|Encuentro de la medicina de la Liberacion|
|Promotores de Salud de Las Abejas|
|Tienda para la autonomia de la Area de Salud de |
los Promotores de Acteal
|Cooperativa Abejas Jolom Luch Maya|
|Artistas Urbanos Dygno|
|Pintura Grafica Maya|
|Titeres Cuenta Cuentos Memo.|
|Socio Drama de Salvador|
|Mariachis San Francisco|
Zapatista News Summary for July 2014
Mexico’s Southern Border
In other parts of Mexico
Compiled monthly by the Chiapas Support Committee. The primary sources for our information are: La Jornada, Enlace Zapatista and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba).
Tlachinollan Centre for Human Rights: Twenty Years Sowing Community Justice
Luis Hernández Navarro
La Jornada, 29th July, 2014
Translated by Jorge A. Borrel-Guzman
A huge sign with the portrait of Nestora Salgado García –the chief of Olinalá’s community police, unfairly incarcerated in the maximum security prison of Tepic– demands her release. It is followed by another one from the The Nation Is First House of Justice of the Regional Coordinating Committee of Communal Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC,). Both signs are part of the demonstration held in Tlapa, Guerrero, to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the Tlachinollan Centre for Human Rights.
There were more than 3 thousand Me’phaa, Na Savi, Nauas and Ñomndaa indigenous people of the Mountain Region of Guerrero, who came from 185 communities located in 13 municipalities, accompanied by five of those music bands that impart colour to community struggles. They demanded the release of incarcerated community police officers, the supply of basic grains, the construction of roads, as well as support for the rebuilding of the 20 towns damaged by the Ingrid and Manuel tropical storms.
The indigenous demonstration of July 26th in Tlapa is an unusual event in the world of civil rights organizations and civil organizations that promote development. Apart from a few exceptions, most of the non-government organizations (NGOs) that exist in the country lack both Tlachinollan’s ability to convene and its community connections.
What is common is that NGOs speak for the sake of communities without being instructed do so. That NGOs request funds from foundations and governments on behalf of popular organizations without being requested to do so. That they show up in forums and public events with a mandate that they don’t have. That they seek to negotiate the interests of peasant farmers, leaving aside any consultation. Tlachinollan doesn´t work like that. It never has.
There are a large number of NGOs that have lost the N quality. They have transformed into quasi-government organizations (QGOs). They manage government projects; they receive and use resources while serving as assistants of administrations of all political stripes. Their executives introduce themselves as non-government actors, but, very often, they turn into public officials without giving any explanations. Tlachinollan doesn´t act like that.
It is also frequent that NGOs adapt their work to financing priorities imposed by international foundations. When gender-related projects become trendy and there is money to support them, they become feminists. When global warming becomes trendy, they become environmentalists. When it’s easy to get cash by supporting micro-enterprises, they promote the creation of revolving funds and promote training in management by objectives. Tlachinollan is not one of them.
It’s already been two decades since Tlachinollan’s establishment in 1994 by anthropologist Abel Barrera and a group of activists and researchers to serve the towns of the Mountain Region. The vigorous demonstrations in Guerrero to commemorate the 500 years of indigenous resistances were still very fresh. They initially decided to document the living conditions of indigenous inmates in Tlapa’s jail.
As they pointed out, in those first years, “we had nothing to offer, only our presence and solidarity. There was an unforgettable phrase in the Tlapa jail that would haunt our minds: ‘In that cursed place where sadness governs, it´s not crime that is punished, but poverty’.”
Originally, the territory they covered was mainly the Mountain Region of Guerrero, a region in which almost 85 percent of the population is indigenous and the location for 10 of the 100 municipalities with the lowest ranking in human development in Mexico. However, it is also an area with important experiences of peasant farmers and indigenous resistance in the field of commercialization of coffee, the supply of basic products, the fight for municipal democracy, and the management of roads and utilities.
