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La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

miércoles, marzo 28, 2007

VIDEO: The land belongs to those who work it (A community in Chiapas faces paramilitaries and the government)

The community of Bolon Aja'aw is located in Chiapas, close to the touristic Agua Azul waterfalls. Currently, the state of Mexico is using paramilitaries to try to displace the community and in this way it is for the benefit of business in the tourist zone. This video, recorded in 2004, clearly shows us the Mexican government's hypocrisy where it tries to disguise its interests underneath an ecological discourse. Facing this scene, the Zapatistas strip the government's facade.

The video “The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It” was made by the Zaptatisa video promotors of the Northern Zone, when the community of Bolon Aja’aw still was coordinating with the Caracol V, Roberto Barrios. Currently the community is coordinating with the autonomous Zapatista authorities of Caracol IV of Morelia.

As an informative compliment, the report below by Hermann Bellinghausen for “La Jornada” covers the same community of Bolon Aja’aw on March 9, 2007.
Video, 15'

(Bajar archivo de video / Download video file (32 MB)

Paramilitarism in Chiapas: Report from the zapatista community Bolom Ajaw


La Jornada, March 9, 2007

Bolom Ajaw, Chis., March 9. “From this part is our collective work. We have worked there and in October, 2006 the brothers of Opddic came with weapons and destroyed all the corn. They didn’t leave a single cob. They cut three hectares of our compañeros’ corn,” a man explained from the last zapatista milpa on the slope of the autonomous region La Montaña, which flanks the land destroyed by the priista group. Surrounded by men, women, and children, he speaks to the press and the international brigade of observers who during these days visit some zapatista communities that have been harassed or threatened by the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDICC in its Spanish initials).

“They work this plain,” he says pointing towards the fertil shore of the river Agua Azul, populated with green corn fields (the “milpa of the year” that the Mayan campesinos cultivate whenever they can). “Their goal is to kick us out. They want this land here to expand tourist
centres and control the very beautiful waterfalls.” He refers to the so-called gigantic and spectacular, falls of Bolom Ajaw, which is a river below that forms in front of this Zapatista land, in a place where the jungle vegetation is conserved.

The Bolom Ajaw water fall posess such force that it´s mist reaches the top of the mountains. A few kilometers from the pools of Agua Azul, the water falls are another hidden treasure in the jungle of Tumbalá, like the river Velo de Novia above. One could say that the autonomous communities are located on the border of the virgin jungle. This is exactly why the authorities want to displace them. They stand in the way of the “development” of tourism.

“Our brothers of OPDICC harass us a lot. We need them to stop attacking us, that they calm down and peace reins. Every one of those that comes to work, carries weapons and radios. We have never attacked them. Some time ago they robbed the cacao fruit,” he continues, since in addition to milpas, in Bolom Ajaw flower tall cacao bushes which form an authentic humid forest of future chocolate. “Last December 21, Jerónimo Silvano López and others came to our community to rob our turkeys. January 22 the took three wooden posts from our church.”

Another indigenous added, “It’s the government that organizes OPDICC. We aren’t going to let them come in anymore. We Zapatists are going to work and we aren’t going to let them in. These are our recovered lands.” He describes the weapons of the priistas neighbors: 38, 22 and 16 calibers. “They say that they have machine guns, but we haven’t seen them.” He affirms that this group “is in contact with the military in the bases of Temó and Palenque, and they hold clandestine meetings at night.”

He pointed out that the “aguazules” of OPDICC, are lead by Alberto Urbina López, Jerónimo López Hernández, Juan García, Salomón Moreno, Marcos López Moreno, Domingo and Sebastián Cruz López, and José Antonio Pérez, among others. “They shoot their guns in the air. Every day when they come to work they shoot. There are acahuales here. When they see that we work good land, they want it for themselves. But we have already been here five years. In 2003 they put up a wire fence to block our way here.” Also, “the government supports the construction of houses in the waterfalls.”

He relates that on March 2 various functionaries presented themselves here. “They offered support and projects if we stopped being Zapatistas. They promised houses, drinking water, schools. They think that we are going to leave the resistance, and that this is how they are going to screw us up. We told them that we don’t want anything, that if they wanted to negotiate they had to go to the Caracol in Morelia with the “Junta de Buen Gobierno”, who are our authorities. They never came back.” The functionaries were Avelino Flores, from the touristic zone of Palenque; Miguel Angel Pérez, from the Secretary of Indigenous Development; Arturo Jiménez Vásquez, the regional subsecretary of Yajalón, y José Luis Barragán, delegate of the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, among others.

“Together they work with OPDICC so that the land is transferred to those who pass by our houses armed. They threaten to kill the women when they pass by the river.” The indigenous man repeats that the Zapatista bases avoid being provoked by those who they call their “brothers,” despite everything.

In the later years, OPDICC, the authorities, and the local media have labelled the Zapatistas as “invadors” and even “criminals,” in the context that the priista OPDICC from the official municipality of Tumbala also sustains conflicts (of limits and of how much tourists who go to Agua Azul are charged ) with indigenous members of the PRD party or indigenous who are not affiliated with the neighboring colective San Sebastian Bachajon, en Chilón.

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