PRI and police officers enter the liberated ejido lands
Ejidatarios from the PRI and police
officers enter the liberated ejido lands
(submitted by Julie Webb-Pullman)
Ejidatarios from the PRI, guarded by several police cars and trucks of the state police, have in recent days entered the area of Agua Azul where the organized ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are to be found. According to their affirmation, there are threats of eviction and they are aware that an ambush is being prepared to evict the Regional Headquarters and displace the ejidatarios from the recuperated area which belongs to the ejido of San Sebastián.
The first intrusion took place on February 19 at 9 am, when about 45 officialists (pro-government,) party members, and people from the ejidal commission of Alejandro Moreno Gómez came to Agua Azul guarded by several police cars. They gained access to Agua Azul by the Pinquinteel turning in the municipality of Tumbalá, and by the Saquil.Ulub turning in the ejido of San Sebastián. Once there, they intimidated and threatened the compañeros who are guarding the San Sebastián Regional Headquarters and those who are charging entrance fees to Agua Azul.
The commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez insisted on making arrangements to collect [the toll] together with the independent ejidatarios from Agua Azul in Tumbalá. But they denied that CONANP has again become the administrator of the natural resources and the income they generate. Having failed to reach any agreement, the party supporters withdrew along with state, municipal and judicial police at 4pm.
On February 20, the party supporters returned, entered again and set up camp on the land which was dispossessed in 2011, guarded by 3 state trucks.
Construction of crimes
Another form of repression and harassment being suffered by the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is by the legal and media path through the construction of crimes. The main accusation that they receive is that of being the authors of the assaults that occur on the stretch of road between Ocosingo and Palenque. Already several ejidatarios have been imprisoned on charges of robbery and assault, and it appears that the municipal government plans to charge them again so as to be able to issue arrest warrants as a result of some events which occurred on 17th January.
On 17th January three attackers were arrested on the section of the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque. These offenders have been known to the police who patrol this section for the last four years. In spite of this, in the prosecution district Selva Palenque, Juan Alvaro Moreno from Xanil is negotiating their release. As the organized ejidatarios explain, it is intended to blame the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle for the crimes committed by these criminals, telling the population and the tourists that the "hooded ones" are the attackers.
By referring in this way to the ejidatarios adherents to the Sixth, the police seek to create confusion and fear to divide the population.
The media are also complicit in this strategy of governments and big businesses to criminalize the independent ejidatarios and the adherents to the Sixth. Through various media campaigns in which they emphasize the uncertainty on the highway, making a direct associated between the roadblocks and the attacks, they are justifying a supposed security plan. This plan was coordinated between the General Secretariat of Government, the security and the law enforcement agencies and was introduced on 6th February. Its application means the introduction of more police units in to the area between Ocosingo and Palenque.
It is not valid to incriminate the Zapatistas [supporters] for the crimes committed on this stretch of the highway, because their struggle is against the dispossession of their lands. Some years ago the compañeros even collaborated in the arrests of these attackers because few people live in this stretch, and the risk they pose to the security of the municipalities is well known. As an organization they should not be held responsible for these criminals because what they seek is justice.