dorset chiapas solidarity

June 20, 2016

Ocosingo Ejidos Reject the Delimitation of the Lacandon Gap.

Filed under: Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm

 

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Ocosingo Ejidos Reject the Delimitation of the Lacandon Gap.

 

smallmapa_base_poblados_m_azules

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Ejido Candelaria, Municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico.

We are gathered here today, Tuesday 17th of May 2016 (Two Thousand and Sixteen), at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, around the Ejidal House of the ejido Candelaria. Among our number the CC ejidal and auxiliary authorities and wider public of the ejido Candelaria and the CC ejidal and auxiliary authorities of the ejido Pichucalco, including representatives from different organizations, meet to discuss agrarian matters (the delimitation of the gap).

We, the ejido Candelaria, member of the organization ARIC, Independent and Democratic A.C., the ejidal and auxiliary authorities of the ejido Pichucalco, make up four organisations, who work together to draw up plans and agreements for the defence of Mother Earth and our territory and the complete rejection of the proposal to delimit the Lacandon Gap, a fight that has gone on for 40 years, through generations,

  • We, as campesinos, are fully aware and prepared to defend Mother Earth and our territory. For this reason, we have reached an agreement to reject in its entirety the delimitation of the Lacandon Gap of the 16th vertex, as well as any developments between point 7.28 and the mirador boundary marker in the ejido Calvario. This is because we know from past experiences that the Lacandon communities and common lands are being used by the government, who tell them the hectares of land they occupy belong to them as a pretext; in fact, the delimitation of the Lacandon Gap is about transnational companies that want to take possession of the land to exploit its valuable natural resources, found in the depths of the Lacandon zone and the Montes Azules biosphere. Furthermore, we consider the delimitation of the Lacandon Gap a derogatory act.
  • The Federal Government intends not to legalise three villages, Nuevo Sangregorio, Ranchería Corozal and Salvador Allende. Although the Lacandon community has had months of dialogue with the three villages, signing agreements, minutes of proceedings and pacts, the government will never respect said agreements. The ejido San Caralampio and the ejido Calvario are evidence of this; they signed an agreement mediated by the ARIC Independent and Democratic A.C. (directive authorities). These two ejidos had common lands assessed by the teacher Gabriel Montoya, who had engineers measure out ten hectares of land to each beneficiary. But the government is cunning; it found new strategies to tear up these agreements, impeding the people from working on these demarcated plots of land. Now, the campesinos complain because they have ended up without land. For this reason we do not wish to end up suffering the same fate.
  • It is worth mentioning that the three villages and the directive authorities of the ARIC Independent and Democratic A.C. are self-governed for personal gain, and as such do not take into account the decision of the ejido Candelaria and the neighbouring communities to carry out an in-depth analysis of the difficult situation. On the contrary, they are quite convinced that the Lacandon Gap will legitimize the lands of the three villages. But they are being deceived. Although the Lacandon community shows an eagerness to support and engage in dialogue with the indigenous communities, this is nothing more than a political strategy on the part of the self-same government. We know because from the 16th of May this year helicopters began to fly over vertex 16 and the villages of Ranchería Corozal and Nuevo Sangregorio. This signals a threat to the campesinos who belong to different organisations, since those of the common lands in the Lacandon zone and the three villages are pooling funds to pay a private topographical engineer to measure out their lands, on the condition that he mark out the delimitation of the Lacandon Gap, which measures approximately 20km.
  • The Government does not intend to regularise this land; rather its main objective is to delimit the gap, in order to expropriate the Lacandon zone.
  • It is worth mentioning that all the indigenous communities within the Montes Azules biosphere and the Lacandon zone have ancestry in these lands. For this reason we do not accept other proposals or the government’s political strategies to separate us, weaken us and cause infighting between campesinos.
  • The government and the Lacandon community are not strong enough to work against us, and we know our universal rights as individuals.
  • We invite all independent social organizations, NGOs, defenders of human rights, the media, and the general public, to join us in solidarity in the defence of Mother Earth; to stay vigilant as the problematic situation we face in the Lacandon zone and the Montes Azules biosphere develop. In the municipality of Ocosingo, in the state of Chiapas, Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has created numerous programs and transnational projects for the extraction of the natural riches of our land. All three levels of government are being pressured and manipulated into accepting economic resources from transnational businesses, leaving all Mexicans in debt. Wiping out the indigenous class appears to be their main aim. Now, the government’s plans for the land are written by big business.

