On 18 and 19 May, the Forum titled “Exclusion… Neoliberal inclusion: Looks at the Sustainable Rural Cities” was held at the CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas. The Forum was organized by different universities and organizations, including UNAM, CIESAS, and the Chiapas Peace Network. The methodology of the forum included several rounds dealing with questions such as “Life in the Rural Cities,” “Territorial reorganization and counterinsurgency,” “State-firm, UN-State, public policy,” “The media reality: simulation and censorship,” as well as “Alternatives. Lekil kuxlejal, autonomy, utopia.” Beyond presentations given by 15 investigators of the CRS Program, testimonies were presented by residents of two CRS currently in operation: Nuevo San Juan Grijalva and Santiago El Pinar.
All those who participated concurred in their critiques of this project, which was either poorly consulted with those it would affect, or not at all. Dolores Camacho, UNAM researcher, spoke of the CRS in Santiago el Pinar en the Highlands by noting that “There is an attempt to increase living standards with standards and houses of 6×6 meters made up of preconstructed materials [...]. Families ‘are taking these furniture to their communities or larger cities.’ What sense does it make to raise these levels if they are not real?” She also mentioned that this could imply a regression regarding food sovereignty: “We are speaking of campesinos who could sustain themselves in precarious but dignified conditions. The development model represented by the CRS Program demands that people have no autonomous means of subsistence, but rather be buying everything, thus making them completely dependent on the market: without money, they cannot eat.”
Regarding the counterinsurgent purposes that the CRS Program could be said to serve, Dr. Marcos Arana compared the project with the “strategic hamlets” implemented in Vietnam in 1962 to dismantle communities and their links with the land and collectivity.
For more information (in Spanish):
Critican el despojo que implican las ciudades rurales sustentables, La Jornada, 20 de mayo de 2012
La mercantilización de los bosques, motivo para retirar a comunidades en Chiapas, La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2012
viola derechos de indígenas, La Jornada, 18 de mayo de 2012
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: CAIK presents documentary “To there you will move”” (7 March 2012)
Chiapas: opening of new Sustainable Rural City in Los Altos (14 April 2011)