Statement from Las Abejas de Acteal on the 26th Anniversary of the Massacre

If our voices were extinguished in the middle of this harsh suffering, then we would be dead under the seal of eternal silence.

Organización Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal

Sacred Land of the Acteal Martyrs

Acteal, Chenalhó, Chiapas, Mexico.

December 22nd, 2023

To the national Indigenous Congress

To the Indigenous Council of Government

To the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights

To Human Rights Defenders

To the Alternative and Free Media

To National and International Media

To National and International Civil Society

Death opened the path to resistance for us,

death had no dominion,

life resurfaces among the cornfields,

hope and struggle emerge among the dust that pollinates existence.

Sisters and brothers:

In times of suffering and death, let us sing peace.

If our voices were extinguished in the midst of harsh suffering, then we would be dead, under the seal of eternal silence. But our voice emerges from the dignity of the people that we are, from the words of our grandmothers and grandfathers, from the demand for justice during these 26 years.

45 trees were cut down, 45 candles were extinguished by the sons of death on December 22nd, 1997. In Acteal the earth and the world darkened.

45 women, men, girls and boys, elderly men and women, plus the four babies who were extracted with machetes and knives from their mothers’ wombs. All of them massacred by the PRI and Cardenist paramilitaries, people of the bad government of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León.

The bad government’s order to the paramilitaries was the extermination of Las Abejas de Acteal and the entire municipality of Ch’enalvo’. This explains why the four babies were taken from their mothers’ wombs. Babies are a symbol of the seed of peace. They are little plants of the desired dignified justice. The children of Las Abejas are the ones who will continue the fight of their mothers and fathers who seek a Just Life in the town of Ch’enalvo’ and throughout Mexico.

From Acteal, where death had no dominion, it is not erased from our hearts.

In these 26 years of fighting for justice, many have wanted to sow resentment, divisions and disappointments in our hearts, many others have insisted that we no longer look to the past. And yet, we continue to point out those responsible for the massacre in 1997.

We are referring, therefore, to Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, former President of the Republic, to General Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, Srio. From the National Defense, to Gen. Mario Renán Castillo, Commander of the Seventh Military Region in Rancho Nuevo, to Emilio Chuayffet Chémor, Secretary of the Interior, to Julio César Ruiz Ferro, Governor of Chiapas, to Homero Tovilla Cristiani, Secretary of the State of Chiapas, to Uriel Jarquin Galvez, Undersecretary of Chiapas, to Jorge Enrique Hernández Aguilar, Coordinator of Public Security of Chiapas, to David Gómez Guzmán, Deputy Attorney General of Indigenous Justice of the Chiapas Highlands Zone, and to Antonio Pérez Hernández, Secretary of Indigenous Peoples.

We also point out those who have decided to sell their silence about the facts of the massacre in exchange for political favors. We therefore refer to:

Vicente Fox Quesada President of the Republic and Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía Governor of Chiapas from 2000 to 2006.

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa President of the Republic and Juan Sabines Guerrero Governor of Chiapas from 2006 to 2012.

Enrique Peña Nieto President of the Republic and Manuel Velasco Coello Governor of Chiapas from 2012 to 2018. Andrés Manuel López Obrador President of the Republic and Rutilio Escandón Cadenas Governor of Chiapas from 2018 to 2024.

The perpetrators are free. No one has been punished for their responsibility in this State Crime; on the contrary, they have been covered up and decorated by subsequent rulers and by the current government. The latter is the case of the perpetrator Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, who was decorated by the President of the Republic, Andres Manuel López Obrador, in October of this year.

When we ask for decent justice, instead, they send people to kill us. It was not enough for them to massacre our sisters and brothers in Acteal. Two years ago the sons of death cut short the life of our brother Simón Pedro Pérez López.

Our brother Simón Pedro is now with the Martyrs of Acteal. The memory of Simón Pedro, and the mission he had in Las Abejas de Acteal has been transformed into Hope. It is nowour strength in the search for peace and dignified justice.

26 years after the Acteal Massacre, no government has had the will to apply dignified justice, because its conscience is attached to taking lives for money. But today we remind you that Acteal remains unpunished. We remind them of their shame in attacking us through their paramilitaries. It is shameful that they have come to kill us in our own land and in our home.

Despite the suffering and impunity, we continue to demand dignified justice. Today we know that case 12,790 Manuel Santiz Culebra and Others (Acteal Massacre) before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is listed for discussion and publication as a merits report. The delay is unjustified given the horror that shook Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico, and the world.

