Modevite rejects National Guard barracks and SCLC-Palenque superhighway

In Cancuc, Chiapas, members of the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (Modevite) repudiated the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway and the installation of National Guard barracks. Photo: La Jornada

By: Elio Henríquez

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Yesterday, members of the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (Modevite) placed hand-painted signs in the municipality of Cancuc to express their rejection to constructing the San Cristóbal-Palenque superhighway and the installation of National Guard barracks (See article below).

“The Native peoples reject the SCLC-Palenque superhighway. No to the installation of the National Guard barracks,” they wrote on the signs [like the one pictured above] that they installed during the morning in the communities of Chacté and Centro, as well as in the gravel bank in Chilojá.

Modevite also released a document through the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in which it rejects the highway project called the Transversal Axis, since “it only benefits transnational businesses.”

It warned that: “from the heart of the people, we will defend Mother Earth who is our millennial gift, which we have cared for and defended from generation to generation. We are against the megaproject, which affects life and territory, since it is the interests of selfish businessmen that directly affect the population and that are being imposed under the slogan of development and progress for the people.”

Modevite insisted that: “(the project) does not benefit us as Native peoples; to the contrary, it threatens our lives, in addition to the destruction and dispossession of Mother Earth, the opening of roads for megaprojects like dams and tourist centers, as well as evictions, pollution, militarization and division of the people.”

The group demanded that the right of Native communities to free self-determination be respected and that Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization be applied, as well as the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.



The government is currently constructing 16 new military posts in Chiapas!

 By: Angeles Mariscal

Police repressed a demonstration that Tseltal campesinos and indigenous people from the municipality of Chilón held to protest against the construction of a National Guard (NG) post. Three indigenous people were arrested and several wounded. Soldiers remained guarding the area during the operation to contain the protest.

The events were recorded this Thursday morning, when at least 500 campesinos from different communities walked on the highway that connects to the area where the federal government intends to install one of the 16 new military posts in Chiapas.

The Tseltals were at the Temo Crossroads in the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido. In front they were carrying a banner that read: “NO NATIONAL GUARD,” when state police got in their way, grabbed the banner and started beating those they managed to reach.

Members of the National Guard (NG) were behind the police, reinforcing the operation to contain the indigenous and campesino people, who withdrew in the face of the operation without a confrontation.

Nevertheless, the men in uniform beat several of those at the front of the protest and arrested Juan Hernández Morales, José Luis Gutiérrez and Cesar Hernández Feliciano, whose whereabouts are unknown as of now. [1]

Before being repressed, the demonstrators explained that they “roundly oppose the National Guard installation in our municipality,” because the experience they have had with the soldiers that were in the region from 1994 to 2006, consisted of “a high index of murders, women raped, pregnant and abandoned, separation of spouses, abandoned children, an increase in alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution, as well as the propagation of organized crime and insecurity.”

The region’s residents explained that for the current construction of the NG barracks, the government manipulated some campesinos in order to take possession of 4 hectares of ejido land “without consulting residents of the municipality.”

“We demand that the federal, state and municipal governments install effective measures to reverse the installation of this military base in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, as well as the respect for the rights and culture of the Native peoples of Chiapas and of Mexico,” they demanded.

After the repression that they suffered, the indigenous and campesino people decided to maintain a sit-in in the zone, in order to demand the release of the three detainees, as well as cancellation of constructing National Guard barracks on their land.

The federal government is currently constructing 16 new National Guard military posts in the Chiapas municipalities of Tonalá, Suchiate, Huehuetán, three in Las Margaritas, Comalapa, Chilón, Bochil, Palenque and San Cristóbal de Las Casas. [2]


[1] Frayba reported that César Hernández Feliciano was located safe and in good health.

[2] The question is: Why does the Mexican government need 16 more military posts in a state that is already heavily militarized? Who or What are the National Guard there to protect?


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: