Years, even decades, have passed, and yet a resolution to the conflict regarding the lands on which is located the municipal center of Tila in the northern zone of Chiapas. Lately, tensions have been increasing between the ejidatarios and the municipal government, and this has led the town’s villagers (that is, people who settled in Tila without being ejidatarios) to divide themselves between those who support the municipal government and those who support the ejidatarios.
According to information made available by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), a 1934 presidential decree granted more than 5400 hectares to the 836 ejidatarios of Tila. In 1966 this resolution was modified so as to convert 130 hectares of the ejido to being part of a “legal fund”–that is, a part in which the “urban stain” and the governmental headquarters of Tila were located. This modification, however, was not passed legally, as s/he who saw it through was not an official authorized to make such changes. For this reason, the ejidatarios in 1977 brought the case to court and won. Nonetheless, Tila’s municipal government requested an application for legal-fund status in 1980 and received it, meaning that 130 hectares of the ejidal lands passed to control by the municipal government, a move that in turn induced the ejidatarios to bring the case to court a second time two years later. This case was not heard for years, until their case was granted in December 2008.
According to CDHFBC, this change implied the devolution of the formerly occupied lands as well as the cancellation of the corresponding private-property claims together with financial compensation for the damages suffered by the ejidatarios. To date, no such reparations have been granted.
For this reason a grand march took place on 11 April of this year. The CDHFBC reports that thousands of men, women, and children assembled to demand the right to their territory, to call for the realization of the December court finding, and to denounce the harassment and criminalization of social protest that has accompanied the controversy.
To see photos and video of the march and to read the communiqué (in Spanish), visit: