How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

Mexico drugs

A soldier guards marijuana that is being incinerated in Tijuana, Mexico. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AP

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year’s “deferred prosecution” has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4bn – a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico’s gross national product – into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse. “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”

Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash, just as Wells Fargo became a beneficiary of $25bn in taxpayers’ money. Wachovia’s prosecutors were clear, however, that there was no suggestion Wells Fargo had behaved improperly; it had co-operated fully with the investigation. Mexico is the US’s third largest international trading partner and Wachovia was understandably interested in this volume of legitimate trade.

José Luis Marmolejo, who prosecuted those running one of the casas de cambio at the Mexican end, said: “Wachovia handled all the transfers. They never reported any as suspicious.”

“As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,” the bank admitted in the statement of settlement with the federal government, but, “despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business”. There is, of course, the legitimate use of CDCs as a way into the Hispanic market. In 2005 the World Bank said that Mexico was receiving $8.1bn in remittances.

During research into the Wachovia Mexican case, the Observer obtained documents previously provided to financial regulators. It emerged that the alarm that was ignored came from, among other places, London, as a result of the diligence of one of the most important whistleblowers of our time. A man who, in a series of interviews with the Observer, adds detail to the documents, laying bare the story of how Wachovia was at the centre of one of the world’s biggest money-laundering operations.

Martin Woods, a Liverpudlian in his mid-40s, joined the London office of Wachovia Bank in February 2005 as a senior anti-money laundering officer. He had previously served with the Metropolitan police drug squad. As a detective he joined the money-laundering investigation team of the National Crime Squad, where he worked on the British end of the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal in the late 1990s.

Woods talks like a police officer – in the best sense of the word: punctilious, exact, with a roguish humour, but moral at the core. He was an ideal appointment for any bank eager to operate a diligent and effective risk management policy against the lucrative scourge of high finance: laundering, knowing or otherwise, the vast proceeds of criminality, tax-evasion, and dealing in arms and drugs.

Woods had a police officer’s eye and a police officer’s instincts – not those of a banker. And this influenced not only his methods, but his mentality. “I think that a lot of things matter more than money – and that marks you out in a culture which appears to prevail in many of the banks in the world,” he says.

Woods was set apart by his modus operandi. His speciality, he explains, was his application of a “know your client”, or KYC, policing strategy to identifying dirty money. “KYC is a fundamental approach to anti-money laundering, going after tax evasion or counter-terrorist financing. Who are your clients? Is the documentation right? Good, responsible banking involved always knowing your customer and it still does.”

When he looked at Wachovia, the first thing Woods noticed was a deficiency in KYC information. And among his first reports to his superiors at the bank’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, were observations on a shortfall in KYC at Wachovia’s operation in London, which he set about correcting, while at the same time implementing what was known as an enhanced transaction monitoring programme, gathering more information on clients whose money came through the bank’s offices in the City, in sterling or euros. By August 2006, Woods had identified a number of suspicious transactions relating to casas de cambio customers in Mexico.

Primarily, these involved deposits of traveller’s cheques in euros. They had sequential numbers and deposited larger amounts of money than any innocent travelling person would need, with inadequate or no KYC information on them and what seemed to a trained eye to be dubious signatures. “It was basic work,” he says. “They didn’t answer the obvious questions: ‘Is the transaction real, or does it look synthetic? Does the traveller’s cheque meet the protocols? Is it all there, and if not, why not?'”

Woods discussed the matter with Wachovia’s global head of anti-money laundering for correspondent banking, who believed the cheques could signify tax evasion. He then undertook what banks call a “look back” at previous transactions and saw fit to submit a series of SARs, or suspicious activity reports, to the authorities in the UK and his superiors in Charlotte, urging the blocking of named parties and large series of sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques from Mexico. He issued a number of SARs in 2006, of which 50 related to the casas de cambio in Mexico. To his amazement, the response from Wachovia’s Miami office, the centre for Latin American business, was anything but supportive – he felt it was quite the reverse.

As it turned out, however, Woods was on the right track. Wachovia’s business in Mexico was coming under closer and closer scrutiny by US federal law enforcement. Wachovia was issued with a number of subpoenas for information on its Mexican operation. Woods has subsequently been informed that Wachovia had six or seven thousand subpoenas. He says this was “An absurd number. So at what point does someone at the highest level not get the feeling that something is very, very wrong?”

In April and May 2007, Wachovia – as a result of increasing interest and pressure from the US attorney’s office – began to close its relationship with some of the casas de cambio. But rather than launch an internal investigation into Woods’s alerts over Mexico, Woods claims Wachovia hung its own money-laundering expert out to dry. The records show that during 2007 Woods “continued to submit more SARs related to the casas de cambio“.

In July 2007, all of Wachovia’s remaining 10 Mexican casa de cambio clients operating through London suddenly stopped doing so. Later in 2007, after the investigation of Wachovia was reported in the US financial media, the bank decided to end its remaining relationships with the Mexican casas de cambio globally. By this time, Woods says, he found his personal situation within the bank untenable; while the bank acted on one level to protect itself from the federal investigation into its shortcomings, on another, it rounded on the man who had been among the first to spot them.

On 16 June Woods was told by Wachovia’s head of compliance that his latest SAR need not have been filed, that he had no legal requirement to investigate an overseas case and no right of access to documents held overseas from Britain, even if they were held by Wachovia.

Woods’s life went into freefall. He went to hospital with a prolapsed disc, reported sick and was told by the bank that he not done so in the appropriate manner, as directed by the employees’ handbook. He was off work for three weeks, returning in August 2007 to find a letter from the bank’s compliance managing director, which was unrelenting in its tone and words of warning.

The letter addressed itself to what the manager called “specific examples of your failure to perform at an acceptable standard”. Woods, on the edge of a breakdown, was put on sick leave by his GP; he was later given psychiatric treatment, enrolled on a stress management course and put on medication.

