‘We love the Earth; we work it, care for it, and protect it. For this reason, we are ready to defend it all costs.’
Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada, Monday May 3, 2010. Originally published in Spanish.
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 2, 2010.
The Good Government Junta, (JBG), Hacia la Esperanza, ‘Towards Hope’, based in the Zapatista Caracol of La Realidad, denounced the government of Felipe Calderón for “planning new evictions in Zapatista communities, thereby opening a gap (brecha) that would enclose the Montes Azules Biosphere.” These “are plans of the three levels of the bad government: municipal, state, and federal.”
The JBG of the selva fronteriza, the jungle border region, spoke of the aggressions of the bad government, “whose victims are our Zapatista communities”. They add “Our brothers and sisters were living peacefully in the place and area that belongs to them, when suddenly the bad government of Calderón began to clear a gap surrounding the Montes Azules Biosphere; our communities are within that gap.”
The autonomous authority notes that there “are plans to make evictions in our communities.” They explain: “For us the land belongs to those who work it, therefore we make clear that, as the EZLN, we will not allow one more eviction, we will not tolerate these actions, we will not allow them to happen; we will defend our land whatever happens, because for us the land is not for hire, not for rent, let alone an object for sale. ”
As recently as April 28, the state delegate of the office of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), Ricardo Alonso Frias, announced that an “inter-institutional commission” was negotiating with seven settlements, in order to achieve their relocation through dialogue, in order to remove them from the Lacandon Jungle Community Area and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve . Alonso Frias told the press agency Notimex that these villages constitute an area less than 3000 hectares, the communites concerned being Salvador Allende, Rancheria Corozal, San Gregorio, Nuevo Limar, Agua Dulce, Ojo de Agua La Pimienta and Nuevo Villaflores.
“Among other offers and proposals was a counter-offer, namely the granting of financial assistance in return for leaving the area.” He said “the payment offered has changed over the years since 2003, when the the first groups left the area, and now is over 200 thousand pesos per family.”
On 22 January, Zapatista support bases were forcibly evicted, and the community of San Pedro Laguna, also in Montes Azules, was destroyed. La JBG de La Garrucha denounced the participation “of state and federal police, federal army troops, government officials (including the delegate from Profepa), cameramen and journalists” (La Jornada, 31/01/2010). Officials “talked” with men and women “while the police burned the houses.”
“How is it that the bad government is talking about dialogue while their police and army burn the possessions of our brothers and sisters?” asked the JBG. “How is it that the bad government evict the indigenous people of Chiapas and Mexico while the land is occupied for the construction of ecotourism projects for the benefit of people from other nations?”
However, Alonso Frias said on Wednesday that “the offer is of a dignified departure in accordance with the law” which “obviously” respects the rights “of every family and every community.”
1. For an excellent analysis of “the gap enclosing the Montes Azules biosphere reserve” see Carlos Fazio “La brecha Chiapaneca”
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2010/04/19/index.php?section=politica&article=025a2pol “The EZLN support bases and their allies pose a real threat, a strategic challenge for Washington and the large corporations of the military, oil, mining, biotechnology, food, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, refreshment and false ecotourism who are now engaged in a sordid war for land in Chiapas.Those living in the lands and territories where there is water, forests, ancestral knowledge, genetic codes and other “goods” are, whether they like it or not, the enemies of the capital”.