Wetlands invaders in Chiapas threaten officials

María Eugenia mountain wetlands.

By: Elio Henríquez, Correspondent

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Individuals who have been filling in the San Cristóbal wetlands for several months attempted to retain and intimidate officials from the environmental sector of the three levels of government who were making an inspection because of complaints about “illegal acts,” reported Nicolás Gómez Velasco, a representative of the southern zone council, made up of different agencies and 14 districts (colonias).

In an interview, he commented that on Saturday, in the mountain wetlands of María Eugenia, a commission of around 10 officials from the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), its state agency, the Federal Prosecutor for Protection of the Environment, the Environmental prosecutor for Chiapas and from directors of municipal ecology made an inspection for the purpose of presenting a complaint.

However, “as we were leaving the property, a truck arrived without license plates and the three occupants confronted the employees because they were told that they cannot build or fill in the wetlands. They arrived aggressively and crossed the unit, but to avoid being retained, the officials backed up about 100 meters, because they were blocking our way,” the environmentalist said.

“At the exit towards Comitán, about 500 meters from the property where the incident happened, between the Duraznal and Bienestar Social districts, both irregular, suspected gang members got together on motorcycles to intimidate us,” he added.

Wetlands are a key ecosystem in fighting climate change.

They denounce the collusion of municipal authorities

Separately, the Semarnat explained that the officials who went “to the illegal filling of wetlands and introduction of electric energy were intercepted by individuals on motorcycles and in an auto without license plates.”

The agency rejected “these types of violent acts” and called for order to prevail, especially to guarantee the integrity of federal, state and municipal officials, as well as residents.”

Gómez Velasco maintained that: “the municipal authorities are colluding with the violent groups that control the mountain wetlands territory of María Eugenia. They took advantage of the construction of a bicycle path to put light and drainage in a protected area.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Monday, July 25, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/07/25/estados/029n2est and Re-Published by the Chiapas Support Committee

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