Late in 2007, Woods attended a function at Scotland Yard where colleagues from the US were being entertained. There, he sought out a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration and told him about the casas de cambio, the SARs and his employer’s reaction. The Federal Reserve and officials of the office of comptroller of currency in Washington DC then “spent a lot of time examining the SARs” that had been sent by Woods to Charlotte from London.

“They got back in touch with me a while afterwards and we began to put the pieces of the jigsaw together,” says Woods. What they found was – as Costa says – the tip of the iceberg of what was happening to drug money in the banking industry, but at least it was visible and it had a name: Wachovia.

In June 2005, the DEA, the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service and the US attorney’s office in southern Florida began investigating wire transfers from Mexico to the US. They were traced back to correspondent bank accounts held by casas de cambio at Wachovia. The CDC accounts were supervised and managed by a business unit of Wachovia in the bank’s Miami offices.

“Through CDCs,” said the court document, “persons in Mexico can use hard currency and … wire transfer the value of that currency to US bank accounts to purchase items in the United States or other countries. The nature of the CDC business allows money launderers the opportunity to move drug dollars that are in Mexico into CDCs and ultimately into the US banking system.

“On numerous occasions,” say the court papers, “monies were deposited into a CDC by a drug-trafficking organisation. Using false identities, the CDC then wired that money through its Wachovia correspondent bank accounts for the purchase of airplanes for drug-trafficking organisations.” The court settlement of 2010 would detail that “nearly $13m went through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia for the purchase of aircraft to be used in the illegal narcotics trade. From these aircraft, more than 20,000kg of cocaine were seized.”

All this occurred despite the fact that Wachovia’s office was in Miami, designated by the US government as a “high-intensity money laundering and related financial crime area”, and a “high-intensity drug trafficking area”. Since the drug cartel war began in 2005, Mexico had been designated a high-risk source of money laundering.

“As early as 2004,” the court settlement would read, “Wachovia understood the risk that was associated with doing business with the Mexican CDCs. Wachovia was aware of the general industry warnings. As early as July 2005, Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the CDC business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns … despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business.”

On 16 March 2010, Douglas Edwards, senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank, put his signature to page 10 of a 25-page settlement, in which the bank admitted its role as outlined by the prosecutors. On page 11, he signed again, as senior vice-president of Wells Fargo. The documents show Wachovia providing three services to 22 CDCs in Mexico: wire transfers, a “bulk cash service” and a “pouch deposit service”, to accept “deposit items drawn on US banks, eg cheques and traveller’s cheques”, as spotted by Woods.

“For the time period of 1 May 2004 through 31 May 2007, Wachovia processed at least $$373.6bn in CDCs, $4.7bn in bulk cash” – a total of more than $378.3bn, a sum that dwarfs the budgets debated by US state and UK local authorities to provide services to citizens.

The document gives a fascinating insight into how the laundering of drug money works. It details how investigators “found readily identifiable evidence of red flags of large-scale money laundering”. There were “structured wire transfers” whereby “it was commonplace in the CDC accounts for round-number wire transfers to be made on the same day or in close succession, by the same wire senders, for the … same account”.

Over two days, 10 wire transfers by four individuals “went though Wachovia for deposit into an aircraft broker’s account. All of the transfers were in round numbers. None of the individuals of business that wired money had any connection to the aircraft or the entity that allegedly owned the aircraft. The investigation has further revealed that the identities of the individuals who sent the money were false and that the business was a shell entity. That plane was subsequently seized with approximately 2,000kg of cocaine on board.”

Many of the sequentially numbered traveller’s cheques, of the kind dealt with by Woods, contained “unusual markings” or “lacked any legible signature”. Also, “many of the CDCs that used Wachovia’s bulk cash service sent significantly more cash to Wachovia than what Wachovia had expected. More specifically, many of the CDCs exceeded their monthly activity by at least 50%.”

Recognising these “red flags”, the US attorney’s office in Miami, the IRS and the DEA began investigating Wachovia, later joined by FinCEN, one of the US Treasury’s agencies to fight money laundering, while the office of the comptroller of the currency carried out a parallel investigation. The violations they found were, says the document, “serious and systemic and allowed certain Wachovia customers to launder millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics through Wachovia accounts over an extended time period. The investigation has identified that at least $110m in drug proceeds were funnelled through the CDC accounts held at Wachovia.”

The settlement concludes by discussing Wachovia’s “considerable co-operation and remedial actions” since the prosecution was initiated, after the bank was bought by Wells Fargo. “In consideration of Wachovia’s remedial actions,” concludes the prosecutor, “the United States shall recommend to the court … that prosecution of Wachovia on the information filed … be deferred for a period of 12 months.”

But while the federal prosecution proceeded, Woods had remained out in the cold. On Christmas Eve 2008, his lawyers filed tribunal proceedings against Wachovia for bullying and detrimental treatment of a whistleblower. The case was settled in May 2009, by which time Woods felt as though he was “the most toxic person in the bank”. Wachovia agreed to pay an undisclosed amount, in return for which Woods left the bank and said he would not make public the terms of the settlement.

After years of tribulation, Woods was finally formally vindicated, though not by Wachovia: a letter arrived from John Dugan, the comptroller of the currency in Washington DC, dated 19 March 2010 – three days after the settlement in Miami. Dugan said he was “writing to personally recognise and express my appreciation for the role you played in the actions brought against Wachovia Bank for violations of the bank secrecy act … Not only did the information that you provided facilitate our investigation, but you demonstrated great personal courage and integrity by speaking up. Without the efforts of individuals like you, actions such as the one taken against Wachovia would not be possible.”

