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Feb 6, 20

Indigenous Prisoners in Struggle Declare Three Day Hunger Strike in Chiapas

On March 15, 2019, six Indigenous prisoners in struggle began a hunger strike in three different prisons in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, demanding their immediate and absolute freedom. In the weeks that followed, other Indigenous prisoners in Chiapas joined the hunger strike. Others who weren’t capable of hunger striking due to health or prison conditions, supported the strike with their solidarity from the inside. The hunger strike of the Indigenous prisoners in struggle in Chiapas lasted over 130 days bringing direct attention to the racist-colonial legal system in Mexico which fills its prisons with Indigenous peoples.

While the initial hunger strike has ended, the Indigenous prisoners have maintained steadfast in their resistance, organizing in support of fellow prisoners, and continuing in the demand for the review of their files and their immediate freedom.

On February 5, 2020, five Indigenous prisoners in two different prisons, the same prisoners who participated in the hunger strike last year, declared a three-day hunger strike denouncing threats from prison and state authorities and demanding their immediate freedom. Below we reproduce translations of two communiques released by the prisoners declaring their three-day hunger strike.

 

Communique from the organizations La Voz Verdadera del Amate and La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia

 

To the Public

To the Indigenous Governing Council’s Support Networks

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the National and International Sixth

To the Mass and Alternative Media

To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity

To the Defenders of Human Rights and Non-governmental Organizations

To the Independent Organizations

To the Civil Society of Mexico and the World

Prisoners in struggle of the organizations, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia and La Voz Verdadera del Amate, both adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN, imprisoned in CERESO NO. 5 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

To the compañeros, the defenders of human rights, the media, the journalists and independent organizations, receive a cordial salute from us, Abraham López Montejo, Germán López Montejo and Adrián Gómez Jiménez, members of the organizations already mentioned.

With this communique, we spread our word from this trench of struggle. Today, February 5, we declare ourselves on a three-day hunger strike which will end on Friday at 6:00 pm. The hunger strike is meant to demand the governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Cruz Escandón Cadenas, to review our cases through the reconciliation table and the judge of Bochil. To this date, the cases of Abraham and German López Montejo have not received a favorable response. On the contrary, we have only received threats and reprisals on part of the director of this prison, José Javier Sánchez Ríos, the judge M. Guadalupe Flores Rocha, and the public defender of the court, Luis Carlos Gordillo Arguello.

Firstly, as Indigenous prisoners fighting against injustice, the director of this prison, José Javier Sánchez Ríos, has intimidated us in different ways.

On January 13, our electrical current was changed. The electrical plug where we connect in the area of social work was removed and connected to a power source that has more voltage. An electrician by the name of Lencho told the director that our cable would not last on the new connection and that it was a risk. The director disregarded the electrician’s words, instead saying, “I don’t know how you are going to do it but you need you to connect it there.” There it stayed connected. That night the cable overheated causing a short circuit that burned part of our tarp. The fire didn’t go any further, thanks to some things we had that were wet, which we use as mattresses. The director clearly wants to see us dead.

We also emphasize that on Tuesday, January 21, the director sent his people to review our dormitories where we have maintained a peaceful encampment inside the prison. Without asking permission, they entered our space. At the end of the revision, they left all of our things spread out on the ground, our paper and documents trampled on. We went in to rearrange our things and noticed that a hundred-peso bill had disappeared. This director does these things to intimidate us psychologically saying, “I can do what I want.”

The truth is that we are in a peaceful encampment. We do not possess drugs, intoxicating beverages, cellular phones or knives. Rather, they took our work tools, a mirror and a 100-peso bill. That following day we went to ask for our things from the director. We also mentioned our electrical current.

We have arrived to the conclusion that they do it on purpose. The director threatened us rather than helping us. He said to us that they would no longer provide us with the electrical current. He said that same evening the authorities had gathered, and that was why he threatened to move us from our camp. According to him it’s an order he received from his superiors. That is why, up to this day, the threat is still latent. It has come to our attention that the Sub-secretary, José Miguel Alarcón García, will solicit a group of federal officials known as “wolf groups” to review each prison. These are very cruel and mistreat the inmates. According to the director, he will forcibly relocate us using these “wolf groups.”

Furthermore, on January 25, 2020, at 11:30 am, public officials arrived at our space of struggle where we have held an encampment since May 14 of last year. Present was the judge M. Guadalupe Flores Rocha and the state public defender, Luis Carlos Gordillo Arguello. Also, subdirector of public defense, Luis Carlos Costa, Ángela Méndez of the state commission of human rights, and the public defender of this prison, Andrés Diaz Hernández.

