Chiapas: New evictions in Montes Azules

On 22 January, some 120 indigenous individuals who had resided for 20 years in the villages El Semental and San Pedro in the Montes Azules Nature 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).

Lacandonian authorities, legal owners of 600000 hectares of the jungle, had requested that the state government provide resources to provide for the reforestation of such familiar 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 center 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?”

For more information (in Spanish):

Indigenous individuals are evicted from the Montes Azules Reserve, La Jornada (23 January)

Two indigenous individuals are detained in Montes Azules, La Jornada (24 January)

“7 are still missing,” Expreso de Chiapas (27 January)

Montes Azules settlements will be relocated, La Jornada (27 January)

Denunciation from the Morelia Caracol

Zapatistas denounce eviction and destruction of indigenous community, La Jornada (31 January)

7 Montes Azules villages threatened with eviction, El Proceso

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