Residents of the Lacandon Jungle Reject the Presence of Environmental Police
México City | Desinformémonos. Thousands of Mayan residents of the Lacandon Jungle, along with social organisations, local authorities and indigenous communities declared opposition to the Mexican government’s policies of militarisation. They are particularly opposed to the recent formation of the Environmental Police. The International Mission for the Observation of Human Rights on the Guatemala-Mexico border pointed out that this police body is the result of the 14 April 2016 signing of a collaboration agreement between the The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the National Security Commission (CSN).
ARIC – the Union of Independent and Democratic Unions denounced the hydroelectric projects and the expansion of African Palm plantations in the zone, which have destroyed thousands of jungle hectares in the municipalities of Benemérito de Las Américas and Marqués de Comillas.
ARIC warned that the real intention behind the formation of the Environmental Police is “to put biodiversity, medicinal plants, water and other natural resources of the area into private hands.” Meanwhile “the real guardians of the jungle’s natural resources, the original communities of the area, face death through displacement and invasion of their territory.”
ARIC offered the example of the hydroelectric dam built in Boca del Cerro, Palenque municipality in Chiapas. Its construction devastated hundreds of hectares of jungle. In addition, in Benemérito and Marqués de Comillas 20 thousand hectares of jungle was destroyed to make way for planting African Palm.
ARIC also adds that State Governor Manuel Velasco authorised various companies to destroy a further 10 thousand hectares of jungle for more African Palm.
Moreover, the past 25th of October, thousands of residents from the Mayan communities in the Lacandon Jungle gathered together in Nueva Palestina and Frontera Corozal in Ocosingo municipality to take a stand in defence of Mother Earth and their territory.
The indigenous communities, authorities and organisations defending the territory and local communities’ rights announced the interest in the region is due to the fact that although it only represents 0.16 percent of the national territory, it contains 20 percent of Mexico’s biodiversity, hydrocarbons, mineral resources and 30 percent of the water resources of the country.
Finally, the communities complained that their request to establish a dialogue with the authorities and government institutions had not been heard, and that the only response has been to send the Environmental Police to repress the communities organising.
Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service