dorset chiapas solidarity

March 24, 2013

“Torture and Militarization” in Chiapas over the last six years

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:09 pm


“Torture and Militarization” in Chiapas over the last six years

Frayba recounts violations of individual and collective rights

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, March 19, 2013

The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) released its report Between the Political System and the Living Alternatives, an account of violations to individual and collective rights in Chiapas during the last six years, when “the federal and state governments strengthened the neoliberal projects for territorial dispossession and sought to stop the autonomous processes.”

Frayba emphasizes “the legality of the dispossession,” represented by the Mesoamerica Project for Development and Integration, “a series of plans for infrastructure, eco-archaeological-tourism, combatting poverty, and ‘development,’ aimed at territorial dispossession and genocide, and deepening the division” in the communities “who struggle.” Faced with this, the organized peoples “defend their territory as part of their autonomy, their symbolic, spiritual and material structure.”

Without much difficulty, Frayba presents the justice system as being openly “at the service of the State,” as is proved by the national security strategy, the repression, and the criminalization of organizations, defenders and journalists. In Chiapas, the prisoners suffer “a prison system which is both inefficient and violates their rights.” It emphasizes: “the persistent use of torture as a method of investigation used by officials, the different (police) corporations and the institutions for the procuring of justice”, and documented 105 cases of torture in 18 municipalities during the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero.

The document was presented this afternoon by Abel Flores, of Pueblo Creyente (Believing People), Marina Pagés and Michael Chamberlin (coordinators, respectively of Sipaz and Inicia), the investigator Mercedes Olivera and Víctor Hugo López, director of Frayba.

The armed conflict, according to the report, continued to be marked by counterinsurgency “in a protracted war of attrition” that the government, “with its double face and its media action, has implemented to destroy the processes of resistance, in particular those of the Good Government Juntas and of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish).”

During the governments of Felipe Calderón and of Sabines, “mechanisms of terror and control” were used, “in the name of security,” through militarization, torture as a method of investigation, disappearances and murders. The fight against organized crime “remains the perfect justification.” In this sense, “the communications media in the service of the State portray human rights as an obstacle to national security.”

The prisons in Chiapas confirm the routine violation of rights in the prison system. The majority of the prisoners are poor, indigenous or migrants, “in a vulnerable situation.” The criminalization of protest, the persecution of social leaders and the pursuit of [human rights] defenders “speak of a repressive State that changes the discourse, but not the methods”, and whose pretence of “respect for the autonomous communities and the Juntas” is “false and empty of content.”


“Territorial Plunder”

In the six-year government term that recently ended, “the gap between the recognized rights of the indigenous peoples and their exercise was widening every day.” “Legal” territorial dispossession has continued through projects “which include elements of national security and protection for the investments of companies, linked to the governments, which have interests in those territories with great natural wealth.” The neoliberal economic model “has greater impact in the indigenous communities, since companies are occupying their territories in order to dispossess them.”

The communities in resistance, nevertheless, “continue in defence of the lands and territories as laid down in the San Andrés Accords, 17 years after they were not ratified.”

The armed conflict in Chiapas was characterized between 2006 and 2012 by the continuous military presence in the communities, “especially in the EZLN’s zone of influence.” The counterinsurgency strategy was one “of direct confrontation to the application of social projects in conjunction with United Nations agencies, in the context of the Millennium Development Objectives.”

Finally, the report maintains that memory, in the social and community context, “is an ancestral resource of recognition” for the peoples. The investigator Mercedes Olivera emphasized the role of women in “the fight against oblivion,” because they are “the constructors of memory.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

En español:


English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network




Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: