Presentation: Human Rights in Chiapas and Mexico

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Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center
Feb 16, Tuesday, 9:35 am
Saville Theatre
San Diego City College

Victor Hugo Lopez will speak about how the human rights situation in Mexican state of Chiapas has deteriorated rapidly in recent months, including an attack on a fellow lawyer from the Fray Bartolome Center ( in September. As popular organizations wage peaceful struggles against paramilitary violence, tourism projects that will displace campesinos, and illegal land takeovers, Victor Hugo Lopez and his colleagues at the Fray Bartolome Center are one of the few reliable sources on human rights abuses. Under attack from paramilitary groups, local PRI affiliates, the army, and state and federal governments, the Fray Bartolome Center produces daily reports on human rights, defends cases in court and supports indigenous communities under attack. During his talk, Victor Hugo Lopez will discuss the current human rights situation in Chiapas and Mexico, as well as the prospects for political changes in 2010.

The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center was founded in1989 by the renowned liberation theologian, peace activist, and Catholic bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia. Independent of any political party, ideology or religious creed, the Fray Bartolome Center ‘s mission is to be “at the service of the poor, the marginalized, and the organized peoples who seek to better their socio-economic and political situation.”

Its outstanding work has led the Fray Bartolome Center to obtain international recognition as one of the premier organizations of its kind in
all of Mexico. While cause for celebration, its service to the people of Chiapas is all the more necessary given the increasingly repressive situation
present in Chiapas’ indigenous communities. In the past months activists have been assassinated, campesinos have been summarily arrested as political prisoners, paramilitary groups have violently dispossessed indigenous communities of their collective lands, and the Human Rights Center itself has been the target of attacks both in the media and through the barrel of a gun.

This increasingly tense and mistakenly labeled “low-intensity”conflict develops in the context of the coming 100th anniversary of the Mexican
Revolution. Political and economic elites, scared that “something” might erupt, have increasingly reacted to this fear by using the very repression
that could make such an uprising more probable. Come hear Victor Hugo Lopez speak of this complex situation and the role of
the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center in promoting the indivisibility of human rights, respect for cultural diversity and the right
of autonomous self-determination, integral justice as a prerequisite for peace, and the development of a culture of dialogue, tolerance, and

Sponsored by:
Mexico Solidarity Network

City College World Cultures Program
City College Chicana/o Studies

Additional info:
Enrique Davalos
Chicana/o Studies Department
San Diego City College
(619) 388-3634
[email protected]

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