Hydrocarbon reserves. Photo @Chiapas Paralelo
According to information published by Chiapas Paralelo, on October 18, the Secretary of Energy began a consultation process with the Zoque people of the municipalities of Francisco Leon, Ixtacomitan and Pichucalco, in the north of the state to open twelve hydrocarbon (oil and gas) wells that are currently up for bid and would cover around 80,000 hectares. According to the same source, the Center for Zoque Language and Culture, the presence of observers and specialists has not been permitted. The Center reported that “first they must report so that the ejidatarios analyze and consult on the impact with trustwortyh people, so they would have a period of internal consultation. Under these conditions a free and informed consultation is not being carried out.”
A week earlier, on October 12, the Movement of Indigenous Peoples in Resistance (MOPOR) said that most communities in the municipalities of Tecpatán and León Francisco oppose such exploitation. They reported that on October 7 a forum was held in Tecpatán, in which presidents of commissions and municipal officers expressed their opposition to the process. They held that in Tecpatán 60% of the communities are against mining and in Francisco León, 90%.
Juan Guerrero Hernandez, a member of MOPOR, demanded respect for the land and the indigenous peoples of Zoque ethnicity, and stressed that they are willing to defend their territory against this new attempt at dispossession.
For more information in Spanish:
Buscan autorización de pueblos zoques para abrir pozos de hidrocarburos en norte de Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de octubre de 2016)
Comunidades se oponen a extracción de petróleo (Cuarto Poder, 13 de octubre de 2016)
Pobladores de 2 municipios de Chiapas se oponen a 12 pozos petroleros (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2015)
Pueblos indígenas de Chiapas denuncian despojos de territorio por licitaciones para la extracción de hidrocarburos (m.x, 12 de octubre de 2016)