ricardo dominguez on Fri, 29 Mar 2002 21:23:10 +0100 (CET)

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   On satellite images of the Selva and thickening plots + DETERIORATING Chiapas   
     "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>                                            

   Barcelona: imaginative, festive, subversive...and successful                    
     "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>                                            


Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 08:44:45 -0500
From: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>
Subject: On satellite images of the Selva and thickening plots + DETERIORATING Chiapas


Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 09:02:31 +1000
To: chiapas-i@eco.utexas.edu
Subject: On satellite images of the Selva and thickening plots

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Monday, March 25, 2002.

US, World and Transnational Agencies Want to Clear
Indigenous Out of Montes Azules

Hermann Bellinghausen, correspondent.

Northern Selva Lacandona, Chiapas.
March 24.

Never before have the interest and actions of the United States
government, large transnational companies and some world agencies (which
range from the UN to Conservation International, and include all levels of
the federal government.the Mexican one) been so obvious in the Selva
Lacandona and in Montes Azules. Environmental, bioprospecting, eco-tourism
and birth control (eventually, sterilization of indigenous women) programs
are acting as the spearhead for a far-reaching strategic and military
project.  According to Mexican officials, it is an "international
security" matter, a problem of "serious ungovernability," a "war

According to calculations by the Chiapas state government, approximately
half of these communities are EZLN support bases.  Others belong to the
ARIC-Independent, two more to the PRI, and one to the CIOAC.  This gives
the question an even more immense political dimension.  Over the last few
years, various independent agencies have described the environmental
concerns of the Mexican and US governments in the Selva Lacandona as being
military and geo-strategic "alibis."

The Collective of Information and Analysis of the Selva Region, an
independent observation agency in the region, released two comprehensive
documents which report recent events in the area and denounce the imminent
dislocation of dozens of indigenous communities in and around Montes
Azules. These documents analyze the "strategic regional focal points of
the occupation-handing over of the humid central mountainous massif" of
Chiapas and the scenarios of "expulsion-relocation-re-concentration" of
the communities. A large part of this information had already been made
public, and, in those cases where it was not, it is in agreement with
other sources consulted by La Jornada.

It is a plot with many threads, and at the core are crouched strategic and
commercial interests that are putting the nation's sovereignty at risk and
creating fear and anxiety in the indigenous communities, which are in
danger of being attacked and violently dislocated. Yes, legally.

To the Patios of Nueva Palestina

If the point of the plot is not in the demands which were presented by
Lacando'n representatives last September 12, where could it be? On that
date, using information and aerial photographs provided by Conservation
International-Mexico and the US government agency AID [Agency for
International Development] - the Lacando'n demanded that Governor Pablo
Salazar Mendiguchi'a expel, using the Army, all the settlements and
clearings in Montes Azules.  They said, however, that they would view as a
gesture of good faith the withdrawal of villages in the lake area
(Suspiro, Ojos Azules and Ocotal), in the northeast of the biosphere

It is precisely there that Conservation International (CI) has been
supporting work groups, and it has taken an extraordinary interest in the
lakes.  The photographs which the Lacando'n displayed were taken by the
fixed digital camera from the airplane which the international agency
maintains in the region.  In just April of 2001, the CI - in a hotel in
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez - presented to friendly NGOs the geographic information
system that had been donated by the USAID, which is based on satellite
images provided by NASA, with a focus of up to 10 by 10 meters.

The collective stated, in its detailed investigation, that the CI and the
USAID used the village of Nueva Palestina, in the Selva Lacandona, as an
example.  They showed shots from a satellite of the patio of an
indigenous' house, where flowerpots and a completely identifiable woman
could be distinguished.  They also showed the airplane, with USAID
markings, and the routes it used for monitoring the entire Selva Lacandona
(not just the Biosphere Reserve).  Lastly, they stated that they are
carrying out a flight once a week through the region.

Conservation International had demanded, in May of 2001, that the Zedillo
and Albores governments take all necessary measures for the immediate
dislocation of those populations. It was in late September, however, when
a first group of Americans, in vehicles with trailers, managed to enter
into the lake area. The researchers had left the area during the first
weeks of January of 1994.  The Army has maintained a camp close to El
Suspiro since 1995, which has been "protecting" the researchers'
activities, the collective states.

The Return of the Impassive American

In October, while President Fox was visiting New York and meeting with
George W. Bush, a delegation of US diplomats traveled from Mexico City to
the Montes Azules.  There was a military attache', the person in charge of
economic and commercial affairs and the one in charge of political affairs
at the US Embassy in Mexico.

