dorset chiapas solidarity

January 29, 2014

Warning about privatization of land in the Northern Lacandón Jungle

Filed under: Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:17 pm


Warning about privatization of land in the Northern Lacandón Jungle 

 ** Dissatisfaction with programmes promoted by the Sedatu and the Agrarian Prosecutor 

 ** Even the “pro-government” clusters of Nueva Palestina and Frontera Corozal are unhappy 

FotoDaily life in Chiapas, Photo Yazmín Ortega Cortés 

By: Hermann Bellinghausen 

Palenque, Chiapas, January 27, 2014 

Discontent runs through the communities of the northern Lacandón Jungle, because of the application of government programmes which limit their use of the land, in particular the Support Fund for Agrarian Nuclei without Registration (Fanar), which would allow the privatization of individual plots, and is promoted by the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) and the Agrarian Prosecutor. 

Even the large pro-government conglomerates of the so-called “Lacandón Community” (Nueva Palestina, Tzeltal, and Frontera Corozal, Chol) have shown their disagreement. They were particularly affected by the Redd Plus programme. It is no longer functioning, but it was found useful during the last government for making them sign a series of promises which in fact impeded them from making use of their lands, a first step towards dispossession. 

These communities, in particular Nueva Palestina, have a long history of violence and abuse against dozens of villages of different organizations, both inside the Montes Azules Reserve and in the “buffer zone;” the most serious, but not the only one, being the Viejo Velasco Suárez Massacre in 2006, which is still unpunished although two residents of the Nuevo Tila ejido are accused of the actions, and there are arrest warrants against them, despite the fact that they were compañeros of the victims. According to the zone’s independent organizations, those really responsible are residents of Nueva Palestina and members of the Lacandón town of Lacanjá Chansayab. 

Paramilitaries blackmail the State 

An indigenous man, a witness to the massacre who for security reasons does not give his name, describes the situation like this: “Who are the ones that are now asking for justice and respect for their territory? They are the indigenous who are privileged by the corrupt system of the PRI and the PRD, and are simply called paramilitaries by the communities. The state has used them to repress, kill, kidnap, disappear and burn alive those who have different political positions, but ultimately they are all indigenous.” 

And he continues: “Each time they want more power and resources they blackmail the state. They did it with Juan Sabines Guerrero, and he gave them handfuls of money supposedly to take care of the Lacandón Jungle. The Lacandóns handed over their lands through the Redd Plus programme for ‘environmental services,’ in exchange for 2 thousand pesos per month. The old community members signed the agreement without the consent of their children, and these now demand that they are also given money. 

“We don’t know what they want, supposedly justice, we doubt that it’s really that, rather it’s a strategy to get more money. How many millions did Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía not waste to buy the lands of the Lacandónes? How many millions did Sabines not take from the state to be given to the Lacandónes for ‘environmental services’? The Lacandónes are useful to the government; it uses them to justify mega-projects in the zone,” he maintains. 

On a La Jornada tour through the northern Jungle we found that this situation affects almost all the communities. What is new is that the unconditional (supporters) of the government have also discovered they are ensnared. “The (residents) of Nueva Palestina and the Lacandónes have been identified by the Chol, Tzeltal and Zoque communities as paramilitaries for the governments, since the times of President Luis Echeverría and Governor Manuel Velasco Suárez,” states the indigenous man, a member of the Union of Communities of the Jungle of Chiapas (Ucisech, its Spanish acronym). 

The Lacandones and their allies “have always obtained benefits and immunity,” and are accustomed to being presented as “peaceful conservationists, hospitable with tourists, who are not rebellious, and are different from the peoples who inhabit the buffer zone and are considered by the government as invaders and rebels for defending their territory.”

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

En español: 

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






Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: