Mexico: Indigenous Protest Gets Result


Some 500 mostly indigenous prisoners ended their hunger strike on June 11 after the government promised to improve conditions in a prison near San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

The mostly Tsotsils and Tseltals prisoners had complained about “degrading” treatment in the facility and the rising threat of violence and extortion by drug gangs inside, but they saw results after two days and called off the protest.

Local press reported that only eight prisoners did not participate in the protest.

The protesters had complained that they were given rotten or raw food, and not given adequate space for conjugal visits. The prisoners had only 20 beds for visits, for 500 prisoners.

In response, the Chiapas state government and the State Human Rights Council signed a document, saying they would replace the head of the prison, whom the prisoners had accused of corruption and human rights abuse. Relatives complained of corruption, as well, saying they were charged by officials to visit their loved ones.

Hunger strikes are not uncommon in Mexico, but it is rare for such a large percentage of prisoners to participate.

Latinamerica Press

Latinamerica Press is a product of Comunicaciones Aliadas, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Lima, Peru, specializing in the production of information and analysis about events across Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on rights, while strengthening the communications skills of local social leaders.

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