Autonomous Municipality Demands Removal of Military Checkpoints

Roberto Flores Magón Autonomous Municipality, Chiapas.
May 12.

The Autonomous Municipal Council today demanded the withdrawal of military control and search checkpoints and the suspension of army movements in their communities.  “It’s assumed that they had been suspended on orders of the government,” they noted.  According to their daily experience, that is not the case.

“The word from the communities is that the patrols, and the fear that they sow in our compañeros, should be suspended.  What the Municipality is asking is for them to leave us in peace, so that our communities can be happy.  As we well know, where the Army goes, the Public Security police will soon follow.  They are still present throughout the entire territory of Ricardo Flores Magón,” the rebel authorities declared.

On another issue, they indicated that the Municipality is remaining on alert over the threats of expulsion in Montes Azules.  In statements to La Jornada, representatives of the Ricardo Flores Magón Council spoke of the order they had given to residents of Montes Azules not to clear or raze in the Reserve and its environs.

It had not been easy to come to an agreement, especially with PRI communities such as San Antonio Escobar.  “They made a very large grazing area, next to the Ojos Azules Lake,” they added.  Subsequently, in a trip by foot through the Montes Azules lakes region, La Jornada was able to confirm the existence of the grazing area.

“We had to stop them.  They also had government permission to take out caoba and xate (palms).  We stopped them, the Autonomous Municipality did.  They are angry with us.  And they also took our compañeros out of their community.”

These displaced, from San Antonio Escobar – a village which claims to be 30 years old – participated in the founding of the community of 6 de Octubre, located between Santa Rita and San Antonio Escobar, all of them within the current boundaries of the Biosphere Reserve.  The autonomous authorities believe that the remaining zapatista families in San Antonio Escobar are at the point of being expelled.

“But if we let them burn the mountain, what is our Municipality’s word going to mean?  We are the first ones who should change, in order to avoid destruction.  We are not going to get the food we need by selling wood and palms,” they explained.

Patrols, Fires and Paramilitarization

Regarding militarization, the autonomous authorities pointed out, almost as an example:  “Today, a military plane passed over above us.  It seemed to be coming from Amador Hernández, it went into the Reserve and it left towards Tumbo and San Jerónimo Tulijá.  That’s what happens each time.”

The patrols take place on a daily basis from Crucero Piñal to Peña Limonar, and from there to Monte Líbano and Taniperla.  The checkpoint at the federal Army Operations Base in Cintalapa operates 24 hours a day.  “They search those on foot, on horseback, and it’s even worse for those who are going by van.  And now there is another checkpoint in San Caralampio (deep inside the Rio Perla cañada),” they added.

At the checkpoint, as well as during their patrols, “primarily in the daytime,” the soldiers are insistently interrogating the indigenous about “where the Flores Magón Municipality is,” making it understood that they are looking for the autonomous authorities.

Regarding fires in the Selva, “which are not as bad now as they have been other years,” the Municipality “authorized the people to put them out, even though they aren’t on our lands.”  The fires in the PRI communities of Chamizal, Plan de Ayutla and Coatzacoalcos – which are now threatening the Biosphere Reserve – led the autonomous authorities to say:  “We think they were mistaken, they believed that it was going to rain sooner and the fire would be controlled.” And they noted:  “It is more difficult to put out fires when the soldiers come in, since they do not let us work.”

The communities in resistance have identified paramilitaries in Palestina:  “It would appear that they are training with the soldiers, but we haven’t, in truth, seen them,” the authorities in rebellion added.  “And in Monte Líbano the paramilitaries are still making threats when they get drunk and fight among themselves.”

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