dorset chiapas solidarity

January 29, 2014

Indigenous of the Lacandón Jungle agree to defend their lands against the neoliberal onslaught

Filed under: Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:59 pm


Indigenous of the Lacandón Jungle agree to defend their lands against the neoliberal onslaught 

 ** They resist “government programmes,” which they accuse of sowing division

** They “try to put an end to our knowledge. They want to privatize our rivers, forests and waterfalls,” they say.


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Nuevo Jerusalén, Chiapas, January 28, 2014

Independent organizations in the northern part of the Lacandón Jungle stated that they continue in resistance against the programmes of the government and of the “neoliberal businessmen,” who “continue to seek ways to take from us the most valuable thing we have: our land.”

Representatives from twenty Chol, Tzeltal and Zoque communities of the region, organized in the Committee for the Defence of Indigenous Freedom (CDLI), Tsoblej Yu’un jWocoltic, the Union of Communities of the Lacandón Jungle (Ucisech) and Xi’Nich (The Ants), met in Nuevo Jerusalén this weekend to document the pressures from the federal government through the conduct of delegates from the Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) and the Agrarian Prosecutor, particularly in municipality of Ocosingo, to make the communities compromise ownership of their land in exchange for programmes; that is, money.

They no longer cultivate their lands

“They tell us: ‘Don’t work at cultivating or producing your own food any more! We are the ones who can do it. We have the means; we are cleverer and cleaner. We are the entrepreneurs, the most prepared to produce food for everyone.’ We answered them: ‘We are tired of you deceiving us with your programmes like the Support Fund for Agrarian Nuclei without Registration (FANAR, previously Procede) and the National Crusade Against Hunger, through which they put money into the communities, causing division instead of promoting economic and social development.’

“With the arrival of this money those who have fragile hearts are enchanted, because it makes them think that it makes everything easier, but in reality it makes us useless, because we buy their seeds which destroy our land and their poisons which produce more plagues. We open the door to their education system and with the education that they give, our children no longer want to work with us, and we give foreigners, entrepreneurs and others the possibility of buying or seizing our resources.”

The indigenous, members of the Indigenous National Congress (in fact, one of their points was planning their forthcoming participation in the CNI), said that the municipal governments of Palenque and Ocosingo “are also enchanted with the money and proposals of the entrepreneurs, they don’t think about us, they don’t defend us, they don’t consult us, they don’t respect us and they don’t listen to us. They attempt to do away with our knowledge. They want to privatize our rivers, forests and waterfalls. They come in to measure our boundaries without consulting us and drill without taking into account the damage to other lands.”


But, they emphasize, “this is the land where corn and beans are born, where our feet dance at the fiestas, where we launch our prayers, where we are born, where we die, from which we eat: she sustains us and feeds us. Taking it away from us is uprooting our knowledge, it is fragmenting the community.” Because of that “we continue in resistance, we are not going to leave.”

They continue to reject the modification to Article 27 of the Constitution approved during the mandate of Carlos Salinas de Gortari: “We do not want the change of ejido land into small landholdings, we continue to believe in communal land. We continue to demand that they fulfill the 13 demands of the San Andrés Accords.”

Without going any further, the ejido Nuevo Jerusalén, established on lands recuperated from what was a cattle ranch after the 1994 EZLN uprising, lacks the paperwork of official agrarian registration. “Although there are two groups here, we are in agreement about not entering the government’s plans,” their representative says. “They are coming from the Agrarian Prosecutor to pressure and offer, to divide us.”

In addition, he points out: “the new landholding reform changes the concept of land ownership. They want us to start paying VAT on land. Now they tax ejidos and in the law urbanize indigenous peoples.”

Dispossession walks many paths.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

En español:

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






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