Stop the eviction of families in the Lacandon Jungle
Posted on Nov 11, 2010
Friends of the Earth International condemn police operations in Chiapas
The evictions were made to make way for palm oil plantations. Your help is needed in calling for an end to the evictions and the proposed development.
Friends of the Earth International condemn the police operations in the state of Chiapas, which have evicted families from the Biosphere of Montes Azules, Lacandon Jungle. The evictions were made to make way for palm oil plantations. Your help is needed in calling for an end to the evictions and the proposed development.
In January 2010, the government of Chiapas, Mexico began the violent eviction of the communities in the Lacandon Jungle. Several helicopters landed in the community of Laguna El Suspiro, carrying 60 police officers. The officers violently forced men, women and children out of their homes and flew them to the city of Palenque, about 100 kilometres away.
The evictions took place without any explanation, prior notice or a warrant. The residents were not even allowed to collect their belongings. Witnesses reported that after the evictions took place all the houses and belongings of the residents were set alight.
In Palenque the displaced families were interrogated by the police. During the interrogation they were denied access to a lawyer and a translator. When the proceedings ended, the families say they were forced to sign a document they couldn't understand.
Making way for palm oil
It is believed that the evictions were carried out in order to make way for the expansion of monoculture palm oil plantations in the region. Last January, the Chiapas State Congress approved funding for the construction of a palm oil processing plant, soon after the evictions took place.
In response to the accusations the government has cited the need to conserve and protect the area. However, the community it has evicted had been living sustainably on the land for generations naturally conserving the land.
Palm oil plantations are one of the main causes of deforestation and contribute to worsen climate change through the release of carbon stored in the forests. In addition to the negative environmental impacts, they destroy the means of subsistence and food sovereignty of millions of small farmers, indigenous people and other communities, as is being seen in the Lacandon jungle.
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