A year later, no progress in the Mexican disappearances | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS!

A year later, no progress in investigating the disappearance of three youths in Paracho | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS! (NO MORE VICTIMS!.

Sadly just over a year after the disappearance of three young professionals, tow of them psychologists, in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico, thre is still no word of what happened to them.  The above link is to the website that covers their disappearance and the inaction, or likely complicity of the local authorities.  It’s a reminder that in some places those committed to a better world do run significant risks.

If you haven’t signed the petition (link from the site) then please do as it is one way of reminding the families they are not alone and the authorities that we are watching them.



Guatemalan Genocide Trial: Prosecution experts testify on psychological issues

The following is taken, with some minor edits, from the Trial Website


Ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt

Jose Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala for nearly seventeen months during 1982 and 1983, and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, his then chief of military intelligence, are on trial in Guatemala City for genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges arise from systematic massacres of the country’s indigenous population carried out by Guatemalan troops and paramilitary forces during this phase of the country’s long and brutal civil war, and the related mass forced displacement.

This is the first time a former head of state has been prosecuted for genocide in a national, as opposed to an international, court. The trial is an important milestone in holding political and military leaders accountable for international crimes. For Guatemalans, it is hoped it will also contribute to an accurate historical account of the gross human rights violations committed during the civil war….

A United Nations sponsored truth commission established under the peace agreement that ended the civil war in 1996 estimated that more than 200,000 died or were subjected to forced disappearance during the 36-year conflict, over 80% from Mayan indigenous populations. The commission found that state security personnel and paramilitaries were responsible for 93 percent of the violations. The commission identified over 600 massacres, and found that the state was responsible for systematic violence – including extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, sexual violence, death squads, the denial of justice, and other crimes and violations, with the victims largely from indigenous and rural communities. The three-year period between 1981 and 1983 accounts for 81 percent of the violations.

Psychological Evidence presented in court

On 13th April, the first expert witness was Nieves Gómez, a psychologist with a specialty in criminology. She testified about the psychological impacts of the war and the “harm to the mental integrity” of individuals and the Maya Ixil community. Gómez told the court she had interviewed about 100 people in several Maya Ixil communities. Those interviews highlighted the interplay and reciprocity between the individual and the group.

She mentioned several aspects of everyday life specific to the Maya Ixil community, including profound respect for nature and the dead, spiritual ceremonies for specific events, language, the special place of animals, women’s roles in transmitting culture within the family and the role of elders in regulating community norms and resolving conflicts.

Gómez then described certain traumatic occurrences and their impact on people in the community. During massacres, people were divided with men on one side and women and children on the other. The massacres were not events that took place on a single, isolated occasion but were carried out over a period of time, resulting in “extreme terror” and vulnerability among the people before they were killed.

Those who were able to flee into the mountains suffered other impacts. They lived in an “emotional climate of terror” (“clima emocional de terror”). Making the situation worse was the fact that the army forced the population to give names of guerrillas and if they did not do so, they were threatened or killed. Community members were also forced to serve in the Civil Self-Defense Patrols (Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil, PACs). This created conditions in which no one trusted each other.

Read more on Rios Montt trial website.

Thanks to Anita for drawing this to our attention.

Photo-essay on exhumations in Guatemala – note several psychologists working within the community / liberation psychology frameworks have been part of interdisciplinary teams working on this difficult task – both finding evidence of he genocidal acts and also working with the Maya communities to commemorate the atrocities and honour the dead – recovery of historical memory being a key concept and tool in liberation psychology.

More information in Spanish


Update on our disappeared Mexican colleagues


Luis Enrique “Kike”

Diego (“Toño”)

Unfortunately there is still no more news about Luis Enrique Castañeda Nava,  Diego Antonio Maldonado and  Ana Belem Sánchez, who were forcibly removed from their hotel in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico in July.  There is strong suggestion of complicity by the State authorities and this update in English from No Más Víctimas brings us up to date on the case and on the campaign.
If you haven’t already please sign the petition to the authorities at http://www.change.org/petitions/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1eda
If the suspension of a professor of psychology (who drew the kidnap in Paracho to our attention) can obtain 3,000 signatures on the same site, surely the international psychological community can together achieve at least this level of support for these young colleagues in mortal danger – at present the number of signatures is 750.


Disappeared Mexican Psychologists: Statement from Critical Psychology Symposium in Turkey

Statement agreed following discussion at the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey).  It has been forwarded to those in Mexico campaigning for a proper investigation into the disappearance of Ana Belén, Diego and Enrique Luis.  The Spanish translation follows the English and a Turkish version is also available.

