TRUCK AFTER TRUCK OF MILITARY HEADING TO THIS AREA...
According to the December 15 Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the Mexican military is preparing to forcibly remove indigenous Mayans from an area of Zapatista support in eastern Chiapas. The government may begin the eviction campaign by land, air and water in the coming days. This displacement campaign of eight indigenous communities, five of which are bases of Zapatista support, is within the Montes Azules Biological Reserve. This area has been a focus of attention for government officials, transnational corporations, environmental groups, and of course the indigenous Maya.
The rich Lacandon forest of eastern Chiapas is under direct assault by the Plan Puebla Panama. PPP is a gargantuan development project which would open up the region stretching from Puebla, Mexico to Panama to facilitate international business, including maquiladoras, oil extraction, genetic prospecting (Mexico has 10% of plant species in the world, half of which reside in Chiapas), logging, land conversion to plantations and ecotourism for rich foreigners.
The Zapatista communities directly oppose this free trade infrastructure project and threaten its implementation. The removal of communities in resistance to the neo-liberal agenda will obviously help push through the PPP in Central America.
This violent eviction is being implemented under the guise of protection for biological diversity. "Environmental" groups such as Conservation International (CI) support the governments eviction campaign claiming that the struggle for human rights and local indigenous autonomy conflict with the struggle to preserve the remaining tracts of biologically diverse regions in Latin America. CI, in conjunction with Grupo Pulsar (the world's number nine biotechnology company,) has two "biological research" stations located in the Lacandon jungle. According to local communities and activists, the research stations carryout "biopiracy" (bioprospecting without regard for the rights of local communities) operations, supported by the Mexican government. Such projects are tantamount to legalized theft and the privatization of traditional knowledge and medicinal plants.
Zapatista communities are being scapegoated for the current social and environmental crisis in southeast Mexico. While politically convenient for the Fox administration, such finger-pointing belies the fact that the lion's share of environmental damage and human rights violations correspond directly to the Mexican government and multinational corporations.