Four years without justice “in this country that is no longer ours”

Four years ago, they insidiously took your life. Are our words any use in the face of their bullets?

Four years ago, on July 31, 2015, Nadia Vera Pérez, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, Mile Virginia Martin, Alejandra Negrete Avilés, and Rubén Espinosa Becerril were murdered in a Mexico City apartment. Nadia, a social justice activist and human rights defender, and Rubén, a photojournalist, had both fled Veracruz after receiving death threats for their work. Before her murder, Nadia stated that if anything should happen to her, it would be Javier Duarte who was responsible. Duarte was then governor of Veracruz, renowned for his corruption and human rights abuses, including the deaths of 17 journalists during his rule. The state’s investigation into the murders has been condemned as full of irregularities. Nadia’s mother, Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo, wrote the following two pieces on the fourth anniversary of her daughter’s murder. Translated by Scott Campbell, the original texts in Spanish can be found here and here.

In my name and on behalf of my family, I send my deepest thanks to all those who have supported us with your kindness and solidarity from every corner of the world, through your messages, your political protests, your artistic protests.

Because without you, without your solidarity, without your art, without your protest, without your demand for justice, this tragedy that has touched us would have passed unnoticed, like so many others in this country.

At four years without justice, we are not the same, and we need to continue supporting ourselves with your kindness. For those of you who have embraced us, we embrace you now, after four years of our Nadia Dominique Vera Pérez’s absence, because thanks to you, her voice and protest continue to be heard.

To those who murder, to those who order the murders, to those who violate due process, we say: There are dead who will never be silenced.

Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo

July 2019

Continue reading “Four years without justice “in this country that is no longer ours””

Torture, Tears, and Desperation in Mexico’s Migrant Jails

Lizzi was detained for 45 days, during which time she says she suffered physical and psychological torture. “The treatment we received the entire time was disgraceful.”

By Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano
Translated by Scott Campbell

“‘You’re going to die! Sign your deportation and go back to your country!’ was what I heard as I struggled to recover from the asthma attack I suffered in the migrant detention center. I felt cornered by the guard and considered doing it, but remembering the problems that led me to leave my country, I dropped the idea.”

Lizzi is one of 51,607 people detained in Mexico by the National Migration Institute (INM) during the first four months of 2019. She was detained for 45 days, during which time she says she suffered physical and psychological torture. “We felt like we were in a jail, it was horrible! I had two asthma attacks inside. When we came back from the doctor, another guard asked me, “And you want to ask for refuge? Do you know you’ll be locked up for three to six months?”

A few meters from Pakal’ Ná park, near the train tracks in Palenque where hundreds of migrants meet to share their stories, the young, twenty-year-old mother recalls her painful experience. She left Honduras because she had problems with her son’s father, who belonged to one of the gangs. After years of abuse and threats, one day she decided to flee with her son to the United States to start a new life.

Continue reading “Torture, Tears, and Desperation in Mexico’s Migrant Jails”

On the Coast of Oaxaca, Afro and Indigenous Tribes Fight for Water Autonomy

In southern Mexico, a multi-ethnic network of towns has halted the construction of a mega-dam. Now they are organizing to manage their own natural resources and revitalize their culture as native water protectors.

By Samantha Demby

At dawn on March 14—celebrated internationally as the Day of Action against Dams and in Defense of Rivers—Afro-Mexican, Indigenous, and mestizo peoples met on the shores of the Río Verde to participate in a ritual of gratitude and resistance.

They were gathered for the Río Verde Festival, organized each March by the Consejo de Pueblos Unidos en Defensa del Río Verde (Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Río Verde, COPUDEVER). This water protector movement was formed in 2007 when dozens of communities organized to stop the Federal Electricity Commission from building a hydroelectric dam on their river, which they say would flood their homes and contaminate their only source of water.

Continue reading “On the Coast of Oaxaca, Afro and Indigenous Tribes Fight for Water Autonomy”

Call for the Global Campaign: The Isthmus is Ours

We are initiating the rebuilding of a broad and diverse movement and an intense global campaign called “The Isthmus Is Ours.”

From El Istmo Es Nuestro
Translated by Scott Campbell

#ElIstmoEsNuestro
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
June 2019

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a region of Mexico shared by the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. It is the narrowest part of the country between two oceans: the Pacific to the south and the Atlantic to the north (better known as the Gulf of Mexico), and a meeting point between flora and fauna from the north and south. These characteristics make the Isthmus the most biologically diverse area of the country, an invaluable richness of life concentrated on the territories of 11 different Indigenous peoples. Eight with ancestral lands (Zapotec, Mixe, Ikoots, Zoque/Chimalapa, Zoque Popoluca, Chontal, Chochoco and Nahua) and three peoples who migrated due to displacement and forced relocation (Chinanteco, Mixtec, and Tsotsil). Indigenous peoples who to this day have resolutely protected the natural wealth of our territories.

Facing the imminent threat of the Fourth Transformation government and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to impose on the peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the people of Mexico, and the nation itself, the so-called “Integral Development Plan for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec – Interoceanic Train” (popularly known since 1996 as the “Isthmus Megaproject”), and considering that:

Continue reading “Call for the Global Campaign: The Isthmus is Ours”

Ten Years After the Repression: When Oaxaca’s Gold and Silver was Handed to Canada’s Fortuna Mines

On May 6, 2009, 3,500 Federal and State Police descended upon the Valley of Ocotlán, Oaxaca, and occupied the territory of the municipality of San José del Progreso, handing over the gold and silver to the Canadian mining company Fortuna Silver Mines.

By Daniel Arellano Chávez, Regeneración Radio

“It was 9 a.m., we did not open the curtains or windows of the house because they were already firing tear gas. The helicopters were circling low; only briefly did we leave the house to see what was going on. We saw the people of my village running along the streets as the Federales arrived,” those, who at the time were six-year-old kids, remember. “We heard sirens, a lot of noise, fireworks, shouting, vehicles racing along the streets”.

The 3,500 combined troops of Federal and State Police came with military boots, bulletproof vests, clubs, shields, grenade launchers for tear gas, pistols and rifles as they descended upon the Valley of Ocotlán, Oaxaca on May 6, 2009, and occupied the territory of the municipality of San José del Progreso. This also meant handing over the gold and silver, which can be found in the Valley of Ocotlán to the Canadian mining company Fortuna Silver Mines for the next 10 years.

Continue reading “Ten Years After the Repression: When Oaxaca’s Gold and Silver was Handed to Canada’s Fortuna Mines”