SIPAZ Activities (From mid-October 2007 to mid-January 2008)29/02/2008
ANALYSIS: Mexico – Increase in cost of living and poverty pose major concerns29/08/2008
INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ACCOMPANIMENT
- On January 25, SIPAZ met with the political attaché of the French Embassy, which
- currently holds the presidency of the European Union.
- In early February, SIPAZ participated in a meeting in Mexico City with Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.
- En April SIPAZ attended a meeting with Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of Chiapas, and members of his cabinet. The team expressed its concerns in regards to the sociopolitical and human rights situations faced in Chiapas, focusing particularly on the prisoners who carried out a hunger strike in February and March.
Northern Zone (Zona Norte)
- Between March 6 and 12, SIPAZ was present in several communities and towns in the Northern Region of Chiapas. Team members conducted interviews with several actors in the region: displaced people, leaders of various political groups, governmental entities, religious leaders, and Zapatista communities including the Good Government Council at Roberto Barrios. SIPAZ visited the Zapatista community of Ch’oles de Tumbalá, near Palenque, which was originally displaced in a violent eviction in 2006 and is still subject to threats.
- SIPAZ attended the monthly commemoration of the Acteal Massacre on February 22.
- On three occasions in February, SIPAZ visited the Zapatista Community Ecological Reserve, located near San Cristóbal de Las Casas in the same territory occupied by the Protected Natural Area Huitepec-Los Alcanfores subsequently created by the Chiapas government. According to reports, the local population was not consulted about the creation of the government sponsored natural area but rather threatened with eviction.
- On February 24 and 25, SIPAZ was present at the Gathering of Organizations and Indigenous Communities in Defense of Territory, Culture and Natural Resources in the Lacandon Jungle in Betania (the Cañadas of Ocosingo) as observers. Residents of more than one hundred ejidos and communities attended.
Caracoles/The Other Campaign
- SIPAZ conducted at least one visit to each of the five Zapatista Caracoles.
- SIPAZ members acted as observers at the Pilgrimage of the Pueblo Creyente in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on February 19, in which more than 10,000 people participated.
- The SIPAZ team also observed an event held against the privatization of PEMEX, called by the National Democratic Convention (Convención Nacional Democrática) and the Broad Progressive Front (Frente Amplio Progresista) in Mexico City on March 18.
- Members of the team observed the picket maintained at the entry of the State Government Offices in Tuxtla Gutiérrez by the family members of the hunger-striking prisoners. They also atended the event “Freedom to see justice done,” in which the state government freed 137 people detained in various prisons in Chiapas.
- In mid-February, SIPAZ conducted a one-week trip to Oaxaca. Interviews were conducted with most of our counterparts in Oaxaca City. The team visited David Venegas and Adán Mejía, members of the APPO imprisoned in Ixcotel Penitentiary. Several interviews were conducted with detainees which were later published in SIPAZ’s Spanish-language blog. A meeting was held with the Attorney General of the State of Oaxaca with regards to these prisoners.
- Between March 7 and 14, SIPAZ coordinated an international delegation conformed by 11 representatives of NGOs in the United States, France, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Latin America. The delegation covered several areas of the state of Guerrero (Costa Chica, Montaña and Chilpancingo; see this report’s Focus).
- SIPAZ received, and gave presentations to delegations, independent visitors, students and journalists in order to give them a better understanding of the situation in Chiapas and the work conducted by the organization. Between March 14 and 21, SIPAZ coordinated a delegation of students from Siena College, New York.
- At the beginning of February, SIPAZ met with the VI International Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation during its visit to Mexico. In both Chiapas and Oaxaca the organizations exchanged information about the current situation in these states.
- In an endeavor that began late last year, SIPAZ has co-hosted with the Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas para la Acción Comunitaria, CIEPAC) and the Community Defenders Network (Red de Defensores Comunitarios) the monthly space for reflection, analysis, debate and contributions known as Speaking Out Loud (“En Voz Alta”, see Spanish-language blogenvozalta.wordpress.com).
- In mid-February, a member of the SIPAZ team traveled to Washington. In a meeting held at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a presentation was given on the human rights and sociopolitical situation in Chiapas and Oaxaca. A meeting was subsequently held with members of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
- At the beginning of April, a SIPAZ team member began a speaker’s tour in the United States, specifically around Chicago and the state of California.
- In February and March SIPAZ participated in an ecumenical space for prayer and reflection held by the Ecumenical Group for Analysis of the Current Political Reality (Grupo Ecuménico de Análisis de la Coyuntura de la Realidad, GEACR), of which SIPAZ is a member.
- In February, SIPAZ facilitated a course in “Conflict Transformation and Human Rights” which is part of a degree program at the Intercultural Mayan Seminary (Seminario Intercultural Mayense).
- SIPAZ participated in the monthly meetings of the Chiapas Peace Network (Red por la Paz), a space for action and reflection made up of 16 organizations seeking to support peace processes and reconciliation in Chiapas. On April 10 and 11, the Peace Network together with local organizations called the First Gathering of Alternative Grassroots Processes in Border Region III, with the participation of approximately 200 people in the community of Laguna Larga, municipality of Comitán.
- Between January 22 and 26, SIPAZ attended various activities associated with human rights and indigenous communities which were held as part of the World Social Forum-Mexico Section in the Zócalo of Mexico City.
- On February 22 and 23, SIPAZ participated in the Gathering of CMC-Holland with its counterparts in Chiapas and Mexico. The topic was “Respect and protection of the human rights of indigenous and marginalized communities.”