Indigenous Chol Community Denounces Threat of Eviction from their Recuperated Territories (San José el Bascan, Chiapas)

This communiqué comes from the Indigenous Chol community of San José el Bascan in the municipality of Salto de Agua, Chiapas. It reports on the threat of eviction from, and dispossession of, their community territory by landowners seeking to divide the land into lots to be sold. The original in Spanish was published on the National Indigenous Congress website and can be found here.

San José El Bascan, Municipality of Salto de Agua, Chiapas

January 9th, 2019

To the Indigenous Governing Council

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Free and Independent Media

The Indigenous Chol women and men of the community of San José El Bascan, Municipality of Salto de Agua, Chiapas, members of the organization Ikoltyañtyel Lak Lumal, pertaining to the National Indigenous Congress in the region of Salto de Agua, Northern Chol Zone, state the following:

In 1994, in consequence of the armed uprising of our brothers of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, we recuperated the lands known as San José El Bascan, in the municipality of Salto de Agua. From that day forward, we have maintained those lands in our possession. We have worked them and taken care of them.

In November of 2018, Artemio Álvaro Vázquez, the supposed owner of the lands, began a process of hiring an engineer to carry out a survey of our lands with the intention of dividing them into lots and selling them. According to the information that we have, sometime soon they will enter to survey and begin selling the lots. They are threatening to evict us from our lands where we live, work, and on which the livelihood of our families depend.

Faced with such acts:

We denounce the hiring of an engineer, and the threat of dividing the land into lots. This threatens our right to the possession of the land, which we have had for 25 years. In the same way, it threatens our physical, familial and communal well being, with the attempt to confront us with our own brothers.

We denounce the threats of eviction and dispossession against our community, as it would cause the displacement of our lands.

We also denounce the arrest warrants against us.

In the face of such acts, we hold responsible the three levels of the bad government for whatever situation that might occur against our community.

We reaffirm our commitment to the defense of our lands against whatever threat, be it the division of our lands into lots or of whatever other project that puts our community life in risk.

Never more a Mexico without us!

The land belongs to those who work it!

Representative of the community

Delegate of the National Indigenous Congress in the community

Councilor of the Indigenous Governing Council of the National Indigenous Congress

Salto de Agua Region, Northern Chol Zone, Chiapas