Chiapas: Mobilizations against the planned San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque highway

September 29, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

On 16 and 17 September, there were held new mobilizations against the planned construction of a highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque, both in the Tseltal ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Chilón municipality, as in the Tsotsil ejido of La Candelaria, San Cristóbal municipality.  The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory was created through the mobilizations organized against this project.

On 16 September, banners and signs were raised in communities and parishes to express popular opposition to the highway project.  On 17 September, ejidatarios from San Jerónimo Bachajón blockaded the Temó crossways en route to Palenque to demand “the cessation of harassment and threats against our ejidal authorities and other comrades, in light of the decisive defense of our territory and our disagreement with the highway project.”

Furthermore, on 17 September there was held in Laguna Suyul, La Candelaria ejido, a ceremony and joint declaration of more than 2,000 Tsotsil, Tseltal, Ch’ol, and Tojolabal persons from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Zinacantán, San Juan Chamula, Huixtán, San Pedro Chenalhó, San Pablo Chalchihuitán, San Juan Cancuc, Tenejapa, Amatenango, Chilón, Tila, Salto de Agua, Comitán, and Las Margaritas municipalities expressing opposition to the highway project.  In the declaration of Laguna Suyul, considered sacred land of the peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas, the writers indicate that “we will defend the environment, the fabric and veins of mother earth: rivers, lakes, springs, mountains, caves, and hills.  We will defend the lives of animals, sacred places, the ecosystem of Mother Nature, and the lives of human beings.”

Also, on 21 September, some 3000 Ch’ol indigenous persons from the Tila parish carried out a pilgrimage in the municipal center against the planned highway projects between San Cristóbal and Palenque as well as between Villahermosa and Palenque, as against the plundering of lands for mineral extraction, and they denounced the increase in drug addiction rates, alcoholism, and prostitution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acciones de protesta contra la Autopista Sancris-Palenque (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de septiembre de 2014)
Anuncian nuevas protestas contra construcción de supercarretera San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque (La Jornada, 14 de septiembre de 2014)
Casi 3000 personas rechazan la autopista y organizan la resistencia a la autopista. + historia de Suyul(Espoir Chiapas, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Chiapas: Desde Laguna Suyul indígenas manifestan su rechazo a la Supercarretera San Cristóbal – Palenque (Pozol Colectivo, 17 de septiembre de 2014)
Denuncian en Bachajón acoso y persecución judicial por protestar contra autopista (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de septiembre de 2014)
Peregrinación en Tila contra autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque, megaproyectos y cantinas (Chiapas Paralelo, 22 de septiembre de 2014)

Audio-Video:

Ejido La Candelaria: “No a la autopista San Cristóbal – Palenque (Koman Ilel, 12 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Candelaria express their opposition to the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway (16 September 2014)

Chiapas: An assembly of Tzeltal communities from Chilón municipality reject the SCLC-Palenque highway (9 September 2014)

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (14 February 2014)

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Chiapas: An Assembly of Tzeltal communities from Chilón municipality reject the SCLC-Palenque highway

September 9, 2014
Assembly in San Jeronimo Bachajón (@SIPAZ)

Assembly in San Jeronimo Bachajón (@SIPAZ)

On August 30, a special meeting was held in the community of Guadalupe Paxilá which belongs to the ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, municipality of Chilón. About 1,800 members of this Tzeltal ejido, representing 192 of the 206 communities that belongs to it, rejected the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, the most ambitious project that President Enrique Peña Nieto and the governor Manuel Velasco Coello have announced for Chiapas.

The communal landowners said that they were not consulted for the construction of the highway and that they will not sell their lands. They informed that the ejido has been harassed and pressured to sign the authorization for the highway: the Commisioner of Communal Lands’ son was fired from his job at a state government office arguing that he could return to his post until his father signs a document permiting the highway to pass by San Jerónimo Bachajón. One of his daughters was also threatened with being fired from a high school where she works and they affirmed that the threat have to do with the position of his father.

The communal landowners demanded the end of harassments, persecutions and threats against our ejido authorities by federal, state and municipal governments that are acting in a repressive way.” They demanded that the son of the commissioner might be “reinstalled in his post”. They also reported that the mayor of Chilón, Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, does the dirty work for the state and federal governments, persecuting, threatening and harassing indigenous people opposed to the highway.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se oponen comunidades tseltales de Chiapas a súper autopista (Proceso, 31 de agosto de 2014)

Indígenas tzeltales se oponen a la construcción de la autopista San Cristóbal-Palenque (De Facto, 1 de septiembre de 2014)

Chiapas: ejidatarios rechazan construcción de autopista (La Jornada, 31 de agosto de 2014)

Rechazan indígenas de municipio de Chilón, Chiapas, construcción de carretera (La Jornada, 11 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Los Llanos and San José El Porvenir reject passage of highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque through their communities (February 14, 2014)