Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre

December 7, 2013

índice

Lacandona Jungle, photo @ http://www.nadir.org

On 13 November, several civil organizations released communiques commemorating the 2006 massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Lacandona Jungle, which resulted in the death of seven persons, two disappearances, and 36 displaced.  The organizations emphasized that the crimes remain unpunished to date.  The civil organization People’s Wood, for example, mentioned that “Seven years since the Viejo Velasco massacre [...] the Mexican State still has not clarified the events nor punished those intellectually and materially responsible for the brutal attack on the Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol indigenous community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, which was perpetrated by a group of approximately 40 individuals from the neighboring community of New Palestine who were accompanied and supported by 300 units from the Chiapas Sector Police.”  The communique adds that “It should be noted that this bloody event took place within the context of intense struggle and resistance for the right to land and the management of the natural resources of the indigenous communities settled within the heart of the Lacandona Jungle.  This resistance confronted an aggressive policy of territorial displacement, social looting, and privatization of nature on the part of the Mexican State, as exercised over more than 40 communities located within the limits of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity, water, forest cover, and scenic and touristic attractiveness in our country.”

The communique from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) notes that “seven years after these events [...] 36 persons [...] continue to be forcibly displaced [...and] Mariano Pérez Guzmán and Juan Antonio Peñate López continue to be disappeared, and police investigations have stagnated.  At the same time, state authorities in Chiapas still have yet to arrest those responsible for this paramilitary action.  The undersigned organizations [including the Committee for teh Defense of Indigenous Freedoms {CDLI}, Xi'nich, the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. {Cediac}, Communal Health and Development A.C. {SADEC}, and Services and Assessment for peace, A.C. {SERAPAZ}] indicate that such crimes against humanity should never remain unpunished.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 7 años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco (Madres del Pueblos, 13 de noviembre de 2013)

Comunicado Frayba – Viejo Velasco (13 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)

Chiapas: Viejo Velasco, a year after the unjust detention of Diego Arcos Meneses (24 November 2007)


Chiapas: civil organizations criticize the programs of compensation for carbon emissions

September 28, 2012

@Santiago Armengod

From 25 to 28 September there will be held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas a meeting of governments from six countries to negotiate the implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program (REDD+).

In parallel terms, several civil organizations will hold event, workshops, and forums to raise consciousness and express criticism of this program.  In a press conference on 24 September, Jeff Conant (U.S.) from Friends of the Earth said that “the compensations do not work to reduce emissions.  Instead, the REDD programs in general seem to serve large economic interests without addressing the root of the problem of climate change and the supposed protection of forests, if it is implemented without consideration for the rights and perspectives of the indigenous peoples, causing conflict, looting, and even violence.”

The representative of the communities settled in the region of Amador Hernández, in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, expressed his rejection of the program as implemented by the Chiapas state-government for the past two years in the zone: “Speaking of climate change, for us it is clear that the principally responsible parties are capitalist firms and their governments, such as those led by President Felipe Calderón and governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, who have made agreements with rich countries so that their greenhouse-gas emissions be mitigated in the forests of our peoples.”

The organizations of Reddeldia (comprised of a hundred local, national, and international organizations) concluded for their part that the mechanism “promotes urbanization,” is “antidemocratic,” a “robbery of the nation,” and a “climatic imposition that seeks to transnationalize the biodiversity of the Mexico’s tropical rainforests.”  Creating bases for speculation in carbon trading, this approach impacts the land “with new privatization regimes,” they noted.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunidades rechazan el programa REDD, Cuarto Poder, 25 de septiembre de 2012

Confrontarán especialistas y comunidades de América políticas ambientales oficialistas, La Jornada, 24 de septiembre de 2012

Greenpeace cuestiona REDD, Cuarto Poder 24 de septiembre de 2012

Declaración”Chiapas en Reddeldia”, ¡Basta Reddplus y de economía verde!, 24 de septiembre de 2012

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 March 2012)

México: Disadvantages for native peoples in REDD+ mechanism (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: Forest programs threaten indigenous peoples (2 June 2011)

México: COP-16 in Cancún (27 December 2010)


Chiapas: Press-conference regarding communities threatened with displacement from Montes Azules

June 25, 2012

Photo @SIPAZ

On 21 June, at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, there was held a press-conference regarding the conclusions of a Civil Mission of Observation and Solidarity organized by the Rural Association of Collective Interest-Union of Independent and Democratic Unions (ARIC UU ID), which visited the communities of Salvador Allende, Ranchería Corozal, and San Gregorio in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, in May.  In solidarity with the communities threatened with possible displacement on the part of the Mexican State using the argument that they are degrading the environment, the Mission documented the commitment of local residents to care for the land and the environment, in addition to numerous human-rights violations.  The member-organizations of the Mission, among others, included the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, Services and Assessments for Peace (SERAPAZ), Economic and Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI), the International Service for Peace, and Maderasdel Pueblo del Sureste, which all demand that the three settlements which have existed for more than 30 years be afforded regular status.

