«Movement against mining exploitation and dispossession of the land», Chicomuselo, October 2017 © SIPAZ
SIPAZ Activities (From mid-August to mid-November, 2017)


2017, Chiapas - Important Dates

January 1: The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) decides “to appoint an Indigenous Council of Government with male and female representatives of each of the peoples, tribes and nations that make it up. And that this council intends to govern this country. And that it will have as voice an indigenous woman of the CNI (…) that will be independent candidate to the presidency of Mexico in the elections of the 2018 “.

January 25: members of Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas holds a pilgrimage. They propose building autonomy in the communities, recovering the structure of government, resisting the projects and recovering the autonomous and community governments, facing the 2018 elections, as the political parties are already controlling and organizing their people In communities.

February 6: The Tila Ejido denounces that “a group of inhabitants of the Cantioc community annex organized by members of the green party and the city council attempted to kidnap the President of the Ejidal Commissariat”.

February 16: The Popular Front in Defense of the Soconusco June 20 (FDPS) suspends working tables that it maintained with representatives of the Chiapas government since October 2016 for breach of agreements. This is until the “Casas Viejas” mine is closed and another 13 mining concessions are abrogated in the Acacoyagua municipality.

February 23: members of the teachers’ and popular movement denounce the persecution against the process of community organization of the municipality of Tectapan which belongs to the Movement of Indigenous Peoples in Resistance (MOPOR for its acronym in Spanish), facing the intention of the Ministry of Energy to carry out a consultation process for the granting of hydrocarbon and mining concessions that would affect more than 80,000 hectares.

February 22: The post-election dispute in the municipality of Chenalho claimed the lives of two people between February 22 and March 7, resulting also in more than a dozen with gunshot wounds. Hundreds of supporters of Rosa Perez take over the Town Hall that more than one hundred municipal workers and sympathizers of the substitute mayor were guarding. Testimonies refer to the use of high-caliber firearms and bullet-proof vests. About 270 displaced people from Colonia Puebla, who since May 2016 were displaced in the municipal seat of Chenalho, dispersed before taking refuge in San Cristobal. They had fled Puebla in the face of threats from Rosa Perez supporters.

March 7: The body of Lorenzo Sántiz Álvarez, son of the substitute mayor of Chenalhó, Miguel Sántiz Álvarez, is found in the community of Santa Marta, where they are originally from.

March 8: in the context of International Women’s Day, women demand “justice for women, punishment of officials who do not fulfill their duty and effective investigation of all allegations of violence as well as cases of femicide”.

March: faced with the context of violence stemming from the post-electoral conflict in the municipality of Chenalho, several organizations and the Coordination of the Parish of San Pedro Apostol of this municipality issue statements to express their concerns, demand the State to disarm armed groups and ensure the integrity and personal safety and life of the villagers of this municipality.

March 16: Emilio Jimenez Gomez, an ejidatario from San Sebastian Bachajon and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, is released from prison. He was imprisoned for two years and eight months accused of assault while the adherents to the Sixth of San Sebastian Bachajon assured that he had been arrested for his struggle against dispossession in the Agua Azul Waterfalls.

23 March: the Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope is launched within the framework of the XX anniversary of the Acteal Massacre and the 25th anniversary of the founding of Las Abejas Civil Society

March 28: a hundred state police evict more than 200 displaced indigenous people from the municipality of Chenalho when they blocked the toll road between San Cristobal and Tuxtla Gutierrez to demand that the government guarantee the return of some 80 families. The operation leaves 14 civilians injured and, according to the authorities, 13 policemen.

March 28: Silvia Juarez Juarez, a community human rights defender and member of the Movement in Defense of Zoque Territory, is released having been held for 35 days.

April 1: the post-electoral conflict reemerges in the municipality of Oxchuc, with the arrest of eight people, roadblocks between San Cristobal de Las Casas and Palenque, fireworks, bombs and shots fired.

April 3: five nurses begin an indefinite hunger strike in Tuxtla Gutierrez to demand the unconditional reinstatement of 15 health workers dismissed over the protest they have been promoting, the payment of wages and legal benefits, as well as the supply of medicines and supplies to the hospitals and clinics of Chiapas.

April 10: organizations and neighborhoods of San Cristobal de las Casas make a march to demand the cancellation of the concession to Femsa Coca Cola or at least a cap on the extraction of water from the plant installed in this city.

 April 10 and 11: the Second Forum in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory is held in the community of Santa Lucia, municipality of Ocosingo. They reaffirm their rejection of the presence of the environmental police force on their territories and that “we will not allow evictions, no project imposed on the interest and decision of the communities.”

April 12 and 15: the Critical Reflection Seminar “The Walls of Capital, the Cracks of the Left” is held at Cideci-Unitierra in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

April 12: nurses who were on hunger strike end it after reaching a series of agreements with the state government.

