Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón

February 10, 2015

índice

On 29 January, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, published a communique which reports that they will maintain their posture of defending their lands and that, toward this end, they have installed a regional headquarters for the ejido between the Agua Azul crossroads at the entrance of the waterfalls of the same name and the limits of the Tumbalá municipality.

They denounced furthermore that since the displacement operation they suffered on 9 January 2015, police presence has been constant, such that they have called on Governor Manuel Velasco Coello to immediately order the withdrawal of public security forces and to discontinue intimidation and repression.

They reported as well that the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, together with his security advisor are organizing shock-groups that “fire into the night with high-caliber weapons,” thus frightening local residents.

They noted lastly that “private meetings are being held between the Chilón delegate Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, a local deputy, to plan for [more] looting, such that our comrades are guarding the regional headquarters and are charging the quotas at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  We hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attack or confrontation that could develop.”

For his part, the “official” ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, has told the media that “at present we are being affected by a group of approximately 100 persons, men and women who hail from different municipalities of the state of Chiapas, adherents to an organization called the Other Campaign or the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, who have violently appropriated ejidal lands […].  We demand respect for the autonomy of the ejido and for non-violence.  They must put down their arms and opt for the path of dialogue and social peace.”

The first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth who went to visit San Sebastián Bachajón ein January stresses the attempt made by the ejidal commissioner to “portray these events as an inter-communal conflict that only has to do with the internal politics of the Bachajón community rather than the interests of the government and tourist firms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo de las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón(29 de enero de 2015; incluyendo vídeo)

Piden menos violencia y más diálogo en Bachajón (Noticias.net, 29 de enero de 2015)

Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón continúan en la defensa de su territorio, ante la amenaza de desalojo del gobierno de Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

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Chiapas: first report of the Caravan of adherents to the Sixth Declaration to San Sebastian Bachajón after the violent eviction on January 9

January 29, 2015
Agua Azul Waterfalls (@SIPAZ)

Agua Azul Waterfalls (@SIPAZ)

On January 14, a First Report of the Caravan of adherents to the Sixth Declaration that visited San Sebastián Bachajón after the January 9th eviction was published. It should be recalled that on that day, at least 900 members of the State and Federal Police evicted the camp that ejidatarios had installed at the entrance of the ecotouristic park of Agua Azul waterfalls. In the Caravan, people from Colombia, France, United States and Mexico participated.

Their report describes what happened in the area since the recovery of the entrance, on December 21, when the ejidatarios occupied the “land stripped from them by the government of Juan Sabines Guerrero and Noe Castañón León in complicity the official ejido commissioner, Francisco Guzmán Jiménez, on February 2, 2011”.

It argues that after they reclaimed the land, “on December 30, between 40 and 50 people paid and organized by the official ejido commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, blocked the roads San Cristobal-Palenque and San Cristobal-Chilón in the villages of Temó and Pamalá. They demanded not only the intervention of the public forces but they also painted the events as if they were part of an intra-community conflict involving only intern politics of the Bachajón community and not the interests of the government nor the ones of tourism enterprises “.

The report also notes that after the eviction, free media confirmed the occupation of the land by security forces and documented “the presence of 10 police trucks, many of them full of policemen in the area of the recovered territories and two more trucks parked on the premises of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection of the State of Chiapas”.

It narrates that on January 11, the ejidatarios tried to retake their land, claiming that “as a response, the state police blocked the road with trees at a distance of five hundred meters and that from a barricade they fired at the ejidatarios for twenty minutes. There were two people injured by rubber bullets”. In subsequent days, the report notes finally that there were overflights and intimidation by opposing groups.

For more information (in Spanish):

Primer Informe de la Caravana Sexta Internacional sobre su visita a San Sebastián Bachajón (14 de enero de 2014)

Crónica de un violento desalojo contra comuneros de Bachajón (Kolectivo Zero, Koman Ilel y Más de 131, 11 de enero de 2014)

Ejido Bachajón hace frente al despojo y a la destrucción del medio ambiente (Subversiones, 6 de enero de 2014)

Blog de las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón: vivabachajon.wordpress.com/

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (January 21, 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)


Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls

January 21, 2015

Cascadas de Agua Azul (@SIPAZ)

Agua Azul waterfalls (@SIPAZ)

Early in the morning on 9 January, at least 900 officers from the Chiapas state police as well as federal forces displaced the camp that indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, had installed at the entrance of the eco-tourist park, the Agua Azul waterfalls.  Though the site belongs to the Tumbalá municipality, one must traverse the Bachajón ejido to access the waterfalls.

