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Take Action: Community Activists in Chiapas Face Harassment and Intimidation

#Articles & Analysis#Human Rights Defense
February 2009


Human rights and community leaders in Mexico continue to experience threats including death threats. They ask for help from global activists to protect their lives and their community work.

Current threats follow previous repression, including the unjust prosecution of local organizers of the Civil Resistance against the high cost of energy in the southern state of Campeche.Last December, in response to an emergency action, letters of solidarity with Sara Lopez and Joaquin Aguilar brought authorities in Campeche to the negotiating table.

Your support is still needed.

Sara and Joaquin continue to be defamed and harassed by the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE), and these tactics are now spreading throughout communities in Mexico who resist the increases in fees for electric service. The resistance of communities in the states of Campeche and Chiapas is spurred by sky-rocketing electricity costs, due to the growth of U.S. backed privatization schemes, and the construction of new dams that cause environmental damage and displace families.

Now people in various communities in the state of Chiapas are also being targeted for their resistance to the electric rate hikes. In one community, the actions of the Federal Commission of Electricity took a step up by fueling conflicts between community members. CFE’s “divide and rule” approach resulted in the death of a farmer and left several people wounded.

In another instance, Norma Cacho, the General Coordinator of the Center for Economic & Political Research for Community Action (CIEPAC) a Grassroots’ ally has been receiving threatening phone calls from an unknown individual. The calls began after Nora led the World March of Women in December, during which she spoke out against acts of feminicide and the criminalization of social movements in Mexico. According to an open letter released by CIEPAC last week, government officers and police were filming and taking photographs of the demonstration.

Let’s send a resounding message that the world will not turn a blind eye to government repression of peaceful activists. Please lend your voice once again to pressure federal, state, and municipal authorities in Mexico to stop their tactics of harassment and intimidation against women and organizers. Time is of the essence.

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