 

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SINCERELY:

The ejidal and auxiliary authorities of the Ejido Pichucalco and the Ejido Candelaria, municipality of Ocosingo.

 

Translated by Ruby Zajac, for the UK Zapatista Translation Service.

Original: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/ejidos-de-ocosingo-rechazan-trazo-de-la.html

 

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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: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/28/politica/027n1pol 

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

 

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September 29, 2013

Because this Land is Ours: The Rights of Mother Earth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:13 am

 

Because this Land is Ours: The Rights of Mother Earth 
Written by Beverly Bell and Tory Field
The hip-hop group Kunarevolution celebrate the Kuna Yala nation’s recent rejection of carbon trading. (Photo: Beverly Bell)Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect their lands and waters.

The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon trading. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters.

In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”

Because indigenous nations and communities have preserved their forests so well, they are everywhere being targeted by REDD projects. What may sound like dry policy is in fact a contest in who has control over the land, the air, and future: those who have stewarded the earth for millennia, or those who want to buy and sell it as merchandise.

First among the problems of REDD is that it allows industries to pay to continue polluting. When corporations can buy the right to contaminate the air instead of changing their destructive practices, everyone and everything suffers.

Second, REDD’s very premise – attaching a monetary value to the ecological role of forests – commodifies what indigenous peoples say should never be commodified. Gustavo Castro Soto, co-coordinator of Otros Mundos in Chiapas, Mexico, said, “When a natural function like forest respiration becomes a product with a price, it’s easy to see who’s going to end up with control of the forests.”

Third, the market-based approach raises questions about who “owns” the forests in the first place. Agreements made with local or national governments, or with some indigenous “leaders” who may falsely claim to represent their people, cannot be trusted to protect the communities that live in the areas affected, or the earth itself.

The fourth problem concerns the kind of activities REDD allows. Tree plantations, vast fields of a single variety like oil palm or eucalyptus, are planted for quick harvest and large profit. By the U.N.’s definition, these ecologically destructive plantations can be counted as forests. This means that corporations and governments can log biologically diverse jungles and ancient woods, create plantations in their place, and collect REDD payments.

Fifth, REDD regulations can prohibit traditional indigenous agricultural practices and cause indigenous communities to be evicted. For an excellent analysis of even more dangers of REDD, please see “No Rights of Nature, No Reducing Emissions” by Jeff Conant and Anne Petermann.

Indigenous nations and social movements around the world have been denouncing REDD. To amplify their dissent, they have been forming alliances, gathering at international climate talks, and protesting. They insist on upholding an old concept which has recently been gaining currency as Mother Earth rights. This means that rights of the earth are intrinsic, and cannot be given or taken away by governments or international institutions. The framework is being used both to spread the worldview that the riches of nature should not be considered commodities to be bought and sold, and to mobilize people to unified action.

Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nation University wrote, “Our Indigenous lifeways are the original ‘green economies.’ This is more than an abstract philosophy. Our Mother Earth is the source of life. Water is her lifeblood. The well-being of the natural environment predicts the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual longevity of our Peoples. Mother Earth’s health and that of our Indigenous Peoples are intrinsically intertwined. When our homelands are in a state of good health our Peoples are truly healthy. This inseparable relationship must be respected for the sake of our future generations and for the well-being of the Earth herself.”

Goldtooth and Wildcat continued, “As Indigenous Peoples, we are accepting the responsibility designated by our prophecies to tell the world that we must live in peace with each other and the Earth to ensure harmony within Creation.”

At the December 2011 UN Conference in South Africa, a new coalition, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life, called for a moratorium on REDD. “We are here to express our concern about the false solutions that have made a business out of climate change,” said Marlon Santi, former president of the National Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador.

 

Source: Upside Down World

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July 24, 2013

Chiapas Cancels ‘Disastrous’ Forest Carbon Offset plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:56 pm

Chiapas Cancels ‘Disastrous’ Forest Carbon Offset plan 

 

Image: IEN

from Friends of the Earth-U.S. 

