The looting of the Mexican Southeast

Autor(a): Carlos Fazio/La Jornada Fecha: 2:05pm Lunes 26 Agosto 2002

And how the indigenous counter-reforms, electricity privatization, counterinsurgency, ad inf, are all tied neatly together.

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Monday, August 26, 2002.

The Southeast: Transnational Plunder

Carlos Fazio

There is renewed interest at some official diplomatic missions in Mexico in knowing what the EZLN is going to do in response to a foreseeable adverse ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice on the legality of the constitutional counter-reform on indigenous affairs. The surprising change in the administrative leadership of the Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP) has also aroused interest, with Florencio Salazar (recycled in social control tasks at the Department of Government) having been replaced and the Department at Tlatelolco having taking over leadership.

Both issues are linked. And they both have to do with the United States' hegemonic plans for the entire region. And also with the Fox betrayal in electricity counter-reform measures which, through the modification of Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution, are an attempt to open the energy sector to transnational private capital. This is not some conspiracy theory. The facts are there. The indigenous and electricity counter-reforms are part of the same package, which also includes a counterinsurgency logistical-police-military repositioning in the Tehuantepec/Cañadas (Chiapas) isthmus corridor within the framework of the PPP. This was designed well in advance, and in stealth, in order to be able to take preventive actions and/or lightning-type surgical strikes, as the situation requires.

With its enormous natural and mineral resources (water, forests, biodiversity, oil, natural gas), the humid mountainous central massif of the Mayan selva — which includes Chimalapas and the Selva Lacandona in Mexico and extends throughout the entire Mesoamerican Biological Corridor — is the great booty which Washington, transnational companies and representatives of the Mexican oligarchy wish to take control of. The reasons are obvious. Water, as a resource, can be translated into big business for private companies in the construction sector (mega-projects, highways, dams, electricity linkages with Central America, technical infrastructure) -among the companies are the twice rescued ICA and Tribasa - and in the cement sector, Cemex in particular (Lorenzo Zambrano/friends of Fox). These companies will, in addition, be able to count on official subsidies, legal guarantees and repressive security for their investments, via the Army and the Federal Preventive Police

Water is also an indispensable resource for the development of transnational agro-industries, which need irrigation systems for their plantations on the plains and their greenhouses. The same thing is true for soft drink bottling companies, like Coca-Cola (Fox vis-à-vis Zedillo/Union Pacific), which, following the Fox victory, increased its facilities in Chiapas by obtaining a change in ground use for the extraction, processing and bottling of water in the richest aquifer in the Jovel Valley (San Cristóbal de las Casas), located in the Huitepec foothills, an ecological reserve administered by Pronatura (a conservation NGO, whose funding comes, in part, from Coca-Cola Mexico).

Biodiversity, with its genetic banks is, in turn, the great appetizing snack for biotech industries (with ramifications in pharmaceuticals, human health and biological weapons), which has been developing bioprospecting (bio-piracy, bio-patents) throughout Chiapas for some time now, especially in the Montes Azules, through multinational corporations like Novartis, Monsanto and Arturo Romo's (Monterrey Group/Friends of Fox) Mexican Pulsar (Savia/Géminis).

The biodiversity wealth is also a geo-strategic objective in Washington, which has been working for several years through diplomats in the United States Embassy in Mexico, and through continuous missions in the Selva Lacandona and the Usumacinta basin, with official and/or undercover USAID (Agency for International Development of the United States government), with their cross-border infrastructure « social programs. »

This looting program also has « partners » in international bodies which are under the control of the United States (like the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, sponsors of the PPP), and with the services in situ of NGO « fronts » like Conservation International.

The links between indigenous counter-reform, electrical privatization, water, biodiversity and counterinsurgency are also present in the PPP's bi-national mega-project, planned for the short term: the construction of a hydroelectric complex in the Usumacinta basin (the Usu/Tulha System), which will have five dams.

This mammoth project, which will start at the border between the Guatemalan Petén and Marqués de Comillas, Chiapas, and which will end in Tabasco, will cause the flooding of an area calculated at 12,000 square kilometers, affecting 800 archeological sites and cooperative settlements with more than 50,000 persons. It will entail the loss of millions of trees of precious wood and forest life. That explains, in part, why the municipality of Ocosingo in Chiapas and the Department of Petén in Guatemala are the most militarized regions in Mesoamérica. And why autonomous aspirations and the right to self-determination of the Mayan villages of the Montes Azules and Usumacinta must be « legally » and militarily choked: because they are a dike in big capital's plans for pillaging.

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