Mexico wants to transform its southern state of Chiapas into an international tourist attraction, but the indigenous communities that live there reject the plan – arguing that they do not want their ancestral land to be exploited by the government or multinational companies.
The Mexican government is proceeding with plans anyway. According to court documents, they have already hired a US consulting firm to come up with an $85m development, which includes luxury hotels owned by international chains.
Protests by the indigenous communities have been met with force. Earlier this year, one person was killed and more than 100 arrested when protests erupted after the government seized a toll booth operated by locals at a park entrance.
The military now patrols the area. Those who oppose the project believe it is an attempt to intimidate them.
The growing distrust between the government and the autonomous communities in Chiapas has left human rights groups worried.
Al Jazeera’s Rachel Levin reports from Chiapas, Mexico.