The state government of Chiapas has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day.

Carlos Morales Vázquez, the Mexican state’s secretary of the environment, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program “was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled.”

What the suspension of the program means for California’s agreement with Chiapas remains to be seen. The program, instituted in 2011 after Chiapas signed an agreement with California as part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, has been widely criticized by civil society groups for its lack of clear objectives, absence of baseline measures of deforestation, and failure to engage indigenous people’s organizations or take into account historic tension over land rights that plague the region.

Europe’s emissions trading system, the largest carbon market in the world, does not accept REDD credits. The EU says reductions in carbon emissions from forest preservation are impossible to verify accurately, that preserving one forest in one place may only drive deforestation to another area, and that industrial pollution remains in the atmosphere for centuries while forests are more vulnerable to short-term changes.

“The idea that California could reduce its climate emissions by asking the state of Chiapas to preserve its forests was absurd from the beginning,” said Jeff Conant, international forests campaigner with Friends of the Earth-U.S. “The suspension of the program can only be seen as recognition that there are better ways to meet our goals of preserving ecosystems, supporting indigenous peoples’ rights and defusing the climate crisis.”

Friends of the Earth-Mexico, also known as Otros Mundos, called the REDD+ program in Chiapas “a chronicle of a disaster foreseen.”

“The failure of the REDD+ program shows why projects that attempt to commercialize nature can’t work in Chiapas,” said Claudia Ramos-Guillén of Friends of the Earth-Mexico. “This project has had tremendous costs for the indigenous and peasant communities of the state. Programs by which the tropical nations of the global South are paid to absorb the climate pollution of the industrial North are destined to fail as long as real solutions to the climate crisis are not put into practice.”

Morales, the Chiapas environment secretary, told El Heraldo that the program “didn’t have the results that were announced. I believe that environmental problems need to be addressed with real strategies, not just as casual occurrences.”

This spring, draft recommendations for moving the agreement between California, Chiapas and the Brazilian state of Acre generated a storm of criticism. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, Global Justice Ecology Project, the Indigenous Environmental Network and dozens of other groups sent a letter to California’s Governor Jerry Brown asking him to reject the proposal, saying: “[The] proposal is not only unlikely to deliver real, additional and permanent emission reductions, but it would also prevent Californians from getting the benefits of AB 32 at home.” Groups in Chiapas and Brazil also sent letters to California authorities denouncing the effort.

Despite the news that the REDD+ program in Chiapas is suspended, the Action Program on Climate Change in Chiapas continues to refer to REDD+ as a keystone of the state’s climate change strategy, indicating that the project could be moved to other areas.

SOURCE: Earth First!

 

Is Chiapas carbon deal cancelled?

Ecosystem Markplace on July 19 reported that the Chiapas REDD project has not been cancelled, but is being reconfigured to conform to the recommendations of an advisory panel established for the project called the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW).

 

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July 22, 2013

CHIAPAS CARBON DEAL WITH CALIFORNIA CANCELLED

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:35 am
CHIAPAS CARBON DEAL WITH CALIFORNIA CANCELLED
       
Audios: los efectos de REDD+ en las comunidades indígenasThe state government of Chiapas, Mexico, has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day. Carlos Morales Vázquez, the state’s environment secretary, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the UN initiative that provided the model for the pact, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), “was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled.”
 
The program, instituted in 2011 after Chiapas signed an agreement with California as part of the US state’s Global Warming Solutions Act or AB32, has been widely criticized by civil society groups for its lack of clear objectives, and failure to engage indigenous people’s organizations or take into account historic tension over land rights in the region.
 
Europe’s emissions trading system, the largest carbon market in the world, does not accept REDD credits. The EU maintains that reductions in carbon emissions from forest preservation are impossible to verify accurately, that preserving one forest in one place may only drive deforestation to another area, and that industrial pollution remains in the atmosphere for centuries while forests are more vulnerable to short-term changes.
 
“The idea that California could reduce its climate emissions by asking the state of Chiapas to preserve its forests was absurd from the beginning,” said Jeff Conant, international forests campaigner with Friends of the Earth-US. “The suspension of the program can only be seen as recognition that there are better ways to meet our goals of preserving ecosystems, supporting indigenous peoples’ rights, and defusing the climate crisis.”
 