On 21 December, more than 300 ejidatarios had retaken the lands, explaining that they “had been plundered by the bad government beginning on 2 February 2011, with the complicity of the ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón,” making reference to the control-point that had been administered by the ejidatarios since September 2009 until the day they were forcibly displaced, leaving one dead, at least two injured, and 117 arrested.

Within the context of this new displacement, initial reports had indicated the forcible displacement of eight individuals.  During the night of the displacement operation, these persons in question were found, and they explained that they had succeeded in escaping the police after they had been arrested.

In a new communique, the ejidatarios denounce that “the true interest [of the government] is to plunder our lands.  They are truly unabashed, corrupt traitors to the country.  Their bad policies will not put an end to our struggle, because we will not allow them to continue looting us as they please.  We will continue with our actions in defense of Mother Earth.”

Following the displacement, the police established surveillance in the zone and installed checkpoints to review the vehicles that pass through.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobierno desaloja a indígenas adherentes al EZLN, en Bachajón (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de enero de 2014)

Desalojan a indígenas de Bachajón por Cascadas de Agua Azul; reportan 8 desaparecidos (SDP Noticias, 9 de enero de 2014)

Indígenas tzeltales denuncian violento operativo policiaco en las Cascadas de Agua azul (Radio Pozol, 9 de enero de 2014)

Los de abajo- Cascadas de Agua Azul (La Jornada, 10 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)


Chiapas: adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce meddling by state-government

December 14, 2011

Archived photo (@chacatorex.com)

On 7 December, after having taken the control-point at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls for two days, the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, denounced the intervention of the Secretary for Governance of Chiapas, Noé Castañón, who arrived to the ejido personally and who, according to them, offered them money before threatening to call the police to displace them.  They indicate that there has been a move toward militarization since their refusal to sign the accord presented by Castañón; the agreement would have a part of the proceeds of access to the waterfalls be sent to the ejidatarios.  In their own words, they say that they are “not requesting handouts from the government, nor do we do this for economic interests.  The only objective we have is to recover the land that was unjustly handed over to the state-government of Chiapas to construct something that only now can be seen.  That was the objective we sought, which now causes militarization against our people, as they tell us that they will send all the social-activist leaders to jail, opening arrest-orders against us as though we were taking from them their palace of governance.”

For more information (in Spanish):

– Denuncia de San Sebastián Bachajón sobre la Caseta de Agua Azul e intenciones del Gobierno del Estado (Ejidatarios de SSB, 7 December 2011)

– Denuncian ejidatarios de Bachajón injerencia del gobierno chiapaneco (La Jornada, 7 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón retake control-point in Agua Azul (13 December 2011)

Chiapas: Denunciations by ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón (7 November 2011)

Chiapas: The four prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón are released (18 August 2011)

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)


Chiapas: Ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón retake control-point in Agua Azul

December 13, 2011

Agua Azul

On 30 November, ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón released a communiqué announcing that they had retaken the control-point at the entrance to the eco-tourist zone of Agua Azul.  They denounce that “the officialist authorities are simply satisfying their political interests using the resources of the people,” and that “for this reason we ejidatarios and ejidatarias of San Sebastián Bachajon have taken the decision to recover the control-point installation in Agua Azul at the entrance of the eco-tourist center, considering that these buildings find themselves near ejidal land […] without any consent from the ejido.”  Furthermore they find that the government would be responsible for any repressive act: “this act is agreed to by the ejidal nucleus in case the state government of Chiapas and the federal government take any repressive measures, [for they would] be responsible for any act that occurs during the taking of it by the ejidatarios and ejidatarias of San Sebastián Bachajon, adherents to the Other Campaign.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de los y las ejidatoarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (30 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciations by ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón (7 November 2011)

Chiapas: The four prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón are released (18 August 2011)

Chiapas: Facing police repression, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day (24 April 2011)

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)


Chiapas: Release of one of the 5 of San Sebastián Bachajón

July 20, 2011

On 7 July, Mariano Demeza Silvano, a minor 17 years of age, one of the five adherents to the Other Campaign from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, who was detained at the beginning of February on several charges following a confrontation regarding the control-point at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls, was conditionally released.  He is to leave the juvenile-detention center of Villa Crisol and will be managed by the Chilón System for the Wholesome Development of the Family (DIF) to carry out community-service projects.