The so-called “deferred prosecution” detailed in the Miami document is a form of probation whereby if the bank abides by the law for a year, charges are dropped. So this March the bank was in the clear. The week that the deferred prosecution expired, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said the parent bank had no comment to make on the documentation pertaining to Woods’s case, or his allegations. She added that there was no comment on Sloman’s remarks to the court; a provision in the settlement stipulated Wachovia was not allowed to issue public statements that contradicted it.

But the settlement leaves a sour taste in many mouths – and certainly in Woods’s. The deferred prosecution is part of this “cop-out all round”, he says. “The regulatory authorities do not have to spend any more time on it, and they don’t have to push it as far as a criminal trial. They just issue criminal proceedings, and settle. The law enforcement people do what they are supposed to do, but what’s the point? All those people dealing with all that money from drug-trafficking and murder, and no one goes to jail?”

One of the foremost figures in the training of anti-money laundering officers is Robert Mazur, lead infiltrator for US law enforcement of the Colombian Medellín cartel during the epic prosecution and collapse of the BCCI banking business in 1991 (his story was made famous by his memoir, The Infiltrator, which became a movie).

Mazur, whose firm Chase and Associates works closely with law enforcement agencies and trains officers for bank anti-money laundering, cast a keen eye over the case against Wachovia, and he says now that “the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom”.

Mazur said that “a lot of the law enforcement people were disappointed to see a settlement” between the administration and Wachovia. “But I know there were external circumstances that worked to Wachovia’s benefit, not least that the US banking system was on the edge of collapse.”

What concerns Mazur is that what law enforcement agencies and politicians hope to achieve against the cartels is limited, and falls short of the obvious attack the US could make in its war on drugs: go after the money. “We’re thinking way too small,” Mazur says. “I train law enforcement officers, thousands of them every year, and they say to me that if they tried to do half of what I did, they’d be arrested. But I tell them: ‘You got to think big. The headlines you will be reading in seven years’ time will be the result of the work you begin now.’ With BCCI, we had to spend two years setting it up, two years doing undercover work, and another two years getting it to trial. If they want to do something big, like go after the money, that’s how long it takes.”

But Mazur warns: “If you look at the career ladders of law enforcement, there’s no incentive to go after the big money. People move every two to three years. The DEA is focused on drug trafficking rather than money laundering. You get a quicker result that way – they want to get the traffickers and seize their assets. But this is like treating a sick plant by cutting off a few branches – it just grows new ones. Going after the big money is cutting down the plant – it’s a harder door to knock on, it’s a longer haul, and it won’t get you the short-term riches.”

The office of the comptroller of the currency is still examining whether individuals in Wachovia are criminally liable. Sources at FinCEN say that a so-called “look-back” is in process, as directed by the settlement and agreed to by Wachovia, into the $378.4bn that was not directly associated with the aircraft purchases and cocaine hauls, but neither was it subject to the proper anti-laundering checks. A FinCEN source says that $20bn already examined appears to have “suspicious origins”. But this is just the beginning.

Antonio Maria Costa, who was executive director of the UN’s office on drugs and crime from May 2002 to August 2010, charts the history of the contamination of the global banking industry by drug and criminal money since his first initiatives to try to curb it from the European commission during the 1990s. “The connection between organised crime and financial institutions started in the late 1970s, early 1980s,” he says, “when the mafia became globalised.”

Until then, criminal money had circulated largely in cash, with the authorities making the occasional, spectacular “sting” or haul. During Costa’s time as director for economics and finance at the EC in Brussels, from 1987, inroads were made against penetration of banks by criminal laundering, and “criminal money started moving back to cash, out of the financial institutions and banks. Then two things happened: the financial crisis in Russia, after the emergence of the Russian mafia, and the crises of 2003 and 2007-08.

“With these crises,” says Costa, “the banking sector was short of liquidity, the banks exposed themselves to the criminal syndicates, who had cash in hand.”

Costa questions the readiness of governments and their regulatory structures to challenge this large-scale corruption of the global economy: “Government regulators showed what they were capable of when the issue suddenly changed to laundering money for terrorism – on that, they suddenly became serious and changed their attitude.”

Hardly surprising, then, that Wachovia does not appear to be the end of the line. In August 2010, it emerged in quarterly disclosures by HSBC that the US justice department was seeking to fine it for anti-money laundering compliance problems reported to include dealings with Mexico.

“Wachovia had my résumé, they knew who I was,” says Woods. “But they did not want to know – their attitude was, ‘Why are you doing this?’ They should have been on my side, because they were compliance people, not commercial people. But really they were commercial people all along. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the biggest money-laundering scandal of our time.

“These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world,” he says. “All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail. “What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn’t make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where’s the risk? There is none.

“Is it in the interest of the American people to encourage both the drug cartels and the banks in this way? Is it in the interest of the Mexican people? It’s simple: if you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point.”

Woods feels unable to rest on his laurels. He tours the world for a consultancy he now runs, Hermes Forensic Solutions, counselling and speaking to banks on the dangers of laundering criminal money, and how to spot and stop it. “New York and London,” says Woods, “have become the world’s two biggest laundries of criminal and drug money, and offshore tax havens. Not the Cayman Islands, not the Isle of Man or Jersey. The big laundering is right through the City of London and Wall Street.

“After the Wachovia case, no one in the regulatory community has sat down with me and asked, ‘What happened?’ or ‘What can we do to avoid this happening to other banks?’ They are not interested. They are the same people who attack the whistleblowers and this is a position the [British] Financial Services Authority at least has adopted on legal advice: it has been advised that the confidentiality of banking and bankers takes primacy over the public information disclosure act. That is how the priorities work: secrecy first, public interest second.

“Meanwhile, the drug industry has two products: money and suffering. On one hand, you have massive profits and enrichment. On the other, you have massive suffering, misery and death. You cannot separate one from the other.

“What happened at Wachovia was symptomatic of the failure of the entire regulatory system to apply the kind of proper governance and adequate risk management which would have prevented not just the laundering of blood money, but the global crisis.”


BP was warned about cement at gulf disaster well


Tests on cement mixture found it to be unstable weeks before fatal explosion at Deepwater Horizon rig, US investigators told

Deepwater Horizon Eleven people died when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and it caused the worst accidental oil spill in US history. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesBP had been told weeks before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon caused the world’s biggest accidental offshore oil spill that the cement slurry that would be used for the well was unstable, the US presidential commission investigating the disaster said tonight.

Halliburton, the US company responsible for the cement that was supposed to seal the well and prevent the fatal blow-out, carried out two tests of the mixture in February.

These indicated that the foam slurry was unstable. Data from one of the tests was emailed to BP on 8 March, the commission said last night. “There is no indication that Halliburton highlighted to BP the significance of the foam stability data or that BP personnel raised any questions about it,” the panel’s lead investigator, Fred Bartlit, said in a letter delivered to the commissioners.

These results appear to contradict public assurances made by Halliburton after the disaster on 20 April that it had tested the cement before pumping it into the Macondo well and that the tests had indicated that the cement would be stable. Shares in Halliburton initially fell 16% on the news. BP shares are also likely to fall tomorrowmorning when the London stock market opens.

The panel had asked Chevron to test mixture similar to that used in the Macondo well in a laboratory to find out if it was stable. When the results suggested it was not, the panel demanded Halliburton provide the data from its tests.

Two further tests were carried out by Halliburton in April. The results of the first, thought to have been reported internally at the company by 17 April, again showed the mixture was unstable. A second test was carried out which appeared to show the slurry would be stable, but the panel said it did not know if this data was available internally before the cement had begun to be pumped into the well. It said that BP only learnt of the results of this fourth, and only, positive test following the explosion.

The letter concluded: “Only one of the four tests that Halliburton ran on the various slurry designs for the final cement job at the Macondo well indicated that the slurry design would be stable.” It added that “Halliburton may not have had—and BP did not have — the results of that test before the evening of 19 April, meaning that the cement job may have been pumped without any lab results indicating that the foam cement slurry would be stable;” and that “Halliburton and BP both had results in March showing that a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well would be unstable, but neither acted upon that data; and Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well.”

The letter made it clear that the blow-out of the Macondo well, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers, could not be blamed solely on the quality of the cement. “Cementing wells is a complex endeavour and industry experts inform us that cementing failures are not uncommon even in the best of circumstances.”

BP could not be reached for comment . Halliburton said it was reviewing the panel’s findings. BP itself has identified the cement as one of the main causes of the accident. When BP published its internal report into the disaster, Tony Hayward, the then chief executive, said a “bad cement job” was partly to blame.

BP and the other companies involved in the accident face a host of investigations in the US which are likely to drag on for many years. US president Barack Obama appointed the commission to investigate the accident. It is thought that evidence of any alleged wrongdoing could be passed to the Justice Department, which is already conducting its own criminal probe.

The joint investigation board appointed by the US homeland security and interior departments is also expected to produce a final report in January 2011.

Next week BP will report its third-quarter results, a week later than previously expected.

Mexico: Grupos de paramilitares asaltan y destruyen San Juan Copala



Dieciséis personas heridas y quince asesinadas ha sido el balance de diez meses de ataques de grupos paramilitares para terminar con el municipio autónomo oaxaqueño.


Foto: Carolina Romero.
Finalmente, las familias que durante diez meses soportaron el asedio del grupo paramilitar de la Unión de Bienestar Social de la Región Trique (Ubisort) en complicidad, según integrantes del MULT-Independiente (MULT-I), con el Movimiento Unificado de Lucha Triqui (MULT), se vieron obligadas a abandonar el municipio autónomo San Juan Copala.

El 13 de septiembre, más de 500 hombres fuertemente armados asaltaban la comunidad y tomaban el Palacio Municipal (Ayuntamiento). “Si no se van, los vamos a colgar en el atrio de la iglesia y echaremos gasolina a sus casas”, fueron las palabras que los miembros del MULT dirigieron por megafonía a los habitantes de Copala. Según relatan éstos, el 20 de septiembre, los paramilitares incendiaban más de 100 casas, obligándolos a escapar del lugar. Desde el comienzo del sitio en noviembre de 2009, ya han abandonado Copala 800 personas .

Días después, el gobernador de Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz –del Partido de la Revolución Institucional– declaraba que la existencia de paramilitares, muertos y desaparecidos en Copala “sólo está en la mente de quienes lo señalan”.

Resistencia y solidaridad

Tras el asesinato de Beatriz Cariño –activista de Copala– y Jyri Jaakkola–internacionalista finlandés– el 27 de abril, cuando participaban en una caravana de observación que se dirigía al municipio, buena parte de los medios mexicanos y algunos internacionales voltearon su mirada hacia Copala. Así, el 8 de junio, una multitudinaria caravana con víveres trataba de acceder a una localidad bloqueada desde hacía seis meses. La pasividad de la fuerza pública ante los grupos armados e, incluso, la complicidad de las autoridades estatales, hizo que la caravana decidiera no entrar en Copala.

Días antes, el 21 de mayo, Timoteo Alejandro, uno de los máximos líderes del MULT-I, y su esposa Cleriberta Castro eran asesinados. Un hecho que el propio municipio considera clave para la estrategia paramilitar de tomar Copala. Constantes han sido las acciones de denuncia realizadas por el municipio. Así, diversas mujeres de Copala instalaban el 11 de agosto un “plantón” en el Zócalo de la capital oaxaqueña que todavía continúa.

Un plantón que se sumaba al que desde el 3 de mayo está situado en la capital mexicana. Primero en el Zócalo –de donde fueron desalojados por la fuerza para poder colocar una gran pantalla con ocasión del Mundial de Fútbol– y más tarde a un costado de la catedral. Entre las actividades y acciones del plantón de Distrito Federal estaba prevista para el 23 de agosto una caravana motorizada que saliera de Copala hacia México DF. Dos días antes, tres miembros del municipio eran asesinados al volver de apoyar en los preparativos de la caravana.

Guerra total a la autonomía

Desde que el MULT-I declarara el 1 de enero de 2007 a San Juan Copala municipio autónomo como parte del movimiento social de la Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (APPO) surgido en 2006, tanto el MULT como Ubisort rechazaron el proyecto que, sin embargo, se ha convertido en referente de la lucha por la autonomía de los pueblos indígenas mexicanos.

Desde ese día, 16 personas han sido heridas y 15 asesinadas por grupos armados que, según denuncia el MULT-I, actúan en complicidad con el Gobierno estatal para acabar con una autonomía que se convirtió en eje central de la propuesta de la APPO, un movimiento cuya principal exigencia fue la salida del actual gobernador Ruiz.

Las elecciones de julio dieron la victoria a Gabino Cué, del Partido de la Revolución Democrática, gracias a un pacto con el derechista Partido Acción Nacional. Cué, que asumirá el cargo el 1 de diciembre, ha afirmado que en su mandato volverá la paz a Copala, pero no será “bajo la figura de municipio autónomo”, figura “que no prevé la ley”. “Autonomía, ¿para qué?”, añadía Cué.


Angelina Ramírez (71 años) huyó de Copala el 19 de septiembre, lo que le permitió ver cómo los paramilitares tomaron casa por casa, amenazando y disparando a sus habitantes. En su huida nocturna, y mientras la lluvia arreciaba, se cayó por un barranco. Al despertar, entre otros, Antonio Cruz, líder de Ubisort la tenía cogida por el pelo y la amenazaba apuntando con una metralleta en su cabeza.

Angelina le suplicó que no la matara porque sus dos nietas ya habían sido heridas de bala. Sus agresores la dejaron escapar. Selene, una de sus nietas, ha quedado paralítica.

Más información:

Blog del municipio autónomo

Mexico: Organizaciones responsabilizan a paramilitares por muerte de defensores de DDHH

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Natasha Pitts *
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Hace dos días, una emboscada y un ataque en la región de La Sabana, en México, sorprendió a una caravana humanitaria constituida por observadores de derechos humanos, líderes comunitarios y comunicadores que se dirigían al municipio autónomo de San Juan Copala, en Oaxaca, para llevar suministros. El atentado costó la vida de Bety Cariño, integrante del Equipo Nacional de Coordinación de la Red Mexicana de Damnificados por la Minería (Rema) y directora del Colectivo (Cactus), y del observador finlandés, Tyri Antero Jaakola.Organizaciones sociales de dentro y fuera de México están repudiando la acción, que tiene como probables autores a los miembro de la organización paramilitar denominada Unión de Bienestar Social de la Región de Triqui (Ubisort) y del Movimiento de Unificación y Lucha Triqui (Mult) encubiertos y favorecidos por grandes propietarios de tierras.

Por la connivencia y falta de acción para resolver los problemas y las dificultades enfrentadas por las comunidades indígenas de la región, también están siendo responsabilizados por los actos criminales Evencio Nicolás Martínez, Procurador General de Justicia, Jorge Franco Vargas, Secretario de Gobierno del Estado, Carlos Martínez, candidato a diputado local por el PRI y el Gobernador del Estado, Ulises Ruiz.Felipe Calderón, Presidente de México, tampoco es olvidado en la lista de los culpables por las muertes y criminalización de los movimientos sociales del país. Es lo que prueba el comunicado del Grito de los Excluidos/as Continental. “Y a este último gobierno espurio no podemos hacer otra cosa que recordarle lo obvio: su naturaleza delictiva y fascista, que no será nunca olvidada y que se despide con cada uno de los actos que ensangrientan más el camino de las luchas populares, haciendo que crezca la rebeldía por todos lados”.

Desde Honduras, organizaciones sociales del país repudian el ataque contra la misión humanitaria y los observadores de derechos humanos. Incluso estando todavía en lucha en su país, fortalecen la lucha de las entidades mexicanas y piden que el gobierno y las organizaciones paramilitares sean responsabilizados por el acto. “Exigimos el castigo de los responsables de este abominable crimen y acusamos directamente al gobierno represivo de Ulises Ruiz por ser responsable directo por estos actos de lesa humanidad”, exigen y denuncian en un pronunciamiento las organizaciones.

En un comunicado público, el Grito de los Excluidos/as Continental denuncia además el retorno de las torturas, asesinatos, amenazas, desapariciones y persecuciones, hechos constantes en México contra la población que persiste en movilizarse contra las fuerzas represivas que parten del gobierno mexicano.

“México está en guerra, no contra el narcotráfico ni contra la corrupción de los políticos ni el saqueo orgiástico de las transnacionales y de los grupos de poder: está en guerra contra el pueblo pobre, contra el pueblo organizado que lucha desde todos los lugares de esta tierra que fue cuna de la primera gran revolución campesina del mundo hace exactamente un siglo y que, desde entonces, no paró de luchar por su emancipación”.

Para responsabilizar al gobierno por el ataque en la región de La Sabana, la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos inició una campaña internacional de envío de una petición. En la página virtual de la red ( es posible llenar el documento con nombre y e-mail y enviarlo a todos los que están siendo señalados como actores conniventes y encubridores del atentado.