Friends of the Earth-Mexico, also known as Otros Mundos, called the REDD+ program in Chiapas “a chronicle of a disaster foreseen.”
 
“The failure of the REDD+ program shows why projects that attempt to commercialize nature can’t work in Chiapas,” said Claudia Ramos-Guillén of Otros Mundos. “This project has had tremendous costs for the indigenous and peasant communities of the state. Programs by which the tropical nations of the global South are paid to absorb the climate pollution of the industrial North are destined to fail as long as real solutions to the climate crisis are not put into practice.”
 
Morales, the Chiapas environment secretary, told El Heraldo that the program “didn’t have the results
that were announced. I believe that environmental problems need to be addressed with real strategies, not just as casual occurrences.”
 
This spring, draft recommendations for moving the agreement between California, Chiapas and the Brazilian state of Acre generated a storm of criticism. Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, Global Justice Ecology Project, the Indigenous Environmental Network and dozens of other groups sent a letter to California’s Governor Jerry Brown asking him to reject the plan, saying: “[The] proposal is not only unlikely to deliver real, additional and permanent emission reductions, but it would also prevent Californians from getting the benefits of AB 32 at home.” Groups in Chiapas and Brazil also sent letters to California authorities denouncing the effort.
 
Despite the news that the REDD program in Chiapas is suspended, the Action Program on Climate Change in Chiapas continues to refer to REDD as a keystone of the state’s climate change strategy, indicating that the project could be moved to other areas. (Friends of the Earth, July 18)
Source:  WW4 Report

Is Chiapas carbon deal cancelled?

Submitted by WW4 Report on Sat, 07/27/2013 – 04:02.

Ecosystem Markplace on July 19 reported that the Chiapas REDD project has not been cancelled, but is being reconfigured to conform to the recommendations of an advisory panel established for the project called the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW).

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September 27, 2012

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

Filed under: Lacandon/ montes azules — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:25 am

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

By Chris Lang, 21st September 2012

Next week, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force will meet in Chiapas, Mexico. Ahead of the meeting, Vía Campesina has written a piece declaring its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle in Chiapas.

According to the GCF, the meeting will be, “a unique opportunity for information exchange and progress on the GCF’s low emission rural development and REDD-related objectives”. But there is a vast gulf between the dry technical topics on the GCF meeting agenda (such as Advancing MRV, Nesting and State-National Alignment, Stakeholder processes and Benefit-sharing, Re-framing REDD+) and the concerns and opposition to REDD raised by indigenous peoples and local communities in Chiapas.

In April 2011, after visiting Chiapas, Jeff Conant of Global Ecology Justice Project wrote that,

signs of conflict and concern were everywhere, amidst a complex web of economic development projects being imposed on campesino and indigenous communities without any semblance of free, prior, and informed consent. Among these projects is a renewed government effort to delimit Natural Protected Areas within the Lacandon Jungle, in order to generate carbon credits to be sold to California companies.

The film, “Greed for Trees in the Lacandón Jungle”, which is mentioned in Vía Campesina’s statement is available here (in Spanish).

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

17 September 2012. Translated by Christy Rodgers

San Cristobal de Las Casas will be the site of the upcoming Latin American governors’ meeting, where they will exchange information and progress reports concerning the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests Program (REDD), according to international movement Vía Campesina’s Chiapas office.

The Chiapas provincial government initiated the program last year in the Lacandón jungle, in order to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change by stopping logging and paying inhabitants about two thousand pesos [each].

During the same dates as the planned meeting, members of the Vía Campesina movement, including farmers and specialists, will gather in San Cristobal’s Museum of Amber to share the results of the analysis they have made of the program, which they maintain is in the process of selling off the Lacandón’s forests.

What is REDD in Chiapas?

In November 2010, before the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change, the governors of California and Chiapas signed an agreement for the sale and purchase of carbon credits in the province’s forests, which would compensate California in its battle against climate change.

The Chiapas administration chose the Lacandón forests, which are part of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. They began carbon retention there by offering monetary compensation to protect trees and avoid felling them.

Initially, the California state government, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, made one payment, but following the economic crisis there, further payments were suspended. The Chiapas government then used its own funds instead.

“REDD’s purpose is to create a process of appropriation, commodification, and control of the natural resources on indigenous and peasant lands,” says Vía Campesina’s Ana Valadez, a legal specialist on environmental issues.

She maintains that the Chiapas government violated inhabitants’ rights by signing an agreement with California without providing prior information to the populace.

Similarly, she explained that Lacandón inhabitants have been given weapons and training to guard the forest, and this has divided the communities and generated conflicts among them.

The documentary film “Greed for Trees in the Lacandón Jungle,” made by the San Cristobal environmental organization Other Worlds Are Possible, indicates that the Chiapas administration has launched a PR campaign to justify and build public support for the program.

It argued that the program would reduce the climate crisis, but “this is untrue, because forests absorb carbon naturally, not greenhouse gases. The program will only provide compensation using dubious verification methods that portend the privatization of forests.”

 

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July 2, 2012

EMISSIONS REDUCTION PROJECT IS QUESTIONED FOR PROMOTING DEFORESTATION

Filed under: Lacandon/ montes azules — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:45 pm

 

Emissions Reduction Project is Questioned for Promoting Deforestation

  ** Although it was expected that indigenous peoples would participate in the decisions, it has not been that way: experts

** It is an ecocide involving forced displacement and destruction of communities, they indicate

FotoPhoto: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 21, 2012

In no country where the programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) has been promoted has it been free from criticisms. It has barely started in Chiapas, but already indigenous peoples, social organizations, some research centres and independent NGOs have joined together to question the project and its management, because “it can destroy the communities which are living inside the jungle, it takes away their right to be heard and to participate in the decisions about their territory”, maintains Ingrid Fadnes, of the Latin America Group (LAG) from Norway, with many years of presence in Chiapas, in an investigation for UNAM’s Latin American Studies.

Since 2007, the United Nations has intensified programmes for confronting climate change. REDD is the result. Ever since it started in developing countries, according to various reports, “it only serves to enable the industrialized countries to buy clean consciences and continue polluting in their respective countries.” They are “indulgences,” Fadnes says with irony.

In December 2010, Mexico entered the REDD. In Chiapas, one of the planet’s lungs, 1,300,000 hectares are under protection in 48 reserves or Natural Protected Areas, around half of these in the Montes Azules. But inside the jungle “also lives what the governor calls ‘the enemy of the forest: man,’ which here would mean the indigenous peoples.” Plunder has been a historic way to “clear obstacles” from the jungle reserve. Today, the only “legal” residents are the Lacandónes, although other Maya peoples also live there. “When the governor says that future generations are going to thank him because they will be able to make a living from forest conservation, ecotourism and the producing rubber and palm oil, he speaks for his government and for the few indigenous people who will benefit from the project, not for the communities who struggle to maintain their culture and territory, and to grow their native plants like corn and beans.”

Both the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Mexican government’s document that establishes the REDD as a “national strategy,” recognize the need for the indigenous peoples to participate and be listened to when actions are taken in their territory; but it has not been that way. “There are very critical voices at the international level. In Mexico and Chiapas there are organizations and communities who are opposed to the project, while certain (other) indigenous communities have accepted participation,” Fadnes states. In the first (group) are the 2010 signatories to the Declaration of the Montes Azules Forum (30 independent campesino and indigenous organizations, universities and collectives). In the second, almost exclusively, is what is known as the “Lacandón Community.”

In contrast to the government concept that the project “is the solution to climate change, eradicating poverty in Chiapas and leading to indigenous peoples’ increased economic development”; the investigator, among others, compares questions from the organization Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste (Woods of the Southeast Peoples), for whom “REDD is an ecocide, implying forced displacement and the destruction of the original peoples; it is only convenient for the rich countries.”

The origin of these “solutions” dates back to the “green revolution,” publicized as a success but which over time has led to rejection “for the destruction of biodiversity and the poisoning of soils and water due to monoculture and pesticides.” Along the same lines, within REDD they are planning plantations of rubber, oil palm and eucalyptus, monocultures that require large quantities of pesticides and damage the soil. “The green revolution attempted to address the demand for food and ended up trying to control nature, without considering the consequences for the ecosystem, biodiversity, human health and the work of the campesino.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/05/22/politica/016n1pol

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

 

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May 23, 2012

REDD PROGRAMME HAS DESTROYED INDIGENOUS IDENTITY

Filed under: Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:31 pm


Investigation Questions the REDD Programme because it has Destroyed Indigenous Identity

 ** In Chiapas they are attempting to open a gap (brecha) in the Lacandón Jungle, renewing the dispossession: Fadnes

** In September a world conference of the governors of the 42 member states will be held

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis., 22 May.

The programme called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests (REDD Plus), impelled by the United Nations, was embraced by the Mexican government in 2010, and its flagship is Chiapas, where, as in others countries, it turns out to be controversial. To start with, “the government itself has divided the peoples into ‘legal’ and ‘illegal,’ ‘respecting’ Convention 169 of the ILO when it is dealing with people that collaborate with the government, while this is not valid when it is dealing with other indigenous peoples: ‘the invaders,’” maintains the work El Proyecto REDD Plus en Chiapas (The REDD Plus Project in Chiapas) by the Norwegian investigator Ingrid Fadnes.

“And the rights of the indigenous peoples? A vision shared among the majority of them, on a continental scale, is that those who destroy their land and their resources are causing their own destruction and their identity as a people.”

In Chiapas not only does a large biological diversity exist, but “also an impressive cultural diversity, with 12 different indigenous peoples.” The Lacandons, the people smallest in number and always controversial because of their permanent “collaborationism”, are once again at the centre of criticism from other indigenous peoples and from social and environmental organizations.

The government has been paying a monthly amount to members of the Lacandón Community who already collaborate in the project: “We support the owners of the land, we are not contracting forest guards or jungle guards; we are gambling that the landowners are going to protect it,” argued Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero. Residents of Lacanjá Chansayab, Nahá, Metzabok, Frontera Corozal and Nueva Palestina (Ocosingo) receive this “pay for environmental services.”

The investigation points out: “The REDD projects in Mexico are not formally defined as such, but the government of Chiapas started to pay select Lacandón comuneros, to demonstrate their will to create a good basis for the trasnational California businesses, with public resources.”

From September 25 to 27, presided over by the Chiapas governor, the world conference will be held here of the Work Group of governors of the 45 states that are members of the REDD Plus programme (a singular sub-national collaboration between various states and provinces that establishes the basis for a market for buying and selling carbon credits).

Diverse actors participate. The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Forest Commission impel a pilot project for “training” communities in monitoring, carbon measuring and calculation on the amount of carbon that exists in the present and future, and counting the reduction of emissions. The state Action Programme for Climate Change was established for that, where Conservation International participates “facilitating the development of the scientific, technical and structural bases” through alliances with the universities of Arts & Sciences of Chiapas, Technology Institute of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, College of the Southern Border, UNAM and Postgraduate College, with collaboration from the National Ecology Institute. Besides, civil agencies like Pronatura and the Ambio Cooperative, the National Commission for the Conservation of Biodiversity and its Mesoamerican Biological Corridor programme; the US Agency for International Development [US-AID], the British Embassy, the Norwegian government and the World Fund for the Environment, administered and controlled by the World Bank.

“To define what one can sell in carbon indulgences (credits) to the government of California and to contaminating corporations that sustain it, the Chiapas administration intends, like others for decades, to open a gap in the Lacandón Jungle that limits the zone to commercializing, renewing aggressions and land grabs against the indigenous communities,” the investigator concludes.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/05/23/politica/021n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the:

International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:

Chiapas Support Committee, California

Wellington Zapatista Support Group

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

May 22, 2012

TURNING CHIAPAS FORESTS INTO MERCHANDISE

Filed under: Corporations, Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Sustainable rural cities — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:10 pm

Turning Chiapas Forests into Merchandise 

The Commodification of Forests is the Motive for Removing Communities in Chiapas

 ** El Triunfo, the reserve with which the state government entered the carbon credit market

** Accusation that the conservation arguments consist of stopping planting corn in the area

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 20, 2012

Among the main economic motives for removing communities from the forests they inhabit is the sale of carbon credits, maintain civil organisations belonging to the Network for Peace in Chiapas (Sipaz, Desmi, Frayba and others). At COP 16 (Conference of the Parties) in Cancún, in December 2010, Mexico joined the programme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Environmental Degradation (REDD Plus), whose basic idea is that countries which are willing and able to reduce the carbon emissions coming from deforestation should be financially compensated.

