Friday, August 19, 2016

Cómo las políticas internacionales estadounidenses y la guerra contra el narcotráfico contribuyen a la violación de los derechos humanos en México

Matt Wuerker es un caricaturista politico en Politico

Una crítica sobre los abusos cometidos por el gobierno Mexicano contra su propia gente requiere un análisis crítico de las políticas internacionales estadounidenses en México. L@s mexican@s han sido y continúan siendo afectad@s irrevocablemente por la política neoliberal que busca dar rienda suelta a las compañías transnacionales. También continúan sobreviviendo a la represión del Estado mexicano cuando usan su derecho de manifestación contra la usurpación de sus tierras y otros abusos del gobierno, como las desapariciones forzadas y ejecuciones extrajudiciales. Los Estados Unidos ha jugado un papel fundamental en la promoción de una agenda neo-liberal global, e incluso en la guerra contra el narcotráfico, los cuales han tenido efectos negativos en México. 

 Un ejemplo concreto de las violaciones de los derechos humanos por parte del gobierno mexicano, es la represión contra el FNLS (Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo), una organización de base cuyos miembros incluyen campesinos, estudiantes y ancianos de diferente estados de México. Esta organización es económicamente e ideológicamente independiente, ya que no aceptan dinero ni del gobierno ni de partidos políticos. Tiene el apoyo completo de  diferentes comunidades indígenas que tienen su propio sistema gubernamental. Se enfocan en la defensa de la tierra y territorio, la educación, el trabajo, la vivienda. La organización exige la presentación con vida de desaparecidos, libertad a los presos políticos, juicio y castigo a los responsables de crímenes del estado, y un alto a crímenes estatales contra los mexicanos.

Simon Kneebone es un  caricaturista politico

El FNLS pone especial atención a la negativa del gobierno respecto a las peticiones de las comunidades indígenas para tener el reconocimiento legal de sus tierras comunales. El FNLS opina que esta negativa es una táctica para que se puedan dar concesiones de tierra a compañías transnacionales. Antes de que NAFTA se implementara, el gobierno hizo cambios constitucionales a las leyes sobre la tierra comunal indígena y los derechos de venta, en 1992. Desde que en 1994 se autorizó el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte TLCAN (o NAFTA por sus siglas en inglés), muchos ejidos han sido privatizados y se han dado a compañías transacionales por medio de concesiones. En muchos casos, el gobierno Mexicano ignora leyes internacionales sobre la consulta previa, los cuales de facto dictan que toda la comunidad sea consultada cuando se trata algún asunto relacionado con sus tierras comunales.  Las compañías transnacionales han podido entrar a las comunidades por medio de concesiones de tierra que el gobierno mexicano ha otorgado sin el consentimiento del pueblo. Un miembro de la comunidad menciono: “Vivimos todos los días con la amenaza de que el gobierno federal venga y nos quite nuestras tierras.” Chiapas es un estado donde tres cuartas partes  de la tierra han sido concesionadas a compañías de Estados Unidos, Canadá y Europa. Por otro lado, si las comunidades indígenas no tienen el reconocimiento legal de sus tierras comunales, es posible que no tengan acceso a fertilizantes u otros apoyos gubernamentales para los campesinos. Las compañías transnacionales también entran a las comunidades y destruyen la productividad de la tierra, muchas veces contaminando el agua, causando pobreza y desplazamiento mayormente en la población indígena, quienes se encuentran sub-representados social y políticamente en México.   

 Las comunidades indígenas que se han opuesto a las concesiones han sido reprimidas por medio de  diversos métodos por parte del gobierno. En el caso del FNLS, han sufrido ejecuciones extrajudiciales y desapariciones forzadas. Un ejemplo es el ataque paramilitar contra Héctor Santis López, quien fue detenido, torturado, y asesinado el 29 de septiembre del 2015. Otros miembros del FNLS explican que el cuerpo de Héctor estuvo tres días en la carretera bajo la lluvia. El estar expuesto a los elementos ambientales causó que la mayoría de sus heridas se borrasen; sin embargo, los huesos de Héctor completamente rotos, permanecieron como prueba. También Fidencio Gomez Santis fue desaparecido  el 5 de marzo del 2016. Fidencio asistió a un evento en la ciudad de México, en el cual se exigía justicia para  Héctor Santis López. Cuando se disponía a  regresar a Chiapas, fue desaparecido. El FNLS afirma que estos paramilitares tienen el aopyo de Manuel Velasco Coello, el gobernador de Chiapas.

