ricardo dominguez on Thu, 18 Apr 2002 15:03:01 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] A shadow of death is being raised in the heart of our land

[This post is a bit late in temporal terms -- but, the issue will only
 become more important as the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP)
pushs deeper into these areas and beyond -  r]

Date: Monday, March 25, 2002 23:45:41 -0600

Ricardo Flores Magón
Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion

March 25, 2002.
Chiapas, Mexico.

To the People of Mexico.
To the Peoples of the World.

Brothers and sisters:

A shadow of death is being raised in the heart of our land, of our mother,
of our selva. A cloud of soldiers, paramilitaries, plans and projects is
coming once again to threaten us, to rob us of our dream and to dislocate
our indigenous communities from the Comprehensive Biosphere Reserve of
Montes Azules (REBIMA) and from the so-called Lacandón area. But also the
dignity of a people who, despite the storms it walks, speaks with truth and
strength, and which will never again be silent, and which denounces the
government's tricks it is using in order to make its war of extermination
against the communities in resistance, now under the pretext of the reserved
areas. The voice of this people is now repeating to the bad federal and
state governments that the indigenous communities of Ricardo Flores Magón
are not going to permit dislocation, nor the relocation of our communities,
we are going to defend them with everything we have in our hands, in our
truth, rights and reason, we are going to defend our lands and communities
as the territories and rights of our indigenous peoples.

Today we are saying it quite clearly, the project to exterminate our
indigenous communities through dislocation and relocation is a strategic
part of the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP) and of its economic interests, which
are attempting to extend neoliberal policies and projects to the South and
Southeast of Mexico and to all of Central America. In addition, in order for
these policies to be imposed in our lands, the PPP is, at the same time, a
counterinsurgency plan, because neoliberal interests find themselves
thwarted by our indigenous communities and our different cultures, which
understand land as mother, as a communal good that cannot be used for the
benefit of just a few, because it cannot be destroyed or stolen in order to
be made private and destroyed in order to take out its wealth. They are also
seeking counterinsurgency because we have dignity, struggle and resistance,
because we have our own history and organization which exists and is
defended, which does not surrender, nor does it sell itself, nor is it

Owing to the great, unique and special riches which are brought together in
the REBIMA and in the entire Selva Lacandona - but also owing to the
struggle, dignity and resistance of the indigenous and the EZLN communities
against neoliberalism and injustice - the Selva Lacandona has turned into a
geo-strategic territory for the interests of multinational companies, of
governments, of the federal army and of the counterinsurgency war, the war
which attempts to reassure those political and economic interests which are
trying to reap benefit from the Selva, by excluding and exterminating our
indigenous peoples.

That is why the federal and state governments, multinational companies and
secretaries of state have already drawn up various programs which they are
trying to impose on the peoples and present them to society as programs
drawn up along with the people. These programs are primarily the "National
Program for Service to 250 Micro-Regions," the "Program for Sustainable
Development of the Selva," and the "Comprehensive Program for Sustainable
Development of the Selva." We are denouncing that these programs are nothing
more than the federal and state program for promoting the PPP at a local

There is also a program, which has not been made public, that was elaborated
along with companies interested in the Natural Resources of the Selva. In
that program, the relocation of indigenous communities inside these areas is
proposed, as well as the expulsion, through the use of military force, of
those communities which refuse to negotiate and to abandon the lands. In
order to accomplish this, they are going to utilize the legal resources
offered by the reserved area laws which are, nonetheless, in violation of
Convention 169 of the ILO and of the San Andrés Accords. At the same time,
it proposes that all government aid be withheld from those communities in
the Reserve and the Lacandón Area, and that aid be made conditional on
environmental measures for those inside the buffer zones (including
education and health). The purpose of this is to prevent the communities
from developing and to force the residents to leave for other regions with
greater opportunities for development. This plan first envisages the
expulsion of communities inside the Reserve, next from the Lacandón Area,
and, finally, the re-ordering of communities in the buffer and forest
protection zones into so-called "Strategic Development Centers (CED)."