Traducción: Daniel Barrantes –

Government Exempted BP from Environmental Review


Newly-released documents show government regulators exempted BP from a comprehensive environmental review of the project that resulted in the spill. The Minerals Management Service granted BP a “categorical exclusion” from a full review before approving the project just over a year ago. We speak with Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. [Includes rush transcript]

Informe enero-abril de CIAP-FELAP: Matan a 13 periodistas en 3 países de America Latina


Hernán Uribe

Con la trágica cuota de seis periodistas asesinados en el primer cuatrimestre de 2010, prosiguió en México la acción criminal de las mafias del narcotráfico aunque sorprendentemente en la pequeña Honduras, de 112.000 km2 y unos ocho millones de población, se registró igual número de informadores víctimas de la violencia, con tres periodistas asesinados el mismo día (21 de abril), en tanto que Colombia aportó un muerto.

Los siguientes son los nombres de los caídos:
Valentín Valdés Espinoza, secuestrado y asesinado el 8-1-10 en Saltillo, localidad ubicada en Coahuila, estado fronterizo con Estados Unido. Fue reportero de las publicaciones “El Zócalo Saltillo” y “Palabra”;
Evaristo Pacheco Solís, el 5-3-10 en Chilpancingo. Periodista de “Semana Internacional”, fue tiroteado;
Jorge Rábado Valdez, el l4-3-10;
Enrique Villicaña, el 11-4-10. Secuestrado en Morelia, su cadáver degollado fue hallado en la fecha indicada. Fue profesor de Periodismo en la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional;
Jorge Ochoa Martínez, por disparos 24-1-10 en Ayutla, cerca de Acapulco. Director y editor de los semanarios “El Oportuno” y “Despertar de la Costa”;
María Isabel Cordero Martínez, por disparos el 15-4-10 en Chihuahua.
La nómina de periodistas desaparecidos en México hace temer por sus vidas. Ellos son:
Ramón Angeles Zalpa, periodista y académico, el 6-4-10. Corresponsal de “El Cambio” de Michoacán;
Evaristo Ortega Zárate, en Veracruz el 21-4-10;
Erica Soemi Ramírez;
David Cilia García
Los dos últimos, reporteros de la revista “Contralínea, fueron atacados a balazos por una banda armada el 27-4-10 en Juclahuaca (Oaxaca).
La inseguridad ciudadana es una característica del país bajo la presidencia de Porfirio Lobo, quien asumió después del golpe de estado y esa situación afecta de manera dramática a los periodistas, cuya lista de víctimas fatales es la siguiente:
Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa, tiroteado el 1-3-10;
David Meza, también balaceado el 11-3-10 en La Ceiba, ciudad norteña del país. Reportero, corresponsal de Radio América, de Tegucigalpa, había recibido amenazas de narcotraficantes;
Nahum Palacios, asesinado en Tocoa el 14-3-10. Hay constancia de que fue amenazado por agentes del aparato de seguridad de los golpistas;
José Bayardo Mairena, por disparos el 21-4-10 en Olancho;
Georgino Orellana, el 21-4-10 en San Pedro Sula;
Manuel Juárez, abatido junto a Bayardo el 21-4-10.
Ciudad Juárez: Tumba de periodistas
La situación de los periodistas y de los órganos de comunicación en Ciudad Juárez ejemplifica la crisis de violencia que ocurre hoy en México. Capital del Estado de Chihuahua, fronterizo con Estados Unidos, esta localidad que lleva el nombre del más ilustre héroe mexicano es en estos tiempos el centro de la criminalidad mafiosa. Al tenor de datos proporcionados por el diario El Universal (Ciudad de México) allí se registran 1.600 asesinatos en 2008, 2.650 en 2009 y en el transcurso de 2010 ya se produjeron 480 crímenes todos atribuibles a los cárteles de Sinaloa y Juárez.
El Comité de Protección a los Periodistas que funciona en Nueva Cork denunció que desde el año 2000, 27 periodistas han sido asesinados en Ciudad Juárez en directa represalia por sus informaciones. El periódico estadounidense The New York Times opina que los medios se han convertido, unos en aliados y otros en enemigos de los narcos y por ello, agrega, no se sabe bien si los periodistas fueron ejecutados por sus denuncias o porque se acercaron demasiado a un cártel.
Alfredo Quijano, director del diario El Norte (Ciudad Juárez) declaró a una publicación chilena que “Los periodistas tienen que tener números telefónicos privados, cambiarlos cíclicamente, no dar tarjetas de presentación, no firmar con sus nombres las notas relacionadas con el narcotráfico, cambiar sus rutas de desplazamiento de la casa al trabajo y viceversa. Algunos de ellos portan chalecos blindados, sobre todo los fotógrafos. Ninguna autoridad se responsabiliza por la seguridad de un periodista amenazado”, enfatizó Quijano.
El periodista guatemalteco Felipe Valenzuela fue atacado a tiros el 8 de abril en la capital Ciudad de Guatemala. Muy grave fue internado en un hospital. El hecho fue repudiado por la Asociación de Periodistas (APG), informó la agencia CERIGUA que dirige Ileana Alamilla. En Chile y en febrero pasado fue detenido y encarcelado Pascual Pichón Collonao, comunicador de la etnia mapuche que había sido acusado, sin pruebas, de cometer actos de violencia, imputación que fue calificada de tónica racista. A la inversa fue absuelta por la justicia la documentalista Elena Varela López, quien precisamente ha tratado la problemática mapuche y había sido acusada de cometer actos de violencia, incluidos asaltos y robos, todo lo cual resultó falso. También en Chile y en una determinación típica del “capitalismo salvaje”, el gobierno derechista de Sebastián Piñera decidió vender el diario “La Nación”, único periódico del país de carácter estatal.
Con mucha anticipación al 3 de Mayo, proclamado como el Día Mundial de la Libertad de Prensa, en una declaración especial la Unesco se refirió al tema de los crímenes en contra de los periodistas. Al respecto dijo que la impunidad es un problema grave y apuntó que los gobiernos deben hacer mucho más para proteger a los informadores y juzgar a los responsables. Un despacho de la agencia IPS sostiene que Unesco proclamó que 2009 fue el año más peligroso para los periodistas pues hubo 77 asesinatos.
En la práctica, existe cierto caos en las estadísticas de esa naturaleza ya que sólo en América Latina hubo el año pasado 33 asesinatos en ocho países de la región. El meollo del asunto es el criterio que se aplica. Así, el antes mencionado Comité de Nueva York alude a los muertos en estricto trabajo profesional. Significa ello que si un periodista abandona la redacción y lo eliminan en la calle, o al llegar a su hogar, no estaría en misión laboral. En América Latina -para decirlo suavemente- esa fórmula es un completo disparate.
Hernán Uribe es Presidente de CIAP-FELAP
Comisión Investigadora de Atentados a Periodistas, CIAP