They met with Ignacio March, the CI director in Mexico, and, after
visiting the Selva, they spoke with the traditional doctors of Los Altos,
members of Compitch (an independent organization which, incidentally, had
just stopped a US bioprospecting project in their communities).  The
people from Compitch heard them say to the commercial attache' from
Washington in our country:  "I'm here representing my government and our
companies.  We want to do bioprospecting in the Selva Lacandona, but we're
also interested in doing it in all of Chiapas and all over the world.  
Our interest is, basically, commercial and strategic."  That same day - oh
irony! - Vicente Fox was meeting with Bush in Manhattan.

The US delegation returned to Chiapas in November, and it met with state
and federal officials.  The collective states that there were exhaustive
meetings, and the diplomats expressed "insistent questions about the Selva
and the activities of the EZLN."  And, with that elephantine tact which
those guys up in Washington have, they explored the possibility of a
military government - they didn't say whether interim or not - by Salazar

In late November, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle
published special supplements on Montes Azules.  They showed photographs
of forests in flames.  They assumed that it was a "regional security"
issue.  In December, the former head of National Security and present
Mexican delegate on the UN Security Council, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser,
accompanied by the heads of the PGR and Profepa, stated that there are
"real" environmental "terrorist activities" in nine regions in the
country.  The State would shortly, he announced, be deploying "all their
force on a military scale" in those regions, since it was a "war

The location where the "ungovernability" would be dealt with in a priority
manner was revealed a few days later by the head of Profepa (environmental
ombudsman designated by the Executive): Montes Azules.  Also at the end of
the year, Semarnat announced that in 2002 the border with Guatemala (which
surrounds the north of the Selva Lacandona) would be sealed, and the
Sedena set up a new military control point in Taniperla (on the other side
of the Montes Azules).

And so, on the afternoon of January 9 of this year, a hundred soldiers
conducted two Public Ministry agents from Ocosingo across the lake to the
zapatista community of Laguna El Suspiro. They entered the village, and,
in the name of the government, offered money to the women there "so that
they would leave here." They promised to pay them the maize and oranges
which the soldiers had "expropriated" from them five years ago. "Take the
payment, if you don't, then we'll have to see you here again real soon."

That was, in 2002, the "first" notification of expulsion to a community.  
Since then, military overflights have multiplied above the communities
inside the Montes Azules and in the Autonomous Municipalities of the
ca~adas of the Selva Lacandona.  In some cases, officials from Semarnat
and Profepa have arrived.  On February 21, five emissaries from Profepa
were detained in Santa Elena by hundreds of campesinos from the Union of
Unions of Agua Azul, when they were heading towards Nuevo Guadalupe
Tepeyac. The indigenous demanded negotiations, and they refused to be

Days later, the Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Municipality denounced
threats of military expulsion which were being experienced by communities
in the northeastern part of the biosphere reserve and of the Selva
Lacandona.  The independent authorities said that they would defend their

The ARIC-Independent has repeatedly proposed that, instead of being
dislocated, it should be the comuneros in the region themselves who are
entrusted with the management and preservation of the forest, as
established by Convention 167 of the ILO, which was signed by Mexico.  
This convention was the foundation of the San Andre's Accords of 1996, but
not of the indigenous law which was approved by Congress last year.

This month the threads of the plot have continued their course. The
National Forestry Commission (Conafor) announced, in Zapopan, Jalisco,
that its Director General would be participating in the Second United
Nations Forum on Forests, which was held between March 12 and 15 in New
York.  Together with the former PAN governor and current head of Conafor,
Alberto Ca'rdenas, participating in the Forum were the Departments of the
Environment, .Foreign Relations and the Economy.

The Conafor explained in a bulletin that the Forum's objective was to
"promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all
kinds of forests," as well as to "strengthen the political commitments
made in that regard."  Without specifying exactly what those commitments
were, the Conafor communique' announced that "with the President of the
Republic, Vicente Fox Quesada, having declared that the forestry issue is
a matter of national security, the head of Conafor will be proposing on
that stage, in front of the representatives of 188 countries of the UN,
that forests be considered a matter of international security."

While the Forum was going on in New York, on the 13th the Commission of
Forests and Selvas of the Chiapas Congress passed a law that had been
proposed by Governor Salazar Mendiguchi'a, weeks before, which imposed
severe sanctions on those who fell or burn trees.

And so, where are the US agencies in the case?  In February, Dr. Ernesto
Enckerlin, of the National Commission for Protected Areas, admitted that
the government had been pressured by environmental NGOs, among them the
CI, to expel communities from the Montes Azules.

The CI has insisted that it does not involve itself in the country's
agrarian or political affairs, although it "provided" photographs to the
Lacando'n in order to "provide a basis" for their legal demands. The same
NGO, in their Maya Selva project, has a population and environmental
program, whose objective is to contain the "overpopulation problem."  
Along with the IMSS and Mexfam, the CI is holding reproductive health and
gender workshops with women in the Selva.  It has been testing various
contraceptive methods "in order to see which works best," according to
officials.  Lacando'n women are excluded, because 'there are very few of
them left."


>From: pablo gonzalez <aztlan71@yahoo.com>
>Subject: Fwd: RIGHT NOW!
>Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 22:00:15 -0800 (PST)

Pablo Gonzalez, Department of Anthropology
Universidad de Tejas(tlan) en Austin(tlan)
Mexican Borderlands Program
{El/La Xicanism@ es El/La Zapatism@}

Hello EL,

I haven't written to this list in a long time for many reasons of which
none are equal to my own laziness and disorganization, however, I have
decided to try and write a quick message to let you all know that I think
to need your help in the upcoming weeks.

In the last few days there has been what seems to be a series of attacks
that when added up can only mean a coordinated strategy on the part of the
Mexican Gov. against the EZ. First, as was posted to this list, about a
week and a half ago Pablo Salazar started viciously attacking Miguel Angel
de Los Santos, claiming that Miguel was stealing the money that was paid
to the families he has represented. The governor has now turned his focus
on the Red de Defensores as an organization itself claiming that it is a
group that has built a lucrative business doing human rights work (these
attaks would otherwise be normal except that they are so vicious and so
constant: Pablo Salazar makes statements about the Red on the radio at
least once a day: curiously enough, the Red is the only human rights group
made up of all indigenous people with no money whatsoever)). ] Second,
last week government officials started talking about displacing the bases
of support that are in the Montes Azules Bioreserve an action that is
going to be carried out by the PFP and would remove over 35 inidgenous
communities (thousands of people) in the Autonomous Municipality of
Ricardo Flores Magon from their lands. Third, this weekend there was an
attack on the Bases of Support in the Autonomous Municipality of Morelia
by a newly formed paramilitary group, this group also made a particular
point to attack the foreign observers present in this municipality. Forth,
the bases of Support in the Northern Zone of Chiapas have sent out an
urgent communique saying that the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia is up,
active, and moving again in their region and that they have recieved info.
that P y J are looking to strike at the bases of support at any moment.

All of these things add up to no good and it would seem that the strategy
that is going on here is first neutralize the NGO's and international
presence in Chiapas and then to plan a head on strike against the
communities themselves. I hope I am mistaken but I have been here long
enough to know when things are looking serious.




Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 08:52:42 -0500
From: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>
Subject: Barcelona: imaginative, festive, subversive...and successful

Subject: Barcelona: imaginative, festive, subversive...and successful

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Sunday, March 24, 2002.

How Barcelona Defeated Violence

Jesu's Rami'rez Cuevas

Today Barcelona is the new reference point for the global movement.
Following the mobilization of more than 500,000 persons, it will be
difficult to discredit protests against economic policies in the world as
something which has to do with "radical and violent minorities."

The significance and dimension of what took place in the City of Marvels
must be assessed from the perspective of the last few years.  Seattle was
the surprise, the birth of the new movement, the break in the world
consensus in favor of globalization.  Governments did not know how to
react to the novel dissidence.  Afterwards came the protests in
Washington, Davos, Prague and Quebec.  New actions and new reactions were
tested at each summit.  After Gothenburg, last year, a new strategy was
launched which involved making the police cordon around the demonstrators
more effective, and the repression more open and brutal.  Genoa
represented the climax of this policy.  Even though the convocation was a
success, it also demonstrated that governments had decided to finish off
the globalphobes at the cost of violating democratic liberties.  The
assassination of Carlo Giuliani by the Italian police was a clear message.

Added to this is the atmosphere which has been created following the
September 11 attacks, which has been used to stigmatize and criminalize
demonstrations, by comparing them with terrorism.  There was widespread
paralysis in many sectors.  In this context, Barcelona represents a change
which broke with the tenets of the previous marches.

