More Zapatista Communities Face Eviction

According to La Jornada eleven more communities are targetted for eviction.

These are Nuevo San Gregorio, Nuevo Salvador Allende, Nuevo San Pedro, 6 de Octubre, Poblado Laguna El Suspiro, Ojo de Agua el Progreso, San Jacinto Lacanjá, Nueva Galilea, Benito Juárez, Ojo de Agua La Pimienta and Chuncerro

On 22 January, some 120 indigenous people who had lived for 20 years in the villages of El Suspiro and Laguna San Pedro, in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon jungle, were evicted by federal police, units of the Mexican army, and personnel from the office of Federal Prosecution for Environmental Protection (Profepa).

Lacandon authorities, legal owners of 600,000 hectares of the jungle, had requested that the state government provide resources to provide for the reforestation of such places as Yaqui, Ojos Azules, and El Suspiro.  On 26 January the government publicly announced that the reforestation of these areas together with the establishment of an ecotourist centre in Montes Azules would require the eviction of another 7 villages.  With respect to the evictions of 22 January, a source from the state government claimed that the evictions ‘were peaceful,’ and that ‘there exists an agreement whereby the families that left will be resettled elsewhere outside the jungle.’

In contrast with this version of events, the Good-Government Council (JBG) of La Garrucha on 29 January denounced the violent dispossession of the community of Laguna San Pedro in a communiqué.  According to the JBG, the residents Zapatistas were forced to board helicopters to the city of Palenque while their houses and possessions were burned.  It is estimated that incurred damages cost $585,111.  In its public announcement, the JBG asks:  ‘How is it possible that the bad government evict indigenous people in Chiapas as in México generally while it takes land for the construction of ecotourist sites for people of other countries?’

Gruppe B.A.S.T.A. from Germany have sent the following letter:

They say they have relocated the indigenous people who lived in Laguna San Pedro, Zapatista autonomous municipality Ricardo Flores Magon, Montes Azules, Chiapas. They say that the inervention of January 22nd was necessary to save the ecosystem from its inhabitants. They say that the operations were peaceful. They say that these lands await promising ecotourism projects.

What they do not say was that the order was to burn the houses. That the families were driven out of their homes, torn from their earth, stripped of their tools, their jobs and their livelihood, ignoring their legal rights. That hundreds of armed federal troops and helicopters were present, along with jounalists who would not give a serious account of what they witnessed. That part of the population, forced by the horror of the events, would be taken to Palenque.

Sr Felipe Calderon, are these ‘responsible and appropriate’ ways to speed up the achievement of your government’s objective to make Mexico ‘one of the best destinations for investment in the world?’  Is this the cost of the ‘conducive and friendly’ conditions you promised foreign investors? In whose hands are the projects which are devastating the selva?

We demand the immediate return of the lands seized from these communities.


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