Federación Latinoamericana de Periodistas, FELAP

Mexico: Declaración del Tribunal Internacional de Libertad Sindical

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Con base a la Resolución Final sobre la vigencia de este derecho fundamental en MÉXICO

1° DE MAYO DE 2010A las trabajadoras y trabajadores mexicanos,
A las autoridades nacionales e instancias internacionales competentes,
A la opinión pública nacional e internacional,

Las graves acusaciones por violaciones sistemáticas y reiteradas a la libertad sindical en México, motivaron que el año pasado se constituyera el Tribunal Internacional de Libertad Sindical. Este Tribunal se ha reunido del 28 al 30 de abril del 2010 para concluir el proceso abierto contra el gobierno mexicano, quien debería ser el garante de que se cumpliera este derecho fundamental. El día de hoy, en esta fecha histórica del primero de mayo, llegamos hasta el Zócalo de la ciudad de México para dar a conocer el sentido de nuestra Resolución Final.

El Tribunal culmina su trabajo después de haber escuchado el testimonio de representantes de 20 organizaciones sindicales y habiendo analizado toda la documentación que acompañó cada denuncia, además de diversas fuentes de información. El Tribunal, con fundamento en la normatividad internacional de los Derechos Humanos y en particular del derecho laboral internacional, así como en las normas constitucionales y las leyes de México, ha emitido un fallo que colocará a disposición de las autoridades mexicanas, de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, de la OEA, de las Naciones Unidas, de la Unión Europea y demás naciones con las que México ha firmado tratados que incluyen derechos humanos y laborales.El Tribunal constata y condena la política sistemática del estado mexicano en sus más altas esferas para coartar la libertad sindical, anular la contratación colectiva, negar el derecho de huelga y, en definitiva, afectar el derecho humano fundamental a un trabajo digno. Ello se hace a través de la violación de la Constitución y las leyes de este país, su interpretación manipulada contra las organizaciones auténticas de las y los trabajadores por cuenta de autoridades administrativas y judiciales; a través de fraudes procesales y/o con la utilización de vías de hecho. Esto se reitera por la ausencia de una justicia laboral independiente, con excepciones que no afectan la tendencia general, pero además por no reconocer que los derechos del trabajo son derechos humanos fundamentales que requieren de especial protección.

En esta política se conjugan prácticas que conducen a muchas autoridades a ser parte de una red de corrupción con empresarios y supuestas organizaciones que niegan, por la vía del corporativismo, de la simulación de la legalidad o a través del uso de la violencia, los derechos fundamentales del trabajo. Estas anomias institucionales llevan a la utilización abusiva de las instituciones y disposiciones legales, tales como el registro sindical y la toma de nota, que contradicen el derecho laboral internacional, para servir intereses privados antes que los intereses y derechos de la población mexicana. El extremo es ahora la generalización alarmante de los llamados contratos y sindicatos de protección, verdadera simulación delictuosa para burlar los derechos colectivos de los trabajadores.

El Tribunal constata y repudia la práctica de la contratación, por parte de empresarios y supuestas organizaciones sindicales, de golpeadores; grupos de choque que a través del ejercicio de la violencia física, la intimidación y el chantaje, impiden o pretenden impedir el desarrollo del sindicalismo independiente y democrático, así como la defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores y trabajadoras. El Tribunal advierte que esta práctica, al ser consentida o tolerada por las autoridades, constituye una violación adicional de los derechos humanos; exigimos ponerle fin a la impunidad, sancionando la responsabilidad penal en que incurren.

El Tribunal hace también un llamado a las autoridades mexicanas para ponerle fin de manera inmediata a la criminalización de la protesta social y la militarización de los conflictos, así como la utilización de las fuerzas policiacas contra los movimientos de trabajadores. El Tribunal advierte que estas prácticas de negación sistemática de los derechos laborales y demás violaciones graves a los derechos humanos que las acompañan, ponen en duda y desacreditan a las instituciones, y contribuyen a quebrantar la paz.

A propósito, y estando estos días en México, el Tribunal no puede dejar de expresar igualmente su condena frente al ataque de que ha sido víctima la misión humanitaria en el Estado de Oaxaca en una emboscada perpetrada por paramilitares el pasado 27 de abril, y exige que se produzca la detención y procesamiento de los responsables de los asesinatos de dos defensores de derechos humanos así como de que otras personas hayan resultado heridas y desaparecidas.

El Tribunal constata con preocupación cómo los derechos sociales adquiridos con la Revolución Mexicana de 1910 y consagrados en la Constitución de Querétaro de 1917 están siendo desmantelados progresivamente. El Tribunal advierte que la reforma oficial propuesta en materia laboral puede socavar aún más estas conquistas y derechos de la población mexicana.

El Tribunal advierte que las violaciones a los convenios fundamentales del trabajo, como son el 87 y 98 de la OIT, se acompañan de otras graves violaciones reiteradas de derechos humanos como atentados contra el derecho a la vida, a la integridad física, la privación arbitraria de la libertad, discriminación, difamación, la utilización de listas negras, acoso sexual y otras prácticas irregulares de violencia moral.

