Simulated, inefficient and unpunished; the investigation of the Viejo Velasco Massacre

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By: Alma Martínez

*According to the semiannual report of the National Search Commission (NSC) for Chiapas, the federal subsidy authorized for actions to search for missing (disappeared) persons is $8,780,727.00 pesos. However, from 2019 to 2021 only two days of search have been carried out. 

Relatives of disappeared victims and surviving victims of the Viejo Velasco Massacre, together with the Coordinator of Indigenous Social Organizations, CDLI-XI’NICH, UCISECH, TSOBLEJ YU’UN WOCOLTIC, issued a communiqué in the framework of the International Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearances, in which they demanded the appearance alive of their compañeros Antonio Peñate López and Mariano Pérez Guzmán; as well as the presentation alive of the 43 Ayotzinapa students and all missing persons in Mexico.

In memory of the indigenous people who were disappeared, executed and forcibly displaced on November 13, 2006 in Viejo Velasco community, Ocosingo municipality, they remembered them now with hope for justice and mentioned that they live with pain and uncertainty for them.

They also remember María Núñez González who was murdered inside her house when she was pregnant, and Petrona Núñez González who was kidnapped and tortured the same day and who was later able to escape. However, she died in 2010 as a consequence of the psychological effect that she experienced.

They expressed their displeasure with the “simulated, inefficient, ineffective investigation, which remains unpunished.” Without such an investigation, as of the moment they know nothing about the whereabouts of their missing compañeros because of the action and omission of the State with regard to a paramilitary operation.

They also indicated that according to the semiannual report of the National Search Commission (NSC), from March 15, 1964 to June 30, 2021 there are 89,488 people disappeared and non-located in the country.

According to this report from February 8, 2019 to June 30, 2021, the NSC, in coordination with authorities from the three levels of government and with relatives of missing persons have participated in 1,758 search days in the field, in 28 states and 268 municipalities; in Chiapas, they have only carried out two search days.

The Massacre

After 14 years, the IACHR admits the Viejo Velasco Massacre case.
Photo: Frayba

Some 14 years ago in Viejo Velasco, Chiapas, approximately 40 people coming from the communities of Nueva Palestina, Frontera Corozal and Lacanjá Chansayab (of the “Lacandón Community”), armed with machetes, clubs, shotguns and 22 caliber rifles, some in military and public security uniforms, entered the community violently.

These people were accompanied by 300 members of the then Chiapas Sectorial Police with high-powered weapons known as goat horns: Ar-15s and AK-47s. Also present were five Prosecutors from the Public Ministry, two experts, the Regional Commander of the Jungle Zone for the then State Agency of Investigation with seven members under his command and a representative of the former Secretariat of Social Development.

These acts caused the forced displacement of 36 inhabitants, four extrajudicial executions and four forced disappearances, of which the remains of two people were found and were delivered to their relatives five years later.

Afterwards, the Mexican State issued arrest warrants in effect against members de the CDLI-XINICH Social Organization, who it points to as responsible for murdering its own compañeros.

However, the “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas” Human Rights Center (Frayba) stated that those responsible for these acts are the paramilitary group called the Organization For Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC), accompanied by State Police and other public servants.

They explained that 14 years after the massacre, no one in authority has been investigated, identified, judged or sanctioned for being the intellectual and/or material author of the violations to the life, personal integrity and liberty, judicial guarantees and protection and private property, as well as forced disappearance and violence against women.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) closed the precautionary measure and processed the complaint against the Mexican State, in which it points out its international responsibility for extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, forced displacement, torture, arbitrary deprivation of freedom and irregular arrest warrants as a consequence of the Viejo Velasco Massacre.

For more background information on the Viejo Velasco Massacre, see:

  1. https://chiapas-support.org/2014/02/05/murder-in-the-lacandon-jungle-background-on-viejo-velasco-massacre/
  2. https://chiapas-support.org/2014/02/05/viejo-velasco-massacre-7-years-later/

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, August 30, 2021

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2021/08/simulada-ineficaz-y-en-impunidad-investigacion-de-la-masacre-de-viejo-velasco-a-14-anos/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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