Indigenous Prisoner in Struggle, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, Released After Spending Over 12 Years in Prison

Voices in Movement
Below we publish two statements, translated from Spanish, following the release of Indigenous prisoner in struggle, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz. One comes from Juan himself, and another from the imprisoned Indigenous organizing groups, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia and La Voz Verdadera del Amate

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 strike lasted for more than 130 days bringing direct attention to the racist-colonial legal system in Mexico which fills its prisons with Indigenous peoples. The release of Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, on December 9, 2019, is just one success of the hunger strike and the ongoing organizing efforts of various Indigenous prisoners in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.


Autonomous Organizations of Oaxaca Demand Freedom for Fredy García and an End to the Criminalization of Social Movements

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On November 6, 2019, Fredy García Ramírez, of the Indigenous organization CODEDI, was detained in Oaxaca and charged with various fabricated crimes. This communique comes from the Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA), demanding freedom for Fredy García and an end to the criminalization of social movements.

Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA)

Oaxaca de Flores Magón, City of Resistance

November 11, 2019

The Indigenous organizations that make up the Council of Autonomous Oaxacan Organizations (COOA): APIIDTT (Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio), CINPA (Coordinadora Indígena Popular Autónoma), CODEDI (Comité por la Defensa de los Derechos Indígenas), OIDHO (Organizaciones Indias por los Derechos Humanos en Oaxaca), UCIO-EZ (Unión Campesina-Indígena de Oaxaca ‘Emiliano Zapata´), outraged by the increasing repression against our organizations and the Indigenous and popular movement in general, declare the following:

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Indigenous Communities of Aquila, Michoacán, Face Violence from Narco-Affiliated Group

Voices in movement

The communities of Aquila, Michoacán, who for years have organized territorial and armed self-defense, continue to face violence at the hands of a criminal group affiliated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. This communique gives an overview of recent aggressions carried out against the communities of Aquila.

Aquila, Michoacán

November 8, 2019

To the People of Maquili, San Miguel Aquila, Estanzuela, Corralitos, La Naranja, El Otate, La Minita El Guasimal, La Roblera, La Lima, Soliman, Puerto de Xayacate, El Ocote, Tierras Aradas

To the Communities of the Municipality of Aquila

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Indigenous Communities of the Country

To the National and International Media that have been attentive to what is happening in Michoacán and the Sierra-Coast

To the Federal and State Security Institutions

By means of this communique, we inform everyone of the presence of a criminal group at the command of Agustín Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda, former members of self-defense groups.

These people have agreed to hand over the Indigenous communities of the municipality of Aquila and their natural resources to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) with the objective to initiate criminal operations like extorsion, kidnapping, disappearances, assassinations, rent fees, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and drug trafficking. That is to say, all the activities of organized crime.

Agustin Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Verdía Zepeda are the masterminds of the following acts that occurred in our community of San Miguel de Aquila. This is the record we have made as citizens:

October 8, 2019: Ambush of the Communal Guard of Aquila in the location known as La Naranja, with two members of the security forces injured.

October 10, 2019: Assassination of community member of Aquila, Miguel Sandoval Zambrano, shot dead.

October 28, 2019: Failed entry of the criminal group pertaining to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) to take over the town of San Miguel de Aquila.

November 3, 2019: Ambush and assassination of Abigail Farias Fernández as well as various members of the Communal Guard injured.

November 4, 2019: Disappearance of Mario Alberto García Alcalá.

November 4, 2019: Another failed attempt by the same criminal group of the CJNG to enter and position themselves in Aquila.

November 7, 2019: People from Corralitos, La Naranja, Otate and La Minita report that a group led by Villanueva and Verdía are not allowing access to the community center of San Miguel Aquila, holding it hostage. The surrounding ranches are incommunicado and without indispensable services like food and supplies. They are not allowing them to go to work, that it to say, impeding their right to free transit.

Those of us who are releasing this communique also warned of the social network campaign that people at the service of this criminal group have carried out to defame the security work being carried out by the Communal Guard of Aquila. The Communal Guard has for five years have maintained peace in the communities throughout the municipality, in coordination with other legitimate security groups. There are false accounts in different social networks but the inhabitants of San Miguel Aquila, we are observing and investigating the true events taking place.

Finally, we solicit the municipal president Mohamed Ramírez Méndez to organize so that the different orders of government intervene to guarantee peace and tranquility that the residents and our communities need to have a life of freedom.

To the state and federal governments, we solicit a joint operation for the detention of these criminals at the command of CJNG, with Agustín Villanueva and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda as their masterminds.

Citizens of San Miguel Aquila and the surrounding ranches.

Member of the Indigenous Organization CODEDI Arbitrarily Detained in Oaxaca

Voices in Movement

State repression against the Indigenous organization, CODEDI, continues in Oaxaca. Yesterday, November 6, compañero Fredy García Ramírez was detained by state forces. Below we publish a communique from CODEDI regarding the arrest.