Abel Barrera, president of the organization, has been justly recognized for his work in the defence of human rights by international organizations such as Amnesty International of Germany , the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights, The Washington Office on Latin America, the MacArthur Foundation, among many others. Born in Tlapa, he pursued religious studies for 12 years in order to become a Catholic priest; he studied anthropology, and ended up returning to his homeland to get fully involved in the adventure of helping the indigenous communities in their fight for autonomy.
It soon became clear very that the founders of the project would have to go beyond the simple documentation of human rights. And that’s how they got actively involved in providing legal assistance and human rights education.
Barrera narrates: “When we began to face the violent reality inflicted by the agents of the State, we began to understand how difficult it is to live defenceless, with poverty and discrimination. That was the moment when we understood the historic resistance of indigenous peoples, their perseverance, their courage and generosity. That’s why today we know that with them we can be protectors, but without them, our work would be weak and meaningless.”
Tlachinollan’s work is exemplary. It offers counselling and help to victims who suffer from violence at the moment they file police complaints. But its work is not limited to bringing complaints before judges; they support alternative and sustainable agriculture; they serve as arbitrators in political and religious issues, and they are part of a wider NGO network that attempts to improve the living conditions of the people. Their radius of action extends throughout Guerrero.
This past July 26th, Abel made an assessment of the relationship of the Centre with the communities for the past 20 years.
“You gave us the tortilla, the coffee, the bedroll and the sombrero; and you showed us how to sow community justice. That is why these almost 20 years have no meaning without all of you. Because you are the fathers, the mothers, the founders of Tlachinollan.”
And those thousands of indigenous people that marched are the proof of such relationship.
Energy Reform: Free and Informed Indigenous Resistance Grows
La Jornada, 29th July 2014
Consolidation of the legislative route to consummate the theft of land in favour of multinational companies poses challenges to the century-long indigenous resistance. In particular, it violates the strategic goal of reconstituting indigenous peoples around the core idea of their territorial autonomy. At the national level, the precarious legal framework was expanded following the constitutional reform on human rights, which gave full recognition to international treaties, such as ILO Convention 169, among others, placed on the same level as the Constitution. Specifically, the field of hydrocarbons will undoubtedly raise the need for the Court to ascertain whether the rights of peoples to the surface of their territories includes the subsoil when it is not the State that exploits it under its exclusive domain, but companies to which [the State] has transferred such authority, thereby subverting its original meaning. There is the additional problem that the legislative process omitted the duty of guaranteeing the right to free and informed prior consultation.
In this context, it matters little that, in lieu of expropriation when the owners of the land are opposed to the plunder (in order to call things by their proper name), the federal Congress with its PRIAN [PRI + PAN] steamroller refers to the so-called ‘temporary occupation’ as a presumed palliative. However, the people’s experience indicates that the key component of their resistance is organization and the use of the law only makes sense in that context. In order to define their immediate strategy, an urgent first step is their own information campaign about the content of the energy laws, whose approval cycle is within a few days of concluding. Also about their impact in the short, medium and long term.
The peñanietismo [Peña Nieto government] has already started its campaign of disinformation, and surely it will reinforce pressures by which government crumbs, generically called ‘social programs’ for combating poverty; we know well the obstructionist component of social protest that is present and even more with an openly counterinsurgency character, as they claimed in the Zapatista regions.
Indigenous organizations will most assuredly address these issues in the coming weeks, especially at the meeting in La Realidad, Chiapas, of the EZLN [Zapatista Army of National Liberation] and the National Indigenous Congress. Some already engaged in a first exchange last weekend in the Montaña of Guerrero, in Tlapa during the forum From the Community Heart of Resistance, organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre. It was attended by indigenous Nahua, Mixtec, Tlapaneco and Amuzgo from 13 municipalities and 85 communities in the Montaña [Mountain region of Guerrero], and invited representatives from the Saving Temacapulín, Acasico and Palmarejo Committee; the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory, from Oaxaca; The Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota Dam; the Regional Wixárika Council in Defence of Wirikuta, Júba Wajiín-San Miguel del Progreso, and the Tosepan Union of Cooperatives. At the discussion, “Megaprojects and Defence of Territory,” together they took stock of the various processes of struggle for conserving their resources.
