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: 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: 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)