Walking Out on the Prepared Script

The task was not easy.  In addition to media demonization and the Spanish
government's political harassment, there were the difficulties of
coordination and of understanding inside the movement.  The government
placed the entire city under a state of military siege, and the media
discouraged participation in the anti-summit campaign.

I~aki Garci'a, a member of the Solidarity with the Zapatista Rebellion
Collective, and one of the organizers of the "Against the Europe of
Capital and Against the War" events of March 15 and 16, explained to
Masiosare:  "We understood that there was a lot at stake in Barcelona, and
even more so after Genoa.  The climate was strained because of last June's
experience (the march against the World Bank that had been heavily
crushed).  It wasn't easy confronting the organization of the protests
against the European summit, and there was fear concerning the huge police
intervention that was being developed."

Some activists warned in assemblies that "the repressive machinery" could
make many of them try and hide instead of thinking about protesting.

"Despite everything," I~aki recounted, "there was agreement to promote
it."  The organizers were clear about one thing from the beginning:  "We
didn't want the terrain they were preparing for us, the direct
confrontation where we had to lose," she said.

"We began with many doubts, and things were advancing until we had lots of
initiatives.  It was a tremendous amount of work in very little time, but
there was a lot of enthusiasm.  The differences and tensions had been
quite strong, but the campaign was able to be put together with a radical
and innovative content."

The majority of the people and collectives who were participating wanted
to do something quite different from confronting the police and destroying
banks.  The main challenge was conquering fear and claiming the street.  
There were groups tied to the Okupa movement and the Independent Catalans
and Basques who were insisting on direct violent action.  But a consensus
won out in favor of actions that would nullify the government's
belligerent strategy.

"We agreed, all of us I think, to avoid blockades against the summit,
because they would have been suicidal," recalls I~aki.  Decentralized
mobilizations, fiestas, concerts, mass demonstrations and acts of civil
disobedience were promoted.

The CGT (anarchist union) called for carrying out "everything that occurs
to us and which demonstrates the diversity and vitality of the social
movements.  We called for walking out on the script, for using direct
action and civil disobedience as mechanisms for struggle that go beyond
violent confrontations with the police.  We have to regain the furiously
festive and subversive nature of our activity, breaking military
frameworks (summit-blockade-clash with police) the powers want to confine
us to."

They opted for decentralized actions, "as many as the people proposed,"
under the idea of convergence and mutual respect.  During one of the many
meetings, it was argued: "We are not afraid.  The entire police strategy
is based on creating a state of exception, where people stay inside their
houses, and an activist elite confronts 10,000 police.  Given this
reality, the movement should go back to using its creativity and
decentralization.  Achieving, through that, a more complete visualization
of the resistances, of their diversity, beyond the framework of a medieval
joust, which is what the police are proposing."

This is how the city's local struggles were involved.  Hundreds of
liberation associations, human rights, labor, women's, gay, ecologist,
Okupa, student and immigrant associations promoted more than 25
decentralized demonstrations and actions throughout the city.

They even invented forms of protest like "the first mass participation
action, a very media-friendly and entertaining choreography that
represented the symptoms of turbo-capitalist Europe, presented as the
first global-animal experiment in the world of demonstrations."

Theatrical works were presented in defense of democratic liberties and
civil rights.  Anti-repressive manuals were prepared.  A committee made up
of the organizers themselves were in charge of order at the demonstration.  
"It wasn't about laying siege to the summit, but about breaking the siege
of the city," it was said.

The events joined together an archipelago of causes. They rejected the
National Hydrological Plan, they were in support of women's or immigrants'
demands, they defended public education, the legalization of marijuana or
expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people.  There was emphasis on
promoting an economy that is in the hands of the people and not

In a preliminary assessment, I~aki Garci'a noted:  "It demonstrated that
there was great discontent over the way preparations had been made for the
summit and for the accords that had been predicted it would produce. It
demonstrated that it was an open and inclusive convocation, which had a
very strongly critical sentiment that no one was going to be able to
profit from for their party or power interest."

After the mobilization, she added, we see the movement as being stronger.
"We think that Barcelona has given encouragement to everyone who is
fighting and resisting.  The world powers also know that Barcelona is a
city where they are not welcome, and the rest of the world also knows that
they have an encouraging precedent, that things can be done."

And she concluded:  "Above all else we have been able to demonstrate that
the struggle makes sense, and that we can wrest spaces away from the
powers and connect with common everyday people.  What seemed impossible
was achieved."  Another reality was made possible.

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