In sum, the Prianistas [PRI + PAN] are mistaken with their cheerful accounts of what they consider mild social protest in the face of their latest legislative abuses on the subject of hydrocarbons. The fact that protest is not widely expressed outside their ostentatious enclosures means that the rupture with these spaces of supposed popular representation is deep, and they [indigenous] are not willing to waste their energy. Nevertheless, the State cannot be over-confident with its logic of national security vis-a-vis indigenous resistance. For this reason, in its Pact for Mexico, it included the complement to its so-called structural reforms, nothing less than the criminalization [of social protest].
Starting from this, and to be consistent with its priority of ensuring big business the free exploitation of natural resources, it [the Pact] proposed amending Article 29 of the Constitution [regarding suspension of rights during a national emergency] and issuing a new law that would allow regulation of the terms and conditions under which such rights are suspended (Commitment 23). In the same Pact, they also agreed to promote the federal law regarding the legitimate use of public force by indicating that “as in other countries, a law will be created that establishes clear parameters for the use of public force” (Commitment 28), which has been enacted, ominously indeed, in such states as Puebla and Chiapas.
The multinational companies who are ready to invest in our country in the field of hydrocarbons should know that the people will fight on all possible fronts to defend their territories, before becoming their peóns [day labourers; or pawns] or be banished in exchange for a few pesos only to remain in waiting for the end of the ‘temporary’ occupation. Without a doubt, the State has abandoned the national interest and continues its ancestral war against the original peoples.
*Magdalena Gómez, attorney, also earned the Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Educational Technology. Her areas of specialization are Agrarian Law, Indigenous Rights and Law, Political Education and Society.
Translated by Jane Brundage
Guerrero Activists Are in the “Line of Fire”
La Jornada 28th July, 2014
Sergio Ocampo Arista
On the 20th Anniversary of the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights in the Mountain, thousands of indigenous people marched in Tlapa de Comonfort demanding the release of political prisoners
Photo: Sergio Ocampo
Chilpancingo, Guerrero - The Tlachinollan Centre for Human Rights of the Mountain [region] reported that during the administration of Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero “serious human rights violations continue and, since the arrival of President Enrique Peña Nieto, they have increased. [Human rights] Defenders in Guerrero are in the line of fire.”
On Saturday night, in the auditorium of Tlapa de Comonfort, the 20th Annual Report, titled “Glimmers of Justice and Hope” (Destellos de justicia y esperanza), of activities from June 2013 to May 2014 was presented as a summary of the work performed by Tlachinollan in defence of the rights of indigenous, mestizos [mixed heritage, Spanish-Indigenous] and Afro-mestizos [Africans brought to New Spain to work as slaves on sugar, coffee and hemp plantations].
The report emphasized that “the criminalization, arbitrary arrests, fabrication of crimes, torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, disappearances, killings and forced displacement, are acts committed against sectors that are organized and demand respect for their rights; they should join the thousands of homicides that make Guerrero one of the three most dangerous states in Mexico.”
The report pointed out that “more people are imprisoned for being part of Community Police or resistance movements against mega-projects, than for the murders of social activists. The message is clear: in Guerrero, to participate in Community Police is more punishable than the killing of a human rights defender.”
The Tlachinollan report noted that between 2011 and 2014, there were at least 60 aggressions or attacks against social organizations, students, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples and rural communities. It shows that in the:
The Centre stressed that 44 percent of cases “are murders or executions of members of social organizations and their families; 25 percent are arbitrary arrests with fabrication of crimes, and the majority of these occur in the Costa-Montaña [Coast-Mountain] region.”
Tlachinollan reported that from June 2013 to May 2014, it granted 801 consultancies:
In addition, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre advised 200 communities suffering emergency situations arising from Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid.