For more information (in  Spanish):

Informe Misión de Observación Montes Azules

Realizan una misión civil de observación (Cuarto Poder, 22 de junio)

For more information from SIPAZ (in Spanish):

Chiapas: Pronunciation by the Observation Mission to communities threatened with displacement form the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (11 de mayo de 2012)

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 March 2012)

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: Invitation to a press-conference regarding an Observation Mission in Montes Azules

June 25, 2012

Members of the Mission interviewing residents of the community Rancherá Corozal. Photo @Misión Civil de Observación y Solidaridad

On Thursday 21 June at 11am, there will be held a press-conference regarding the conclusions of a Civil Mission of Observation and Solidarity, organized by the Rural Association of Collective Interest Union of Independent and Democratic Unions (ARIC UU ID), which has visited the communities of Salvador Allende, Ranchería Corozal, and San Gregorio in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas.  In solidarity with the communities threatened with possible displacement on the part of the Mexican State using the argument that they are degrading the environment, the Mission documented the commitment of local residents to care for the land and the environment, in addition to numerous human-rights violations.  The press-conference will take place at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Mexicanos, San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

For more inforrmation (in Spanish):

Invitación Informe Mision Civil Montes Azules

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Pronunciation by the Observation Mission to communities threatened with displacement form the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (11 de mayo de 2012)

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 March 2012)

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: Pronunciation by the Mission for Observation to communities threatened with displacement from the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve

May 18, 2012

La Misión Civil de Obersación en Salvador Allende Foto @ J. Marquardt (SIPAZ)

The Civil Mission for Observation in Salvador Allende, Photo @ J. Marquardt (SIPAZ)

From 29 April to 4 May there was held a Civil Mission of Observation and Solidarity organized by the Rural Association for Collective Interests (ARIC UU ID) which visited the communities of Salvador Allende, Ranchería Corozal, and San Gregorio in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (RIBMA).   These communities are threatened with possible eviction, despite having possessed their lands for more than 3 decades, on the charges that they are deteriorating the environment and so no longer have the right to their land.

The objectives of the Mission were to document the commitment of the three communities to caring for the land and the environment, the possible human-rights violations against these peoples before the conflict, and to express solidarity from civil society as well as to reject the prospect of their displacement.

Montes Azules @ J. Marquardt (SIPAZ)

Montes Azules @ J. Marquardt (SIPAZ)

On 9 May, members of the mission announced that they would compile a report detailing the visit, revealing that “We could expect that the drive to unjustly deprive them of their livelihoods by forcibly displacing them on ‘ecological’ grounds would violate their most basic rights to life, land, territory, conservation of communal natural resources, and their human rights in general.”

They affirmed that “As national and international observers, we observe with alarm and indignation that environmental pretexts are used to cover up the reality of so-called ‘green business’ so as to approve a new action of looting against indigenous peoples in Chiapas.  It is for this reason that we will maintain ourselves attentive to whatever intent there may be of forced relocation or violent displacement against these communities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento conjunto de los integrantes de la Misión Civil de Observación a la RIBMA (9 de mayo de 2012)

Inicia recorrido a poblados  amenazados en Montes Azules (Expreso de Chiapas, 29 de abril de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 de marzo de 2012)

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: Displacement from Montes Azules is clarified, and a Civil Mission of Observation is called for

April 13, 2012

Map @ Solidaridad con México

Francisco Javier Jiménez González, regional director for the Southern Border, Isthmus, and Pacific South of the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), has denied that his office has been promoting the displacement of three communities settled within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (RIBMA) since 12 March of this year, as the Rural Association for Collective Interest of Independent and Democratic Unions (ARIC UU ID) has denounced.

“That option never existed, nor was it ever spoken of.  There is a table of negotiations that we are organizing; there is now an impasse, reason for which we said that they could not remain there but that is due to norms, because the legislation is clear,” affirmed Jiménez González in interview.

In 2011, ARIC UU ID together with representatives from the three communities and those of the communal lands of the Lacandon Zone came to an agreement to request that the three communities be regularized.  Regardless, on 28 February, after a prolonged period of dialogue with governmental authorities, there was released the decision that found the regularization of the communities not to be possible, with the argument that this would conflict with the end of conserving the natural ecology of the biosphere.

