ricardo dominguez on Fri, 19 Apr 2002 01:49:00 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> 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 humiliated.

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 level.

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

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

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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