dorset chiapas solidarity

March 24, 2017

IACHR finds the State responsible for death of Tzeltal

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:33 pm


IACHR finds the State responsible for death of Tzeltal

By: José Antonio Román

flag-map_of_zapatista_chiapasThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concluded that the Mexican State is responsible for violating the right to life of the Tzeltal Gilberto Jiménez Hernández, executed at the hands of members of the Army in Altamirano, Chiapas, on February 20, 1995, inside the so- called Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan, with which it [the army] sought to retake the territory in which the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) had operated.

The IACHR points out that after 22 years the Mexican State has not complied with any of the recommendations issued to repair the damage and to guarantee that the acts are not repeated. They also committed offences and crimes against relatives of the victim and the villagers.

The acts occurred in the La Grandeza ejido in Altamirano municipality, when Army officials extra-judicially executed Jiménez Hernández while he was fleeing with his family and some 70 other residents. There were allegedly investigations in ordinary federal and state agencies, as well as military, but impunity prevailed.

The State’s version is that his death resulted from a confrontation between members of the EZLN, the group to which the victim belonged, and members of the Army.

These acts occurred after February 9, 1995, when then President Ernesto Zedillo launched the Army against the EZLN, betraying his offer of dialogue. That same day, the Attorney General of the Republic announced that members of the Zapatista leadership had been accused of the use of weapons for the Army’s exclusive use and also terrorism.

According to the testimonies of villagers, the soldiers “opened continuous fire” against the people that had taken shelter in an improvised encampment on the hill after being warned that the soldiers were coming. They also said that the Army destroyed the interior of the houses in the empty community.

The villagers fled after the shooting on February 20. Gilberto Jiménez attempted to hide, but he couldn’t because he was carrying his 2-year old daughter “tied to his back with a shawl.” Abner García Torres, a soldier, found him and in Spanish ordered him to stop.

Gilberto obeyed and was extended on the ground, but the soldier, “without any warning or motive, shot him without considering that he was carrying his daughter on his back.” One of the bullets penetrated his right eye and caused his immediate death. His wife and several of his ten children with whom he was fleeing were witnesses to the execution.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee






April 15, 2016

Army Invades the Ejidal Lands of San Salvador Atenco

Filed under: Corporations, Human rights, Indigenous, Repression — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:47 pm



Army Invades the Ejidal Lands of San Salvador Atenco


atenco invade


In the morning of April 12, while the police forces of the State of Mexico continued advancing at the other end of the state, in San Francisco Xochicuautla, a convoy of military entered the ejidal lands of the community of San Salvador Atenco to escort a gang of workers from one of the private companies in charge of the construction of the new airport in Mexico City.

Community members who have resisted the expropriation of their lands for more than ten years told Desinformémonos that the day before, April 11, an official of the company had already arrived in the communal lands, at the base of Cerro Huatepec, with the intention to “carry our measurements.” Facing the intrusion, villagers moved in and responded.

“The compañerxs told them that they could not be on communal lands because we are in litigation, which does not allow them to enter the land. They said that we must understand that they are workers and have nothing to do with the conflict, but I order to stay out of the conflict, we asked them to leave, and they did.”

When they returned at noon on Tuesday, April 12, army personnel escorted them.

Does this intrusion have anything to do with the advance of the resistance in Xochicuautla?

“Yes, that is how we understand it. The highway project is part of the communication link that they expect will lead to the airport that they want to build here. They know that in Atenco we will always give a response, to this intrusion like we did to the attack in Xochicuautla. The reaction of the people here was that they were troubled by the imposition of one of the most unpopular projects of Enrique Peña Nieto. We do not want them here.”

Like the Otomí community, the Peoples Front in Defence of the Earth (FPDT) that Atenco gave birth to at the beginning of the struggle, are participating in the Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth that was launched last Sunday and are a key part of the group Fire of Dignified Resistance (Fuego de la Digna Resistencia) which coordinates the struggles in the state of Mexico that are resisting the recently approved “Eruviel Law” that “regulates” the use of lethal force in public demonstrations. It furthermore allows other elements that until now were prohibited (such as appliances to give an electric shock) whose use will depend solely on the police hierarchies carrying out the operation, leaving political power in the shadows, which always has a to pay cost when ordering repression against a public demonstration.

