2017, Oaxaca - Important Dates

January 7: a confrontation in the town of Guadalupe Victoria part of the municipality of San Juan Juquila, Mixes, leaves a balance of a minor of 15 years dead and more than five with gunshot wounds, due to disagreement over the results of the municipal elections.

January 10: journalist Soraya Abigail Arias Cruz, of the community radio La Perla de la Mixteca, receives a death threat by phone.

January 16 to 24:he United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, visits Mexico with the aim of assessing the situation of human rights defenders and evaluating the efforts made by the Mexican authorities for their protection. After traveling the country from Mexico City to the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Oaxaca and the State of Mexico, the UNO Rapporteur notes “high levels of insecurity and violence” in a “complex context marked by organized crime, corruption and state repression.”

February 23: almost seven years after the assassination of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish) in April 2010 in the Triqui area of Oaxaca, and in the context of their tenth visit to Mexico seeking clarification, MEP Ska Keller (Germany) and Satu Hassi, a parliamentarian from Finland state that “seven years is a long time to clear up a homicide”, and that “this makes distrust in the will of the authorities grow.” Both legislators stress that in all their visits, they have heard promises from various public officials both in Oaxaca and at the federal level but that they are still not being implemented.

February 24: members of the National Committee for the Defense and Conservation of Chimalapa Territory (CNDCTCh) denounce that “they were attacked with firearms by community members of El Patio, which belongs to Santa María Chimalapa,” the balance being four wounded and six missing persons. They point out that they were attacked “by approximately 70 men armed with machetes and firearms, from [Cintalapa] of the state of Chiapas,” a situation that derives from the historic agrarian conflict between Oaxaca and Chiapas in the Chimalapas.

March 6: the Victims’ Committee for Justice and Truth June 19 of Nochixtlan (COVIC in its Spanish acronym), denounces “a murder attempt” against its president. It demands that “reprisals stop against the members of the committee due to their demand for the punishment of those responsible for the failed operation on June 19 in Nochixtlan.”

March 9: the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) denounces that while they continue to organize themselves towards “the formation of an Indigenous Council of Government (…) the dispossession and repression from the bad governments on its three levels continues to act against our Mother Earth, our peoples and our autonomous organizations.“ Among others it mentions the violence that prevails in the community of San Francisco del Mar, Tehuantepec Isthmus region so as “to impose the approval of wind projects involving the dispossession of an important part of common land of this community and would seriously affect its rich and delicate ecosystem.” The CNI states that, “this is an integral plan of dispossession of the territories of the communities of the Isthmus to fulfill the megaprojects they intend to impose in the region with the so-called Tehuantepec Isthmus Special Economic Zone (SEZ).”

March 16: organizations from 11 municipalities from the Tehuantepec Isthmus file a collective injunction (amparo) as indigenous peoples against the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in that area. They form part of the Network of Indigenous Peoples of the Oaxacan Isthmus in Defense of Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym).

March 18 and 19: a motorized Civil Observation Caravan in solidarity with Nuevo San Andres visited the village in the Chimalapas region where, on 24 February last, nine villagers suffered attacks, illegal deprivation of liberty and violence from the so-called “Chamula Army”.

March 27:, a video begins to circulate on YouTube in which a distorted voice threatens Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, defender of the rights of the migrants.

April 17: Arturo Peimbert Calvo, head of the Oaxaca People’s Human Rights Ombudsman, reports that while he was in the vicinity of the municipality of Nochixtlan, he was wounded and, upon leaving, he was shot at from long distance with bullets shots to the trunk and a door of the vehicle. He pointed out that ten month after repressive events at Nochixtlán, “the lack of progress in the investigation favors impunity, and encourages aggression against the victims, relatives of deceased persons and their defenders.”

April 23: some 80 members of the State Police and the State Investigation Agency (AEI) arrest 11 ejidatarios from Santo Domingo Ingenio who had been blockading the Cinco Palmas wind farm belonging to the French electricity company EDF for two months for alleged “extortion”, and at the request of said company. In response, Zapotec inhabitants of this locality initiate a blockade of the federal highway that communicates to Oaxaca with the state of Chiapas to demand the liberation of its ejidatarios.

April 24: three communities start a road blockade on the Tehuantepec-Juchitan stretch in the Isthmus: Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita, in the municipality of San Blas Atempa, oppose the imposition of a wind farm by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) on communal lands as well as the extraction of stone material in the Cerro Iguu’, one of their ancestral ceremonial centers.

May 2: Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez, members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory (APIIDTT in its Spanish acronym) and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym), denounce a series of threats against them in recent months.

May 9: the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlan Valley (COPUVO in its Spanish acronym) reports harassment and threats when it sought to hold a regional meeting against mining in San Jose del Progreso, “where for eight years [the inhabitants] have defended their territory against the “San Jose” mining project, promoted by the Cuzcatlan company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines”.

May 9: EDUCA denounces that it has been subjected to a series of defamations, aggressions and criminalization of its work, “mainly by federal and municipal authorities and the mining company Fortuna Silver Mines.”