*Abel Barrera Hernández, Mexican anthropologist and human rights activist, founded the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre in 1994. Amnesty International has awarded his work; in 2010 he received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
Translated by Jane Brundage
News from Sipaz 28/07/2014
Chiapas: New communique from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés
July 28, 2014
In a new communique published on 25 July, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés reported that the support-bases from the La Realidad caracol have decided to share 59,000 pesos that have been collected for the reconstruction of the autonomous clinic and school that were destroyed in May to support the transportation of members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) which is soon to be held in Chiapas. It should be recalled that from 4 to 9 August, this meeting between Zapatistas and other indigenous peoples belonging to the CNI will take place in La Realidad.
Subcomandante Moisés explained that this decision has been made public “because we cannot be like the bad governments, which say that money is dedicated to one thing but ends up being moved elsewhere.” He expressed furthermore that “the construction of the accommodations for our indigenous brothers and sisters has now been completed, and we are finishing the last details so that everything will be ready with joy in our hearts to receive our guests. The construction of the new school and clinic continues, also with joy. Because while those from above destroy, we from below rebuild.”
National: thousands march in Mexico City to demand agrarian reform
July 28, 2014
On 23 July, between 25,000 (according to the government of Mexico City) and 35,000 campesinos (according to organizers of the action) marched in Mexico City to demand a comprehensive agrarian reform, in repudiation of the reform laws on energy, and in favour of respect for the rights of peoples and communities.
Protestors presented a document with their proposals for agrarian reform, to be taken into account at the national Congress, which is about to address the matter in response to a proposal made in March by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The slogans that were uttered at the protest spoke to the principal grievances: for example, “Hunger is not combated with handouts but rather through food production in communities,” or “Mexico demands food and energy sovereignty.”
Organizations that covered the whole spectrum of politics in Mexico, including some groupings allied to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is at present in power.
Chiapas: denunciation of threats of possible attack on Migrant Home in Arriaga
July 28, 2014
On 21 July, Carlos Bartolo Solís, director of the Migrant Home “House of Compassion” in Arriaga on the coast of Chiapas denounced that he had received a threat from organized crime groups dedicated to the trafficking in migrants against the centre. That same day, a migrant warned him that an attack was being prepared, as led by someone known as Simón N.
Bartolo Solís mentioned that police surveillance of the trains has diminished over the past several months, and that fewer and fewer patrols are seen. He announced that he would contact federal authorities and the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) so that they intervene to guarantee the protection and security for the migrant home. At present, the local authorities do nothing more than “provide promises and speeches.”
Some weeks ago, Father Ramón Verdugo, from the Migrant Home “All for All” in Tapachula, also denounced death-threats and persecution for his work as a defender of the rights of migrants.
Indigenous organizations and peoples challenge federal reforms, considering them to be “a legalized land grab”
July 27, 2014
On 14 July, upon the close of the “Water and Energy” seminar held in Oaxaca de Juárez, civil organizations and communities pertaining to the Mixteco, Chatino, Zapotec, and Mixe peoples of the state of Oaxaca as well as organizations from Chiapas and Mexico City issued a communiqué denouncing the reforms being implemented in the country. They indicated that said reforms betray a lack of respect for humanity rights and represent “a legalized land grab,” given that they were approved to favour national and international firms.
The authors of the communiqué explained that the laws on Hydrocarbons, National Waters, Mining, Public Service of Electricity, Geothermal Energy, Housing, Foreign Investment, Expropriation, National Goods, Labour, Regulation of Energy, Public and Private Associations, the National Agency on Industrial Security, Protection of the Environment, Education, and Telecommunications “have been presented and approved without the participation of the communities and citizenry in general who live in the country.”
They denounced that “they have found the three levels of government to lie, trick, threaten with death, repress, arbitrarily arrest, forcibly disappear, and even execute communal human-rights defenders,” and they affirmed that they will continue defending their lands and territories amidst this new attempt at looting.
