Chiapas: Military harrassment in Montes Azules communities

On August 15 at around noon, in the community of Ranchería Corozal, located in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve and a member community of the Rural Association of Collective Interests Union of Unions-Independent and Democratic (ARIC UU-ID, Asociación Rural de Interés Colectivo Unión de Uniones Independiente y Democrática) 2 naval helicopters arrived with Ricardo Frias, the head of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP, Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). Frias was accompanied by several representatives of the Office of the Seceretary of Agrarian Reform (SRA, Secretaria de Reforma Agraria) Office of the State Secretary of Interior as well as 50 members of the Mexican Army and the State Judicial Police.

According to a denunciation released by the ARIC UU-ID, after taking measurements of the community and the fields surrounding it, Frias stated that, “there will be no option other than relocation or compensation” for the land. he added that despite the negotiations that the ARIC UU-ID has held with the government regarding the case, “with the future changes in government the agreement will not be respected.”

The events of Ranchería Corozal coincided with another operation carried out in the communities of El Semental and Nuevo Salvador Allende (also located in the Montes Azules Reserve), in which the Mexican Army and Federal and State police agencies participated. The operation, headed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa, Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente), was carried out without incident as the inhabitants fled the area beforehand. In both cases, their houses were destroyed.

Following the operation, Juan Antonio Sandoval Flores, delegate from Profepa in Chiapas, stated that there exist another 11 irregular communities in the Montes Azules Reserve. He estimated that the relocation of these communities would end within the next year.

To read the ARRIC UU-ID denunciation in regards to Ranchería Corozal (in Spanish), click the link below:

Denuncia de ARIC UU-ID (20/08/08)

For more information (in Spanish):

Documentos sobre la situación en la Selva Lacandona (Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, A.C.)

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