In this way, ARIC UU ID made an invitation for a Civil Mission of Observation for 29 April to 4 May in the three communities in question which have been settled now for more than 3 decades, given that they affirm that they have been living together and respecting nature by means of using agroecological practices.  “The three communities manifest their rejection to the idea of relocation and compensation offered by the government, since the land is the basis of their lives and autonomy.  A forced displacement would violent their rights to the land, territory, and their human rights,” noted ARIC in a communiqué.

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechazan autoridades ultimátum a poblaciones de Montes Azules (La Jornada de Jalisco, 24 de marzo de 2012)

Observación para la “zona en conflicto” (Cuarto Poder, 4 de abril de 2012)

Reserva (Cuarto Poder, 4 de abril de 2012)

Montes Azules-MISIÓN DE OBSERVACIÓN Y SOLIDARIDAD‏ (Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, 31 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 de marzo de 2012)

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve

March 24, 2012

In a 13 March bulletin, the Rural Association of Collective Interest Union of Democratic and Independent Unions (ARIC UU ID) denounced that the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) had given a six-day warning to the residents of San Gregorio, Ranchería Corozal, and Salvador Allende, communities located in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, to accept payment and abandon their lands.  If they refused, they would be displaced by means of the public forces.  In light of these threats, the ARIC UU ID affirmed that “We will not allow one more displacement.  Our rights and reason help us as indigenous peoples and shows our rights-claims.  Furthermore, we remind our audience that we are descendants of the Mayan people, who lived on these lands since before colonization.”

ARIC UU ID notes that “following more than 35 years of agrarian conflict, the three communities that are located on the terrain of Communal Lands Lacandon Region (BCZL) have come to an agreement of conciliation that ended in agrarian conflict and the recognition among interested parties regarding the possession of these three places.”  It stressed regardless that this agreement “to date has been met only with omission and threats of displacement against the three communities.”  On 28 February, representatives of Conanp and Ricardo Frías, delegate of the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, reported that the agreement among the three communities had not been accepted.

Since the beginning of March, residents of the three threatened communities have stressed that they will not abandon the region in which they have resided for more than 30 years, noting that they will not accept the proposal, the relocation, or the reparation payment, because they do not consider these to be solutions, in accordance with the experience that other communities have had that have been displaced from Montes Azules.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín completo de la ARIC UU ID (12 de marzo de 2012)

Dan ultimátum a tres pueblos a salir de Montes Azules o “serán desalojados”(La Jornada, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Piden habitantes solidaridad… Se niegan a abandonar sus poblados en Montes Azules (Expreso de Chiapas, 4 de marzo de 2012)

Amenazan con desalojar tres poblados indígenas ubicados en la selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 2 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Next hotel mega-project in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (22 September 2011)

Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre

November 26, 2011

(@CDHFBC)

On 13 November, 5 years passed since the Viejo Velasco massacre, which left four dead and four disappeared.  Viejo Velasco is located in the municipality of Ocosingo, close to the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle.  The case has continued to date unpunished.

In these terms, there was held a pilgrimage in the city of Palenque to remember the event and commemorate the dead and disappeared and to demand justice and the avoidance of the repetition of the 2006 acts.  Civil organizations pronounced themselves in this respect, stressing “five years have passed since the Viejo Velasco massacre and the State continues to be negligent, investigations have not been effective in clarifying the events, let alone the precise location of those responsible for the event, beyond obstructing the work and process of the search for truth carried out by independent human rights organizations together with relatives who survived the massacre, working so that the crime does not go on unpunished.  For this situation has been  organized this march by communities and organizations, so as to remember the victims and demand justice.  In contrast, Juan José Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, continues with his empty talk of promoting both internally and externally his image as a promoter and defender of human rights, signing commitments with international institutions, when in fact he systematically violates human rights, in favor of interests that do not respond to a model of life for the peoples who have resided in their territories since ancestral times.  This is a patent situation of impunity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa conjunto OSC (13 November 2011)

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)

Chiapas: Viejo Velasco, a year after the unjust detention of Diego Arcos Meneses (24 November 2007)


Chiapas: Next hotel mega-proyect in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve

September 22, 2011

 

Foto @ La Jornada del Campo

On 20 August was published a denunciation in La Jornada del Campo that was shared among digital media that claims that the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (RIBMA), considered by environmental authorities to be a “priority zone for conservation,” is to experience the construction of a mass-hotel complex without the consent of local residents and regardless of concerns for true sustainable development.  During 2010 the federal Secretary of Tourism (Sectur) and private firms negotiated with residents of the ejido Emiliano Zapata, whose lands are adjacent to the Laguna Miramar, for the concession of four hectares of land for the construction of the complex and the right to exploit the laguna touristically for the next 30 years.

