ricardo dominguez on Thu, 4 Apr 2002 16:02:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Indian Communities in Chiapas' Jungle Are Threatened With Expulsion

[Via www.americas.org/LASC mail list]

Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 5:54 PM
Subject: En;LASC,Call to action on Montes Azules situation,Mar 29 
To: CIS Members and Pasamontanas
From: Phil Wheaton, Milt Shapiro and Ricardo
Subject: Summary of Bellinghausen's articles from La Jornada
Dear CIS members and Ricardo/Maite,

In preparation for Ricardo sending out a Letter Signing Petition, we felt
this background material was important for CIS to see first. We have
already started soliciting organizational names of groups that might sign
on. Please suggest others to us.

Note: The full moon this month falls today and the expulsion of 16
communities from Montes Azules may begin today, Good Friday and full
moon. This is very serious. Please share any ideas you have.

Phil, Milt and Ricardo
Crucifixion At Full Moon!
Indian Communities in Chiapas' Jungle Are Threatened With Expulsion

Note: Between March 14 and 27, 2002, a series of six articles appeared in
La Jornada, a national newspaper of Mexico, written by the well-known
investigative journalist Hermann Bellinghausen concerning the imminent
threat of expelling 16 Indian communities from the Montes Azules
Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas. What follows are
excerpts from these articles, revealing a dangerous precedent initiated
by the USA and backed by Mexico which has asked the United Nations and
has received its backing to mandate this expulsion based upon the false
charge that indigenous presence in the Lacandon represents a problem of
ungovernability and to declare all forest areas a matter of
"international security." This is an extremely dangerous global
precedent. Please forward. Thank you.

Signed, Ricardo Jua'rez, Pasamonta~as, Arlington, Virginia
Philip Wheaton, Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS), DC
Milton Shapiro, Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS), DC

Warning: This Indian "Crucifixion" Is Set To Happen "During Holy Week"

The expulsion of 16 Indigenous communities was announced "for Holy Week
when the moon is full," which occurs today, Good Friday, 2002. So this is
a Red Alert. Please send this message out to your networks immediately.

La Jornada, Mar.16:
Security Forces Are Readying to Remove 35 Communities

Autonmous Zapatista municipalities and diverse civil organizations have
denounced the imminent removal of 16 of some 35 Indigenous communities
from the interior and edges of the biosphere reserve called Montes Azules
in Southeastern Chiapas, Mexico. On March 13, the Information and
Analysis Collective of the Jungle Region announced that only the day and
the hour are left to be sychronized, "because this expulsion is set to
beginr during Holy Week, 2002, when the moon is full..."

Many of these Indian communities are legal and the most recent ones are
made up of campesinos with land but who have been displaced through
military occupation and paramilitary violence, as in the Canyon of
Taniperla. On Saturday, March 9, hundreds of Federal Preventative Police
(PFP) arrived at the Rancho Nuevo base, headquarters of the military
zone, on board dozens of commercial buses belonging to a bus company
called "Cristobal Colo'n," that is, Christopher Columbus!

The United Nations has designated 2002 as "the year of the mountains" and
at the request of the Mexican government--according to a bulletin dated
March 1 from the National Forestry Council of Mexico--the UN has
declared, through its Security Council, that "forests are [now] a matter
of international security." This is a generic policy, meaning it could be
applied to any forest area anywhere in the world. This is an extremely
dangerous policy aimed at expelling people from any forest area in the
globe so exploiters can get at its natural resources.

La Jornada, Mar.14:
Regional Geostrategic Policy Is Linked to Plan Puebla Panama

The Autonomous Zapatista community of Ricardo Flores Magno'n has made
public that the removal of these Indian communities, this forced
"expulsion-relocation"process, is part of a "regional geostrategic" plan
targeting the whole central mountain range of the Mayan jungle which goes
beyond the Lacandon. According to the Mexican government agency Profepa,
its "two priorities are: Montes Azules (the Lacandon jungle) and El
Vizcaino (a whale reserve in the Sea of California)." The goal of
exploiters and foreign corporations alike is to get at the surface and
sub-surface resources in this vast virgin territory, to develop
maquiladoras and dams for energy in Chiapas and Guerrero and to create a
new tourist industry throughout the region.

They see this as linked to the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP), a development
corridor involving dry canals, highways and maquiladoras which will run
from Puebla, Mexico, through the narrow neck of Mexico at Tehuantepec and
all the way through Central America to Panama. The PPP is the priority
project of President Vicente Fox whose government is determined to
implement it whatever the cost in money and lives. Within Mexico, the
Plan Puebla Panama route passes from Beneme'rito de las Americas to
Palenque, along the northern edge of the Lacandon jungle. In the coming
months, several industries will be opened as well as a four-lane highway
which is already built, a brand new frontier roadway system that borders
Mexico and Guatemala and passes within a few kilometers of Montes Azules.

La Jornada, Mar.17:
The Governor of Chiapas Will Decide Who Is to be Expelled

To better understand the drama of this removal, forced relocation and
possible inprisonment of indigenous peoples who live in these areas deep
within the Lacandon jungle, it is necessary to understand who some of the
protagonists behind this strategy are. At the international level,
Bellinghausen has identified the following names which are surprising.
They include: NASA, the UN, Coca Cola, USAID, the World Bank and "other
international stars."

At the national (federal) level, within Mexico, those interested in this
expulsion process include several key persons, among them: Ramo'n Aguirre,
member the Chiapas Environmental [Board] (La Mesa Ambiental), has called
for "the broadest possible removal of delinquents  from Montes Azules.
Another is Rodolfo Di'az Arvide who has a long history
in the Salinas-Zedillo PRI governments and is charged with involvement in
the counterinsurgency war against the Indians. A third is Ivan Azuara who
has already directed several "removal and relocation" operations against
dozens of indian communities, a number of them pro- Zapatista.
At the Chiapas State level, the responsibility for deciding who is to be
removed from the Lacandon jungle will fall to the Govenor Pablo Salazar
Mendiguchia who must resolve the "hot potato" issue of ungovernability.
For this purpose, a new state body was set up called the "Environmental
Table to Annul the Denunciation of the Plunder and Ecological Damage" and
possible re-location and indemnization to the settlements. What is most
revealing about this rapid response team is that it was established on
Sept.13, two days after the Twin Towers implosion.

La Jornada,Mar.19:
Indians Fear They'll Be Removed via Environmental Disasters

Since 1998, several suspicious fires have destroyed forest areas in
Montes Azules and some of the ARIC Independiente communities have
practiced "clear cutting" of all the trees in a given area as over
against the traditional Indian practice of selective tree cutting and
careful burning for farming. Now the campesinos within the Biosphere
Reserve fear that new fires will break out, not set by them, which could
result in driving them out of the forests.

Not far from the heart of the Lacandon, lies the Chajul jungle which is
joined to the Guatemalan Ixcan. It is here that one of the principle
trans-frontier corridors has been built in an vast region which those in
government circles, along with investors and environmentalists, are
calling the Mayan Jungle, which would unite the prodigious Guatemalan
Pete'n with the Lacandona and the Ixca'n jungle. This vast area represents
the "regional strategic plan" of the United States which includes five
jungles in Belice, Guatemala and Mexico."

Bellinghausen says "it is clear that the plans underway are considering,
where possible, to empty the Mayan people from the Mayan Jungle." To
accomplish this, the Mexican government has already committed itself,
according to the numerous declarations and manifests from functionaries
in recent months, to act energetically against this new type of
"terrorism" recently defined by international conclaves as "environmental

La Jornada, Mar.24:
"False Charges of Ungovernability Mask Corporate Greed

Environmental issues, biosphere inspection, ecoturism and birth control
projects (birth control means eventually sterilizing indigenous women)
are all part of an opening wedge in a long-term strategic and military
project. According to Mexican authorities, this is a matter of
"international security," a grave problem of "ungovernability" and a "war
operation." According to the government of Chiapas, approximately half of
these communities are bases supporting the EZLN [Zapatistas]. Another
percentage belong to ARIC Independiente [an agrarian network], two are
PRI-backed and one is from CIOAC [a peasant coop]. During recent years,
diverse independent groups in Mexico have pointed to the fact that
military and geostrategic interests are using environmental concerns to
justify these expulsion whereas what they are really after is the wealth
which these biosphere reserves contain.

In October, 2001, while president Fox was visiting New York and met with
president George W. Bush, a delegation of US diplomats was travelling
from Mexico City to Montes Azules. The Americans involved included a
military attache, a person in charge of economic and commercial relations
and a representative of political affairs from the US Embassy in Mexico.
Durig the visit, members of Compitch--an independent environmemntal
organization--heard the commercial attache from Washington say: "I come
in the name of my government and of our companies. We want to carry out a
biosphere inspection in the Lacandon jungle, but we are also interested
in doing this throughout Chiapas and throughout the world. Our interest
is, basically, commercial and strategic."

La Jornada Virtu@l, Mar. 27,
Indians Speak the Truth: their Removal is Iimminent

The atmosphere in the Montes Azules Reserve has changed dramatically.
Even though the government covers up the truth, rumors are rampant. The
Mexican government claims that public opinion believes conditions in the
Reserve are improving and that concord exists between the communities and
the other organizations. Indians claim this is untrue. They say,
campesinos from San Antonio Escobar have been cutting down cedar trees
and the mahogany for a long time. Now, the rebel authorities are warning
that the government is taking avantage of this time of drought when the
indigenous are preparing the earth for seeding to attack them. And, they
are using the few Lacandon Indians--the original tribes, but who in fact
came from outside the Lacandon--to denounce other Indians as the ones
carrying out the forest destruction.

To the contrary, the autonomous Zapatista authorities say the goal is to
remove our communities from the jungle so that the Plan Puebla Panama
strategy can go forward. Indeed, they point out that the PPP "is a
conterinsurgency strategy aimed at removing us, because neoliberal
interests seek to obstruct our different cultures because we see the land
as sacred, as our mother, as a communal benefit, something that cannot be
used just to benefit the few."

The goal is cultural extermination. Towards the end of not allowing the
development of our communities, the goal--according to the autonomous
council, "is to create Centers of Strategic Development"(CEDs) by
concentrating their support forces and obliging campesinos to leave their
communities through lack of survival opportunities. In these CEDs, people
will have to look for work in the maquiladoras or in tourism. "The idea
is that they want to stop us from being campesinos and indians... but to
do that they have to first divide us. That is the purpose of the
counterinsurgency, the same old manipulations, the same threats; the same
political pressure, the economic pressures and, worst of all, extreme
- 30 -

A Petition to Protest these actions will follow shortly.
In the meantime, call the Mexican Embassy at 202-728-0694 (or the Mexican
Consulate nearest you) and send in your e-mail support
confirmation to: <PASAMONTANAS@cs.com> and <cisdc@zzapp.org>

The Latin American Solidarity Conference website can be found at

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