April 22: Two reporters are assaulted, locked in a bathroom and stripped of their work equipment when covering a political event in which the PRI senator, Roberto Albores Gleason, presented his report of work in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. These journalists documented that thousands of women from the government program Prospera were forced to participate with deception and threats.

April 26: the Samuel Ruiz Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life expresses concern “at the strategy implemented by mining employees to confront campesinos of the ejido Ricardo Flores Magon, municipality of Chicomuselo.”

April 28: nurses from Tuxtla Gutiérrez announce that they are preparing for a second stage of their hunger strike following the breach of a draft of agreements with the state government.

April 28: the “March for Land, Water and Life” is held in Tuxtla Gutierrez, in which representatives of ejidos and Zoque communities from Ixtacomitan participate so as to express their rejection of the bidding process of 84,500 hectares in the north of the state of Chiapas.

May 2 to 12: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, Leo Heller, visits Mexico. In Chiapas, he holds meetings with state officials, as well as with activists and non-governmental organizations.

May 3: the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) reports that, in the case of the extrajudicial execution of the Tzeltal indigenous Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez in February 1995 in the community of La Grandeza, Altamirano, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) determined “the responsibility of the Mexican State for violating the right to life and the principle of equality and non-discrimination, personal integrity and judicial guarantees and judicial protection, in the context of the implementation of the counterinsurgency strategy designed within the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94.”

May 6: the San Martin de Porres migrant shelter is raided in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Other cases of raids have been documented in shelters for migrants in Palenque, Salto de Agua, Comitán and Frontera Comalapa.

May 8: The Popular Front in Defense of Soconusco June 20 (FPDS) denounces acts of intimidation when they arrived at a meeting with the municipal president of Acacoyagua.

May 24: the nurses who held a hunger strike in Tuxtla Gutierrez end it after taking new agreements with the government.

From May 26 to 28: the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) is held to form its Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym) formed by 71 councilors. Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, 57, an indigenous Nahua from Tuxpan in Jalisco and a traditional doctor is also appointed spokesperson of the CIG and will be their independent candidate to the presidency of the Republic in 2018.

May 28: Alejandra Padilla Garcia’s home, a member of Semilla Digna, an organization that forms part of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), as well as being a collaborator of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Indigenous Center for Integral Training – Unitierra Chiapas (CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas) is raided.

June 1st: residents of the Cruzton community in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza demand justice in the case of the murder on May 22nd of Rodrigo Guadalupe Huet Gomez, an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in that community.

First days of June: both the Ejido Tila and the organization Pueblos Unidos por la Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica (PUDEE) denounce the increase in tension in their municipality. They indicate that on June 2, a group of 120 people from Tila ejido and annexes of other ejidos came to Tuxtla Gutiérrez to demand the return of the Municipal City Council in the ejido of Tila, which, they said, “was expelled for corrupt, murderers, kidnappers, causing divisions, drug addiction, prostitution and alcoholism.” The march was led by “Francisco Arturo Sánchez Martínez, the son of Arturo Sánchez Sánchez, intellectual leader of the Peace and Justice paramilitary group, and nephew of Samuel Sánchez Sánchez, prisoner in the Amate penitentiary no. 14. For the counterinsurgency conflict in 1996 in the Municipalities of Tila, Sabanilla and Tumbalá.”.

June 12: the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) repudiates ”the repressive escalation against compañeros from our peoples where they have been nominating councilors for the integration of the Indigenous Council of Government for Mexico.” It denounces threats, attacks, arrests and a murder in four communities in Chiapas.

June 22: the indigenous movement of the Zoque Believing People in Defense of Life and the Earth organizes a pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutierrez, in which about six thousand people participate.

July 1st: the South Southeast Caravan of relatives and students of the 43 disappeared student teachers from Ayotzinapa arrives to San Cristobal de Las Casas

July 23 to 29: the “CompArte for Humanity – Against Capital and its Walls, All the Arts” festival is held by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

July 30: the Tila ejido carries out a peaceful march and a political event to celebrate the 83 anniversary of its foundation as an ejido. His authorities warn “that they will no longer allow the presence of political parties in that locality, and that they will choose their authorities through traditional customs and practices.”

August 7: after Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to Chiapa de Corzo on the occasion of “International Day of Indigenous Peoples”, seven federal police are beaten and detained by villagers for 6 hours, after which they were released. Following these events, at least four people are arrested although the authorities committed not to retaliate.

August 19: the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MOVEDITE in its Spanish acronym) denounces “political groups disguised as civil associations or aid foundations that use people and abuse their poverty. Where they condition the most basic aid for votes and thus corrupt those who they say they support.”

September 7: At 23:49 local time there is an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale with an epicenter 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 20: representatives and delegates of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) denounce that in Pansutsteol, municipality of Tila, the councilor of the CNI with his family were threatened to be disappeared and killed.