Several observers note that the measures of relocation and displacement of rural populations, above all indigenous, who are “irregularly” settled in RIBMA (that is, settled in the region following its decree in 1978) seek to expel the population so as to subsequently exploit these zones for touristic and commercial ends, including the cultivation of monocultures.

The transfer for 30 years of the four hectares and the right to exploit the laguna touristically will have several stages: during the first ten years, the tourist firms that will provide part of the investment cannot be removed from the administration of the complex, but hte director of the Society of Ecotourism of Zapata can form patr of the administration, and will receive 10% of the profits.  Following this stage, the ejidatarios will have the option of administering the complex “as long as” they are trained to do so (though it remains unclear what level of training will be required).  If the training is not successful, the administration will continue in the hands of hte same or other firms during these 10 years.  Upon completion of this stage (year 2031-2032), there will newly be opened the possibility to change the administration, for the final stage of the convention (which will end in 2041-2042).

Upon learning of the proposal, ejidatarios carried out assemblies to discuss it.  The principal fears that were expressed are the following: loss of control of their lands; the sense that the firms will “believe themselves to be the owners,” while others will be converted into their servants, alienated from profits.  They reported to the Sectur that they do not accept the project.  Without hiding her displeasure, the “official Mónica,” the one in charge of negotiation on the part of Sectur, told the campesinos as she boarded the helicopter that always transports her: “It is fine; if you do not want to be reasonable, the project will be done in the community of Benito Juárez,” a locality considered to be “irregular”; the ejidatarios would there accept, she claimed, as they have previously requested similar projects.  In light of this, the assembly came together once again, and there was much discussion, and the part of the community in favor of the project succeeded as a majority in accepting it.  At the beginning of 2011 was signed the agreement among the ejidal authorities, Sectur, and the firm involved.

Now the project is to begin, but the community is divided, not only among those who are in favor and those opposed.  Rather, the active promoters, those who simply accept the proposal in light of the promise of jobs that will be generated; those who reject it consider that they will lose control of their lands and those who support the idea so as to seek out monetary compensation.  There are also those who oppose it while no consensus exists.  According to some, the enthusiastic proponents of the project are the former ejidal authorities who represent a small minority.

According to the article, the Sectur project does not create mechanisms for settled populations in strategic regions to preserve the environment to reach sustainable development; rather it corresponds to long-standing plans that ensure the control of strategic spaces by firms.

For more information (in Spanish):

Macro-complejo en Montes Azules, abuso sobre los campesinos, La Jornada de Campo, 20 August 2011

Chiapas: Macro-complejo en montes azules abuso sobre los campesinos, Radio Pozol, 23 August 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: a  large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar) (1 July 2011)

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


Chiapas: a large hotel complex to begin to be constructed in Montes Azules (Laguna Miramar)

July 1, 2011

On 21 June, the newspaper La Jornada published an article reporting that “in the Laguna Miramar, in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (RIBMA), [a space] considered by environmental authorities to be a priority for natioanl conservation, there will begin to be constructed a large hotel complex.”  The confidential report of a specialist fromt he National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) thusly identified (the individual requested anonymity) has been confirmed by testimony by Tzotil and Ch’ol residents of the area.  The planned event is to begin “without the consent of the residents, and without regard for a real sustainable development for those who live in the region.”

La Jornada added that “During 2010, federal officials from the Ministry for Tourism (SECTUR) and businesspeople negotiation witht eh residnets of the Emiliano Zapata ejido, whose lands are found adjacent to the beautiful Laguna Miramar, to concede four hectares to build said complex as well as cede the right to touristically exploit the laguna for the coming 30 years.”

La Jornada reported finally that “Analysts, journalists, and indigenous and environmental organizations with presence in the Lacandon Jungle have denounced on numerous occasions that the measures taken to relocate and displace the resident populations of Montes Azules following the decree that established the ‘biosphere reserve’ in 1978 intend to expel the indigenous so as to exploit the zone touristically and comercially.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Autoriza Sectur complejo hotelero en la reserva de Montes Azules, La Jornada, 21 June 2011

Dio Semarnat a Sectur permiso que por años negó a indígenas, La Jornada, 24 June 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)


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