“They want to grab our land and privatise it”
Community of 5 de Marzo in San Cristobal de las Casas
The community of Cinco de Marzo, adherents to the Sixth, are vigilant and from San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas they report:
23 August 2016
Compañeras and Compañeros:
We are adherents to the Sixth from the community Cinco de Marzo. We are from Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Ch`ol communities.We are simple, humble farmers and workers from below – teachers, homemakers, students, market vendors, children, women, men and elders. We are organised with a view towards autonomy over the recovered lands which were founded through the EZLN’s 1994 uprising. We resist so as to not forget our ideals of a just struggle for all everyone.
We want to share some of the anomalies we have experienced in recent years by the three levels of bad government, along with the complicity of the Federal Electricity Commission, the community board of directors and some people from the community who want to grab and privatise our land, which is one of the greatest abuses of all.
Those who run the board of the directors, the same ones who call our community “Colonia 5 de marzo”, are harassing us again, forcing us to pay for land we recovered and so legitimately and rightfully belongs to us. According to them, they have held talks and made agreements with the supposed landowner Adrián Marenco Olabarrieta.
On the 7th of August of this year, they announced a plan whereby each household would have to pay $103,769 Mexican pesos, forcing the purchase of the property under a signed contract. Subsequent to signing the contract and after several advanced payments, 60 monthly payments of $1,850 Mexican pesos along with accrued interest would also have to be paid. They say that if we don’t pay according to their payment plan, they will sue us and the supposed landowner will evict us.
On the 18th of August of this year between 6 and 7 in the afternoon we realised that our community had been invaded by state and municipal police owing to the arrival of the head of the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, Rosario Robles and other people from the bad government who came to deliver its program “Cuartos Rosas” (*).
The next day between 9 and 10 in the morning 3 federal police vans with polarised windows, a municipal police patrol unit, and two trucks with approximately 80 police officers arrived in the community. At approximately 1 in the afternoon, a further 50 police dressed in civilian clothes arrived and held a meeting in the community hall. In total, the bad government sent about 200 police officers to invade our community.
Between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, Governor Manuel Velasco Coello, Marco Cancino, Rosario Robles, Sergio Labato and others arrived apparently to deliver 220 “Cuartos Rosas”, which in actuality were only 43. As always, the bad government promotes itself by spending money, lying and then not following through. The presence of the bad government and the enormous number of police bodies provoked emotional and psychological instability.
We, women and men, as adherents of the Sixth clearly see that these people are trying to intimidate and harass us so that people who aren’t organised are afraid and pay. They are threatening our integrity and our families this way by perpetuating robbery and displacement of our community. Meanwhile the bad government tries to break up and divide us through their “support” programmes and projects which supposedly are for the benefit of the community. Despite this, the bad government has not succeeded in defeating us and we continue resisting, defending and struggling for our dignity and for Mother Earth.
Today we say again “Enough!” of this abuse, harassment and threats. We affirm who we are, where we are, and where we are going because our struggle finds itself caught up in the struggles of others who share our pain, our anger. We know that at the end the light of peace and joy awaits us. This is the hope that helps us remain standing and fighting and we will continue day after day.
For all that is happening and all that could happen in the next days, we place the responsibility on the board of directors and its leaders, Virginia Patricia Hernández Pérez, Álvaro López Penagos, Agenor Jiménez Cruz, Silmar Silvestre Trujillo Guillen and the three levels of bad government: municipal, state and federal.
We ask human rights organisations, and our compañeros of the Sixth that they accompany us and remain vigilant about what may happen in the coming days. We send you, brothers and sisters, a hug with a rebellious beat, and it is for you because you fight against this criminal system.
The earth is not for sale!
It is to be worked, cared for and defended!
Total support for the teachers’ struggle!
Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the community Cinco de Marzo
For more information, you can send us an email:
Photo: Aldo Santiago
“Cuartos Rosas”(*) is a government programme run by the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development which aims to reduce overcrowding by building an additional room onto existing family homes.