To the People of Oaxaca

To the National and International Human Rights Organizations

To the Free and Paid Media

To our sister organizations, we denounce that today, November 6, 2019, at approximately 7:00 pm, our compañero Fredy García Ramírez was detained.

Fredy is part of the Political Commission of the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI). The arrest was carried out by elements of the State Investigations Agency. He was detained in the company of a compañero who has already been released.

The arrest took place when our compañeros were in route to a meeting with functionaries of the government. This makes us think that this was a set-up, just like two years ago when a vehicle carrying compañerxs of CODEDI was ambushed. In that ambush, three people were killed, including two minors. On that day also, compañeros of CODEDI were summoned to a meeting with the government.

We see that the government doesn’t change its methods to silence the voices of resistance. All of this takes place within the framework of mobilizations being carried out against impunity, for justice and for human rights. We were denouncing the criminalization, persecution and harassment against the communities that make up the organization CODEDI and the ten assassinations against the organizations that participated in these mobilizations. Five of these assassinations have taken place since 2017 against members of our organization.

We demand the immediate liberation of our compañero and that the demands that were made in today’s mobilizations be met.

Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights, CODEDI

Violent Attacks Carried out Against Indigenous Communal Authorities in San Lorenzo Azqueltán, Jalisco

Voices in Movement

To the People of Mexico

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Human Rights Organizations

To the Media

With pain and rage we denounce the events that took place today, November 3, 2019. At approximately 12:00 pm, the cacique (local political boss), Fabio Flores, together with armed men, kidnapped our compañero, Ricardo de la Cruz. Ricardo is the elected president of the council of security of the autonomous commission of communal lands, here in our community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán, in the municipality of Villa Guerrero, Jaliso. He was beaten and left in serious condition. The compañero Ricardo was abandoned on the highway that goes from Villa Guerrero to Azqueltán, where he was rescued by members of the community and taken to the clinic. There, they refused to treat him. After several efforts, the compañero was taken to Zacatecas to receive medical attention.

Later on, three vehicles chased and caught up with the vehicle where Indigenous communal authorities from our community were traveling. There, our compañero, Rafael Reyes Márquez, was beaten and put in serious condition.`After being treated in the community, he was taken to the city of Zacatecas. The whereabouts of another compañero, Noé Aguilar Rojas, is unknown, after he was beaten unconscious and apparently kidnapped, and taken to an unknown destination.

At these moments, the harassment persists against the community members, many of them are in hiding.

We hold responsible Fabio Flores (alias La Polla) and the municipal government that allows complete impunity for Flores and those who accompany him, permitting them to sow violence against the community and to foment the dispossession of our ancestral lands. We hold them responsible for the life and well-being of our compañero, Noé Aguilar Rojas, and the compañeros that are hospitalized.

We demand the immediate return of the president of the autonomous commission of communal lands, Noé Aguilar Rojas. We furthermore demand the dismantlement and punishment of the criminal groups affiliated with the cacique, Fabio Flores.

Return of the Compañero Noé Aguilar Rojas!

Punishment for Fabio Flores and his accomplices in the government!


November 3, 2019

Autonomous Wixárika and Tepehuana Community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán

Urgent: Miguel Peralta Being Denied Normal Visiting Hours as Punishment for Hunger Strike

Voices in Movement

21st September, 2019

Denunciation against the prison director in Cuicatlán, Oaxaca, Martin Porfirio Reyes Magdaleno, for violating the visiting rights of Miguel Peralta and for harassing his visitors.

After pressure exerted yesterday against the prison director in Cuicatlán, Martín Porfirio Reyes Magdaleno, demanding the entrance of a compañera to leave Miguel with the serum and honey necessary to continue his hunger strike, today again we denounce that Miguel’s visitor was removed from the prison after just one hour, when the visiting hours in the prison are Wednesday through Sunday 9-5.

This took place in spite of the fact that Miguel was put into isolation in exchange for his normal visiting hours. However, the director didn’t fulfill this agreement. Miguel is isolated and they are not letting his visitors stay for the duration of the normal visiting hours.

Furthermore, the compañera visiting Miguel today was harassed by the director of the prison, telling her that it was better if she visit him, the director, and not Miguel.

We invite you all to maintain attentive to Miguel’s situation, as the attitude of the authorities clearly hinders the accompaniment of Miguel during his hunger strike.

We invite you all to pressure the prison authorities by calling +52 1 236 374 0313, demanding Miguel’s rights be respected.

If it is possible to call the National Human Rights Commission to make a denunciation, that would also be helpful.

Two Indigenous Prisoners in Struggle in Chiapas Sentenced to 50 Years

Voices in Movement

This letter comes from Germán López Montejo and Abraham López Montejo who, after more than four months on a hunger strike, had their sentences lengthened from 25 to 50 years. The time added to their sentences was a clear act of retaliation from the state, seeking to set an example of what happens to those who struggle for justice and freedom. The original in Spanish was published by the Working Group No Estamos Todxs and can be found here.

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