Mexican Army Burns Down Indigenous Village


Protect our natural resources for the real indigenous people of Mexico
Protect our natural resources for the real indigenous people of Mexico

Mexican armed forces have attacked the Chol indigenous community of Nuevo San Rafael, burning down 23 houses and violently evicting the inhabitants, who are Zapatista sympathisers. The attack, reported variously as happening on either 19 or 22 January, took place in the remote Montes Azules jungle area of Chiapas.

Resource-rich Montes Azules has long been coveted by multinationals. As the governments and multinationals press forward with the Plan Puebla Panama and Free Trade Area of the Americas, the "war of low intensity" against the thousand-plus Zapatista autonomous communities erupts into blatant repression. The Secretary of Government of Chiapas, Ruben Velazquez Lopez, promises more evictions, declaring that land invasions will no longer be tolerated.

The fate of the inhabitants of Nuevo San Rafael is unknown, as the army is preventing reporters and human rights observers from entering the area. Local indigenous Chol, Josue Jimenez Cruz, has been arrested, and is apparently imprisoned in the town of Ocosingo. International solidarity activity is vital, declare Zapatista solidarity groups.

[ Protest letter in Spanish by the Gruppe B.A.S.T.A. | Indymedia Chiapas ]

According to the testimonies obtained by The Human Rights Centre Bartolome de las Casas, 23 houses of the community were burned and at the moment 40 Marine and Police officers remain in Nuevo San Rafael. The inhabitants of this community, also known as Ignacio Allende, are indigenous Choles, refugees who had to flee from Calvario, municipality of Sabanilla in the north of Chiapas, two years ago. See Report

The Human Rights Centre "wholeheartedly condemns the way in which the communities are being held incommunicado" and the "violation of the right to travel freely in the Montes Azules region" by the state authorities and the Marines.

The Chiapas State forces have also evicted hundreds of peasants in the OPEZ organisation from 2 occupied estates in Suchiate, near the border with Guatemala. The Mexican daily La Jornada reports on 25 January:
"The high season for the eviction of campesinos has begun. The government of Chiapas has resolved to persecute land invasions, even those going back as far as 11 years, as happened yesterday in the estates Los Cerros and Los Cerritos in Suchiate, near the border with Guatemala. The lands were returned to their legal owners, that is the real estate company Las Cruces and the private persons Guadalupe Barrios, Arturo Barrios and Roberto Ocampo."
"The (Chiapas)Secretary of Government, Ruben Velazquez Lopez, the author of this escalation, declared yesterday that "this government will allow no more invasions", but he pointed out, "it will excel in guaranteeing that human rights are respected" during the evictions." See

In the nearby village of Nuevo San Isidro, also in Montes Azules, indigenous Tzotzil villagers fear an imminent eviction attempt and are mounting guard, day and night. Military planes and helicopters fly overhead. "We do not want anything from the bad government. Here we are going to resist. We are ready to spill our blood for the sake of our children," said one of the men of the village.
On the village jetty - these remote parts are only accessible by boat or by helicopter - are two signs. "Community in resistance" and "Entry Forbidden to Government Officials". While not formally part of a Zapatista autonomous municipality, the villagers are sympathisers with the rebel movement.

In Montes Azules 110 Zapatista villages and settlements are threatened with eviction. The Mexican government cites conservation concerns in the Biosphere Reserve.
The real reason is the economic and strategic interests of transnational corporations and the USA and Mexican governments - the Plan Puebla Panama aims to "develop" southern Mexico and Central America, exploiting natural resources like biodiversity and hydro-electricity and driving peasants off their land into sweatshops.

Meanwhile in the north of Chiapas the Zapatista committee of good government has denounced a state of siege from the military, the situation remains tense at the threatened Zapatista caracol of Morelia and further north in the state of Morelos repression continues against the community of Tlanepantla, where the people declared themselves autonomous.

One thing is certain. The Zapatistas will not give up their autonomy, won with their own blood.
"A SHADOW of death is being raised in the heart of our land, of our mother, of our forest. A cloud of soldiers, paramilitaries, plans and projects is coming once again to threaten us, to rob us of our dream and to evict our indigenous communities.... But we are not going to permit eviction, nor the relocation of our communities, we are going to defend them with everything we have in our hands.." : so declares the Zapatista autonomous municipality of Ricardo Flores Magon, speaking from Montes Azules, deep in the Lacandona jungle.
See Communities in Resistance

Ongoing coverage in English and Spanish at Chiapas Indymedia

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Is this the Carnival - Senor Markos?

El observador 31.Jan.2004 21:19

Grotesque CIA-US War Crimes and MAssacres Create more Resistance
Grotesque CIA-US War Crimes and MAssacres Create more Resistance

The Silence of the Liberals and Pretend Radicals is a War Crime
The Silence of the Liberals and Pretend Radicals is a War Crime

As WW4 scorches across the planet led by Bush-Cheney-Blair-Anzar and the vacuum created by a guttless resistance - especially in the US and Euriope - one has to wonder about truth - about honor - about what it takes to stop the beast -

The Iraquis, the Colombians, the Palestinians, the Chechnyans know what sacrifice is - Are you listening Yet?
The beast is so weak - and yet the new age and the fad radicals of the US-Eu can only tell nice stories and weave interesting poems of non-dogma

Are they/us trying to stall untill the bneast is too weak to fight - thus avoiding pain, security - guilt - yes even guilt is a commodity to the children who live in the Empire' sweet shadows...s

Preludes to Warfare Build Everywhere

John Sebastiano 01.Feb.2004 21:34

As Marcos and the EZLN say they will defend their territory and principles with everything they have...

I agree with the observaodor commenter - that fierce resistance is now necessary - everywhere -

With the forecful actions of the Bolivian and Colombian peasants - and the rising anger in Ecuador, Peru and all of Latin america - at the WTO-led US-EU neo-imperialism - an imminent threat to pacification and US dominance is cascading toward confrontation.

This should give the EZLN encouragement and space to resist the illegal and unecessary actions of the federal government in Chiapas - soon whenever a US-made or sanctioned bullet strikes down a peasant, a child or a defender of the poor anywhere - all of the popular revolutionary forces of latin America will respond in direct solidarity and outrage.

United, the people without fear are capable to defeat any force against them.

Pathological consumption: a world health problem

Zippo 03.Feb.2004 00:18

As more and more people are loosing their homes, their lands and their lives to violent destruction,

As the rate is increasing of the poisoning of lands by the rape of careless agriculture, by the release of toxins and the destruction of forests by large corporations that repeatedly say that they do not care,

I thought that a time has again come to look at why.

-Pathological consumption: a world health problem-