dorset chiapas solidarity

January 16, 2014

Tzotziles file for amparo against the San Cristóbal-Palenque Toll Road

Filed under: Tourism — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:52 pm

 

Tzotziles file for amparo against the San Cristóbal-Palenque Toll Road

 ** The sixth district court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez admitted it on the 13th January

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Los Llanos, Chiapas, January 14, 2014

carreterachis.JPGThe Tzotzil community of Los Llanos, located in the rural zone of San Cristóbal de Las Casas Municipality, filed a petition for an amparo (order for legal protection) “against any permit and licence that may have been granted by authorities at the federal, state and municipal level for the announced construction of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque Toll Road, without free, prior and informed consultation with the community.”

The request for an injunction was admitted on 13th January by the sixth district court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. With that, the official suspension was granted “of all permits and licences that the defendant authorities at the federal, state and municipal level have granted for the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque Toll Road, being treated as acts depriving an indigenous community of common use lands, until the lawsuit filed for an injunction is definitively resolved.” Los Llanos is composed principally of milpas and forests.

The indigenous pointed out that: “the highway megaproject puts at risk our food sovereignty and damages our rights to territory, autonomy, non-discrimination and protection of the environment and natural resources.”

Their legal representative, Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, pointed out that that these are guarantees provided in the Constitution and in Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.

The community specified in its lawsuit, presented last January 6, that on November 16, 2013 the sixth council member from the municipal council of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Fidencio Pérez Jiménez, “introduced himself here to threaten that the toll road would pass over common use lands, and in the case the community should oppose it, the community’s authorities would go to prison and the Army would be brought in for the start of the construction work.”

On November 26, the Secretary of Government of Chiapas, Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, stated to the press that: “there is no going back” in the construction of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque Toll Road, and he warned that it would still be constructed despite opposition from the indigenous communities, among them Los Llanos. “With these statements, the high official clearly sent a message to the community that the right to consultation as Tzotzil indigenous people has not been and will not be guaranteed,” the lawyer for the indigenous maintained.

Los Llanos is only one of the different communities that would be affected by this project which has been cherished by previous governments, both federal and local. The final route has undergone several changes in recent years. Mitzitón is another San Cristobal Tzotzil community which has resisted this work, at the cost of conflicts induced by the Sabinas state government and fuelled by religious differences.

Different political and religious groups exist in Los Llanos, and it also has a combative past. Part of its territory consists of plots “reclaimed” by Zapatista support bases after the 1994 uprising. At the side of the San Cristóbal-Ocosingo Highway can be seen signs that say: “The land is ours, not the corporations,” and “No toll road.” On a (large) standing and painted rock it reads: “No to Procede.”

However, with the forthcoming opening of the Palenque International Airport, the Secretary of Government as well as the tourism and public works authorities, in repeated statements take for granted that they have agreements with the communities included in the highway’s trajectory, not to mention consultations. Pressures also exist from tourism and construction companies.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/15/politica/023n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service

 

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