Chiapas: more evictions from Montes Azules

Mexican federal agents and Chiapas state police evicted several families Aug. 19 from the predios (collective farms) of Nuevo Salvador Allende and El Buen Samaritano, in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Six family heads were detained, accused of environmental crimes and property damage; another 39 were taken to a shelter in the town of La Trinitaria. The relocation was undertaken after the residents of the predios—Tzeltal and mestizo peasants—refused to negotiate with the Agrarian Reform Secretariat, asserting that they had been living in the zone for 30 years. (La Jornada, Aug. 19) The following day, two other small communities were similarly evicted from the reserve. (La Jornada, Aug. 20)

The evictions come at a time of growing tensions and violence in the Chiapas rainforest. On Aug. 2, attackers torched the home of a woman and her son at the community of Francisco Villa in the Zapatista autonomous municipality of La Paz. A communique from the local Zapatista authorities said the attackers were “persons opposed to our organization.” (La Reforma, Aug 9; Good Government Junta Nueva Semilla communique, Aug. 6)

On Aug. 10, Tzeltal Zapatista supporters Leonardo Navarro Jiménez and his son Juan Navarro Jiménez were wounded in an armed attack near their community of Bachajón, autonomous municipality Olga Isabel (in “official” municipality Chilón). Local Zapatista authorities said the attackers were members of the OPDDIC paramilitary group. (La Jornada, Aug. 13; Frayba, Aug 11)

Violent land conflicts also persist elsewhere in the state. On Aug. 3, some 200 state police evicted eight families from predio Trinidad San Pedro, in Venustiano Carranza municipality, in the Llanos region. Eight people were detained. The evicted peasants were members of the campesino organization Las Perlas, and were in a dispute over the land with members of a rival group, the Unión de Campesinos Pobres. (La Jornada, Aug. 4)

See our last posts on Mexico, the Chiapas, and Zapatista struggle.

  1. Chiapas: state police director linked to death squad
    Eduardo Montoya Liévano—state prosecutor general during the controversial administration of Gov. Roberto Albores Guillén, in the period of harsh repression following the Zapatista rebellion in ’90s—has been named director of the State Preventative Police (PEP) in Chiapas. Montoya Liévano served two years at El Amate state prison on corruption charges. When he was state prosecutor, reports in the national daily La Jornada accused him of running a “death squad” on the Pacific coast of Chiapas that was responsible for the extrajudicial execution of at least 30 presumed “delinquents.” (La Jornada, Aug. 8)