Chiapas: The detained of the Dialogue Commission in the conflict of Montes Azules are released

June 11, 2014
"Today they are free (@Serapaz)

“Today they are free (@Serapaz)

On May 30, the 22 Tzeltal, Chol, and Lacandon representatives of the Council of Communal Properties of the Lacandon Zone, of the organization ARIC-ID and of other organizations from Ocosingo were released “under the reserves of the law.” The released reported that they were freed after an agreement was signed in Mexico City with federal and state authorities. The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center considers that these representatives were detained “arbitrarily” last May 29 in Tuxtla Gutierrez when they went to an appointment with the Secretary of Government of Chiapas, Eduardo Ramirez to “dialogue” about the regularization of three villages in the Lacandon Jungle (Rancheria Corrozal, Salvador Allende and Nuevo San Gregorio), and to demand the freedom of Gabriel Fernando Montoya Oseguera, who was originally accused of the alleged abduction of Julia Carabias.

The Indians declared that the federal government, through the Commissioner for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples, Jaime Martinez Veloz, signed an agreement to open a negotiation table with the undersecretary of Human Rights of the Ministry of Interior. The meeting should take place in Mexico City and should be attended by the state authorities and the defense of Gabriel Montoya Oseguera, advisor to the Communal Lands of the Lacandon area. The arrest of Montoya on May 15 led to demonstrations that allegedly generated the detention of the 22 indigenous. They reported the suspension of roadblocks and demonstrations until an agreement was reached. Services and Advices for Peace (Serapaz) reported that “an agreement between the Commission for Dialogue, Peace, and Justice in the Lacandon Jungle and the representation of the Federal and State Government was signed. Both parties agree to privilege dialogue and the construction of agreements to resolve the problem that exists in the Lacandon area.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Otra oportunidad a la palabra: Los 22 compañeros de la comisión de diálogo que fueron detenidos hoy son libres (Serapaz, 30 de mayo de 2014)

Privación Arbitraria de la Libertad a indígenas y Defensor de Derechos Humanos perpetrada por el gobierno de Chiapas (CDHFBLC, 30 de mayo de 2014)

Liberan a 22 indígenas detenidos en Chiapas (Proceso, 31 de mayo de 2014)

Criminalizar a pobladores de Montes Azules y la Lacandona, una infamia (Chiapas Paralelo, 31 de mayo de 2014)

Liberan a 22 indígenas tras un acuerdo entre autoridades de Chiapas y federales (La Jornada, 1 de junio de 2014)

Liberan a 22 indígenas lacandones en Chiapas (El Universal, 31 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Government arrest members of a commission for dialogue on the Montes Azules conflict (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle, (June 10, 2014)


Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle

June 10, 2014


Montes Azules (@SIPAZ)

Montes Azules (@SIPAZ)

On May 27, fourteen civil organizations that work in Chiapas, either members of the Peace Network or allies, expressed their concern amidst the growing tension and social conflict that prevail in the Lacandon Jungle and the Montes Azules Biosphere: “We are concerned that, in response to the public dissatisfaction manifested at this time by the CZL [Lacandon Community Zone] and ARIC ID [Rural Association of Collective InterestIndependent and Democratic], governmental actions may use strategies that violate the rights of peoples, such as the implementation of forced evictions of families and communities (like the ones that occurred between 2003 and 2012), or the arrest of local authorities and leaders of this movement.” Therefore, they urged the state and federal government to look for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules and the other six natural protected areas that exist in the Lacandon Jungle.

For almost a week, around 1,500 indigenous people have been organizing demonstrations to demand the release of the Lacandon community advisor, Gabriel Montoya Oseguera (arrested last May 14); the regularization of three villages (Rancheria Corozal, Salvador Allende and San Gregorio); and the expulsion of the environmental researcher Julia Carabias from the reserve where she currently works. Besides intermittent roadblocks, they have closed public buildings such as the city hall, courts, and the prosecutor offices in the city of Ocosingo.

The presence of environmentalists in the Lacandon jungle has continued to generate conflict. Last April, the researcher Julia Carabias was held for 48 hours. On 26 May, two members of the environmental and cultural organization Na-Bolom, Beatriz Mijangos Zenteno and Enrique Roldan Páez, were also detained and released after 22 hours.

For more information (in Spanish):

Red por la Paz en Chiapas denuncia clima de violencia y conflicto en Selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 28 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de la Red por la Paz y organizaciones hermanas (27 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen indígenas se regularicen asentamientos en la Selva Lacandona (Proceso, 27 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen libertad de líder tzeltal (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Toman indígenas oficinas de gobierno y exigen la expulsión de Carabias de la Selva Lacandona (Proceso, 23 de mayo de 2014)

Campesinos protestan en Ocosingo, Chiapas (El Universal, 22 de mayo de 2014)

For more information of SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Social and civil organizations denounce “simulated” kidnapping of Julia Carabias (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state government announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandona Jungle (2 June 2014)

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

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: Threats of displacement in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve

March 24, 2012

In a 13 March bulletin, the Rural Association of Collective Interest Union of Democratic and Independent Unions (ARIC UU ID) denounced that the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) had given a six-day warning to the residents of San Gregorio, Ranchería Corozal, and Salvador Allende, communities located in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, to accept payment and abandon their lands.  If they refused, they would be displaced by means of the public forces.  In light of these threats, the ARIC UU ID affirmed that “We will not allow one more displacement.  Our rights and reason help us as indigenous peoples and shows our rights-claims.  Furthermore, we remind our audience that we are descendants of the Mayan people, who lived on these lands since before colonization.”

ARIC UU ID notes that “following more than 35 years of agrarian conflict, the three communities that are located on the terrain of Communal Lands Lacandon Region (BCZL) have come to an agreement of conciliation that ended in agrarian conflict and the recognition among interested parties regarding the possession of these three places.”  It stressed regardless that this agreement “to date has been met only with omission and threats of displacement against the three communities.”  On 28 February, representatives of Conanp and Ricardo Frías, delegate of the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, reported that the agreement among the three communities had not been accepted.

Since the beginning of March, residents of the three threatened communities have stressed that they will not abandon the region in which they have resided for more than 30 years, noting that they will not accept the proposal, the relocation, or the reparation payment, because they do not consider these to be solutions, in accordance with the experience that other communities have had that have been displaced from Montes Azules.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín completo de la ARIC UU ID (12 de marzo de 2012)

Dan ultimátum a tres pueblos a salir de Montes Azules o “serán desalojados”(La Jornada, 14 de marzo de 2012)

Piden habitantes solidaridad… Se niegan a abandonar sus poblados en Montes Azules (Expreso de Chiapas, 4 de marzo de 2012)

Amenazan con desalojar tres poblados indígenas ubicados en la selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 2 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: lands given up near the Montes Azules reserve

September 20, 2010

On 10 September, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform (SRA) reported that 10 families that have for 26 years resided in the town of San Jacinto Lacanjá, adjacent to the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, municipality of Ocosingo, gave up 99 hectares of communal lands that they had “occupied in irregular fashion.”  The SRA stated that these lands were handed over to residents of the so-called “Lacandon Community Zone,” following the signing of an agreement by both groups.  The SRA declared that it had presented the 10 families with an “institutional offer of economic aid in exchange for the voluntary abandonment of the lands.”

In 1984, 41 Tzeltal families from San Jacinto Lacanjá established themselves in 1116  hectares of land belonging to the Lacandon Community Zone.  31 families left the area in 2004, when federal and state authorities initiated the process of “regularization” of the land of the Lacandon jungle.  According to journalistic sources, on 10 September, the 10 families that still remained agreed to give up the land they occupied in exchange for a payment of 2 million pasos.  During the 26 years that they have occupied the land, they had been requesting the regularization of the property, but the Agrarian Tribunal concluded that this territory belongs to the members of the Lacandon Community, who possess little more than 500000 hectares that were given to them by the federal government in a 1976 agreement.

According to the organization Maderas del Pueblo de Sureste, the aim of federal and state authorities is to evict all populated zones that find themselves inside or adjacent to the Montes Azules reserve, where remain six settlements (Salvador Allende, San Gregorio, Ranchería Corozal, Nuevo Villaflores, Nuevo Limar, and Ojo de Agua).  The spokesperson for the group affirmed that “when the government cannot negotiate with money due to pressures, it evicts [the people] using public force.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Eviction and invasion of natural reserves (Cuarto Poder, 10 September)

99 hectares handed over to the Agrarian Tribunal following judicial loss of possession (Expreso de Chiapas, 10 September)

SRA ends 16-year conflict in Chiapas (El Universal, 14 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: La Realidad JBG claims more evictions to come in Zapatista territories (5 May 2010)

Chiapas: Montes Azules Social Forum (17 March 2010)

Chiapas: Montes Azules evictions jeopardize peace in Chiapas (9 February 2010)

Chiapas: New evictions in Montes Azules (3 February 2010)