In a 122-page report, critical of the rural cities project and the environmental policy in Chiapas, released this week, the civil agencies point out that, simultaneously, the governor signed an agreement with his then counterparts from California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Acre, Brazil, Arnobio Márques de Almeida, which started “a market for buying and selling carbon credits that is part of the project known as REDD Plus.”

In 2009, the Action Programme on Climate Change in Chiapas (PACCCH, its initials in Spanish) had been established with support from the British Embassy, Conservation International, a conservationist NGO (“that they use as an intermediary with the communities”) and academic institutions like the Southern Border College (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur), which has collaborated to implement the REDD Plus Project with the National Forestry Commission; although recently it has attempted to distance itself publicly, it has not done so with sufficient clarity.

The governor of Chiapas, the report emphasizes, “is convinced that adding on to the ‘payment for environmental services’ is a project for life,” and it quotes the governor: “Your children and grandchildren are going to thank him because they are going to live, they are going to receive money for taking care of it, let’s gamble for them, those who are little, so that you have the certainty that your children are going to live in the future, are going to live from conservation of the reserves, from tourism and the production of rubber or oil palm.”

The “ecological” interests of the development plans imply the commodification of the forests, for which the authorities consider it necessary “that the communities inside the reserves be relocated or not use the lands for small farming activities, like occurs in the El Triunfo Reserve with which the Chiapas government entered the carbon market.” But the crown jewel in this market, as will be seen in the following reports, would be the Montes Azules Reserve, in the Lacandón Jungle.

The report of the mission of the Network for Peace points out: “As is well known, for the indigenous peoples corn, which has been cultivated in Chiapan lands for thousands of years, has a great nutritional and cultural importance.” Nevertheless, one of the government’s arguments for “conserving biodiversity” consists of stopping the planting of corn. The governor has said that: “it does a lot of damage to the planet, while the reserve, the great wealth that its residents have, would be finished.”

REDD Plus promotes a “productive reconversion” so that the campesinos stop producing their own foods, like corn, and cultivate products for fuels or construction materials (rubber, African Palm). The sale of carbon to transnationals which they seek to establish in the forests of Chiapas also “implies the displacement of the communities for carrying out another government project: sustainable rural cities.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, May 21, 2012

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/05/21/politica/014n1pol

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the:

International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the:

Chiapas Support Committee, California

Wellington Zapatista Support Group

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

 

 

April 29, 2012

REDD IN THE LACANDON JUNGLE: THE POLITICAL USE OF A PROGRAMME AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:39 am

 

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REDD in the Lacandon Jungle: The Political Use of a Programme Against Climate Change

 

Written by O.B., Translation by Alex Cachinero-Gorman
Photo by Orin Langelle/GJEP-GFCREDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a United Nations program meant to fight climate change. It will be put into effect after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and it includes forests on the Carbon Credit market.With REDD, the companies that contaminate the planet the most will be able to continue their activity if, in return, they financially support communities in the South to conserve the forests they live in.

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According to the program’s promoters, it will absorb these companies’ Co2 emissions, thereby saving our planet, while at the same time these communities grow economically. “These mechanisms fulfill the objectives of sustainable development: they fight poverty and climate change at the same time”, Mexican president Felipe Calderón declared at the COP16 in Cancún.As such, it purports to combat global warming without reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and without putting the capitalist system and its excesses—the real causes of environmental disaster—on the table.

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Analyzing the application of REDD to the Lacandon Jungle in the Mexican state of Chiapas, all of the problems that the programme brings with it begin to stick out. California and the state of Acre (Brazil) have for some time now had their eyes on the Chiapan jungle, Latin America’s second lung. In November 2010, the two governments signed an agreement with governor Juan Sabines Guerrero laying the foundations for REDD’s introduction in Chiapas.Already in 2009 the state government initiated its Program for Action Against Climate Change in Chiapas (PACCCH), thanks to the support of the British Embassy, Conservation International, NGO conservationists (that have the important role of being intermediaries to communities) and academics. Out of all of these, it is the researchers from ECOSUR (El Colegio de la Fontera Sur) who are working on a document to implement REDD+ in Mexico. ECOSUR is also creating a Forest and Soil Inventory to identify which areas take priority in terms of greenhouse gases and carbon sinks, in order to facilitate investment in REDD+.

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In addition, ECOSUR collaborates in the implementation of projects to open the path for REDD in the Lacandon Jungle called—not accidentally—“Early Actions.” In particular, ECOSUR promotes productive reconversion projects under the framework of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Initiative. The objective of the Corridor, according to its supporters, is to connect protected nature areas in the Mesoamerican region, conserving biodiversity and promoting eco-tourist projects or the cultivation of monocrops like fruits or palm oil. According to others, the true objective of productive reconversion is to prepare communities for the introduction of REDD.

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In the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, which is part of the Lacandon Jungle, institutions like CONAFOR [Comisión Nacional Forestal, or National Forestry Commission] and  Proárbol are working on the introduction of REDD through Payments for Environmental Services (PSA), whose stated goal is the same as REDD: reducing deforestation and poverty.

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What’s more, governor Juan Sabines Guerrero is already paying 2,000 pesos monthly to certain indigenous Lacandon families to preserve the area. “We can’t allow human settlements within the Reserve’s interior”, Sabines declared. It is true that the colonization of the Lacandon Jungle has precipitated an environmental disaster: to make room for houses, crops, and husbandry, settlers have cut down a large number of trees. But isn’t it the logging firms that are primarily responsible for deforestation in the jungle?

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To understand what is happening in the Lacandon and the political use to which REDD is being put by the governor of Chiapas, it is necessary first to open up a small historical parenthesis. In 1972, the federal government handed 614,321 hectares of jungle over to 66 indigenous Lacandonans (though this is not their true name, and they are not original settlers of this region), threatening thirty-seven communities from other indigenous nations with eviction—even though they had settled, sometimes legally, on this land. The Lacandonans, in turn, signed an agreement in which they promised the company Cofolasa 35,000 cubic meters of wood a year for 10 years.

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The titling law, known as the Decree of the Lacandon Community, was the first step (and REDD is the last) in the opening of the “Lacandon gap”—that is to say, the bid to physically delimit the territory belonging to the Lacandonans, who continue cooperating with the government’s policies (thereby leaving those who do choose not to do so by the wayside). One of the next steps in the opening up of the gap was the creation, in 1978, of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve: these ‘protected natural areas’ are policies meant to strip indigenous communities of their rights to their land. Inside the Reserve there is a “restricted-use zone”, where human settlement has been banned and the families that lived in the area have been evicted and forcefully relocated. At times this was carried out with the cooperation of paramilitary operatives, as occurred in 2006 in the Viejo Velasco community. The next year, the communities of El Buen Samaritano and San Samuel were occupied by the army and disbanded.

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In the documentary “REDD: Lust for Trees”, Francisco Alfonso de Amador Hernández claims that, out of fear, many communities have begun to negotiate transfers with the government to a Sustainable Rural City. The Sustainable Rural Cities are impersonal and miserable housing areas where people relocated from different communities—belonging to different indigenous nations, not speaking the same language—live together. In this way, the government can exercise greater control over them and employ them as cheap manual labor in the cultivation of agrocombustibles.

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In the pamphlet “Mexico’s Vision of REDD+”, the federal government stresses the importance of “respecting the rights to social property and promoting communal management of forests, both in regard to ownership and possession of a community’s lands and in the benefits derived from said management. We recognise the importance of community participation in the design and implementation of the project”. In reality, indigenous people have not participated in the design of REDD, and its supposed benefits are not distributed equally among communities. Often, they are not distributed equally even within the same community: for example, in Frontera Corozal, which has 1,100 residents, the agreement was signed with the consent of only 60 community members. Thus, REDD, and the projects that are setting the ground for its introduction, do nothing more than sharpen the tensions already present in the Lacandon.

 

 

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