SIPAZ ACTIVITIES (from mid-August to the end of December, 2015)


Chiapas - Important Dates: 2015

January 3: Closure of the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellion against Capitalism: “Where those above destroy, those below rebuild”, organized by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, having shared in four states of the Mexican Republic.

January 8: The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center reports that even though members of the Xi’Nich organization and EZLN support bases, allegedly responsible for the Viejo Velasco massacre, received an injunction in September 2014, a new arrest warrant was issued although the Public Ministry had not collected sufficient evidence to prove the existence of the crimes and the alleged responsibility of the indigenous. The CDHFBC notes that “the Attorney General of the State of Chiapas line of investigation has proved ineffective, because they have accused the victims of being those responsible.”

January 9: At least 900 members of the State and Federal Police evict the camp that San Sebastián Bachajón ejidatarios had installed at the entrance of Agua Azul waterfalls eco-tourism park.

January 24: The Community of Faith of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas holds a pilgrimage through the streets of this city to remember the path of Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia, former bishop of Chiapas, who died in 2011 and to declare its position itself in defense of Mother Earth.

February 5: In the framework of the anniversary of the establishment of the Mexican Constitution, parents of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, along with individuals and members of human rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, unions and social organizations participate in the public presentation of the initiative of a Citizens’ Popular Constituent.

February 14: The Digna Ochoa Human Rights Committee, Chiapas, states it has received a copy of a letter to the parish priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, signed by Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto, representative of the Mexican Geological Service and the Geochemical and Drilling company (GYMSA), in which it asks him to intercede with the representatives of communities “to access their communal and private territories” where, in the space of three months, “a geological mapping of the region is scheduled to be carried out”.

February 23: The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center issued an urgent action over the forced displacement of a group of Tojolabal indigenous from Primero de Agosto village, municipality of Las Margaritas, as a result of attacks by “members of theHistorical Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H), who are protected in the region by the municipal government of Las Margaritas.”

February 25: The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center publishes a newsletter pointing to the threats and harassment against the people of El Rosario and Nuevo Paraiso, communities belonging to La Garrucha Good Government Council, official municipality of Ocosingo.

March 3: Misopa Chinal ejido, municipality of Tila, also a member of United Peoples For the Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, reports that the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) has entered to conduct studies and explorations in their communal lands.

March 6: The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center denounces that displaced families from Primero de Agosto village, municipality of Las Margaritas, are in “precarious conditions” while the “state government ignores commitments it took on.”

March 12: The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center denounces harassment by the Mexican Army of the Zapatista Good Government Council (JBG) of La Realidad, where recently a school and clinic were inaugurated.

March 21: Ejidatarios from San Sebastian Bachajón reported that more than 600 members of the state public forces burned the regional headquarters of San Sebastian which they had built “to continue caring for the land and demand the withdrawal of the bad government.” Two people belonging to free media collectives also report being attacked by the group of the official ejidal Commissariat noting that they were surrounded, detained, beaten and threatened with machetes to hand over a camera, a cell phone and a tripod, when they went to document the burning of the regional headquarters.

March 23-26: A pilgrimage of Community of Faith from Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutierrez is held. This peaceful action arises from a series of demands including the closure of bars, a halt to killings, prostitution, drug trafficking and narcopolitics.

April 7: the website of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) suffers a cyber attack. Interestingly, a few days before, the EZLN had announced that the seminar “Critical Thinking v. the Capitalist Hydra” would take place in early May.

April 8: The formation of Defenders Collective for Migrants and Refugees (Codemire) which is composed of 28 houses and hostels for migrants, is announced. In this context, they express their rejection of the Southern Border Plan (Plan Frontera Sur), launched by President Enrique Peña Nieto in July 2014.

April 13: Simojovel Community of Faith claims that there has been an increase in threats and harassment against their parish priest, Father Marcelo Perez, as well as against members of the Parish Council and Community of Faith in the town.

April 16: Governor Manuel Velasco Coello announces the replacement of the Secretary General of Government, Eduardo Ramirez Aguilar. In his place, Juan Carlos Gomez Aranda from PRI is appointed.

April 23: The Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada Human Rights Committee denounces threats against its promoter Manuel Hernandez Aguilar, a native of Bethany, municipality of Ocosingo.

May 2: The EZLN homage to the philosopher Luis Villoro Toranzo, who died in March 2014, and Jose Luis Solis Lopez, the teacher Galeano, who was killed in May 2014 in La Realidad, takes place in Oventik caracol.