September 19 to 21: the Encounter “Let’s Love, Care for and Defend our Common Home, our Mother Earth” is held in the community of Candelaria, municipality of San Cristobal de Las Casas.

September 26: civil organizations denounce that “the reactivation of the mining companies in that region of the Sierra Madre, increased division, harassment and risk of confrontation among the communities.”

October 1: in Chicomuselo, a meeting is held in Grecia ejido to analyze the threats posed by the mining concessions. The following day, the pilgrimage called “Movement against Mining and the Depletion of the Earth” takes place.

October 2: the domicile of human rights defender Guadalupe Nuñez Salazar, Councilor of the Indigenous Council of Government, is raided.

October 10: The Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Feminicide in Chiapas pronounces on the Declaration of Alert on Gender Violence: “we have noted with concern that representatives of the Government of Chiapas have politicized the Declaration to promote candidacies, strengthen political positions and justify the reorientation of public budgets “.

October 14: Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez, the candidate for the presidency of Mexico and spokesperson for the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym) begins a tour of the five Zapatista Caracoles.

October 18: an individual from the community of Canalumtic, in the municipality of Chalchihuitan, is shot dead.

Beginning of November : More than 300 residents of Chenalho enter the community of Pom, Chalchihuitan and burn a house provoking the forced displacement of 670 women and 520 men from Chalchihuitán. These events are related to the agrarian conflict over the limits between the two municipalities since 1973.

November 3: Monsignor Rodrigo Aguilar is named as Bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas.

November 5 to 17: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, indigenous leader of the Philippines, makes an official visit to Mexico, which includes the states of Guerrero, Chiapas and Chihuahua.

November 15 to 17: an observation mission of human rights on the Coast of Chiapas, one of the most affected by the earthquake of 8.2 on the Richter scale of September 7th, reports “serious misinformation about the criteria and procedures in granting support for the reconstruction process.” It also observes “certain inequities and discriminatory elements in the granting of support”, as well as “a serious lack of coordination of the federal government with the municipal authorities and with society”.

November 20: the Movement in Defense of Life and the Territory (Modevite in its Spanish acronym) mobilizes in 11 municipalities and an ejido of Chiapas in defense of Mother Earth, for a dignified life and to demand respect for the free self-determination of indigenous peoples.

November 21: One year after the Declaration of a Gender Violence Alert in Chiapas, the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide reports that in this period it documented “119 violent deaths that must be investigated as femicides and 46 documented femicides; while the State Prosecutor’s Office (FGE) registers 27 femicides and 35 intentional deaths.”

November 27: Civil Society organizations, including SIPAZ, issue an Urgent Action for the risk to life, security and integrity of communities in the Highlands region due to an agrarian conflict between the municipalities of Chenalho and Chalchihuitan.

December 4: when the mayor of Chalchihuitán was traveling to Tuxtla Gutierrez to demand the governor to dismantle the armed groups in the limits with Chenalhó and the return of the displaced persons in his municipality, he and those traveling with him are retained before arriving in Chiapa de Corzo, in order to avoid putting at risk the visit of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

December 5: some inhabitants of Chalchihuitán are detained by armed persons who destroy the main road to this municipal seat, preventing access. An act of agreement between the authorities of both municipalities is signed that determines to unblock the road and wait for the resolution of the Agrarian Court although Chenalhó advances that in case “it does not issue a Final Resolution in favor of the municipality of Chenalhó, they will carry out drastic measures against the inhabitants of the municipality of Chalchihuitán “.

December 7: the parish of Chenalhó organizes a pilgrimage to address the growing concern of violence in the region. More than 50 civil organizations mention that since the crisis exploded, “photos published by the national press and direct testimonies gave an account of armed persons with ski masks. The presence of the Mexican Army and the State Police has not been dissuasive, there are no disarmament initiatives or direct measures to protect the population and safeguard guarantees of free transit. “

December 10: the Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal celebrates 25 years since the founding of its organization in Chenalhó.

December 13: the decision of the Unitary Agrarian Court on the agrarian conflict between Chenalhó and Chalchihuitán is in favor of Chenalhó. It is established that compensation will be paid to the peasants who will lose their lands and homes in Chalchihuitán. In addition, the authorities are committed to building 300 homes for those affected.

December 16: during the second anniversary of the construction of their self-government, thousands of indigenous Choles of Ejido Tila receive the spokesperson of the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG), María de Jesús Patricio Martínez.

27 a 30 de diciembre: tiene lugar la segunda edición del festival de ciencias « ConCiencias por la Humanidad » convocado por el Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN).

December 22: 20 years have passed since the massacre of 45 indigenous people in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, which as stated by the Network All Rights for all, “is still a pending account of justice by the Mexican State” .

December 27 to 30: the second edition of the science festival “ConCiencias por la Humanidad” organized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) takes place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.