rdom on Sat, 6 May 2000 16:18:43 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Mexico urges squatters to leave sensitive jungle reserve

          En;AP;Mexico urges squatters to leave sensitive jungle
          Thu, 4 May 2000 09:12:38 -0500 (CDT)
          owner-chiapas95@eco.utexas.edu (Chiapas95)

NB: This is a particularly effective piece of
propaganda for the government, troubling
because of the widespread concern for the
environment not only on the left but by
apolitical citizenry everywhere. Does
anyone have hard information about fires
set by paramilitary or military forces in Chiapas?
It is important that this information come out



Mexico urges squatters to leave sensitive jungle reserve

May 2, 2000
Web posted at: 5:41 PM EDT (2141 GMT)

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico appealed to squatters in a sensitive jungle
reserve on Tuesday to move away from the area, where their
farming has contributed to a rash of brush fires that threaten a major
environmental disaster.

Human rights groups demanded that the government fight the fires without

antagonizing the largely Indian squatters, especially given the
location in the rebellion-torn southern state of Chiapas.

The current dry season threatens to fan the isolated brush fires at the
Montes Azules reserve into the kind of blaze that devastated another
reserve, Chimapalas, in 1998. The Montes Azules -- "Blue Mountains" --
reserve is part of the last remaining patches of the Lacandon rainforest

that once covered western Chiapas.

"These fires are intentionally set in most cases, and, added to the
deforestation and squatters' settlements in the Lacandon Jungle, are
endangering one of Mexico's unique ecosystems," the environmentalist
of 100 wrote in a statement.

The Environment Secretariat has requested help from federal police to
evict, or relocate, the 17 squatters camps that have sprung up in the
reserve. The squatters are mainly Indians, and support runs high in the
area for the leftist Zapatista rebels.

The Group of 100 agreed the fires must be fought, but stopped short of
calling for the eviction of the squatters. The group warned against
the problem a political issue, and asked that human rights observers
accompany firefighters.

"The historical ethnocide (of Indians) cannot justify an 'eco-cide' that

would make history, because the first victims of such destruction would
the Indians themselves," the group said.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees domestic security, was quick to
promise it would not attempt a military-style raid on the camps, or use
problem as a pretext to weaken the rebel movement.

Rather, it said in a statement Tuesday, it was trying to negotiate with

"The negotiations have two goals: to offer better places (for the
settlers), and to protect the nature reserve," it said.

The Lacandon reserve, which includes rain forest, is located in Chiapas
state near the Guatemalan border, near where the Zapatistas staged a
armed uprising in 1994 to demand greater democracy and Indian rights.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

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