CNI/EZLN event at the Caracol, of Oventik Chiapas Highlands, October 12, 2016 © Noé Pineda
SIPAZ ACTIVITIES (From the beginning of July to the end of October 2016)


January 5 : The Tila ejido, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, report the names and surnames of those who form “a small cell of paramilitary groups who have been organizing inside” their ejido.

January 18 : The inhabitants of the Tsotsil communities of Los Llanos and San Jose El Porvenir, in the municipality of San Cristobal de Las Casas, are granted legal protection against the San Cristobal-Palenque highway project.

January 21 : The San Isidro Los Laureles community, Venustiano Carranza municipality, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, report intimidation “on the part of the landlords” 31 days after taking back their lands.

January 21 and 22 : More than 70 delegates from 20 municipalities, representatives of 12 organizations, movements and parishes of the state meet in Boca del Cielo, Tonala to share experiences in the “Chiapas Meeting of the Affected by Dams and Mines”.

January 25 : Some three thousand members of Believing Peoples (Pueblo Creyente) of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas hold a pilgrimage in which they reiterate their identity as Catholics and their defense of land, autonomy and social justice.

January 28 : There is 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. Nobody from the Mexican Army is present at the event.

February 4: Members of the ex-prisoners organization Supporters of The Voice of Amate, adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, announce their legal demand for damages for having been unjustly deprived of their liberty.

February 15: Visit of Pope Francis to Chiapas. Religious celebration in indigenous languages is formalized by papal decree.

February 21: The EZLN publishes the communiqué “Meanwhile…in the communities affiliated to political parties”in which it describes situations of pillage and exploitation that communities are living through in places that follow the party political system in the southeastern zone of Chiapas.

February 22: Thousands of teachers from Sections 7 and 40 of the National Trade Union of Education Workers (SNTE) march and stage a sit-in in the center of the capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez. They start a 48-hour strike to demand the repeal of the educational reform, the re-installation of a negotiating table in the Secretariat of Governance, and the liberation of political prisoners.

March 3 : The ecologist Berta Caceres, coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), is murdered in La Esperanza in the west of the country. The Mexican environmental defender, Gustavo Castro Soto, who was present in the moment of the murder is wounded and retained in Honduras for a few weeks.

March 5: More than 70 organizations, collectives, networks, and individuals sign a statement demanding the release of Alejandro Diaz Santiz, who “has spent almost 17 years without seeing the open sky, locked up in different prisons in Veracruz and Chiapas.” The unjustly imprisoned 35-year-old Tsotsil indigenous was arrested in 1999, “accused of a murder he didn’t commit”, and moreover he “didn’t speak Spanish at the time of his arrest, was tortured, never had access to an interpreter and didn’t have enough money for an adequate legal defense”.

March 22: The Believing Peoples of Simojovel, Chiapas, hold a march for the first anniversary of “the magna via crucis pilgrimage” of Lent, which they held in March 2015. They publicly reject the invitation for dialogue from the Gomez brothers (Juan and Ramiro Gomez Dominguez), who they identify as political caciques as well as being involved in the illegal sale of alcohol and weapons.

March 24: Juan Carlos Jimenez Velasco, leader of the Independent Confederation of Organizations of Civil Association (Confederación Independiente de Organizaciones Asociación Civil – CIO-AC) and member of the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), is found dead in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

March 25: Carlos Herrera’s home, representative of Morena in Chiapas, is ransacked, which he  interprets as “an intimidating message, because we are public servants who belong to the Morena party, upholding the law, standing up for the people, we have shown abuses and denounced irregularities.”

April 3 to 10: The Santísima Trinidad Mission (La Arena) and the Committee for the Defense or Indigenous Liberties CDLI Xinich’ hold a pilgrimage to commemorate the Viejo Velasco Massacre (2006) and against mega-projects, particularly the Boca del Cerro hydroelectric dam.

April 4: Gustavo Castro Soto returns to Mexico almost a month after the murder of Berta Cáceres, of which he was the only witness. He denounces the excessive retention of the Honduran government.

April 7 : The Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice reaches San Cristobal de Las Casas. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from seven nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs”.

