Filed under: Incarceration, Indigenous, Southern Mexico
This communiqué comes from the Working Group, No Estamos Todxs, and gives us an update after seven days of the hunger strike taking place in various prisons in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
March 22nd, 2019
Working Group “No Estamos Todxs”
This past March 15th, in different prisons of the state, six compañeros launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand their immediate freedom. As we already said in our previous statement, the conditions of extreme cruelty and the injustice of an inhumane justice system led our compañeros to take the extreme decision, to make visible their different legal situations and their unjust imprisonment.
A week has already passed and our compañeros continue firm in their decision to continue with the hunger strike until they achieve their freedom. And not only them, on Monday the 18th, seven more compañeros of the organization, Solidarios de la Voz del Amate, decided to also join the action to demand their freedom through an indefinite hunger strike.
Right now there are nine compañeros on a hunger strike in Cereso No. 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, two compañeros in Cereso No. 10 in Comitán, and two compañeros in Cereso No. 14 El Amate in Cintalapa. Seven more compañeros are in struggle in different prisons, but their health situation or isolation has not allowed them to carry out the complete strike.
Their names are:
On Hunger Strike:
Cerss 5, San Cristóbal de las Casas:
Adrían Gómez Jiménez (La Voz Indígena en Resistencia)
Juan de la Cruz Ruiz (La Voz Indígena en Resistencia)
Cerss 14, El Amate:
Abraham López Montejo (La Voz Verdadera del Amate)
Germán López Montejo (La Voz Verdadera del Amate)
Cerss 10, Comitán:
Marcelino Ruíz Gómez (Viniketik en Resistencia)
Baldemar Gómez Hernández (Viniketik en Resistencia)
Cerss 5, San Cristóbal de las Casas:
Mariano Pérez Velasco (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Martín Gómez López (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Mariano Gómez López (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Marcos Gómez López (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Mario Díaz Rodríguez (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Felipe Díaz Méndez (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Juan Castellanos Gómez (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Cerss 10, Cómitán:
Hipólito Jiménez Cruz (Viniketik en Resistencia)
Juan Pérez Álvarez (Viniketik en Resitencia)
Juan Pablo Díaz Jiménez (La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia)
Cerss 15, Copainalá:
Roberto Martínez Pérez (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Cerss 17, Playas de Catazajá
Santiago Moreno Pérez:
Cefereso Villa Comaltitlán:
Alejandro Díaz Santíz (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
Mario Gómez López (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate)
During the strike we have had the opportunity to visit some of our compañeros and we have also maintained constant telephone communication with them. All of the statements and words that our compañeros have shared with us in relation to their action have been published on a near daily basis. To summarize, we have systematized the information related to all the violations, and the lack of minimum guarantees our compañeros have faced from the state in the development of the strike.
CERSS NO. 5, SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS
In the prison there was the option of access to a physical space that the compañeros had solicited to carry out the strike. From the moment that they were transferred to that small space in the infirmary, they have been locked up from the outside with a padlock without the possibility to leave, walk, take in the sun or exercise. This is something that is not usual or daily for the people that are imprisoned there, since the hours of confinement are marked and during the other hours the prisoners can move more or less freely through the space of the prison. That is to say, since the beginning of the strike, they have basically been in isolation and dependent on whether a prison official opens the door for them to be able to leave so their visitors can enter.
In that space, they do not have access to water, nor a bathroom where they can carry out their physical necessities. They also depend on someone willing to open the door to be able to leave for any desire or need.
The same happens when they want to make a phone call to the outside world. However, there they also tell us that they are photographed when they do so.
The medical check-ups basically consist in taking their blood pressure. They were only weighed on the first day of the hunger strike and their blood sugar levels have not been tested at any time.
They are practically isolated from the rest of the prison population and also from the compañeros of the organization, Solidarios de la Voz del Amate, that are also on strike.
They have been allowed access to honey, but they said it has remained in the infirmary and that it would delivered to them upon demand.
CERSS NO. 10, COMITÁN
The compañeros are carrying out a hunger strike in a physical space close to the infirmary. They do have a bathroom, beds and chairs in the space. The door is open, but there are two prison officials outside guarding the entrance, so as to “support them” as the justification goes. They have daily medical check-ups, although the compañeros denounce that the same visits are being used as a form of harassment and coercion:
“Today, March 19th, 2019, we have been retaliated against because of the peaceful strike we are carrying out. Today, the director arrived very upset, scolding us and forcing us to drop our pants by force. It is their custom to be able to repress us and like that have us cease our struggle, something that they have not achieved.”
They are allowed access to honey.
CERSS NO. 14, EL AMATE
When we visited the compañeros they were in the area known as “Preventative 2”, aka “the oven.” They were in a reduced space without cots or beds. They did not have access to water to wash themselves or go to the bathroom, nor telephone access to call the outside world.
The space where they were was a basement corridor, which also serves as part of the area of new entrees into the prison. Thus, the compañeros did not have any space for privacy or rest. Nor did they have access to natural light, sun or an exterior space where they would walk.
They tell us that they are undergoing daily medical-check ups, but that also in these visits the prison officials try to persuade them to end the hunger strike.
There were many problems, but the compañeros were finally allowed access to honey.
Last Wednesday, they informed us that due to the pressure, they had been transferred to the medical area. With that transfer their conditions have improved.
As you can see through the personal accounts of the compañeros, they are all victims of grave violations of fundamental human rights. Although they are not being forced to end this action, they are being harassed, weakened and worn down due to the cruelty to which they have become accustomed.
Thanks to their determination and posture in the indefinite character of the strike, they have managed to get several institutions of the government to visit them to receive their testimonies and demands in first person.
They have been told that their conditions will generally improve. We suspect that the government officials will take advantage of that closeness to try to persuade our compañeros. We hope that this will have the least impact on our compañeros. We warn that we will be attentive to the situation.
We know that the solution will never come from the authorities. It will be the firmness of our compañeros that will make their struggle for freedom triumph.
Our compañeros declare their intention to continue with the hunger strike in an indefinite manner in the struggle for their freedom. Although they are already beginning to note some physical and psychological symptoms due to the fast, their mood is good and they tell us that they do not have any intention of abandoning the strike.
They know and we know that when all of the doors close, when injustice and nonsense seeks to govern our lives, only organization can give us back the humanity.
It is in struggle that the compañeros fortify their dignity, strength and determination. That will be very difficult to break. Although the blows hurt, it is the scars that remind us of the strength that we have together to face the onslaught.
From the Working Group, No Estamos Todxs, we call on everyone to be attentive to the situation of our compañeros on this hunger strike and to show your solidarity in the way you consider appropriate.
We invite all the good-hearted people, all of the adherents of the Sixth in Mexico and the world, all those that struggle against prisons, and all those that struggle in general to express their concern and solidarity for the compañeros in embassies, consulates, in the Chiapas office of representation in Mexico City, and wherever they consider to be useful according to the geography in which they live.
We insist on accompanying our compañeros every day in the decisions that they make, and in the entire process of the struggle for their freedom.
Until we are all free!
Working Group, No Estamos Todxs