El Tribunal reitera, entre otras recomendaciones:

• Que el estado mexicano, en relación con la libertad sindical, cumpla estrictamente las obligaciones establecidas en la Constitución de la República y las leyes mexicanas, y en los convenios 87 y 98 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo.
• Que el Estado mexicano cumpla plenamente con las recomendaciones de 2006 del Comité del Pacto de Derechos Sociales, Económicos y Culturales, así como con las recomendaciones del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas luego del examen periódico universal al que se sometió México en el 2008.
• Que el gobierno mexicano respete el principio de no regresividad y de progresividad contemplados en distintos pactos que ha ratificado o impulsado, para no menoscabar las conquistas sociales y el modelo de desarrollo que establece la Constitución mexicana, como podría suceder con la iniciativa del partido oficial de reforma laboral.
• Que el Estado mexicano, a nivel federal y de los estados en sus distintos órganos de poder público, reconozca la primacía a nivel constitucional y legal del derecho internacional de los derechos humanos y en particular del derecho internacional laboral, para contribuir a la profundización de la democracia en México.
•  Que las organizaciones de la sociedad civil mexicana, en particular las organizaciones sindicales, utilicen más los mecanismos de las Naciones Unidas y de la OEA que protegen los derechos humanos.

Finalmente, estando en México, este Tribunal llama al gobierno de Felipe Calderón a no utilizar al ejército o a la fuerza pública contra la histórica huelga de Cananea y a suspender los ataques de que es víctima el sindicato minero; de lo contrario, si hubiese de producirse más victimas, utilizaremos todos los recursos e instituciones a nuestro alcance para que los crímenes que se puedan cometer no gocen de impunidad alguna.

Igualmente, el Tribunal se suma al repudio generalizado contra la ley que criminaliza al migrante indocumentado en Arizona y se une al reclamo nacional e internacional para que el gobierno de Obama impida su entrada en vigor, pero llama a su vez a las autoridades mexicanas a poner fin a las prácticas que afectan los derechos fundamentales de la población migrante en su propio territorio.

Por último, este Tribunal no puede dejar de llamar al pueblo mexicano y a la comunidad internacional a solidarizarse con las decenas de personas que se han declarado en huelga de hambre por la defensa del derecho al trabajo y los derechos laborales de las y los integrantes del Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas, recurso extremo de la resistencia civil en que se resume la ausencia o las malas respuestas del Estado a las legítimas demandas de los trabajadores y trabajadoras. Despedir a 44 mil trabajadores y pretender aniquilar un sindicato casi centenario, como es el SME, no solamente es un golpe contra los trabajadores, es un atentado contra la población mexicana en su conjunto y los más elementales principios democráticos.

De hecho, el Tribunal manifiesta su firme compromiso de contribuir con cada una y cada uno de sus integrantes en todos los espacios sociales, institucionales y políticos de los que participamos a nivel regional y global, a darle eco a sus demandas y a exigir que cesen las violaciones de los derechos fundamentales del trabajo y demás violaciones de los derechos humanos contra ustedes y las organizaciones sindicales que representan, que hemos constatado en el desarrollo de nuestro trabajo.

México, Distrito Federal, 1° de mayo de 2010.

Integran este tribunal: Dean Hubbard, de Estados Unidos; Laura Mora, de España; Amparo Merino de España; James Cockroft, de Estados Unidos; María Estrella Zuñiga, de Chile; Horacio Meguira, de Argentina; Hugo Barreto, de Uruguay; Luiz Salvador, de Brasil y Luis Guillermo Pérez, de Colombia; Lidia Guevara, de Cuba; Kjeld Jacokbsen, de Brasil; nales: Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, Raúl Vera López, Miguel Concha Malo, Alfredo Sánchez Alvarado, Ana Colchero, Enrique Larios y Oscar Alzaga; Miguel Angel Granados Chapa, Rosario Ibarra, Eduardo Miranda, Estela Ríos.
Observadores que adhieren: Patrick Choupat, de la Unión de Sindicatos Solidarios (Francia) ; Héctor Castellano, de Uruguay, representantes de la Confederación de Centrales Sindicales del Mercosur ; Arturo Ruiz, de Guatemala, representante de Internacional de Servicios Públicos y de la Internacional del Transporte.

Comité Organizador:
Organizaciones internacionales:
Asociación Latinoamericana de Abogados Laboralistas (ALAL), Federación Internacional del Transporte-Américas (ITF), Federación Internacional de Trabajadores de la Industria Metalúrgica (FITIM), Federación de Sindicatos de Holanda (FNV), Centro de Solidaridad de la AFL-CIO en México, Red de Solidaridad con las Maquiladoras (RMS-Canadá), Campaña Internacional contra los Contratos de Protección Patronal (CICPP)
Sindicatos mexicanos: Alianza de Tranviarios de México (ATM), Sindicato Minero Metalúrgico (SNTMMSC), Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME), Unión de Técnicos y Profesionistas Petroleros (UNTYPP), Secciones 3, 7 y 9 del SNTE-CNTE, Sindicato 20 de Noviembre de la UVM, Sindicato Nacional de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana (SNTRM), Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Vidriera del Potosí, Sindicato de Trabajadores del CONALEP, Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), Asociación Sindical de Pilotos Aviadores (ASPA), Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores de la UAM (SITUAM), Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Industria Nuclear (SUTIN)
Asociaciones mexicanas: Asociación Nacional de Abogados Democráticos (ANAD), Unión de Juristas de México (UJM), profesores del Área Laboral y de Seguridad Social de la UAM Azcapotzalco, Área de Derechos Humanos de la UACM, profesores e investigadores del Área Jurídico Laboral de la UNAM, Red de Abogados Laboralistas, Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral (Cereal), Centro de Investigación Laboral y Asesoría Sindical (CILAS).