Chiapas: new communiqué from the Las Abejas Civil Society
July 27, 2014
On 22 July, during the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre of 1997, the Las Abejas Civil Society released a new communique positioning itself on several prevailing realities, “because it is our responsibility to say the truth and condemn lies, violence, and war.” Las Abejas denounced that the “bad government of Mexico has coordinated with large neoliberal-capitalist interests to create plans to extract the riches of our Mother Earth. These plans criminalize social movements; they imprison women and men who criticize the rotten system in Mexico.” They gave as examples of such tendencies the murders of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano from the San Sebastián Bachajon ejido, who adhered to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, in addition to the Zapatista support-base (BAEZLN) Galeano in La Realidad.
Las Abejas indicated that “we are saddened that still many of our brothers and sisters who do the dirty work of the government see us as enemies, insulting us and claiming us to be provocateurs. All these thoughts that they have are the result of the crumbs given in the ‘Procampo,’ ‘Opportunities,’ and other welfare programs.” They stressed the role of the “so-called leaders of a community or an organization”: “the bad government seeks to create divisions in a community or organization in resistance by offering a bit of money or a public office in exchange for providing information on what the organizations are doing.” To illustrate this point, Las Abejas made reference to the “present conflict between the neighbouring communities of Ch’enalvo’ and Chalchihuitan regarding the land dispute that has gone on for 40 years.” They reiterated the call to dialogue “both to the peoples of Ch’enalvo’ and of Chalchihuitan and not to take up arms.”
Lastly, they shared a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Chiapas: TPP pre-audience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity
July 27, 2014
On 18 July in El Limonar, Ocosingo municipality, there was held the pre-audience for the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP), “With Justice and Peace We Shall Find Truth.” As part of the work on “Dirty War as violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice” covered by the Mexican chapter of the TPP, the Viejo Velasco massacre was addressed. This atrocity, which took place on 13 November 2006, resulted in the execution of four persons and the disappearance of four others. Two of the disappeared were found dead some months later. Furthermore, 37 residents of the community were forcibly displaced, seeking refuge in the neighbouring community of Nuevo Tila.
After having reviewed the relevant documents and the declarations of victims and witnesses, the judges declared that the “The fact that these acts of violence from the State did not solely target combatants but also the civilian, non-combatant population–including boys and girls–shows that the only common factor among the victims was that they pertained to certain ethnic groups and social organizations. It also shows that said acts were committed ‘with the intention of destroying’ these groups ‘totally or in part,’ thus qualifying these as crimes against humanity.” For this reason, they judged the Mexican State to be culpable of having violated the rights to life and personal integrity as well as the right not to experience forced disappearance in the cases of Viejo Velasco and Acteal in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.
In conclusion, the tribunal declared that “the State must use the appropriate means to observe its obligation to investigate the acts that have been denounced, as well as to identify, judge, and sanction those responsible and the beneficiaries of these crimes.” It stressed that “the Mexican State is obliged to comprehensively compensate the damages caused by these crimes against humanity.” Lastly, it recalled that the cycle of the Mexican chapter of the TPP will end in November 2014, a time in which the “grave human-rights violations committed by the Mexican State that to date enjoy impunity” will be denounced and made visible before the national and international public.
Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel
July 20, 2014
On Saturday 12 July, the Believing People of Simojovel carried out a fourth “Pilgrimage for peace.” Thousands of persons marched to highlight the increase in violence in the municipality due to alcoholism, drug-trafficking, prostitution, and arms trading, and to denounce the death-threats received by the priest Marcelo Pérez and other members of the Council of Parishes of San Antonio de Padua. On the same occasion, they accused municipal authorities of being corrupt and of favouring this situation which undermines peace and security for the people of Simojovel. In a communiqué, the Believing People declared that “Amidst these death-threats, we cannot be silent or be indifferent; we cannot simply cross our arms while seeing so much suffering caused by the corruption of the authorities.”
Furthermore, they publicly demanded that the corresponding authorities re-establish peace and tranquillity for the people by closing places for drug and alcohol sales, prostitution centres, and repressing the traffic in weapons. In this way, they specified that “We demand security for our people; enough of violating our rights. We demand liberty and justice.” They added: “This is our action so that peace be restored in this community. We will not tire; if we see that there is no result, we will take other measures in the coming days and months. The people must continue raising their voice.”