Chiapas: Montes Azules Social Forum

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On March 5 and 6, the “Montes Azules Social Forum” took place at the Ejido Candelaria, municipality of Ocosingo, in the heart of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Some 200 people attended including indigenous communities at risk of eviction from their lands as well as social and civil organizations from around Mexico.

The final declaration which resulted from the forum emphasizes: “No individual, community or people may be deprived of their rights due to the fact that they live in a protected natural area, above all the right to life, security and self determination.” In developing a strategy to evade the evictions that have been announced by the authorities, the declaration states: “This defense requires a new unity that begins with the communities and ejidos that reside in the Montes Azules and should continue to grow throughout other regions, states and countries, including all of the women and men that recognize this common struggle.”

To this end the participants highlighted: “we should recognize the many roads taken in the past, learn from the different strategies and experiences in defense of territory. In order to move forward it is necessary to look back and reexamine history so that we can recreate the cultural identity that sustains or struggles and strategies.” Recognizing that “one of our greatest challenges is to make public our tasks and our proposals with the media in order to change the image that the government promotes presenting us as ‘predators’ and ‘destroyers’ of nature,” the declaration points out that: “Our strategies will attempt to link the political struggle with a legal defense, sustainable maintenance of natural resources and the construction of ‘good living’ [buen vivir] projects.”

For More Information (Spanish):

- Montes Azules Social Forum (Cuarto Poder, 11/3/2010)

- Final Declaration

For More Information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Montes Azules evictions jeopardize peace in Chiapas (9/2/2010)

Chiapas: New evictions in Montes Azules (3/2/2010)

Forced Evictions in Montes Azules: Conserving Biodiversity – With or Against Indigenous Villages? (SIPAZ Documents)

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