May 3-9: The Seminar “Critical Thinking v. the Capitalist Hydra”, organized by the EZLN in San Cristobal de Las Casas, takes place. Throughout the week, more than 1,500 people from Mexico and other countries take part.

May 11: The Good Government Council (JBG) of the Caracol of La Garrucha denounces two attacks: one in the town of El Rosario, on land reclaimed by the autonomous municipality San Manuel, and the other in the village of Nuevo Paraiso, in the autonomous municipality Francisco Villa.

May 12: The National Caravan for the Defense of Water, Land, Work and Life, organized by the Yaqui Tribe of Sonora, Mexico, arrives in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas,

May 13: Neighborhood and human rights organizations report that since the beginning of the year, the construction company Peje de Oro has been pressing neighbors of the FSTSE 2001 fraction in San Cristobal de las Casas who defend the wetland mountain Maria Eugenia, resorting to physical aggression threats of injuries and lawsuits.

May 18: A confrontation between residents of San Antonio Chimalapa, an agency of the municipality of San Miguel Chimalapa, and inhabitants of the state of Chiapas leaving a toll of two people injured and four arrested.

May 23: Some 2,000 people, La Pimienta community residents and members of Simojovel Community of Faith, make a pilgrimage to that community where two children died and 29 more were hospitalized after they were vaccinated. The aim was to protest against public health institutions, and denounce the offer of 5,000 pesos compensation offered by the state government to the affected families.

July 19: More than 3 million voters in Chiapas elect 122 mayors and 41 local deputies. The last days before the elections were marked by violent incidents, mainly between followers of the PRI and Green parties. These two parties win in 91 of the 122 municipalities; Chiapas Unido (United Chiapas) and Mover a Chiapas (Move Chiapas), sponsored by the state government, in 18 municipalities. Those opposed to these results generate blockades and demonstrations, sometimes violent, in several parts of the state in the second half of the year.

July 27: The EZLN announces the completion of the second level of the Zapatista Escuelita via the Internet.

27 July: Communities belonging to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) of Chiapas meet with adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN in the community of Cruztón, municipality of Venustiano Carranza.

July 28-29: A pilgrimage for peace, for life, against violence and dispossession convened by the pastoral team, deacons and coordinators Tojolab’al Mission is held in which almost 5,000 people participate.

August 2: The ejidatarios of Cuauhtemoc Cardenas community, municipality of Palenque, report that two trucks of the municipal police arrived at that community, a fact that they see as “a mechanism of provocation that seeks to terrorize the community to stop their fight for mother earth and life “.

August 3: The Banavil displaced families, municipality of Tenejapa, retake to their lands provisionally to work them, “without the Mexican State guaranteeing minimum conditions of security,” says the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center.

August 14-18: SIPAZ offices in San Cristobal de Las Casas are burgled twice.

August 17: The 17 displaced Tojolobal families from Primero de Agosto village report new threats and harassment with failure to act on the part of the three levels of the Mexican government.

August 18: Adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of San Sebastian Bachajón report that three of its six political prisoners were released following an injunction that acknowledged their detention was illegal and torture.

August 18: The EZLN claims that the two accused of the killing of teacher Galeano, Jose Luis Solis Lopez, who was murdered in 2014 in La Realidad, municipality of Las Margaritas, were freed.

August 24: Simojovel Community of Faith claims that following the elections they live “a tense and apparent calm, because in silence and with more caution, some PRI leaders continue to organize for the moment to attack Father Marcelo Perez or some Parish Council members “.

September 9: The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center reports that EZLN support bases in the community Tzakukum, official municipality of Chalchihuitán, have received death threats and physical attacks for several months.

September 10-11: Alejandro Diaz Santiz, an inmate in the prison of San Cristobal de Las Casas, is transferred along with 386 inmates in 13 state prisons, to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (Cefereso) near the city of Tapachula. According to the Working Group “No Estamos Todxs” (GTNET), in the operation, detainees considered “highly dangerous” are relocated, which the GTNET considers “political revenge of the bad government against Alexander, punished for his support and raising awareness of the other prisoners “.

September 20: In Masoja Shucjá community, municipality of Tila, a commemoration is held to remember those killed or disappeared between 1994 and 1999 in the lower region of Tila.

October 11-12: More than 200 of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas meet in Acteal, Chenalhó for The Other Justice Forum.