 Adicionalmente, y aparte de la agenda neoliberal Estadounidense, la guerra contra el narcotráfico ha contribuido a actos violentos que ponen en riesgo a l@s defensor@s de los derechos humanos en México. En el 2007, el congreso estadounidense aprobó el Plan Mérida o Merida Initiative, una iniciativa binacional para combatir el narcotráfico que le daría a México casi 2.5 mil millones de dolares para la compra de armas de fuego y entrenamiento a policías y militares mexicanos. Hasta noviembre del 2015, el congreso estadounidense había dado casi 1.5 mil millones de dólares al gobierno mexicano, y la administración de Obama ha pedido 119 millones de dólares. El gobierno estadounidense continua a proveer apoyo apesar de los abusos a los derechos humanos que se han documentados. El FNLS reivindica que los grupos paramilitares no actúan solos; sin embargo, reciben dinero y entrenamiento por parte de las fuerzas militares, y fondos por parte del gobierno federal. Ha habido 120 casos de desaparición forzada y 60 ejecuciones extrajudiciales(desde 2006-2015), y 800 detenciones arbitrarias desde que Enrique Peña Nieto subió al poder. Comité Cerezo, y otras organizaciones de justicia social como el FNLS, confirman que el gobierno mexicano también usa la guerra contra el narcotráfico como pretexto, insinuando que muchos de las y los defensores de derechos humanos que son desaparecidos o muertos, estaban involucrados con narcotraficantes. También comentan que el gobierno mexicano ha usado recursos como la policía, fuerzas militares, medios de comunicación, y prisiones de alta seguridad para castigar a l@s defensor@s de derechos humanos. 

 Un caso de represión del Estado sucedió el 7 de noviembre del 2015, contra Jesús Hernández Reyes Ruiz, Rubicel Hernández Garcia y Matías Flores. Estos miembros del FNLS fueron víctimas de un intento de ejecución extrajudicial en la delegación Iztapalapa, Ciudad de México. Jesús, Rubicel y Matías acababan de asistir a un evento para denunciar los actos de desaparición y represión por parte del estado contra comunidades protegiendo sus tierras. Un individuo balaceó a las 3 víctimas, quienes fueron trasladados al hospital. Rubicel ahora se encuentra permanentemente discapacitado, en silla de ruedas por un balazo en el tórax. Cuando se investigó el incidente, el sospechoso no apareció en ninguna de las más de 60 cámaras de seguridad en la zona. Adicionalmente, minutos antes y después del incidente, la cámara en la calle estaba enfocada hacia el lugar de los hechos, pero durante el incidente, apuntó a otras partes de la calle. Jesús, Rubicel, y Matías sostienen que el ejecutor fue un agente del ejército o la policía federal mandado por el Estado, para intimidarlos como individuos y a su organización, el FNLS, por denunciar violencia por parte del Estado. Recientemente, FNLS documento el caso de una comunidad indígena en Chiapas, que fue atacada el 11 de Agosto del 2016. La comunidad dice que fue un grupo paramilitar financiado por el estado que los balearon con armas de fuego calibre AK 47. 
Khalil Bendib es un caricaturista politico en OtherWords

Los estadounidenses necesitamos educarnos sobre la política exterior que nuestr@s representantes están apoyando con nuestros impuestos. El cambio de políticas exteriores estadounidenses es necesaria para que nuestros impuestos dejen de contribuir a la explotación y represión por parte del gobierno en México. 

De la manera más solidaria, llamamos a la comunidad de Estados Unidos para exigir un alto a la Iniciativa Mérida. Contacta a tu representante hoy y dile que NO APOYE el Plan Mérida, y que se pronuncie EN CONTRA DE LA APROBACIÓN del Tratado de Asociación Transpacífico (TPP). 

Nota: Este artículo fue basado en parte, en una entrevista hecha por Dulce Preciado y Saraí Jiménez con miembros del FNLS y una comunidad indígena en Chiapas el 24 de Julio del 2016.

Connecting the Dots: How US neo-liberal policies and the Drug War contribute to human rights abuses in Mexico



Matt Wuerker is a political cartoonist at Politico
A critique of the abuses committed by the Mexican government against its own people requires a critical analysis of the role of US foreign policy in Mexico. The Mexican people have been and continue to be irrevocably affected by neo-liberal policies that seek to give free reign to transnational companies. They also continue to suffer state repression, such as disappearances and extrajudicial killings, when exercising their right to protest against the encroachments on their lands and other government abuses. The US has played a significant role in pushing a global neo-liberal agenda, as well as the War on Drugs, both of which have had negative effects in Mexico.  