April 14 : The displaced of Primero de Agosto in the municipality of Las Margaritas make a public statement denouncing the barbed wiring of part of the land of Primero de Agosto where they lived and from where they were displaced on February 23, 2015.

April 18: The disproportionate use of the security forces, arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments which characterize repression and criminalization of social protest” are  documented by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez during the actions of the teachers opposing education reform.

April 29: The National Front of Struggle for Socialism (FNLS) in Chiapas ends its “National Days against State Terrorism in Chiapas and for the presentation alive of all the detainees-disappeared in Mexico” with a march-rally in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

May 2 : Members of the Peace and Transparency Commission, a group of Tsotsil from Chenalho, hold a press conference in San Cristobal de Las Casas, calling for the resignation of the mayor Rosa Perez Perez. Representatives of the nonconformist group accuse her of “not keeping her campaign promises, not holding council meetings, not involving the municipal union or council members in government decisions and of firing trusted workers.” This group has had a series of protests against the mayor since the beginning of April.

May 7 : Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo, an 18-year-old native of Tzinil community, Socoltenango municipality, Chiapas, disappears after he was detained by people who presented themselves as agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) and unidentified elements of the police, on the road from Comitan de Domínguez, Chiapas, to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, to where he was traveling to look for work.

May 11: Thousands of Simojovel indigenous tsotsiles mobilize to demand peace and public safety in the face of the violent attacks that took place in that city on May 4.

May 12: The community of San Isidro los Laureles, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, is evicted “with violence” from the 200 hectares they had recovered on December 20.

May 15 : Teachers’ Day, teachers opposing education reform and the evaluation of teachers call an indefinite strike.

May 15 : Catholics of the parish of Zinacantan call a pilgrimage to protest against the privatization of its water and the dispossession of its spring.

May 17: Representatives of Chicomuselo communities denounce the intention of several mining companies to install extractive projects in their territories. They report that inhabitants of Chicomuselo communities arrested four people who identified themselves as mining entrepreneurs in ejido Greece.

May 25: A group of hooded inhabitants from the municipality of Chenalho erupts violently at the headquarters of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas and retains Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, president of the state congress, deputy Carlos Penagos and his driver. The retained are taken to Chenalhó and exhibited in the central square. They were released after the local Congress accepted the resignation of the mayor Rosa Pérez Pérez.

27 of May: Two people die, one of them a minor, in a dispute between two political groups in the Ejido Puebla, municipality of Chenalhó, after the nomination of Miguel Sántiz Álvarez as a substitute municipal president. Some 80 families from the ejido are displaced by violence.

Second half of May: Dissident teachers hold actions in the 122 municipalities of Chiapas, while the Federal and State Governments have still not established a negotiating table, arguing that there is no going back on educational reform.

May 30: The EZLN denounces that “the so-called ‘educational reform’ is not educational, it is labor” and that the media do not show the reality of the situation.

June 7 : More than 2,000 workers of Health Jurisdiction Number II, which covers 18 municipalities in the Highlands of Chiapas, declare a strike to demand equipment and medicine for patients as well as social benefits.

June 18: Article 19 reports that Mario Leonel Gómez Sánchez, correspondent of El Heraldo de Chiapas, Diario de Chiapas and Diario de Palenque, was threatened on June 15 and 16 in the municipality of Yajalón, after having made public acts of corruption of state officials.

June 20: Believing Peoples call a pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutierrez to show their support for the teachers’ movement and to repudiate the violent acts that occurred in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, which left a toll of at least 11 people dead in altercations with the police.

June 22: The Las Abejas Civil Society Organization stands in solidarity with the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), “because teachers are protesting against the privatization of education, as the indigenous peoples have been protesting against the Privatization of the wealth of our territory. “

July 1 : People from more than 15 parishes from the southeastern region of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas march with their parish priests to show their support for the teachers’ movement.

July 12: The Ministry of the Interior (Segob) and the members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) reach a first general agreement through which three parallel negotiation tables will be set up.

July 18 : About 30 thousand members of Believing Peoples representing 52 parishes throughout the state as well as thousands of teachers, members of the CNTE, hold a pilgrimage together in Tuxtla Gutierrez demanding that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, discuss in “public dialogue” not only education reform, but also the so-called structural reforms that the government has been promoting.