May 9: more than 50 civil society organizations (CSOs) strongly urged the federal and state governments to act against increased insecurity in the state.

June 1 to 3: The tropical storm Beatriz that hits the Costa Region, Sierra Sur and the Isthmus of Oaxaca leaves 7 people dead, 800 victims, landslides and floods. Cuts and landslides are reported in 16 of the 37 highways in the state.

June 6: the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni) denounces that 75 people including minors were displaced from the Mixe community Tierra Negra of the municipality of San Juan Mazatlán; and that 40 other families from the same community are locked in their homes since access to the community is controlled by an armed group. He points out that the person responsible for those events is the PRI leader, Macario Eleuterio, for not having been supported in the election process as municipal president of the previous year.

June 15 and 16: the Fourth Encounter of Women Activists and Human Rights Defenders of Oaxaca takes place in the capital city of Oaxaca to design a comprehensive feminist protection strategy and to strengthen alliances between the different struggles of women.

June 22: during the forum “Special Economic Zones and Implications in Community Life and the Environment”, about 250 participants from 50 civil and social organizations express their rejection of “the implementation of the SEZs in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca and elsewhere in the state.”

July 13: after more than 12 days of peaceful demonstration demanding the establishment negotiations with the executives of the wind power company Electricity of France (EDF), the protesting owners of the lands affected by the Bií Hioxo wind farm, take the watchtower of the company. It results in an operation of the Regional Command of the State Police at the request of the French company to evict the Zapotecs and arrest 15 demonstrators.

July 26: the bus carrying members of the Committee of Victims for Justice and Truth, June 19th Nochixtlan (Covic in its Spanish acronym), as well as teachers of Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), is attacked.

August 25: Antonio Solano Vazquez, one of the alleged perpetrators of the ambush where human rights defenders Bety Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Antero Jaakkola were killed in April 2010 while participating in a humanitarian caravan in San Juan Copala, is arrested in Sinaloa.

September 3: After the extraordinary election for municipal authorities held in the municipality of San Mateo del Mar, officials of the State Electoral Institute and Civic Participation of Oaxaca (IEEPCO) suffer an armed attack. The attack is carried out by an armed commando who, after this aggression, is also allegedly involved in violent actions and the kidnapping of minors who were handed over to their relatives later in the day.

September 7: an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale takes place at 23:49 local time. The epicenter is in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, 143 kilometers southwest of Pijijiapan, Chiapas. The greatest affectations are reported in the coastal zone of Chiapas and Oaxaca.

September 7: Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) mobilizes to repudiate the visit of President Enrique Peña Nieto to Oaxaca. Clashes between the teachers and the approximately 3,000 federal, state, riot police and workers affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) leave 20 injured, including 10 police officers, about 20 detainees, 10 vehicles destroyed and burned, as well as a damaged official helicopter.

September 11 to 14: seven civil organizations carry out a Humanitarian Aid Observation Mission that tour communities in the Isthmus area of Tehuantepec, which were affected by the September earthquake, leaving victims in 283 municipalities of Oaxaca. They note that “the basic needs of the people affected by the earthquake have not been covered”; and that there is “a lack of government coordination in the distribution of humanitarian aid and the discretionary use of scarce resources that have reached the area.”

October 13 and 14: at the end of the seventh Meeting of the National Network of Journalists, women journalists from 78 print, radio, television and digital media outlets from 19 states denounce the “simulation and insufficiency of actions to guarantee rights to freedom of expression, information, communication and a life free of violence”.

October 18: the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) issues a recommendation to the government of Oaxaca, the state’s attorney general’s office, the National Commission for Security (CNS in its Spanish acronym) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), for serious violations of human rights in the violent events that occurred in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, on June 2016. The CNDH accredits the excessive use of public force and that federal and state police committed serious violations of human rights, affecting even third parties who were not actively participating in demonstrations against educational reform. It also informs that the investigation of almost 16 months was marked by lack of cooperation on the part of the authorities, showing “the lack of will so that the truth is known and responsibles are held accountable.”

November 15: the Governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat Hinojosa of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) delivers his First Government Report. While the governor says that “nothing happens in Oaxaca, we can leave our homes quietly, use public transport. There is no such extreme violence as [persists] in other states,” Sin Embargo expresses that “the statistics say the opposite: robberies with violence in Oaxaca total (from January to September) 2,722, according to the Executive Secretariat of the System National Public Security (SESNSP). In the same period, 703 malicious homicides were reported, a considerable number of these being femicides.”The act takes place in the midst of a mobilization of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE in its Spanish acronym).

November 17: the Fifth Encounter of Community Defenders is held in Santa Rosa de Lima, Tututepec with the aim of “exchanging community security strategies and expressions of resistance from the cultural practices that have been used by the movements and communities.”

November 29: people affected by the September earthquakes block roads to denounce the absence of responses to the problems from the authorities almost three months after the earthquakes.