Skip to content or view screen version

Army patrols and paramilitaries in the Lacandon Jungle

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network | 14.07.2010 17:39 | Repression | Zapatista

"Hiding behind environmental pretexts, they clear the way for the entry into the jungle of the big investors, the exploitation of the area for luxury tourism, and the appropriation of biological resources for patenting".

JBG La Garrucha reports:

- increase in army patrols and helicopter overflights
- government-backed paramilitary activity in the communities
- attempts to take back land recuperated by the Zapatistas in 1994
- government attempts to buy loyalty with building materials
- government intention to divide communities
- government intention to provoke Zapatista supporters to retaliate and thus provide a justification for military intervention
- evictions of communities in Montes Azules to make way for luxury tourism and biopiracy
- plans for a hydroelectric dam on the Jatate River.

The Zapatistas say the army has resumed its patrols in La Garrucha
They accuse the government of also managing paramilitary actions.

Operations by air and by land increased 15 days ago

Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada, Tuesday July 13, 2010, p. 18 (originally published in Spanish, translation by UK Zapatista Solidarity Network)

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 12.

The Zapatista Good Government Junta (JBG) of La Garrucha has denounced the Federal Army's return to operating intimidating patrols by day and night, using trucks and armoured vehicles. "Their helicopters are flying low over the communities. These operations have increased over the last 15 days".

On receiving the Brigade of European Solidarity in the Caracol of Resistance towards a New Dawn, the JBG of the Tzeltal jungle region added that "the government manages the actions of the paramilitaries", and said: "there is constant conflict In the territory of the Caracol . The bad government seeks nothing other than to put an end to the construction of autonomy. It offers money to divide the communities, and above all gives money to people from the political parties and the paramilitary organisation Opddic to provoke the Zapatista supporters".

The autonomous authorities explained: "The government gives a bit of support (money) to women, children, old people. They offer sheet roofing, cement, planks. This makes the bad government appear good. But they offer nothing but crumbs. They want to buy the dignity of our supporters, but the Zapatistas know their tricks well".

"Right now, they only give money to people from the political parties in order to provoke violence. They are trying to steal the land the Zapatistas recovered in 1994. They give money to destroy our organization, but as you can not buy the Zapatistas, they support the paramilitaries to do their dirty work and send their armies to harass the autonomous municipalities. "

The JBG reported that this has created "great tension" in Peña Limonar and Amaitik , in the autonomous municipality of Ricardo Flores Magon. In Amaitik, the paramilitaries killed two autonomous authorities with impunity in 2002. "Time passed and the JBG promoted a dialogue of reconciliation with the PRI. Their leaders rejected it and the autonomous council deprived the nine people involved of their land, under ejido law". Seven years later, these paramilitaries returned to Amaitik protected by papers which had been given to them by the government. "

The council tried again to dialogue, and the paramilitaries rejected it. The Good Government Junta proposed to transfer 70 hectares to them, but they rejected it. On the 16th of June they had to come to dialogue, but did not attend, reports the brigade. The Zapatistas are aware that that the paramilitaries are trying to provoke them, so as to give the government a pretext to intervene. "The taking over of the autonomous school by these PRI members confirms the suspicions of the Junta".

In Arroyo Granizo they always worked their cattle collectively, until the militarization of the area increased massively and the PRI members abandoned the work. Now, armed, they try to seize the cattle and pastures worked collectively by the Zaparista supporters; three government teachers act as leaders of the paramilitaries, and refuse to dialogue".

In the Montes Azules biosphere reserve, the government "has caused the exodus of many communities." Hiding behind environmental pretexts, they clear the way for entry into the jungle of the big investors, the exploitation of the area for luxury tourism, and the appropriation of biological resources for patenting.

The families of Zapatista supporters who rejected the eviction were expelled by force and many men are in prison. Their lands are now being watched over by private guards. Laguna San Pedro, Laguna El Paraiso and Laguna Suspiro are under threat and preparing to resist.

The news that they will build a hydroelectric dam on the river Jatate, on the communal lands of Rómulo Calzada, said the brigade, has set off alarms in the JBG.

UK Zapatista Solidarity Network
- Homepage: