Chiapas: mining reactivation is reported in the state

March 3, 2015
Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

In a statement released on February 14, the Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa in Chiapas affirmed that it had received a copy of a letter addressed to the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, which was signed by Dr. Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA). In this letter, the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to access their private and communal territories, and where, in a period of time of three months, he “has programmed to carry out geological mapping of the region comprised of the municipalities of Jitotol de Zaragoza, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Bochil, San Andrés Duraznal, El Bosque, Simojovel, Huitipán, Tapilula, Rayon, Pantepec, Allende Esquipulas, Las Maravillas, Union Zaragoza, Carmen Zacatal,Álvaro Obregón, Rincon Chamula, Competition, El Bosque, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Sitalá, San Juan Cancuc, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán”.

The Committee Digna Ochoa expressed that it “confirms that the government of Chiapas and mining companies are going for more territories and municipalities in the Northern region and Highlands of Chiapas and that the threat of looting and plunder is at the door of peasants and indigenous territories’ lands. (…) A door is opened to legalize the dispossession of land and resources belonging to hundreds of communities and indigenous and peasants peoples without an effective tool of legal defense such as the community consultation supported by ILO Convention 169”.

On February 11, the Believing People of the parish of Santa Catarina Pantelho organized a demonstration in the county seat of this municipality to announce its total rejection of the company GYMSA arrival.

In the last three governments in Chiapas, 144 mining concessions for exploration or exploitation have been granted (some of them for up to 50 years). Recently, in the natural reserve “El Triunfo”, municipality, and after months of opposition, the landowners gave up some plots to a Chinese company it is said for three million pesos per hectare.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se reactiva amenaza minera en municipios del norte de Chiapas, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de febrero de 2015)

Pantelho se moviliza en contra de los proyectos de minas (Espoir Chiapas, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Amenaza la minería a Chiapas; más de un millón hectáreas concesionadas (Reporte Ciudadano, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Tras meses de oposición labriegos de Chiapas aceptan vender parcelas a una minera china (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Carlos Slim, empresarios extranjeros y presta nombres, los dueños de concesiones mineras en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)


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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)


Chiapas: San Juan Cancuc clash leaves 1 dead

July 5, 2010

On June 21st,  indigenous people of the community El Pozo,  of the municipality San Juan Cancuc in the Chiapas highlands, clashed in a shootout that left one dead and 9 others injured (4 by gunshot wounds). The confrontation occurred when inhabitants of El Pozo tried to suspend the supply of potable water and electricity to Zapatista sympathizers, who are in resistance and refuse to pay for these services. Amidst the aggression 28 year-old Sebastián Hernández Pérez was killed.

On the 23rd of June, the Good Government Council (JBG) Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World of the caracol of Oventic published a comunique explaining that “it was not a clash as the media manipulations have made it out to be. Nor was it an agression provoked by Zapatista support bases, as the media has also accused. In response to the aggressions, the compañeros had to defend themselves somehow, utilizing last resort measures in their legitimate defense”.

They explained that on June 21st at about 10:30 am, PRI and PRD supporters “organized themselves into four groups, each one of 60 people with aggressive attitudes and armed with machetes, stones, sticks, hoes, pickaxes, shovels and clippers for cutting the service of light and water to nine Zapatista support base families. “ They recognized: “in this aggression, one of the aggressors who was leading the assault was left dead.  Our support bases had to defend themselves”. They also commented: “How is it possible that the bad government acts in this way, detaining our compañeros while our support bases were attacked, beaten and several were seriously wounded and injured.

On June 23rd, the Attorney General of Chiapas stated that there were detentions of three people involved in the clash. On the same day, the municipal president of San Juan Cancuc, Cirilo Vázquez Cruz (of the PRD), who allegedly spoke for fear of being assaulted, said that 25 support base families fled their homes in the community of El Pozo. He said the situation in El Pozo is calm, but there remain some 15 agents of the State Preventative Police (PEP) whose presence is supplemented by Municipal Police as well.

He denied that the bloody events  June 21 will affect the elections of July 4th, while still affirming, “the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) wants to use them, saying that the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is supporting the Zapatistas, but the community has rejected them because they know that the compañeros of the Zapatista National Liberation Army have nothing to do with the election and they are not a political party. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Two dead in reported confrontation in Zapatista zone (La Jornada, 21 June)

Commotion in Chiapas leaves one dead (El Universal, 21 June)

Chiapas Attorney General’s Office investigates conflict between groups of San Juan Cancuc (Milenio, 21 June)

Attorney General’s Office finds three responsible for homicide in “El Pozo”, San Juan Cancuc (PGJE statement, 23 June)

Complete communiqué of the Junta de Buen Gobierno de Oventic (23 June)

JBG repudiates El Pozo attack (Cuarto Poder, 23 June)

In El Pozo we were only defending ourselves, claim Zapatistas (La Jornada, 24 June)

Zapatista communities flee for fear of violence (La Jornada, 24 June)