August 13, 2010
In a communiqué released by the parish of San Pedro Chenalhó on 8 August, parish-members expressed their rejection of the possible construction of a rural-city in their municipality. They declared that “[i]t worries us that this rural-city project be imposed instead of consulting with the people to see if they agree or not. If consultation is made, it is based on lies and omissions; the government does not clearly state that it will bring about this megaproject, whether or not it is for the good of the people. For example, it does not explain what “productive re-conversion is,” or who would benefit from such. Rural cities were not invented by the state and federal governments during the past six years; it has its base in history from much earlier–for example, during the colonization of Latin America, when such things were not in fact called rural cities but rather land-parcels, with the objective of making easier and more efficient the control of the people to demand of them tribute (or taxes), to use them as labor in the mines and plantations (mostly sugar-cane), as well as for the construction of cities for the Spanish and political-military control. It is true that then, as now, it was also said that advantages could be had for the directly affected, and that population-concentration allowed them ‘access to basic services of potable water, education, health, etc.–so as to combat poverty in Chiapas, in sum.”
They added that “[w]ith this brief explanation, we believers of Chenalhó are led to conclude in definitively rejecting the construction of rural cities, because it is clear that this plan encourages us to abandon our lands and allows transnational firms to occupy them. Once we are concentrated, they can control us and demand that we cultivate crops other than the milpa, beans, etc.”
It should be remembered that more than 2000 people already live in more than 400 houses in the first rural-city constructed in the state, Nuevo Juan del Grijalva. The second such city is being built in Santiago el Pinar, municipality located between Chenalhó and San Andrés.