In the case of Atenco, they have also won an injunction (amparo) that stops the construction on the disputed lands. But neither are they ignoring what is happening at the moment in Xochicuautla: the Otomí community has spent two days resisting the police attack, led by the department of highway systems of the State of Mexico and members of the business HIGA, that entered into the communal lands, violating the judgment of protection (amparo) filed by the indigenous community against the presidential decree of July 2015. The judgment won in March of this year ordered the retraction of the expropriation of the lands to construct part of the route of the highway between Toluca and Naucalpan, “until the underlying conflict is solved” between the community and the government.

With that violation in mind, the community of Atenco this afternoon began daily patrols, to prevent further intrusions into the ejido lands. “We call for solidarity organizations to join the actions like this and others that we will communicate later.”

The Centre of Human Rights Zeferino Ladrillero is already present in both towns, where they are analysing the situations, “it is no coincidence that these events occurred on successive days. The military presence in Atenco demonstrates that the federal government is also participating in the coordination of the repression. This is an attempt to legitimize by means of force, the imposition of the Eruviel Law in the State of Mexico.”

The Mexican Commission for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights brought the “incident” that took place in Xochicuautla before a judge who ruled a suspension of the project in order to seek resolution of the matter.

Meanwhile, the Zeferino Ladrillero sent an urgent communication to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights asking them to issue precautionary measures in favour of the indigenous population of San Francisco Xochicuautla and also sent them a reminder note that this had already been requested for San Salvador Atenco.

“From Zeferino Ladrillero we estimate that these attacks are a shift in the strategy of the government of the state of Mexico to bring about the imposition of the “Eruviel Law”, within the 90 days they have a legal deadline to do so. What they are looking for is a physical confrontation between the people and the organizations of the state in order to gain favourable arguments for the need for a law like this that violates human rights, that allows an attack with live ammunition on an unarmed civil population. We warn that, just like Xochicuautla and Atenco they will target the communities of Tecámex, Coyotepec and San Francisco Magú. We remain alert.”



 Photos: FPDT

From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes



February 2, 2016

Child victims of the war in Chiapas

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:34 am



Child victims of the war in Chiapas

A public apology without the aggressor present; they accuse the armed forces of being a power superior to the civilian government



Pedro Faro, Director of Frayba (speaking), government officials and the victims (the 4 on the right) at the public apology.


By: Angeles Mariscal

Ever since military personnel arrived in Chiapas in 1994 to carry out actions against the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), the human rights violations increased: Frayba

The federal government asks the parents of Angel, Ricardo and José, victims of the explosion of a military grenade, for public forgiveness. Representatives of the Armed Forces refused to attend the event, whose realization was brought about with the intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Angel Díaz Cruz, just 9 years old, died from the impact of an anti-personnel grenade that Mexican Army personnel had “forgotten” some 500 metres away from El Aguaje community, in the municipio of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Ricardo and José López Hernández were injured.

The acts occurred in September 2000. Now, 15 years later, the Mexican government held a public act of recognition of the Mexican State’s responsibility, and asked the family members of the victims for forgiveness.

The big absence at the event were any representatives from the Armed Forces, whose members utilized a piece of land as a training field that the El Aguaje community used to collect mushrooms and to graze their flocks of sheep.

“The only thing that these poor children did was to look for mushrooms to eat.” They saw the grenade and thought it was a toy, and they brought it inside of the house where it exploded, explained the father of Ricardo and José, who also spoke in the name of Cristina Reyna Cruz López, Angel’s mother.

“My family and the residents of El Aguaje are now obliged to live with all kinds of noises provoked by the explosives, the mortars and the machine guns, which provoked a lot of fear,” he remembered.

The family of the injured boys and of Angel denounced the act to judicial authorities. The Military Prosecutor’s Office demanded jurisdiction over the investigations and, beginning at that moment, access to the record was closed to the family and its representatives, without reparations being made for damages or medical attention being given to the two survivors.

With help from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), the family took the case to the IACHR, which after several years of investigations, concluded that the Mexican government was responsible for not carrying out its practices in safe zones far from the civilian population, and that it denied the victims access to justice upon bringing the case to military jurisdiction.

According to the Mexican government, Infantry Major Raúl Anguiano Zamora and Lieutenant Emilio Sariñana Marrufo were arrested for these acts. The families don’t know what the penalty given to them was because they were never notified of the process.

