Ocosingo Ejidos Reject the Delimitation of the Lacandon Gap
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.
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.