The other four adherents detained in March continue to be held in the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced (CERSS) number 17, in the Playas de Catazajá.  On 27 June, they published a communiqué denouncing abuses and discrimination on the part of prison authorities in Playas de Catazajá vis-a-vis prisoners’ relatives.  They denounce “energetically those persons and we demand more respect and more just treatment of the relatives of prisoners who want to enter to visit their family-members, given that they feel harassed and threatened in the way they are currently treaty.  The government should truly demonstrate its respect for human rights so that it does not in vain waste money paying the personnel of the State Council [on Human Rights].  The true reality is this: that the institution serves injustice and masks the government’s behvioar so it can better carry out its discriminatory acts.”

This same day, dozens of families of prisoners in this same prison also denounces sexual abuse and humiliation on the part of  prison authorities upon visiting.  The relatives found David Montero Montero, director, to be responsible, and they demand the intervention of the secretary of Citizens’ Protection and Security to remove Montero from office, given the abuses committed both inside the prison and with regard to relatives of the imprisoned.

In other news, in a new act that demonstrates that tensions continue in the zone of Bachajón, on 27 June, the ejidatarios who are adherents to the Other Campaign warned of an attempt to loot Alac Sac jun, part of the ejido, on the part of officialist groups.  They found the authorities responsible for anything that might take place in the vicinity of the terrain.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ordenan liberar a activista de Bachajón (La Jornada, 8 July)

Comunicado de los ejidatarios de Bachajón respecto a la liberación de Mariano Demeza (8 July)

Denuncian abusos en contra de internos y visitantes del penal de Catazajá, Chiapas (La Jornada, 6 July)

Alertan ejidatarios de Bachajón sobre intento de despojo en Alan Sac jun (La Jornada, 1 July)

San Sebastián Bachajón denuncian ex autoridades oficiales(Comunicado de los adherentes a La Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón, 27 June)

Denuncia de los presos de San Sebastián desde CERESO NUM. 17 PLAYAS DE CATAZAJÁ (27 June 2011)

Familiares de Internos de cárcel en Playas de catazajá en el Norte de Chiapas denuncian violencia sexual de funcionarios de dicha cárcel (27 June 2011)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Facing police repression, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day (24 April 2011)

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)


Chiapas: Facing police operation, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day

April 24, 2011

Police operation in San Sebastián Bachajón, photo Moisés Zúñiga

In the morning of 9 April, a police operation involving some 800 state and federal officers retook the control-point at he entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  In light of this, some 600 campesinos from San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, adherents to the Other Campaign who had retaken the control-point that was taken from them two months prior by officialist groups (and handed over to the latter by the state government) decided to abandon the control-point.  They stressed that they did not do so voluntarily, as claimed in the official version, but rather so as to protect themselves.

The ejidatarios of the Other Campaign noted that “With this repression the government has demonstrated its interest in developing the ecotourist center without concern for the physical integrity of people, and it has also shown the intention of the ejidal representative Francisco Guzmán to sell the land and its resources.  Regardless, the principally responsible is the state and federal government that has bought-off the leaders so that they become convinced to sell the lands.”

Death-threats have also been circulated by the official side of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido against human-rights defenders and others who visit in solidarity.

For more information (in Spanish):

A pedradas, policías desalojan a indígenas chiapanecos (La Jornada, 10 April)
Entrevista a los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (Radio Pozol, 11 April)
Amagan en Chiapas con detener a quienes apoyen a integrantes de la otra campaña (La Jornada, 12 April)
Comunicado de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (13 April 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)