October 20: The Civil Society Las Abejas of Acteal and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center participate in a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington (United States) about the impunity in the case of the Acteal Massacre. Las Abejas state that facing “the cynicism of the Mexican state in denying its responsibility in the Acteal massacre; (…) We DO NOT accept reaching a friendly settlement with the Mexican State.”

Oct. 21: State Police apprehended Arturo Ortega Luna, opposition activist to the construction of the hydroelectric dam Chicoasén II and lawyer to the affected ejidatarios. The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center reports that the criminal complaint was filed by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which “seeks to criminalize protest against the abuses committed by the Federal and State Governments.”

October 30-November 3: The four displaced Banavil families, municipality of Tenejapa, provisionally return to their homes for the Day of the Dead.

November 3: Women and men pensioners, opposed to the construction of the Chicoasén II dam in the municipality of Chicoasén, begin a hunger strike to demand the release of their lawyer Arturo Ortega Luna, who was arrested on 21 October.

November 13: Members of the XINICH organization start a day of prayer and fasting in each of their communities that will last 13 Sundays in memory of nine years since the Viejo Velasco Massacre.

November 13-15: Teachers from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) protest in marches in which more than 30,000 teachers participate. Their demands are: “abrogation of educational reform, no to punitive evaluation and the release of our political prisoners.” Following those protests, evaluations are postponed until December.

November 19: Tila Ejido authorities denounce a “military, police and paramilitary” operation in their territory. The day before, the military and police surrounded the village and established checkpoints at the entrances to the village.

December 2: The Center for Women’s Rights in Chiapas, A.C. (CdmCh) makes a criminal and public complaint about threats against them.

December 2: the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal reports that three families of their organization are being harassed by the Municipal Agent and the assembly of the town of Los Chorros in the municipality of Chenalhó.

December 3: About a thousand inhabitants of La Pimienta, municipality of Simojovel, take over the town hall and march to protest over the lack of enforcement of justice for the death of 2 babies and the consequences suffered by another 29 after application of vaccines in poor condition in May this year.

December 5: More than 15,000 people, most of them indigenous, as well as representatives from seven states and countries of Central and South America, hold a meeting in San Cristobal de Las Casas to participate in the Public Proclamation of the Citizens’ Popular Constituent.

December 8: David Ruiz Estudillo Gemayel, a 23-year-old teacher from the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), died during a clash between Chiapas teachers opposing performance evaluation and the police force.

December 9: Nine municipalities of the Sierra Madre and Soconusco, in the state of Chiapas, ratify the declaration of their territories as free from mining and hydroelectric dams.

December 14: Four people in civilian clothes violently entered the house of Julio Cesar Ortega Oseguera, collaborator with the Indigenous Center for Comprehensive Training- University of the Earth Chiapas – (CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas) and part of the support team of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN. His 25-year-old son was present, who was beaten, tied and questioned about his father. The assailants mentioned that they had been paid to kill him. After searching the whole house and stealing things of little value, the men leave the home.

December 14: The Chamber of Deputies approves the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) bill that are intended to be regions with facilities in terms of tax benefits for investment and employment, for foreign trade and a special customs regime, all with the aim, according to the government, of promoting development in the south of the country by attracting investments.

December 16: By agreement of the assembly, indigenous Ch’oles from the Tila ejido recover the lands where the town hall is located. The protesters point out that for more than five decades they have gone to different levels of government and they have not been seen to.

December 18: The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center reports the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and lack of due process in the arrest of Jose Alfonso Cruz Espinosa, EZLN support base.

December 20: The Tila ejidatarios report that the director of the municipal police began recording the ejidatarios while performing cleaning work, causing discomfort and “people began to gather and that was when he fled to jump in a taxi” but on reaching him, “he pulled the gun” and shot an ejidatario in the stomach. They accuse the mayor of Tila of reactivating the paramilitary group Development, Peace and Justice along with several people from communities in the lower area of Tila.

20 December: Inhabitants of the San Isidro Los Laureles community, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, decide to recover about 165 hectares of several properties that have been worked by relatives since 1940.

December 22: 18 years after the massacre of 45 indigenous in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, the Civil Society Las Abejas holds a pilgrimage and a celebration to commemorate the events and denounce the impunity that continues to prevail in the case.

December 26: The Civil Society Las Abejas denounces that PRI members, green ecologists and people allied to the government of Xunuch community in Chenalhó municipality, cut the electricity to three families in the community of Kexaluk’um (of the same municipality).