The charm of ecotourism loses its varnish when penetrating virgin territory becomes a means for US and Canadian mining companies to dispossess indigenous peoples. As noted by Hermann Bellinghausen in an interview posted at Upside Down World, “All the major resorts of Mexico started with dispossession.” Even the patina of ethnic tourism loses its gloss as Mexico’s indigenous, ” go from being masters of their land to being bartenders…employees in a place that once was theirs.”
Worse than dispossession, however, is the fact that ecotourism is now being used in Mexico to pave the way for US and Canadian mining concessions granted in the Mayan territories of Chiapas, where servants of tourism are manipulated by the federal government as counterinsurgents for the purpose of undermining the autonomous Zapatista communities. In this way, ecotourism has developed as a weapon of the Mexican state to prevent the spread of indigenous self-determination and independence.
Since the Mayans of Chiapas are the role model of indigenous good governance for other Mexican states like Oaxaca, Jalisco and Guerrero, this new weapon is a dangerous Trojan horse.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.