Chiapas: Federal and state governments announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle

June 2, 2014

Población en la Selva Lacandona. Foto (@Sipaz)

Settlement in the Lacandona Jungle. Photo (@Sipaz)

The federal and Chiapas state governments have carried out an announcement expressing the priority need of proceeding with a territorial ordering of the Lacandona Jungle, the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (REBIMA), and protected natural areas: “The government of the Republic and the Chiapas state government express their conviction that it is priority for a TERRITORIAL ORDERING to provide the necessary conditions for the development of the Lacandona community and the neighboring ejidos to improve the quality of life of residents with an eye to the rule of law, privileging the consolidation of protected natural areas and sustainable development in these areas.  In conformity with the stipulations of the General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Protection of the Environment (Article 46), which states that ‘in protected natural areas, new population centers cannot be authorized’: the existing irregular communities located within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve cannot be regularized, nor can any future settlements so be rationalized in any other part of a natural protected area.  For this reason no process of compensation can be provided, as there are no programs or resources dedicated to this end, nor will there be.”

Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, General Secretary of Governance, indicated that the federal and state governments will seek a solution of resettlement for those living in irregular communities within REBIMA.

In 1972, a presidential decision provided 614,000 hectares of the jungle to 66 Lacandon families without taking into account the thousands of other indigenous ethnicities who also resided within this territory and who have since then faced the threat of displacement from their lands.

Recently in April, an agreement was made between the Lacandon Community Zone and ARIC UU-ID (the Rural Association of Collective Interests-Union of Democratic and Independent Unions) which allows for the recognition of three populations located within and around REBIMA; in August 2013, another two were also recognized.  This agreement was the fruit of a dialogue process initiated directly by the two interested parties, and did not count with governmental participation, given the perceived lack of will of the same group to resolve the conflict, as ARIC representatives discussed in a press-conference held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on 1 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone (3 May 2014)

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 (18 May 2012)

Chiapas: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (14 March 2012)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandona Zone

May 3, 2014

@Voces Mesoamericanas

@Voces Mesoamericanas

On 23 April, a “historic” agreement was made between the Lacandona Zone Community and the ARIC UU-ID (Rural Association for Collective Interest-Union of Independent and Democratic Unions) that would permit the recognition of three communities located in the Lacandona Zone.  Through this accord, the communities of San Gregorio, Ranchería Corozal, and Salvador Allende, which are located in the Montes Azules biosphere reserve or on its border, are to be “regularized.”  After 40 years in this process of regularization of their agrarian rights, there are five recognized communities: in August 2013, an initial accord made possible the regularization of San Caralampio and Calvario.  It should be recalled that a presidential resolution from 1976 provided the Lacandones with 614,000 hectares of lands on which were also residing thousands of “settlers” of other ethnicities.  Since that time, they and their descendants have had to live under constant threat of displacement.

This accord is the fruit of a process of dialogue that began directly between both involved parties, without the participation of the government, due to its lack of will in resolving the conflict, as ARIC representatives affirmed in a press-conference held in in San Cristóbal de Las Casas on 1 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acuerdo histórico reconoce a los poblados de la Zona Lacandona (Voces MesoAmericanas, 29 de abril de 2014)

Lacandones legitiman permanencia de poblados en la Selva (Chiapas Paralelo, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Proyectan regularizar poblados (Cuarto Poder, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Regularizan 3 poblados de ARIC-ID en Chiapas (La Jornada, 2 de mayo 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: Federal court resolves motion in favor of ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón

December 8, 2013


Agua Azul waterfals. Photo

A federal court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez has resolved a motion in favor of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón against the occupation of a part of the ejidal territory by the federal and state governments since February 2011, toward the end of “imposing a world-class touristic project,” as the affected indigenous persons have indicated.  In the sentence published on Monday 25 November, the federal tribunal “revoked the sentence of 22 July 2013 as illegal […] which had struck down the constitutional motion interposed by the Tseltal campesinos, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, in defense of their lands,” noted Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, the legal counsel for the indigenous grouping.  The tribunal “gave reason to the indigenous of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido […] who defend their lands from the federal and state governments’ looting, as perpetrated since 2 February 2011, toward the end of controlling the territory to impose a tourist project.”  The lands whose devolution the campesinos desire include also the road access to the Agua Azul waterfalls, a natural lagoon that is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of tourists.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tribunal federal resuelve amparo a favor de ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (La Jornada, 29 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Threat to displace residents of Bachajón (14 November 2013)

Chiapas: Close of Global Campaign “Juan Vázquez Lives, the Struggle Continues!” (20 July 2013)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios recall Juan Vázquez Guzmán, murdered in April (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre

December 7, 2013


Lacandona Jungle, photo @

On 13 November, several civil organizations released communiques commemorating the 2006 massacre in the Viejo Velasco community in the Lacandona Jungle, which resulted in the death of seven persons, two disappearances, and 36 displaced.  The organizations emphasized that the crimes remain unpunished to date.  The civil organization People’s Wood, for example, mentioned that “Seven years since the Viejo Velasco massacre […] the Mexican State still has not clarified the events nor punished those intellectually and materially responsible for the brutal attack on the Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Ch’ol indigenous community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo, Chiapas, which was perpetrated by a group of approximately 40 individuals from the neighboring community of New Palestine who were accompanied and supported by 300 units from the Chiapas Sector Police.”  The communique adds that “It should be noted that this bloody event took place within the context of intense struggle and resistance for the right to land and the management of the natural resources of the indigenous communities settled within the heart of the Lacandona Jungle.  This resistance confronted an aggressive policy of territorial displacement, social looting, and privatization of nature on the part of the Mexican State, as exercised over more than 40 communities located within the limits of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity, water, forest cover, and scenic and touristic attractiveness in our country.”

The communique from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) notes that “seven years after these events […] 36 persons […] continue to be forcibly displaced […and] Mariano Pérez Guzmán and Juan Antonio Peñate López continue to be disappeared, and police investigations have stagnated.  At the same time, state authorities in Chiapas still have yet to arrest those responsible for this paramilitary action.  The undersigned organizations [including the Committee for teh Defense of Indigenous Freedoms {CDLI}, Xi’nich, the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. {Cediac}, Communal Health and Development A.C. {SADEC}, and Services and Assessment for peace, A.C. {SERAPAZ}] indicate that such crimes against humanity should never remain unpunished.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 7 años de la masacre de Viejo Velasco (Madres del Pueblos, 13 de noviembre de 2013)

Comunicado Frayba – Viejo Velasco (13 de noviembre de 2013)

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 de marzo de 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: Adherents to the Other Campaign in San Sebastián Bachajón denounce looting and impunity

April 22, 2013


On 17 April, adherents to the Other Campaign of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle from San Sebastian Bachajón, Chilón municipality, published a new communique in which they recall their struggle and evaluate the former state administration of Juan Sabines Guerrero.  They denounce the impunity of looting and a justice system that serves the State, one that has allowed their ejido to experience “looting of territory and imposition of a control-point at the entrance of the Agua Azul cascades, removed from residents.”  They reiterated their desire to resist looting and to free their prisoners Antonio Estrada Estrada, Miguel Vázquez Deara, and Miguel Demeza Jiménez, “victims of the authorities for their lack of capacity and independence to apply the law.” They greeted others, who have also been imprisoned for raising their voice.  They recognized Alberto Patishtán Gómez in particular: “With a simple heart, and humble in his words, [he is] a great comrade that they sought to silence with the walls of political prison.  He will always be present in our slogans and in the process of our struggle.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian despojo de tierras en Agua Azul, Chiapas (La Jornada, 18 de abril de 2013)

México: San Sebastián Bachajón se pronuncia en contra de la persecución estatal (Comunicado de los adherentes a la Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón, 17 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denial of motion to ejidatarios who adhere to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón (7 February 2013)

Chiapas: New denunciation from San Sebastián Bachajón (10 July 2012)

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: 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)