 A localized example of human rights abuses committed by the Mexican government, is the repression against the grassroots organization FNLS (Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo), whose members are indigenous agricultural workers, teachers, students, and elders from different states throughout Mexico. This organization is both economically and ideologically independent, as they do not accept money from political parties or the state. It is fully supported by members of indigenous communities with their own government system. They focus on defense of the Earth and territory, education, labor, and housing. The organization also demands that the forcefully disappeared be returned alive, that political prisoners be freed, that those intellectually and materially responsible for these crimes be brought to justice, and that there be an end to state crimes against the Mexican people.

Simon Kneebone is a cartoonist and illustrator
FNLS claims that the government’s refusal to give them written land recognition is a government tactic so that its state officials can give land concessions to transnational companies.  Before NAFTA was implemented, the Mexican government made constitutional changes to the agrarian law in 1992, regarding communal indigenous land ownership and rights to sell it. Since the free trade agreement NAFTA came into effect in 1994, communal lands called ejidos, have been dismantled and given to private companies, through concessions. In many cases, the Mexican federal government ignores international law that dictates indigenous communities be consulted about their communal land.  Transnational companies have thus been able to enter communities through land concessions by the federal government without the consent of the governed. One community member mentioned: “We live every day with the  threat that the federal government will come and appropriate our land.” Chiapas is a state where ¾ of the land has been conceded to companies in the US, Canada, and Europe. If indigenous communities do not have legal government recognition over their land, then they also often have no access to fertilizers or federal agriculture programs. Transnational companies also enter and destroy the productivity of the soil and many times contaminate the water, causing poverty and displacement for indigenous communities that are already underrepresented socially and politically in Mexico.    
 
Indigenous communities who have opposed land concessions have been repressed by the government through various methods. In the case of FNLS, they have suffered extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances. There is the case of Hector Santis López who was detained, tortured, and killed on September 29th, 2015, by paramilitaries. According to members of FNLS, Hector’s body spent three days on the road exposed to the rain, causing the wounds to be washed away; however, his bones were all broken. Similarly, Fidencio Gomez Santis was disappeared by paramilitaries on March 5, 2016 after he returned from Mexico City, where he had gone to demand justice for Hector Santiz López. FNLS asserts that these paramilitaries have the support of Manuel Velasco Coello, the governor of Chiapas.

In addition to the US’s neo-liberal trade agenda, the US-led War on Drugs, has contributed to acts of state violence, of which human rights defenders are at constant risk. In 2007 the US Congress approved the Merida Initiative, a binational initiative created to combat drug trafficking, which over a number of years would disperse almost 2.5 billion dollars to buy weapons from the US government and train Mexican military and police. As of November 2015, the US Congress has given about 1.5 billion dollars to the Mexican government, and the Obama administration has requested 119 million dollars. The US government continues to provide these funds despite widespread and well-documented human rights abuses by the Mexican police and armed forces. FNLS claims that paramilitary groups do not act alone but instead receive training from the military and funds from local government officials. There have been 120 cases of forced disappearance and 60 extrajudicial killings (from 2006-2015) as well as around 800 arbitrary detentions since President Peña Nieto took office. Comité Cerezo and other social justice organizations such as FNLS assert the Mexican government also uses the War on Drugs as a pretext, suggesting in many cases that human rights defenders who are disappeared or killed were involved in dealings with drug traffickers. They also assert that the Mexican government has used resources such as the police, military, intelligence, and high security prisons to punish human rights defenders.

One such case of state repression occurred on November 7th, 2015, when FNLS members Jesús Hernández Reyes, Rubicel Hernández Garcia and Matías Flores were the victims of an attempted extrajudicial killing in Iztapalapa, Mexico City. They had just attended an event to denounce acts of state disappearances and repression against those protecting their lands. An individual shot at the three victims and all three went to the hospital. Rubicel is now disabled and in a wheelchair because one of the bullets hit his thorax. When the incident was investigated, the suspect did not appear in any of the more than 60 cameras located in the region. Additionally, minutes before and after the incident, the camera on the street was directly at the scene of the crime, but during the event it was turned away. The three victims claim that the suspect was an agent of the state, either the police or military, sent to intimidate them and their organization so that they stop denouncing acts of state violence. Recently, FNLS documented the case of an an indigenous community in Chiapas that was attacked on August 11th, 2016. The community says they were attacked by a paramilitary group financed by the government; community members were shot at wth AK 47s.
Khalil Bendib is a political cartoonist at OtherWords


As people living in the United States, we need to educate ourselves on what foreign policies our representatives are supporting with our tax dollars. Policy change is necessary to stop our U.S. tax dollars from contributing to the exploitation and state repression in Mexico. In an act of solidarity, we call on the U.S. community to contact your congressional representative today and tell them to NOT support the Merida Initiative and to NOT allow the Trans Pacific Partnership (the TPP) be approved by Congress.  

Note: This article is based in part on an interview conducted by Dulce Preciado and Saraí Jiménez with FNLS members and members of an indigenous community in Chiapas on July 24, 2016.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mining in Mexico: the NAFTA connection

Out of a list of 926 mining projects in Mexico, there are 85 exploration projects from the U.S.A. 21 have been postponed, 23 in production, and 6 in development. In terms of Canadian projects, there are 501 exploration projects, 115 have been postponed, 58 in production, and 28 in development, according to the Mexican Bureau of Economy. In the 28 states where there are mining concessions, the rise in industry from the U.S. and Canada can be tied into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created a free trade zone between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico starting in 1994. Those who argued for NAFTA promised it would create economic growth and prosperity across these three countries. However, at least in the case of U.S. and Mexico, there continues to be large income disparities
http://fpif.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/NAFTA-mexico-300x218.jpg
             Mexico is a country with resource rich land serving extractive transnational industries; thus, taking most of the wealth outside of Mexico’s borders. Also, with the high rates of impunity and corruption, most of the wealth that does stay within the country ends in the hands of public officials working hand in hand with transnational companies. The mining industry is not talked about enough by the international media. However, with ⅕ of Mexico’s land concessioned to mines, what is happening in Mexico in regards to the mining industry must be addressed.
The paved road leading to the Yahuín mountain
In towns such as San Jose del Progreso located in the southern state of Oaxaca, there have been several cases of assassinations and intimidation practices towards environmental activists protesting the Canadian mine company Fortuna Silver. On June 16, 2012, environmental activists Bertín Vásquez Ruiz and Guadalupe Vázquez were shot in front of city hall for protesting the presence of Fortuna Silver in the town. Local human rights groups assert that the three gunmen were hired by the mining company. Also in 2009, while 300 people (including women with children) were blockading the mine’s entrance into the town, 700 police units arrived and violently removed the townspeople. Water is of main concern because the mining industry absorbs a great amount of the resource in the arid town of San Jose. The local population is also worried about pollution of their water by chemicals. An infamous case is the nearby town of Capulálpam, where water became so polluted by the company Continuum Resources that even the Mexican Federal Environmental Protection Agency intervened.      
                                                                
            Most recently there have been rumors that Fortuna Silver is planning to spread to the town of San Juan Chilateca which is in the same municipality as San Jose del Progreso. Espacio Kruz, a grassroots project working on environment protection, human rights, gender equity, cultural preservation, and defense of the land and territory asserts that in the mountain of San Juan Chilateca, called “Yahuín” there is presence of minerals, mostly gold and silver. Espacio Kruz started noticing a couple of years ago that there was construction in the perimeter of the mountain such as paving, road and electricity amplification principally near the mountain, as well as the arrival of trucks with the logo of Fortuna Silver.
The reed fence and unpaved road out front from Espacio Kruz
Espacio Kruz’s private property is found along one of the roads that lead to the mountain. The municipal government decided to pave the road, which Espacio Kruz opposed to. The response from the authorities was one of hostility and threats. On August 1st, 2016 Espacio Kruz was notified by the municipal authorities that it had to move its  fence in three days or otherwise it would be taken down by force. The fence has become polemic because it has prevented the paving of that portion of road. (The majority of the neighbors had already donated their 2 meters of land for the pavement project of the municipality.) Espacio Kruz argues that the document they received is illegal because it is not signed by a judge. There are rumors too that the politicians in the creation of this document work with the mining company Fortuna Silver. This is not the first time Espacio Kruz has experienced acts of intimidation. On February 25th, 2016 the fence was intentionally burned. 

             Although the rumors in San Juan Chilateca are just that, it is important to make the connections with the cases of San Jose del Progreso and Capulálpam, within the context of U.S. policy and NAFTA. The towns mentioned above are only three small examples of how the actions of our national companies are diminishing the way of life of people all across Latin America. An important change we need is policy change. It is time to educate ourselves about where our tax money is going and what policies our representatives are supporting, especially now in times of elections. Take action and recommend your Congress member to say NO to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the international trade agreement that has been called NAFTA on steroids.