014

Ignacio García Maldonado, ex miembro de la APPO asesinado. Foto (@Noticiasnet.mx)

Ignacio García Maldonado, murdered ex-member of the APPO. Photo (@Noticiasnet.mx)

During the past three weeks there has been a significant increase in the number of murders and extrajudicial executions in Oaxaca; some of these have been had a political character within the context of the social struggles being experienced in Oaxaca.

On 28 March, Basilio Guzmán Sánchez and Martín Sánchez Pérez were murdered in the Constanza del Rosario, being members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT). That same day, the logging capitalist César Ramírez Guendüláin was murdered in the Santa Lucía del Camino municipality

The next day, Ignacio García Maldonado, former member of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and ex-political prisoner, was murdered in Oaxaca City together with his friend Emanuel López Martínez.  Furthermore, in the community of San Miguel Soyaltepec, six people were shot, and Eliserio Valencia García was executed in Santa Cruz Loxicha, being the brother of the mayor of San Agustín Loxicha.

On 11 April, two teachers from Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE-CNTE) together with their 7-year old child in Pochutla.  The previous day, there was a report of the murder of the leader of the Freedom Union, Germán Hernández Juárez, in Trinidad de Viguera.

Lastly, on 12 April, six people were murdered, two of them minors, by a commando group in the municipality of Huajuapan de León in the Mixteca region, and the next day, Eduardo Vásquez Ramírez, Secretary of the Committee of Vigilance of the Commissioner’s Group for Communal Goods from Santa María Petapa, was killed in the Matías Romero municipality in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.

With reference to the political crimes, the Oaxacan group Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) has expressed that “this context places us close to the risk that violence will take over all institutions and the administration of justice, beyond encouraging society in general to express its differences by means of bullets rather than reason […].  We are sure that only justice and not impunity can be the public action that marks the path toward the restitution of faith and credibility in the institutions […].  Violence without a doubt puts at risk the transition and the political changes demanded by Oaxacan society.  It is necessary to recover our faith in the institutions, as it is necessary to recover our faith in ourselves.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Asesinan en Oaxaca a 2 maestros y su hijo de 7 años; suman 4 crímenes en 24 horas (E-Oaxaca, 13 de abril de 2014)

Asesinan a secretario de Vigilancia del Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Petapa (Página 3, 13 de abril de 2014)

Investigan asesinato de seis personas por comando armado en Huajuapan (Noticias, 13 de abril de 2014)

Asesinan a líder del sindicato Libertad en Oaxaca (Proceso, 11 de abril de 2014)

La violencia pone en riesgo la transición en Oaxaca: EDUCA (EDUCA, 01 de abril de 2014)

De nuevo, Oaxaca: amenazas y ejecuciones (La Jornada, 31 de marzo de 2014)

Asesinan a dos colaboradores del ex líder de la APPO Flavio Sosa (La Jornada, 30 de marzo de 2014)

Ejecutan a hermano del alcalde de Loxicha, Oaxaca (Proceso, 30 de marzo de 2014)

12 ejecuciones en 48 horas encienden focos rojos en Oaxaca (Página 3, 30 de marzo de 2014)

El mensaje es claro: estamos en la mira y el centro del asunto es 2006“: Comuna Oaxaca (Página 3, 30 de marzo de 2014)

Ejecutan a empresario (Noticias, 29 de marzo de 2014)

Matan a balazos a dos activistas del MULT (Noticias, 29 de marzo de 2014)