Sr. Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obredor, President of the Republic of Mexico
Sra. Ministra Olga Sánchez Cordero, Minister of the Interior of Mexico
July 15, 2019
Dear President López Obredor and Minister Sánchez Cordero:
We are deeply disturbed at the murder of Mario Moreno Jiménez, a member of the National Front for Socialism (FNLS), in Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, on June 18.
Mario Moreno Jiménez, age 64, moved to the village of Community June 20 in 2018 with his wife and two young daughters with the firm decision to organize to fight and defend the right to land. A peasant farmer (campesino), he raised staples like corn and beans to support his family.
At 6:00am on June 18, Mario Moreno Jiménez left to work his garden plot 1.5km from his home. Fellow farmers saw him load his fumigation pump and begin working. At 12:00 noon, they returned to their homes, but Mario stayed behind. An assembly had been scheduled in the community for 1pm. When Mario did not attend, community members became concerned. At 6:30pm, one of his daughters reported that Mario had still not returned home, so a search party went to look for him. At 9:44pm, they discovered his dead body in his garden plot, still holding his fumigation pump. His clothes were stained with blood, and there was a bloody wound on the back of his head.
FNLS is a grassroots movement which, in addition to defending land rights for campesinos, publicly denounces human rights violations perpetrated by the Mexican government, specifically those related to enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions and political prisoners. We have previously written to officials in Mexico because of human rights abuses waged against FNLS members in Chiapas, such as the killing of indigenous human rights defender Héctor Sántiz López (cf out letter of November 26, 2015) and the disappearance of Fidencio Gómez Sántiz (cf our letter April 11, 2016).
Because of our concern about the pattern of attacks against land rights defenders in Chiapas, particularly against members of FNLS, we strongly urge that you:
- carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Mario Moreno Jiménez, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards
- take appropriate measures to guarantee the physical safety and psychological integrity of the members of the FNLS living in Community June 20, in consultation with them
- dismantle the paramilitary groups operating in the region
- investigate and punish any state and federal agents responsible for creating, financing, training and/or protecting the paramilitaries
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexican Ambassador to the US ~ via email
John S. Creamer, Chargé d’Affairs, US Embassy in Mexico ~ via fax and US mail
Political Officer, Mexico Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Mexico, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Antonia Urrejola,Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Juan José Zepeda Bermúdez, President of CEDH in Mexico City (Centro de Estudios en Derechos Humanos) ~ via email
Peace Brigades International-Mexico ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email