During the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre, the civil organization Las Abejas published a communiqué indicating its opposition to the construction of new rural cities in Chiapas, like those that are being created in Santiago El Pinar; the communiqué also denounced the state’s plans to open another such project in Chenalhó. Both Santiago El Pinar and Chenalhó are municipalities of the Chiapas Highlands.
The communiqué explains that “[the governments] believe that because we are poor they can intervene in our homes and in our lands without permission and later claim to bring development projects for our benefit […]. If they truly want our best interests, the first thing they should do is RESPECT US–but no, they interfere and act as they like with our lands and our resources […]. The government’s plan is for us very clear. They want to control our organizations so as to gain control of our lands and negotiate with transnationals. The counter-insurgency against independent organizations finds its basis in this. For this reason Zedillo and later the Congress of the Union didn’t want to approve the San Andrés Accords, since these demanded that they respect us. If the Accords had been passed, the Constitution would have had to include what is said in the ILO’s Convention 169: the governments cannot engage in projects or exploit the resources of the lands of the indigenous without first CONSULTING THESE COMMUNITIES.”
Las Abejas denounced also that in Chenalhó, “the brothers of the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó, are being obligated to accept PROCEDE. This is another way the government acts to make it easier to later take our lands from us.” Las Abejas lament the role played “by our brothers who have left Las Abejas to join the government and its money […]. To our brothers we say: if the government doesn’t respect us, you at least should. If you no longer want to struggle against impunity and prefer to receive government programs, that’s all right; we respect you; it’s your decision. But respect us, and don’t allow the government to manipulate you.”
Las Abejas close by expressing their support for other struggles–with the Triqui people of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, as well as the Civil Resistance Movement against high-electricity prices in Candelaria, Campeche. They warn that “the government employs in other places the same counter-insurgency strategies that they use against us.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Complete communiqué of the civil society Las Abejas (22 May 2010)