Communiqué from the People of Primero de Agosto After a Year of Forced Displacement
To the national and international civil society
To the Interamerican court of human rights
To the Interamerican commission of human rights
To the honest and independent centres of human rights
To the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas
To the free media of Chiapas, Mexico, and the world
To the network against repression
To all the honest people of Mexico and the world
Compañerxs, brothers and sisters, today we mark a year of forced displacement from the ejido of Miguel Hidalgo. We were forcefully displaced from our village a year ago by Luis Hernández Cruz and José Antonio Vázquez Hernández, both leaders of the Central Independents of Agricultural Workers and Historic Campesinos (CIOAC-HISTORICA).
As villagers, we suffered on May 9th, 2014, when our 26-year-old comrade Arturo Pérez López was attacked with a machete by Aureliano Méndez Jiménez, ejido member of Miguel Hidalgo. To this day, he still cannot move his arm. We have made our corresponding complaints. The events continue with impunity. Those who carried out the attack are still walking free.
We also remember the violent date of February 23, 2015 when they came with machetes, sticks, and guns to our village. They destroyed two houses and cut three plots of fruit trees and coffee plants. After the destruction, they remained in possession of the houses that were destroyed.
On February 23, 2015, cioaquistas of Miguel Hidalgo came with great violence carrying machetes, sticks, guns, and some wearing hoods with the intention to remove us from our town of Primero de Agosto. That day was a day of suffering of women and children who spent that day and night beneath the trees without even a piece of nylon to cover themselves, with the cold of the night, even without food we still call for peace.
As people we have endured death threats, kidnapping, harassment, humiliation, a year of living under plastic, sleeping on wet ground, facing disease when our children and women get sick, a year of pain, a long year of demanding that the federal, state, and municipal governments let us return to our village and hold accountable those responsible for these criminal acts, which so far have remained unpunished.
We also share the suffering and pain that happened to us on February 7th, 2016, over the death of a 4-month-old baby after 4 months of suffering. We had made an agreement with the state of Chiapas in a meeting that we had with the Department of Liaison for Human Rights, Trafficking of Persons, and Discrimination of the Sub-secretary of the Government and Human Rights, for their urgent attention but they refused to fulfil it. We were asking for papers that were impossible to get and furthermore we were asking for immediate medical intervention so that the baby could be transferred to the paediatric hospital of Tuxtla. But the women’s hospital in Comitán denied us these papers. In the hospital we were told that the baby wouldn’t need anything, that it would heal with time but the doctors failed to tell us that with time the baby would die. As Primero de Agosto we are in pain to see that we lost one of the babies in our camp due to the failure of the government to comply with the agreements we made with them, on December 11, 2015, where we asked the Subsecretary of human rights of the state if to María Fernanda Méndez Pérez could be attended to in a specialised hospital in the capital. They did nothing and she was never treated at this hospital.
However, we do not give up and we will continue our struggle for mother earth this year, having shared our pain with the world, we have walked to build new paths of peace and justice with dignity, as campesinos we need the land to be able to live and work because the land is for those who work it.
We thank all of our brothers and sisters from nongovernment organizations, parishes, and all honest people who support us to continue our struggle.
We name the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, the government of the state of Chiapas of Manuel Velasco Coello, the president of las Margaritas and the cioaquistas of the ejido Miguel Hidaldo responsible for the death of our baby María Fernanda Méndez Pérez and all that has happened to us.
We demand a cease to the threats and hostilities
We energetically demand to the President of the republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, to the government of the state of Chiapas of Manuel Velasco Coello, to the president of the municipality of las Margaritas, Chiapas Domingo Vázquez:
- the immediate compliance to the agreements of February 25, 2015, the fair distribution of land in Primero de Agosto;
- The immediate return to our village
- The immediate application of justice to those responsible and the masterminds of the committed crimes and justice for María Fernanda Méndez Pérez;
- The full reparation of the damage occurred on May 8, 2014, December 17, 2014, and February 23, 2015;
- That the authorities of Miguel Hidalgo leave our village to be totally free
Displaced population of Primero de Agosto
Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico
February 23, 2016
Translated by Palabras Rebeldes