XI’ NICH DISTANCES ITSELF FROM THE CONFLICT IN THE LACANDÓN COMMUNITY ZONE
** It classifies it as a violent organization and differs with its methods
** Its leader Gabriel Montoya, is responsible for the massacre in Viejo Velasco, it points out
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
The Xi’ Nich (The Ants) organization, made up of indigenous communities in the northern Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas, distanced themselves from the protests of the Jungle’s different organizations because of the agrarian conflict in the Lacandón Community Zone (CZL, its initials in Spanish) and the incarceration of the CZL advisor, Gabriel Montoya Oceguera, who Xi’Nich considers the intellectual author of the Viejo Velasco Massacre in 2006, while placing responsibility for the material execution of that violent attack that left eight dead and two disappeared on the Lacandón comuneros and the sub-comuneros of Nueva Palestina.
Before what recently occurred in that region of Chiapas, Xi ‘Nich points out, “a dozen organizations and human rights defenders, including the Diocese de San Cristóbal de las Casas, have issued statements in favor of peace and reconciliation of the parties in the conflict.” In that regard, the Indigenous are in agreement; but not the following part: “they sign and vouch for the movement directed by Montoya Oceguera, a leader that defends the political and economic interests of the Lacandóns and personal interests.”
Eight years ago –Xi’Nich adds to its interlocutors of the Diocese– “you condemned the massacre; it surprises us, it angers us that you ask with cries for the liberation of Montoya Oceguera, principal orchestrator of the Viejo Velasco Massacre, as well as the liberation of the comuneros of Nueva Palestina incarcerated for violent acts” like the 2006 massacre and “kidnappings” like that of Julia Carabias this year.
Xi’Nich defines itself as an organization in resistance and part of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI), composed of Chols, Tzeltals and Zoques. “We have been very respectful and in solidarity –the Network for Peace expresses, to the independent organizations and the authorities of the diocese– in defense of the rights of the indigenous peoples.” It distinguishes the differences of the different actors in the current conflict. “We know the long history of crimes and outrages against our peoples on the part of the Lacandóns and the sub-comuneros of Nueva Palestina, with the approval of the governments.” And it asks: “What interest is there in reviving an agrarian conflict supposedly resolved?”
Such conflict dates from 38 years ago, and was falsely “resolved” in March de 2006 when Governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía and the Secretary of Agrarian Reform (SRA), represented in Chiapas by Martha Cecilia Díaz Gordillo, “drum and cymbal” announced “the end” of the problem, and delivered 10 checks to the CZL for a total of 172 million pesos, for the benefit of 25 communities, including those that are now to be evicted, belonging to the ARIC Union of Unions Democratic. On that occasion Flor de Cacao, Ojo de Agua Tzotzil, San Jacinto Lacanjá and Viejo Velasco were “strangely” left out. On November 13 of that year, the latter (Viejo Velasco) “was massacred.”
The comuneros and sub-comuneros of the CZL “did not act alone” in the “criminal and savage acts,” because “the State has protected them, and it has responsibility, as the state’s Attorney testified at the time.” Besides, Xi’Nich points to the residents of the Tzeltal community of Nueva Palestina as “the region’s most violent group,” which “has burned dozens of people alive,” among other cases in Flor de Cacao in 1976, and they have participated in the eviction and relocation of more than 20 communities before 2005. That, “with the intervention of Montoya Oceguera, then the Government delegate (2000-2006) in Benemérito de las Américas (Marqués de Comillas). “Now he has as a reward being an advisor of the Lacandóns,” “for having massacred the Viejo Velasco community.”
Xi’Nich sets itself apart from the CZL. “We do not share nor do we support their struggle, nor are we part of their movement. They have used our name in their struggle; they have used blackmail, violence, force and roadblocks. We roundly condemn these violent methods.”
The organization expresses support for the three communities threatened with relocation and is in solidarity with the Zapatistas, condemning the death of professor Galeano in La Realidad one month ago.
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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Saturday, June 7, 2014