We, the participants of the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey) in the name of TODAP, the Association of Psychologists for Social Solidarity, want to register our support for the recent calls on the authorities in the State of Michoacán, Mexico and other relevant authorities in Mexico to investigate the forced disappearance of Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda and Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, on 22th July in Paracho after taking part in the Festival of Balloons of Cantoya.

Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga and Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda are psychology students at the Autonomous University of Mexico City.

 We urge the authorities to investigate this case immediately.

 Nosotros, participantes del Tercer Symposio de la Psicología Crítica (Diyarbakir, Turquía) en nombre de TODAP La Asociacón de Psicólogos para la Solidaridad Social, queríamos registrar nuestro apoyo por los llamamientos recientes a los autoridades en el Estado de Michoacán, México y otros autoridades relevantes del país que investiguen la desaparición forzada de Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda y Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, el 22 de julio en Paracho, Michoacán después de participar en el Festival de Globos de Cantoya.

Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga y Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda son estudiantes de la carera de psicología en la Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México.
Llamarmos que las autoridades hayan investigación del delito sin demora.
16 September 2012

The symposium in Divarbakir was attended by some 370 people and the agreement to send the statement of support made at the final plenary session.  The symposium over two days was sponsored by the municipality of the largely Kurdish city and it focussed on social trauma.  There were two sessions that presented the ideas of Liberation psychology presented by Güneș Kyacı and  Özge Yılmaz, and by Mark Burton.  there was coniderable interst, especially given the similarities between the social contexts of Turkey and much of Latin America.


More information on disappeared psychologists in Mexico

A bit more information on the case. See the article that appeared today, below. This states the facts of the case. It is also worth adding that the State authorities in Michoacán have not been answering calls from family of the 3 who were kidnapped.

We know that 2 of the three (Ana Belén and Diego) are psychology students at the Autonomous University of Mexico City. The three are members of the Citizens Movement: Luis Enrique is also the coordinator for the Federal District (i.e. Greater Mexico City) Youth Movement, responsible for the circle for study of progressive and director for the inter-party accord. He is also at the same University where he studies communications.

There are also some posts in English (and more in Spanish) at http://nomasvictimas.org/http://nomasvictimas.org/

The petition site is still live at http://www.change.org/es/peticiones/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1edahttp://www.change.org/es/peticiones/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1eda

The following article is from La Jornada, a reliable Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada 13 Sept. Morelia Michoacán, Mexico

Families of three young people, Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda y Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, forcibly ‘disappeared’ on 22th July in the municiplaity of Paracho after taking art in the Festival of Balloons of Cantoya, went to the Michoacán State Procurator for Justice Office (State Attorney) to press for the matter to be investigated. It is known that the three were taken from the hotel where they were were staying and that the hotel administration did not report the incident to the authorities. The three young people, from Mexico city, were sent by the company KidScience, contracted by the State Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation, so that they could provide a workshop before the balloon festival. They arrived Wednesday 18th of July and lodged at the Santa Fe Hotel in the centre of Paracho. They delivered the course for children during the next three days and on Saturday 22nd, in the evening, after the inauguration of the festival, were in the bar of the hotel where it seems they were in argument with persons who tried to molest the young woman who is a psychologist. The individuals left but hours later arrived with an armed group which took the three from their rooms by force. The hotel administration was maintained silence and closed the hotel for two weeks. Unofficial sources say assert that the kidnappers were members of a criminal band that operates in the area of the Purépacha plateau. Laura Beatriz Castañeda, mother of Diego, confirmed in a telephone interview that the staff of the State Procurator’s office only said that it is possible that the victims are alive, because bodies have not been found. Then she was taken out via a back door and taken to the bus station to leave without talking to the press.

translation MB original article at http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/09/14/estados/042n2est


action alert: Disappearance of three psychologists in Paracho, Mexico

Disappearance of three psychologists in Paracho, Mexico

Please send a version of the following letter via both rober.me[AT]bol.com.br and I.A.Parke[AT]mmu.ac.uk  substituting @ for [AT]

To whom it may concern:

We want to register our support for the recent calls on the authorities in the town of Paracho, Michoacan State of Mexico and other relevant authorities in Mexico to investigate the disappearance on Wednesday 18th July 2012 of three psychologists Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego A Maldonado and Luis Enrique Castañeda Nava. These three were visiting the town to give a science workshop at the Balloon Festival at the invitation of the Paracho Community Cultural Centre and the local government.
Blood and signs of struggle in the hotel from where they were abducted have not been taken seriously by the police. Petitions have been signed, and letters of support sent from inside Mexico and abroad. We are aware that a national demonstration took place in Mexico City on the 1st September. We ask that this disappearance of our colleagues is taken seriously.

Please send a version of the above letter via both rober.me[AT]bol.com.br and I.A.Parker[AT]mmu.ac.uk  substituting @ for [AT]

More on the case at – http://nomasvictimas.org/abduction/