them. It doesn’t cost them anything except a little to bribe COHDEFOR or the police.
Then they can sell the wood at a lower price, and that hurts us.” The task of jumping
through hoops for AFE/COHDEFOR is a burden on cooperative leaders, who often
become frustrated by the bureaucratic process. The financial burden of wasted time and
red tape is a disincentive for working within the law.
AFE/COHDEFOR’s capacity to serve all forestry sectors was further reduced in
2003 when government budget cuts forced it to lay off half of its employees. The
insufficient human resources from the past have been cut in half, and the difficulty of
getting support from AFE/COHDEFOR has multiplied.
Dealing with municipalities can be another obstacle to the cooperatives. The
groups that work in the Municipality of Villa de San Antonio must work closely with the
Municipality. In spite of the conflicts about forest ownership over the years, these
cooperatives must pay stumpage fees to the Municipality and obtain approval for plans
and permission to harvest wood and resin with them as well. The Municipality of Villa
San Antonio charges the cooperatives the same stumpage fees that AFE/COHDEFOR
charges on surrounding national forest. In the end, AFE/COHDEFOR still has to
approve all plans, and they also charge a small tax. These cooperatives feel it is unjust
for the Municipality to charge such a large stumpage on land that belongs to the
cooperative to begin with. The Municipality does not provide services to the
communities for the fees they charge. “They don’t help us with anything. They just hold
out their hand. When we built our water project, the Municipality didn’t contribute.”
Cooperativa Guadalupe has had some problems with the Municipality in
Yuscarán since the new mayor was elected in 2002. The cooperative always paid a small