Chiapas (Mexico): another update

The current governor of the state of Chiapas is Manuel Velasco Coello, of the traditional Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). He won 67.1% of the vote in the July 2012 election, in coalition with two small parties: the Ecological Green Party (PVEM) and the New Alliance Party (PANAL). During his campaign, Mr Velasco promised to continue the universal pension (Amanecer) begun in 2007 by governor Juan Sabines of the leftist PRD. A monthly pension of 550 pesos (42 US dollars) was given to all residents of the state 64 years of age and older, irrespective of wealth or income, from January of 2007 through December of 2012.

In 2013, the experiment of Chiapas with universal pensions came to an end. Shortly after taking office, in December 2012, the new governor announced that the Amanecer pension would continue, but with a change of rules. From now on, anyone receiving another pension – such as a contributory (social security) pension or the federal 65 y mas social pension – would not be eligible for the Amanecer pension. Many older persons had become accustomed to receiving two pensions – 550 pesos from the state, and another 500 pesos from the federal government – so were naturally upset when they were removed from the Amanecer roster. More than a thousand older residents of the state filed suits for reinstatement of rights to an Amanecer pension. Only one of these suits – that of an 88-year old woman from San Cristobal de las Casas – was successful. This was widely reported by the press on November 10th of last year.

The woman’s name is Micaela Sánchez Gómez. She is now 89 years old and is back in the news because finally, on 31 March 2014, she received a 5,500 peso cheque from the Amanecer Institute,  as payment for ten months of past-due benefits. The Institute was able to delay payment by filing successive court appeals. Ms Sánchez is the first woman to win a suit against the state of Chiapas for illegally suspending a social pension. If Micaela Sánchez Gómez lives, she will soon be back in court, for the Amanecer Institute claims that the court sentence does not require them to pay Ms Sánchez beyond the month of March. Stay tuned. This saga may continue for some time.

Below is a photo of Ms Sánchez and the news article (in Spanish) published in newspapers throughout Mexico.

El Instituto Amanecer le pagó 5 mil 500 pesos a Micaela Sánchez Gómez, de 89 años de edad, al haber ganado el amparo que interpuso, debido a que había sido dada de baja del programa para ayuda a adultos mayores, informó su abogado, Carlos López Barrios.

Dijo que personal de la institución, le entregó, ayer, a Micaela Sánchez, el cheque correspondiente a diez meses de la pensión que le habían suspendido desde mayo del año pasado, con el argumento de que recibía también los beneficios del programa federal 65 y más.

Añadió que la mujer, originaria de Ocosingo, radicada en la colonia Morelos de esta ciudad, se encuentra incapacitada debido a una fractura en la cadera.

Señaló que el Instituto Amanecer fue obligado por un juez a pagarle a Sánchez Gómez, luego de que ganó el juicio de amparo número 866/2013.

Manifestó que aunque la dependencia había negado que le hubiera dado de baja del programa, promovió varios recursos jurídicos para evitar pagarle a Micaela los 550 pesos mensuales que le corresponden.

Dijo que a pesar de que le pagó los 5 mil 500 pesos, el Instituto Amanecer “sigue incumpliendo la sentencia del Juez de Distrito, ya que la resolución establece que se le pague hasta marzo de este año”.

Comentó que Sánchez Gómez se convirtió en la primera mujer que gana un juicio de amparo para que el gobierno estatal le continúe pagando la ayuda económica del Programa Amanecer, suspendida a muchos adultos mayores.

Elio Henríquez, “Gana anciana amparo contra negativa de recibir ayuda a adultos mayores“, La Jornada, 31 March 2014.

 

Foto: Elio Henríquez

 

Chiapas 31 March 2014

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