dorset chiapas solidarity

April 13, 2014

Religious character to the conflict in the Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas ejido, Palenque is denied

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:35 pm


Religious character to the conflict in the Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas ejido, Palenque is denied 

 ** Four residents are demanding one third of the land, say representatives

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

1ccardenasRepresentatives of the Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas ejido, in Palenque Municipality, Chiapas, maintained that the conflict that exists in their community is not of a religious nature, but rather about land. And contradicting reports in the local press, they reiterated that the problem with the four residents who demand one third of the ejido’s lands continues unresolved. The ejido has been made up of a total of 40 families (La Jornada 2/2/2014) for the last 28 years.

Arturo Pérez Oleta, new ejido commissioner of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, a Chol locality very close to the Palenque archaeological zone, contradicted the versions that the problem in the community “has already ended,” and insisted that the reason for the conflict is not religious. While the people with whom they have the difference “are of a different religion than the majority, it was not the motive for the difference that they took on a new religion and would freely exercise their cult.”

The differences are exclusively agrarian, Pérez Oleta and Bartolo Gutiérrez, of the vigilance council added: “Those four individuals have been supported in their religious organization (whose legal advisor is Sergio Natarén Gutiérrez, involved in the defence of the material authors of the Acteal Massacre) in attempting to take possession of a wide area of ejido lands, as the agrarian demand #1318/2012, promoted by them before the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal District 54 in Comitán de Domínguez, demonstrates.”

They warn of latent tension 

The defender of the Presbyterian group is Fernando García Martínez, a lawyer from the Agrarian Prosecutor’s office in Palenque. “They are demanding that one third of the total ejido area be awarded just to them,” the ejido representatives pointed out. In 2012, they attempted to murder the ejido secretary and to introduce people from their church alien to the community.

For his part, the lawyer for the ejido owners, Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, explained that: “the agrarian lawsuit is in the final phase of allegations and soon the agrarian tribunal will issue a decision.”

Nevertheless, “the tension remains latent.” On March 30, Juan Álvaro López, one of those who filed both criminal and agrarian complaints against the community, attacked Felipe de Jesús Cruz Damas, son of the former ejido commissioner Leonarda Damas Cruz. “Despite the fact that Felipe was the victim of the attack, Álvaro López went to the Selva District prosecutor’s office in Palenque to present a complaint as the victim.”

Given the constant harassment and violence of the four people who seek to appropriate land from the community, the ejido authorities decided to “denounce these acts and alert public opinion and the competent authorities that a quick and effective intervention is necessary for an in depth and lasting solution to the conflict, which is of agrarian origin and not religious.”

On March 8, 2013, the ejido owners had signed a document in which it is admitted that the problem, which has gone on for three years, “is not of a religious but agrarian character, but the only ones that did not sign were the Álvaro López group.” And last January 8: “we met in the ejidal house with the assistant secretary and the delegate from the state’s Government office, officials for religious issues from the municipio and the state, and the conflictive people: Rubén Martínez Álvarez, Pascual Álvaro López, Juan Álvaro López and Micaela López Vázquez.” The ejido representatives added that “once again,” the officials “explained to these people that the problem is not as they say it is, it has nothing to do with religion; that it is agrarian and as such has to be settled. It was there that they signed the same document that they did not sign a year ago.”

Commissioner Pérez Oleta concluded: “Although the Palenque press published that the problem in our ejido has ended and that there is now peace, that is a lie, because the conflict continues and the provocations and threats from those individuals have increased.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, April 12, 2014

En español:


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




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