Chiapas: Residents of the Lacandona Jungle on alert in light of advancing delimitation work

March 16, 2014

Selva Lacandona (@Koman Ilel)

Lacandona Jungle (@Koman Ilel)

Residents of the Lacandona Jungle from the communities of Benito Juárez, Galilea, Pichucalco, Amador Hernández, Plan de Guadalupe, Guanal, Ranchería Aurora, and Rancho Alegre have suspended the work of the Secretary for Agrarian, Territorial, and Urban Development (SEDATU) to delimit territory in their region.  They denounced that this action seeks to steal the land, a situation “which generated an alert in the communities in the region.”

Media reported that the “SEDATU requires the delimitation of this land so as to finally legalize the polygon of more than 520,000 hectares for the Lacandona community zone.  This would imply suspending the rights of a dozen communities that have found themselves in the region since before the presidential decree of 1972.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pobladores de la Selva Lacandona denuncian que el gobierno les pretende arrebatar su tierra (Proceso, 11 de marzo de 2014)

Denuncian que el gobierno pretende arrebatarles sus tierras (Diario Contra Poder en Chiapas, 11 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press-conference regarding communities threatened with displacement from Montes Azules (25 June 2012)

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)

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Chiapas: 6 years after the Viejo Velsaco massacre, yet “another six-year term of impunity” (CDHFBC)

November 16, 2012

On 13 December 2012, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) lamented that six years following the Viejo Velasco massacre, “the coherence of the government has a constant named impunity.”  In a press-bulletin, the CDHFBC recalled that on 13 November 2006, a group of 40 persons from the Nueva Palestina community who were accompanied by 300 Sectorial police invaded Viejo Velasco (Ocosingo municipality), which is located on the border of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve.  The operation left six people dead and two disappeared; it forcibly displaced 20 men, 8 women, and 8 children who survived the attack.  The CDHFBC stressed that the forced displacement of these 36 persons has continued to date, denouncing that they have been “criminalized, given that they [face] arrest-orders” and find themselves in a juridical limbo.  Beyond that, the Center reports that two other persons continue to be disappeared.

In its communique, the CDHFBC indicated that as regards events such as the Viejo Velasco massacre, “the six-year term of the government that will end its term in a few days was nothing more than one of makeup and illusion; the governor of the state, Juan Jose Sabines Guerrero, indebted the state in exchange for selling the image that some governmental organizations have perpetuated regarding his ‘support of human rights,’ when the grave rights-violations which have occurred have been marked by the constant of impunity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa completo del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC, 13 de noviembre de 2012)

Persiste el gobierno en inhibir movimientos de resistencia entre comunidades indígenas (La Jornada, 14 de noviembre de 2012)

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 March 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)