The CEDs were planned by the PPP, and they are replicated in the different
programs until they reach the local and micro-regional level, although the
regional plans say that they are an initiative by the communities
themselves. The purpose of the CEDs is, in fact, to concentrate development
aid in a few centers, in order to force campesino people to leave their
communities, little by little, because of a lack of opportunities. They
would then concentrate in these centers, where they would have to look for
work that had nothing to do with the land, with their communities and
culture, such as the maquilas and tourism. The idea is that they leave and
forget about their land, that they forget about being campesinos and
indigenous, and that they then no longer teach their children these things,
and so they would, little by little, forget their love for the land, forget
being indigenous, they would forget the resistance and struggle which our
peoples have always contributed.

In order to achieve this, however, they need to divide, in order to divide
there is counterinsurgency, the same old wiles, the army, the
paramilitaries, the threats, political and economic pressure, and worst of
all, the extreme poverty which, out of necessity, forces many brothers to
take the first way out, not necessarily the better one.

They have created 34 micro-regions in the Selva Region, with a CED in each
one. They have tried to divide the territory of Ricardo Flores Magón into 8
micro-regions. They have created these so-called "Micro-Regional Councils" -
which they say are made up of representatives from all the communities and
organizations - without real support from the assemblies and communities. We
are making it quite clear that they ignored us throughout this entire
process, and all the zapatista communities and communities in resistance
have opposed it. In many cases they have also made pacts with just the
leaders of organizations, or directly with Ejidal Commissioners and corrupt
officials or with minority officials in each community, never with the real
approval of all the organizations and brothers who make up the assembly in a
community. These Micro-Regional Councils are going to be the lie with which
the government says it is consulting and receiving proposals from the
communities. And it is through them that they will justify the entry of the
PPP's neoliberal measures, those counterinsurgency measures that include
expulsions and relocation.

The more than 110 communities, villages and rancherías of this Autonomous
Municipality find themselves in danger of expulsion or relocation by various
means, since all of them are located in the buffer zones, others within the
Reserve, others in the Lacandón Area. The fear that is being felt in some
communities today is, therefore, a warning for everyone. The communities
that are most at risk of being expelled, relocated or affected in our rebel
territory are:

Total Dislocation within the REBIMA:

Laguna el Paraíso,
Laguna Suspiro
Nuevo San Pedro,
6 de Octubre,
Nuevo Guadalupe Tepeyac and
Nueva Cintalapa.

Ejidal Rights Directly Affected (provisions or extensions) by the REBIMA:

San Antonio Escobar,
Plan de Ayutla,
La Culebra,
Santa Rita,
El Jardín,
Villa las Rosas and

Ejidal Rights Directly Affected by the Lacandón Area:

Lacanjá Tseltal,
Santo Domingo,
Arroyo Granizo,
Plan de Guadalupe and
Niños Héroes.

Communities Directly Affected by the REBIMA Buffer Zone:

Monte Líbano,
Santa Elena,
Manuel Velasco Suarez,
San Jerónimo,
Agua Azul,
Emiliano Zapata,
Perla de Acapulco,
El Zapotal,
San Caralampio,
San José,
Nuevo Monte Líbano,
Guadalupe San Luis,
San Francisco,
Zaragoza and

Communities Affected by the Forest Protection Zone in Rio Tulijá:

San Jerónimo Tulijá,
Ranchería Paraíso Tulijá,
Ranchería San Isidro,
Ranchería San Felipe,
Ranchería San Pedro,
Ranchería San Marcos,
Rio Jordán,
San Juan and
Jol Tulijá.

