dorset chiapas solidarity

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





January 31, 2016

Public apology from the Mexican government for El Aguaje case (2000)

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:01 pm



Public apology from the Mexican government for El Aguaje case (2000)




On January 28, there was an act of recognition of responsibility of the Mexican State and the signing of an agreement of amicable settlement in the El Aguaje case, a community located in Rancho Nuevo, some ten kilometers from San Cristobal de Las Casas, where a child died and two more were wounded in 2000 when a grenade exploded, which had been left by members of the 31st Military Zone, which borders the community. The event took place in the auditorium of the Faculty of Law of the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH) in San Cristobal.

Jose Lopez Cruz, representing his family (his children were wounded) and Cristina Reyna Cruz Lopez (mother of the deceased child), said at the event, “The authorities never recognized that we were civilians and that our case should be seen to by a civil and not a military court, as they only cared about the type of weapon that exploded but never cared for our human rights. […] The days were long, have been long, as we have sought justice during these 15 years. Up to now, we do not know who was truly guilty of causing this tragedy and even less what their punishment was.”

For their part, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, better known as Frayba), which took on the defense of this case and took it to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, pointed out that the actions of the judiciary in Mexico came “late and in partial form, mutilated, incomplete and somewhat battered.” They highlighted that no representative of the army was present at the event saying that, “Today the main character of this story is missing […] The Mexican Army is not present because it is untouchable in Mexico; it is clear to us that it is a power above civil government.”

Representing the State, Roberto Campa Cifrían, sub-secretary for the Human Rights division of the Ministry of the Interior, recognized the responsibility of the State for not having adequately taken charge of and guarded artifacts as dangerous as rifle grenades, used for practice in security institutions. He specified that the agreement that was signed during the event includes promises of transparency in the case, acts of rehabilitation, guarantees of non-repetition, and economic compensation “fair and calculated according to the highest national and international standards in this subject”, the provision of health care, productive projects, and grants among other things. He added that the clinic in the community of El Aguaje, part of the agreement, will bear the name of Angel Diaz Cruz, the child who died when the grenade exploded.




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