Organized peoples of Chiapas against the extractive model


Residents of Soconusco organized to prevent their territories from being affected by the mining industry.

By: Chiapas Paralelo

More than twenty organizations and communities that make up part of the Group of Resistance to the extractive model of Chiapas met in the municipality of Acacoyagua last April 19 and 20 within the framework of the Meeting “Living Peoples! Free from Extractivism!” for the purpose of analyzing results obtained from the organized and peaceful struggle to stop dispossession and their defense against extractive model projects. [1]

 Final statement of the Meeting

“Living Peoples, Free of Extractivism!”

Acacoyagua, Chiapas, Mexico

April 20, 2018

On April 19 and 20, 2018, organizations and communities that form part of the Group in resistance to the extractive model in Chiapas, met on the lands of the Popular Front in Defense of Soconusco “June 20” (Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco “20 de junio,” FPDS), within the framework of the Gathering called: “Living Peoples! Free from Extractivism!” that we held in the ejido house of Acacoyagua, Chiapas.

For years we have been meeting among men and women members of the Group of resistance to the extractive model in Chiapas. We seek to weave our struggles and make a common front against the advance of extractivism, that is, the current phase of capitalism that extracts a maximum of the natural commons for the accumulation of wealth and the export of raw materials.

Together and united we will stop this model that damages life, nature, the collective rights of the peoples, the social fabric, the bio-cultural patrimony and our spirituality. The FPDS is at the point of completing three years of resistance against the 21 mining concessions that exist in Acacoyagua and Escuintla. We meet in their territory because their dignified and just struggle in defense of life and Mother Earth is an example for us. Their defense is essential for the wellbeing of the population and future generations to whom we must leave clean rivers, free of contamination from mining. We admire the courage of the compañeros of the FPDS who have been installed for a year and a half in two camps in Acacoyagua in order to prevent the passage of machinery from the El Puntal Corporation S.A. de C.V. towards the “Casas Viejas” titanium mine.

Thanks to this action, the mine is not active, but we will continue supporting the FPDS until the 21 concessions are cancelled definitively. We congratulate them for having achieved that in September and October 2017, the ejido and the Communal Wealth of Acacoyagua would sign assembly agreements in which mining activity is prohibited.

Their struggle is difficult and very long-winded, like that of each of ours, but we are aware that one must continue struggling. We must hold hands because today not only must we face the mines, but also a group of megaprojects that are part of the extractive model, since today even our own native corn is threatened.

Officially, 111 mining concessions and 98 hydroelectric projects exist in the state, but in Pijijiapan, the compañeros of the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas already achieved the suspension of 4 mini hydroelectric projects. In Pijijiapan, the compañeros from the communities of Lázaro Cárdenas and neighbor communities are also attempting to prohibit the Bachoco poultry farm project, whose wastes full of toxic agents flow into the Las Pilas River affecting the health of people who depend on it for water. We are in solidarity with their struggle against agro-industrial dispossession.

Wind park projects that want to produce electric energy with the wind also threaten us, like in Arriaga municipality. There are also projects of the green economy that seek to take advantage of biodiversity through Payments for Environmental Services (PSA, its initials in Spanish) and of militarization, with the implementation of the Environmental Gendarmerie, which the compañeros of the “Reddeldía de los Montes Azules” in the Lacandón Jungle are resisting. As for the exploitation of hydrocarbons, we share the dignified struggle of the indigenous Zoque people of Chiapas who seek the cancellation of blocks 10 and 11 of Round 2.2, in which exploiting 12 hydrocarbon wells in their territory was proposed, but we continue on hold for any other attack on their sovereignty.

The legalization of dispossession is accomplished through the implementation of new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the Mexican southeast, among them the Port Chiapas SEZ that is going to occupy 8,611 hectares of Tapachula lands. The government leads us to believe that we’re dealing with a social project that will get our communities out of poverty, but we are well aware that they only mean “progress” and “development” for the corporations, which will not pay any taxes inside of the SEZ. In return they will get a lot of energy, water and exploited labor in order to function, leaving us with more poverty, more contamination and fewer arable land. Additionally, the SEZs are an attack on the sovereignty of our municipalities since outsiders that may come from the private sector are going to administer them.

We have another more sustainable project of life for our communities, based on the rescue of our uses and customs, our native seeds and our traditional medicine.

We reject the new Homeland Security Law (Ley de Seguridad Interior) that grants the president of the Republic the right to activate the presence of the Armed Forces in any situation that represents an alleged risk to national security. The Army will be able to intervene even in peaceful protests, and that’s why we condemn this unconstitutional new law, made to protect corporations, nor campesinos. We already saw it in January 2018, when the Army entered into several ejidos in the municipality of Ocosingo in the Lacandón Jungle, as part of the implementation of the law.

We denounce the implementation of strategies of control and assistance programs within the framework of the 2018 elections, which generate division in the communities and increase the levels of violence. In the municipality of Cancúc, for example, the communities and community police are being asked to watch over the delivery of the Prospera program with weapons.

Faced with this panorama, it gives us much hope to find ourselves in FPDS territory, where organized and peaceful struggle has concrete results and has achieved stopping dispossession, in the presence of other organizations and communities that also defend and defeat death projects. By resisting the extractive model in an organized manner, we strengthen our territorial defense and our search for sovereignty, we generate union and articulation among the exploited peoples, and we recuperate the exercise of our collective rights.

Signatures: [2]

Grupo de resistencia al modelo extractivo en Chiapas

Red mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA)

Movimiento mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (MAPDER)

Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco “20 de junio” (FPDS)

Comisariato de Bienes Comunales de Acacoyagua, Chiapas

Otros Mundos A.C./Amigos de la Tierra México

Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa A.C.

Consejo Autónomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas

Consejo Cívico Tonalteco

Pescadores y Campesinos de la Costa y Sierra de Chiapas

Resistencia Civil contra las altas tarifas de luz

Movimiento “Reddeldía de los Montes Azules”

La Voz del Pueblo

La Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal

Parroquia de Cancúc

Parroquia Santo Niño de Atocha de Frontera Comalapa

Movimiento en Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio (MODEVITE) de Ocosingo

Kinal Antsetik A.C.

Voces Mesoamericanas, Acción con Pueblos Migrantes A.C.

Movimiento Indígena del Pueblo Creyente Zoque en Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio (ZODEVITE)

Consejo de Organizaciones de Médicos y Parteras Indígenas Tradicionales de Chiapas (COMPITCH)

Colectivo Geocomunes

They accompany us:

Movimiento Sueco por la Reconciliación – México (Swefor Mexico)

[1] Acacoyagua is a municipality in the Western part of Chiapas, near the Pacific Ocean. The region is referred to as the Soconusco.

[2] Although the EZLN is not involved directly in this movement, some of the signatory organizations are members of the CNI and the CIG, adherents to the EZLN’s 6th Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Monday, April 23, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

3 Comments on “Organized peoples of Chiapas against the extractive model

  1. Pingback: Chiapas Update | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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