We are making it quite clear that in the middle of all this are the economic
interests of large multinational companies that are dedicated to exploiting
biogenetic resources, covered with the masks of environmental foundations.
There are also the interests of the Mexican government and various other
governments for natural resources, such as fresh water, oil, uranium and
other soil and subsoil resources. There are also the interests of many
businessmen who are willing to exploit and use the displaced indigenous
populations as cheap labor for the maquilas (the new industrial fincas).
There are similar interests on the part of hotel owners and shopkeepers in
order to develop eco-tourism projects, and those fools who are trying to
change the lives of the indigenous so that we will cease being what we are:
indigenous and campesinos with our own ideas and culture, which are valuable
and which have the same right to exist as any other.

Even though the bad government says it is not doing anything, it is, in
fact, fabricating the legal lie for expulsion and for war against us. On the
one hand they have prepared the Carib indigenous (called the Lacandón by the
government), with advice from businessmen and from the secretaries of state,
to file charges of environmental crimes and seizure against the Tzeltal,
Tzotsil, Chol and Tojolabal indigenous who reside in the Reserve, and so
that they will say that if the government does not do the expulsion then
they, the Carib, are going to do it with their own hands. In other words,
they are manipulating them, as they have always done with the Carib.

On the other hand, the SEMARNAT speaks of the ecological danger which the
indigenous inside the Reserve represent. The businessmen and the North
American government speak of the importance of investing in the reserve
owing to its great biological and genetic wealth, which the indigenous there
are putting in danger, and they therefore speak of the benefits which would
be brought by expulsion. North American ambassadors and military attaches
are saying that if anyone opposes their plans for the reserve, they will not
hesitate to eliminate them.

The managers of the REBIMA, in turn, speak of the violations against the
Reserve laws which the indigenous are committing, and, along with the PGR,
they are preparing the legal arguments which will allow the Federal
Preventive Police (PFP) and the federal army to dislocate our communities
and remain inside the REBIMA and the Lacandón Area.

And the state government is saying that it is peacefully negotiating with
the communities in order to relocate them, and, on the other hand, through
their Secretary of Indian Peoples, Porfirio Encino, it talks of forming
"Guardians of the Reserve," in other words, paramilitary groups legalized
for the dislocation. At the same time, the state government has set up an
"Environmental Table," purportedly in order to seek negotiation with the
affected communities. The Table is made up, however, of the same persons who
are calling for dislocation, that is, representatives of the SEMARNAT, of
REBIMA, of the federal and state SEDESOL, of the Agrarian Prosecutor's
Office, Carib leaders and even the PGR. At its meetings they have
recommended that, if the residents demonstrate "unfriendly behavior,"
corresponding denuncias should be brought against them, and legal charges
should be filed for crimes of ecological damage and seizure. In other words,
harass the populace and make legal preparations for expulsion. The Table is
planning, among other things, to assess damages, achieving the maximum
amount of information through infiltrations, land incursions and
overflights. In addition, government officials are harassing and visiting
different communities, threatening them with dislocation or with limiting
their agrarian rights in the buffer zone.

While all of them are speaking and covering up their intentions with legal
masks, the federal army and paramilitary groups are acting and preparing for
expulsion through violent means. The federal army has renewed its operations
inside the REBIMA and the Lacandón Area, surrounding and going in to the
communities affected by the Reserve. Federal soldiers are acting along with
PGR agents and government officials, as we have denounced previously.
Paramilitary groups have gained new strength, and are harassing the
communities. Low helicopter overflights are continuous, primarily in the
Reserve areas, where they are taking photographs and making aerial video
recordings of the communities, information which they are also passing along
to the government departments which are planning the expulsions. PFP
commandos in Chiapas are getting ready to attack, along with the federal
army, and to take over military control of the entire REBIMA, dislocating
the communities.

To National and International Civil Society:

We are asking all of society, all the peoples, to denounce this injustice,
to denounce this war of extermination against our indigenous communities, to
take the necessary actions, demanding that the Mexican government stop its
war and threats against our indigenous communities, that it respect and
recognize our collective rights as indigenous peoples, among them the right
to territory.

Liberty, Justice and Democracy.


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