Mexico: Ernesto Ledesma Arronte – Human rights defender

Ernesto Ledesma Arronte, director and founder member of human rights organization Centro de Análisis Político e Investigaciones Sociales y Económicas (CAPISE – Centre for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Research) in the state of Chiapas, is reportedly being intimidated because of his human rights work and political activism. On 26 February 2006, he returned to his home in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas state to find his front door had been forced, work-related documents scattered around the living room, and personal letters and family photographs carefully spread out on his bed. Amnesty International reports nothing was stolen, suggesting the break-in was intended as a threat to deter Ernesto Ledesma from his human rights work. He has since filed a complaint with the State Public Prosecutor’s Office San Cristobal de las Casas.

In addition, Ernesto Ledesma Arronte had received death threats in 2003. On 1 January 2003, he was at his home in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas state, with his family when he received a phone call from an unidentified individual. His brother answered the phone and a voice said “we are going to kill you son of a bitch” (te vamos a matar hijo de puta) and hung up. The threatening phone call was believed to have been intended for Ernesto Ledesma Arronte. Two months prior, on 18 November 2002, Ernesto Ledesma Arronte arrived home to find the gas turned on and the kitchen window closed. Although there was no sign of a forced entry, Ernesto Ledesma had not left the stove on when he left the house earlier that day and he had left the kitchen window open.

All of these actions are believed to have been an attempt to prevent Ernesto Ledesma Arronte from carrying out his work denouncing human rights violations committed against indigenous communities in Chiapas, particularly by armed forces and paramilitary groups. The threats against Mr. Arronte’s life follow a troubling pattern of attacks against human rights defenders throughout Mexico.


Letter by Gail Davidson sent on Feb 17, 2003, by Monique Pongracic-Sperier sent on March 13, 2006