The background report is important for the recognition of this State Crime as a crime against humanity for which the Mexican State has total responsibility.

In these times, the masters of death, the masters of injustice, do not sleep day or night looking for strategies to exterminate us. But the Sacred Heaven, the Sacred Earth, Our God Father-Mother do not allow them to harm us. They keep us in their shadow, they carry us and embrace us day and night, because we are their daughters and sons of this land. There are our roots, our strength from our Mother Earth. There our dignity and hope are nourished to work in a New World, just like Our Lord Jesus Christ who was sent to Earth from Heaven by His Father to announce the Good News: Justice, Peace and Love.

These days there is a lot of suffering, there is a lot of murder, there is a lot of massacres, there is a lot of injustice, the world is in darkness. We are from the Tsotsil people. We have wisdom. We are daughters and sons of the ancient Mayans. Let us work together to bring back the light of Father Sun and the light of Mother Moon, so that the world becomes clear again.

Let us shout saying stop the death against our lives, stop the genocide and extermination.

Stop the massacres in Palestine!

Let the massacres in other parts of the world stop. Stop the murders, deaths, disappearances, displacement in the border area of Chiapas.

Let the massacres in Chiapas and throughout Mexico end.

And let the deaths end here in the municipality of Chenalhó.

What we long for is that the words written in the Holy Bible be fulfilled: “There will be no children who die at birth, nor old people who die before their time. To die at one hundred years old will be to die young…” Let no one die from a death caused by violence.

Let no one die for belonging to some organization, let no one die for practicing a religion, let no one die for thinking differently.

Let no one die for being a woman.

Let no one die because they are poor.

We no longer want our lives cut short by a hitman of a rich man and a bad government. That being whose thought is harmful, who for money cuts short the life of a son or daughter of our Father and Mother God, may his evil heart be transformed, may he see the clarity of the day, may his impurity be washed away by the Creators of Life.

Let it be time for the rich, the governments, the military to put an end to their power, to put an end to his evil. Let their ambition end. It is time to be judged by our Father-Mother God. It is time to take stock of their dishonors by the Sacred Heaven, that they be claimed by the Sacred Mother Earth, because their crimes have exceeded limits.

From the barren land, cornfields and beans will grow, and life will reemerge from it when it is fertilized.

Although there is so much suffering and justice has not been done, we will continue singing peace. From our hearts we hum songs of dignified justice, from our hearts we hum songs of dignified life, just as little bees buzz flying over flowers in search of nectar.

The paramilitaries and the bad government tried to exterminate and erase the members of Las Abejas de Acteal, but that never happened. On the contrary, it further strengthened our awareness of the struggle to eradicate injustice, impunity and death.

26 years after the Acteal Massacre, it will never disappear from our hearts. On each day, month and year, lights of memory are lit. The commemoration that we do every December 22nd reminds us that our mission is the search for peace and then we know that it has no end.

Our 45 sisters and brothers and the four unborn babies are not dead, because they are worthy seeds that have multiplied, just like the corn. They are like a perennial tree that sprouts and sprouts without resting.

Thanks to the Sacred Mother Earth of Acteal. She saw and cared for the orphaned children of her massacred mothers and fathers. They didn’t die of thirst, they didn’t die of hunger.

Thanks to the women and men of national and international civil society, they came to visit us, to console us, and of those who are not here, we know that their hearts have walked alongside that of our organization. You made sure we did not die of hunger, of despair, your heart of solidarity nourishes the struggle, it grows in dignity.

After 26 years, lights are lit in memory of our 45 sisters and brothers plus the four unborn babies.

After 31 years, let us honor the existence of our Organization Las Abejas de Acteal, whose light illuminates the peaks of the mountains of the Sacred Land of the Acteal Martyrs.

The search for peace springs inexhaustible like a spring of water in times of drought.

Stop the deaths on the southern border of Chiapas and throughout Mexico!

Stop violence and attacks on autonomy and territories in resistance!

Stop the massacres in Gaza, Palestine!

Let us shout! …Let us sing Peace.

From Acteal, Home of Memory and Hope.


The Voice of the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal.

From the board of directors:

Javier Flores Zepeda                                                Eliseo López Arias

 President                                                              Secretary

    Luis Miguel Gómez Pérez


From the representatives of the Survivors of Acteal:

            Emilio Jiménez Luna                                              Arley Pérez Jiménez

Original text located at
Translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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