Procede and Fanar are Government Strategies for Grabbing Indigenous Lands
** Adherents to the Other Campaign denounce that they are trying to make a new Cancun in Chiapas
By: Hermann Bellinghausen,
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 21, 2012
A dozen Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chol communities, adherents to the Other Campaign, declared this Friday that in Chiapas “the strategies of plunder implemented by Procede/Fanar against communal and ejidal property represent the fundamental goal of Juan Sabines and Felipe Calderón for the last six years.”
The indigenous maintained: “With the megaprojects for supposedly sustainable development, rural cities, ecotourism, Prodesis, the Development Strategy for the Southern States (EDES, its initials in Spanish), agreed on in the Chamber of Deputies for implementing the biological, tourist and eco-archaeological corridor, they want to de-populate and re-populate indigenous territories, until they create a new Cancun in Chiapas, consolidating the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor to put all the natural wealth of our lands and territories in transnational hands.”
This explains, according to residents of Zinacantán, Chilón, Venustiano Carranza, Ocosingo, Tenejapa, Teopisca and Villa las Rosas why the political parties (PRI, PRD y PVEM) and the three levels of government “have enlarged the ranks of the traditional shock and paramilitary groups like Paz y Justicia, Uciaf and Orcao, that today keep the Zapatista bases in the five autonomous Caracoles encircled and threatened.” This has occurred since 2010 in communities of all the five Caracoles: San Marcos Avilés (Oventic), Nueva Purísima y Nuevo Paraíso (La Garrucha), San Patricio (Roberto Barrios), Patria Nueva and Mártires (Morelia), and Monte Redondo (La Realidad).
To the UNAM investigator, Dolores Camacho, Procede has been “a source of conflict in ejidos and among organizations.” The division of lands in ejido and communities began in 1995, after the modification of Article 27 of the Constitution. “All the independent organizations, and even the National Campesino Confederation (CNC), were not in agreement and did not permit the start of the process. That meant that the new administrative measures were not applied with the expected speed.”
Even so, conflicts emerged due to the attempts to impose it by “small groups allied with the government.” Agrarian authorities and the governments of all levels initiated processes for convincing ejido commissioners, so that they would obtain support from the assemblies in favour of the project, Camacho adds in an interview. “Pressured by the PRI, the CNC impelled the programme, although the people did not easily accept the leadership’s decisions.” There was a time period established for carrying out the demarcations. Then the pressures and offerings began.”
During 2000, the Agrarian Prosecutor, the Agrarian Tribunal and the Agrarian Reform delegation pressured the indigenous to accept Procede. “Organizations previously close to Zapatismo like the Orcao and the Cioac (sic) attempted ‘to convince’ their members to ‘legalize’ their lands, at the mercy of the negotiations of their leaders with the new government of Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía.”
Those “agreements” modified the commitment of the pro-Zapatista organizations “and caused a struggle in ejidos and lands recuperated jointly with the Zapatistas in rebellion.” The EZLN support bases respected previous agreements and their Revolutionary Agrarian Law. “The ‘independent’ organizations preferred to create legal possession.” This brought about internal problems that, as of this date, promote conflicts, according to the investigator.
“The little clarity with which the conflict over land was resolved left spaces, now taken advantage of [to provoke] confrontations between the Zapatistas and organizations previously close to them.” The Revolutionary Agrarian Law directs that the recuperation of land is in compensation for rights violated, [as they have been] throughout the history of the population of the indigenous zones. According to the analyst, to the non-Zapatistas the taking of land was exercising a right “originating from the laws that promote the individual use and possession of land.” In Zapatista territories, “that [possession] should be collective and be preferentially dedicated to basic products to sustain the Communities.”