The judge spoke asking me my name. I responded, Adrián Gómez Jiménez. After she asked me of my crime. When I told her what I was accused of, she said to me that because I was accused of kidnapping, I wouldn’t receive any benefits. She then went on to ask Germán and Abraham what they were accused of.

When she finished with them, she went on to tell me that I can achieve benefits, because I was detained in 2004, but under the condition that I relocate to where the other inmates are and that I take classes. If I don’t relocate and I continue in the protest encampment, I will not obtain the benefits. Clearly, this is a threat.

In summary, first she said that there are no benefits possible for the crime I have been accused of. Secondly, she said that there are benefits, but I have to abandon my space of struggle. Thirdly, she said that if I don’t abandon my political protest, I will not obtain my freedom.

The judge, M. Guadalupe Flores Rocha, is only playing games with us. I emphasize that I was told to go to school to obtain my freedom, although I have finished my primary and secondary studies. I attend classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And all three of us carry out manual labor. Thus, we have arrived to the conclusion that they are only playing games with us, threatening us psychologically alongside the prison director, José Javier Sánchez Ríos.

That is why we denounce these threats against us.

In Article 6 of the political constitution, the right to freedom of expression is stated clear. There are irregularities and anomalies in our legal files that were prefabricated by the Chiapas state prosecutor´s office. These are the constant threats that we deal with as prisoners.

That is why we are going on a three-day hunger strike that will end on Friday February 7. Our demands are the following:

  1. We demand that our cases be reviewed by the reconciliation table and the judge of Bochil, because there still not been a concrete response. There has been no response in spite of our files being filled with irregularities and anomalies. We demand our freedom.
  2. We demand respect for our space of struggle until we obtain our freedom. There is a good reason for which we are in a protest encampment inside the prison and that reason is the irregularities in our case files.
  3. We demand no more reprisals and psychological threats on part of the director of this prison, José Javier Sánchez Ríos, and the judge, M. Guadalupe Flores Rocha. Enough of the threats!
  4. We demand medicine in the medical area and medical attention, not only for us, but for all the imprisoned population. We also demand from the accountant, Giovani Ramos Morales, dental material like: amalgam, gloves, masks and calcium hydroxide because most of the inmates want their teeth cleaned.

To finish, we invite all of the state, national and international independent organizations and human rights defenders, to continue demanding true justice and freedom for political prisoners and prisoners of conscious.

Never again will the prisoners be humiliated, ignored and their rights trampled on!

Uniting the voices and forces of the Mexican people, true justice will triumph!

From CERESO No. 5, we send a combative salute to the social fighters from below and to the left in Mexico and throughout the world.

Respectfully,

Germán López Montejo and Abraham López Montejo, members of the organization, La Voz Verdadera del Amate

Adrián Gómez Montejo, member of the organization, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia

 

Communique from the organization Vineketik en Resistencia

 

CERSS No. 10 Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico

Communique of Indigenous prisoners in struggle

Organization Vineketik en Resistencia

Adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

Imprisoned in CERSS No. 10 of Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas, Mexico

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Indigenous Governing Council’s Support Networks

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the National and International Sixth

To the National and International Media

To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity

To the Human Rights Defenders and the Non-governmental Organizations

To the Independent Organizations

To the Civil Society

To the Believers

To the People of Mexico and the World

Brothers and sisters, compañeras and compañeros, from our space of struggle and resistance, receive an affectious and combative salute. Today, February 5, 2020, we have made the decision to protest with a hunger strike beginning today and lasting three days. The government of Chiapas has not taken up our demands from last year, March 15, 2019, when we protested with a hunger strike to demand justice and freedom. Those of us who remain in prison are Indigenous Tzotziles, victims of torture and human rights violations.  The governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandón Cadenas, together with his secretary, Ismael Brito Mazariegos, seem to be very forgetful. Or, they are not interested in us, the oppressed Indigenous people. They have not fulfilled the commitment made with our family members in the government’s office to obtain our freedom. For many years now, we have been serving sentences for prefabricated crimes, based in torture on part of the public prosecutor’s office. We suffer the physical and psychological consequences because confinement and injustice destroy our dreams and practically destroy everything.

We thus raise our voices demanding justice and freedom. We will not tire in the struggle because we are already tired of enduring the injustices of the bad government that represses Indigenous peoples. For this, we continue resisting from confinement with the firm determination and faith that justice will prevail. The state of Chiapas is one of the entities with the highest number of Indigenous prisoners and we know that being Indigenous is a serious crime. We appreciate the unity of all of the prisoners, of all of the good-hearted organizations, media workers, collectives and non-governmental human rights organizations, that are indignant in the face of injustice, never abandoning us and always accompanying us in our struggle and resistance.

Sincerely,

Organization Vineketik en Resistencia

Marcelino Ruiz Gómez

Valdemar Gómez Hernández

 

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