The IACHR asked the government and the victim to reach an agreement for an amicable solution, which includes the public apology that took place today, and that Homero Campa Cifrián, Assistant Secretary of Human Rights for the Secretariat of Governance gave, as well as the Governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello.

Homero Campa reported that the families would be indemnified for the damages and that a school will be constructed in El Aguaje that carries the name of Angel Díaz Cruz.

Pedro Faro, current director of the Frayba, explained that the IACHR has had to intervene in three other cases where the Mexican Army has violated the human rights of Chiapas residents, in situations that include the torture and homicide of civilians where they arrived to set up their camps.

He explained that ever since military members came to Chiapas in 1994 to carry out actions against the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), human rights violations have increased.

Faro emphasized that despite the fact that the Mexican government has committed to stop human rights violations, the Mexican Army has maintained the contrary. “Today we lack the principal character of this story (…) The Mexican Army is not present because it is untouchable in Mexico; it’s clear to us that it is a supra power to civilian government,” he emphasized.

For his part, José López Cruz demanded that the agreements the Mexican government signed today “are totally fulfilled.”


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Friday, January 29, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





November 14, 2015

Ejido Morelia: Impunity for the Army

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:04 pm


Ejido Morelia: Impunity for the Army


The victims’ family members attend the recognition of responsibility in San Cristóbal. Photo: Chiapas Paralelo

By: Miguel Angel de los Santos*

In January 1994 an internal armed conflict began in Chiapas, when the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) declared war against the Mexican National Army and took various municipal capitals. Armed conflicts are governed by the rules of International Humanitarian Law, among them the Geneva Conventions and their protocols, which establish, among other things, that the parties in conflict must respect those who do not take part in the hostilities, and those who, having taken part, are injured or have been taken prisoner. Those who do not comply with these norms incur war crimes and violate human rights.

It was within the above context that a Mexican National Army brigade entered the Ejido Morelia, in the municipality of Altamirano, Chiapas, the morning of January 7, 1994. They detained 33 indigenous men, who they submitted and laid face down on the basketball court. They also detained Severiano Santiz Gómez, Sebastián Santiz López and Hermelindo Santiz Gómez, who were separated in order to take them to the sacristy of the church, where they were tortured, for allegedly belonging to the EZLN. This was the last time they were seen or heard. A few weeks later, their remains appeared near the ejido. They had been executed by their captors in violation of the norms of International Humanitarian Law.

Despite clear evidence, the Mexican National Army has denied responsibility for the acts and the Mexican State continues protecting it, refusing to investigate or simulating doing so, in order to avoid punishing the military personnel involved and responsible for the arbitrary execution.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had already pointed out the Mexican State’s international responsibility for the violations that the soldiers incurred. Such reproach is clear in the background report number 48/97, derived from case 11.411, known as Severiano and Hermelindo Santiz Gómez “Ejido Morelia.” [1]

Almost twenty-two years later, the State has accepted its international responsibility in the human rights violations that the Mexican National Army committed, and in the terms in which the IACHR would point it out. Nevertheless, this admission has not represented punishment of those responsible.

On November 10, the signing of an Agreement for Attention to the Background Report No. 48/97 was carried out. Representatives of the Mexican State and the widows of the three victims signed the agreement.

Starting with the international principle that one who violates an international obligation, like the rights provided in the American Convention on Human Rights, is obliged to make reparations, the agreement contemplates the reparations measures agreed to by the parties, and that the State has to implement.

About the factual basis for the referenced background report, the ministerial investigation will continue until the complete clarification of the facts and the sanction of those responsible. They also agreed on diverse rehabilitation measures for family members of the victims; a public act of recognition of responsibility; the construction of a community park and corresponding compensatory indemnifications.

The path of justice is open, and the agreement represents an important gesture from the Mexican State to recognize and admit its responsibility in the deprivation of the lives of Severiano Santiz Gómez, Sebastián Santiz López and Hermelindo Santiz Gómez; nevertheless, it turns out that the human rights violations will only be resolved and compensated for when those responsible are taken to the courts and a sanction is imposed on them.

* Miguel Angel de los Santos is the lawyer for the victims’ families.



Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, November 13, 2015



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