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Stop the eviction of the native communities of Lacandon Jungle, Chiapas, Mexico

Friends of the Earth International strongly condemn the police operations in the Tzeltal communities in the state of Chiapas, which have evicted families from the Biosphere of Montes Azules, Lacandon Jungle. The evictions are thought to have taken place to make way for palm oil plantations.

In January 2010, the government of Chiapas, Mexico began the violent eviction of the communities of 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 eviction took place without any explanation, prior notice or a warrant. The residents were not even allowed to collect their belongings.

A day after the eviction, four helicopters landed on the nearby Laguna San Pedro Guanil community. According to eye witness statements the community was surrounded by a large number of heavily armed police officers, who shouted at the indigenous residents that the operative was carried out under a federal warrant, and dragged 12 people to the helicopter.

The displaced families were also taken to Palenque, where they were interrogated by the police. During the interrogation they were denied access to lawyers and translators. When the proceedings ended, the families say they were forced to sign a document even though they ignored its contents.

Witnesses in the region reported that after the evictions took place all the houses and belongings of the residents were set on fire.


conservation actions

In response to the evictions the Secretary General of the regional government together with state and federal environmental authorities said the evictions were “conservation actions” and they were important to carry out to avoid the destruction of the important ecological site.

However, the Secretary General announced that palm oil plantations were part of their plans:

“Both governments [national and regional] have defined programs for the conservation of Lacandon Jungle, and for the Biosphere reserve, where important programs are implemented like the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

“Governor Sabines has promoted the productive reconversion program for the jungle region in Chiapas to avoid the logging of the Lacandona Jungle. The programs to grow palm oil are rendering excellent results, not only to improve the economic situation of the growers, but also to be used for transportation with benefits for the environment”.

Friends of the Earth Mexico believe that:

  • The Chiapas Government is undermining the will of the Chiapa residents by using lies and violence, especially against the native peoples.
  • The authorities are offering precious conservation areas to the highest bidder
  • The government's denial of  housing, health care and food sovereignty to indigenous peoples are in  violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


We're calling for:

  • The immediate halt to evictions of native peoples communities from Chiapas.
  • The enforcement of the UN Convention of  Human Rights and all the international legally binding agreements and conventions signed and ratified by the Mexican government.
  • The rejection of the false climate solutions that only benefit transnational corporations and corrupt politicians
  • A halt to all the big megaprojects of the so called Mesoamerican Project
  • A halt to tree monoculture plantations that are not forests and which, in turn increase greenhouse gas emissions and displace indigenous communities from their lands.


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