July 19 : The Zapatista “CompArte por la Humanidad” festival initiative begins with an event at the teachers’ and popular camp that blocks the exit to the highway to Tuxtla Gutierrez in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The festival will be held in San Cristobal de Las Casas from July 23-30.

July 20 : The sit-in protest in rejection of education reform that the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) had maintained on the toll road to Tuxtla Gutierrez, is destroyed “by a group of 150 armed people” who belong to “two attack groups: ALMETRACH (Association of Tenants of Traditional Markets of Chiapas) which works with the Municipal President of San Cristobal de las Casas, Marco Cancino- and a group led by the mayor of San Juan Chamula, Domingo López González”.

August 2: A few days after the Tila ejido celebrated the 82nd anniversary of the ejido’s constitution, four Navy vehicles enter the ejido territory allegedly accompanied by the municipal secretary of the official city hall and carry out raids provoking terror in the population.

August 3: Young people of the parish of Chenalhó hold a pilgrimage towards San Cristóbal de Las Casas to protest against the structural reforms and in favor of, among others things, the liberation of Alexander Diaz Santiz and Roberto Paciencia Cruz, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Zinacantan Catholics join their march.

August 17: The Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF) orders that Rosa Pérez Pérez be reinstated as Chenalhó municipal president, three months after she presented her license indefinitely. The coadjutor bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Enrique Díaz Díaz, affirms that “we will have to talk a lot and talk to all parties” to avoid further violence in the municipality.

August 22: Official date to go back to school. The CNTE chooses to maintain its strike and blockade actions on bridges and highways, as well as in commercial centers and areas.

August 28: Manuel Martínez Pérez, from the community of Masoja Shucja, Municipality of Tila, Chiapas, is the victim of an attempted homicide. United Peoples for the Defense of Electric Power (PUDEE), assumes that he was assaulted for his participation in different national meetings such as the CompArte of the EZLN, the National Indigenous Congress, or the Permanent People’s Tribunal, among others.

September 1: The TEPJF orders to reinstate Maria Gloria Sánchez Gómez (PVEM) as municipal president of Oxchuc. She had denounced that she was forced to resign this position last February. Immediately after this resolution, more than 500 Tseltal Indians, opposed to Sánchez Gómez, close the San Cristóbal-Ocosingo road for several hours.

September 2 : Civil organizations report that the youth Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, who was missing since May 7 reappeared alive. They denounce that “since his arrest by INM federal agents (…), until the day of his location on August 29, Maximiliano -a youth of 18 from the municipality of Socoltenango- was the victim of crimes and serious violations of his human rights, through the blame of the Mexican state. “

September 19 : Teachers of Sections 7 and 40 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in Chiapas begin the 2016-2017 school year after four months of strike to demand the repeal of the education reform bill, passed in 2013.

Since September 26: Residents of several communities in the municipalities of Acacoyagua and Escuintla in the Soconusco region organize a road blockade to prevent mining companies from continuing mining exploration and exploitation, as well as to denounce the contamination of rivers that they have caused.

October 9 : Itzel Castellanos, a nineteen-year-old transgender person, is killed with a knife outside her home in Comitan, Chiapas. Mexico ranks second in the world with 229 such killings.

October 9 to 13 : Within the framework of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the “Fifth National Indigenous Congress” is held in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The CNI and the EZLN publish a statement entitled “May the Earth Tremble at its Core” (paraphrasing the national anthem), in which they report 27 grievances indigenous peoples in the country are facing. They announce the start of a consultation to examine the convenience of appointing an indigenous council of government and inviting an indigenous woman to participate in the upcoming presidential elections to be held in 2018.

October 14: Margarita Gómez López and David Hernández Gómez, indigenous tsotsiles, detained since April 2014, are released from jail. They had been victims of torture, as well as of an unfair trial and an unjust sentence.

October 18 : The Secretary of Energy begins a consultation process with the Zoque peoples of the municipalities of Francisco Leon, Ixtacomitan and Pichucalco, in the north of the state to open twelve hydrocarbon (oil and gas) wells that are currently up for bid and would cover around 80,000 hectares. The Movement of Indigenous Peoples in Resistance (MOPOR) says that most communities in the municipalities of Tecpatán and León Francisco oppose such exploitation.

October 18: Domingo Pérez Álvaro, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the San Sebastian Bachajon ejido, is severely assaulted by “people of the group of the official Ejidal Commissariat of San Sebastián Bachajon, Manuel Guzmán Álvaro”.

October 21: The EZLN publishes a statement entitled “Questions without Answers, Answers without Questions, Councils and Counsel” in which it gives its opinion on the criticisms made so far to the proposal of consultation with the peoples that make up the Indigenous National Congress (CNI).

October 22: Victims’ relatives and survivors of the “counterinsurgency strategy operated in the northern zone of Chiapas” meet in the community of Susuclumil, Tila municipality, to denounce “the lack of justice for crimes against humanity Committed by the paramilitary group Peace and Justice (Paz y Justicia), with the complicity and responsibility of the Mexican State.”

October 29 : The parish of St. Augustine of Teopisca convenes a Eucharistic celebration outside the State Center for Social Reinsertion (CERSS) No. 5 to denounce the “bad administration of justice that exists in the Mexican State” and the resulting torture of innocents, in particular the case of torture victim, Roberto Paciencia Cruz.

November 4: Simojovel Believing Peoples release a statement announcing the renewal of threats and attacks against the priest Marcelo Perez Perez.

November 10 to 16: An International Human Rights Observation Mission on the Guatemala-Mexico Border (MODH in its Spanish acronym) is held from to document and highlight the situation of systematic violations of human rights in the border region between Guatemala and Mexico.

November 11: Subcomandante Insurgente Moises, spokesperson for the EZLN, issues a statement, released the previous day in Tseltal, in response to academics, journalists and people who have criticized the proposal which is being consulted along with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

November 13: Members of communities, as well as civil and social organizations hold a pilgrimage in Palenque to demand justice and clarification of the massacre that took place in Viejo Velasco, municipality of Ocosingo, in 2006.

November 17 : 33 years after its foundation, the EZLN publishes an extensive communiqué titled “A History to Understand”, in which it gives further details about the proposal of consultation with the peoples that make up the Indigenous National Congress (CNI).

November 21 to 24 : The First National Feminist Congress is held in San Cristobal de Las Casas. Activists and organizations question the Declaration of a Gender Violence Alert (GVA) issued on November 18 for seven municipalities in the state (San Cristobal de Las Casas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Comitan  de Dominguez, Villaflores, Tonala, Chiapa de Corzo and Tapachula), calling it “incomplete, discriminatory and insufficient.”

November 24: Roberto Paciencia Cruz, an indigenous tsotsil (Chenalhó), adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, is released from jail having been acquitted.

November 24 : The Tila ejidatarios announce the threats and intimidation that they continue to suffer. They especially note the intimidation suffered by an ejidatario on November 22 and the threats received by the parish priest of Tila, Heriberto Cruz Vera, despite the fact that “he has nothing to do with the struggle of the ejido.”

November 25 : After a 12-day walk through 11 indigenous municipalities in the North, Jungle area and Highlands of Chiapas, thousands of pilgrims arrive in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they denounce the threats and insecurity that they live with in the villages where they come from. The members of the pilgrimage belong to the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE, in its Spanish acronym) and the Believing Peoples of the parishes of Candelaria, Huixtan, Cancuc, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Chilon, Sitala, Yajalon and Salto de Agua.

December 2 :Members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) denounce numerous acts of aggression and harassment of participants in their fifth Congress during the consultation they have been conducting.

December 5 : The “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” is held in the ejido of Amador Hernandez, in the Municipality of Ocosingo, Lacandon Jungle. Its participants express themselves against the entry of the Environmental Gendarmerie into their territories.

December 8: In Palenque, the offices of the Ixim Antsetic A.C. (CAM), an organization that works with indigenous and mestizo women from the Sierra Norte de Chiapas are raided.

December 16: Thousands of indigenous Ch’oles from the Tila ejido celebrate the first anniversary of the expulsion of the municipal council as well as the construction of their self-government and Ejidal autonomy.

December 21 and 22: 19 years of the Acteal massacre are commemorated.

December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017: The “Zapatistas and ConsCiences for Humanity takes place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.