(An update to my continuing report on the Tenacatita Beach story.)
On August 14th, when wealthy businessman Jose Villalobos siezed Tenacatita with armed policemen, this is what he stole. Homes. Palapas. (Open air thatch roofed structures that residents build to sell their wares – grilled fish over open wood fires, etc) HOMES.
He bulldozed 90% of it before the displaced population could attempt legal redress.
Again, this is what it looks like now. Sickening, really. Do not think for a moment that all those quaint family-owned businesses were torn down to restore the beach to a barren state; they were torn down so one man with a dubious deed could build a mega resort / yacht club for wealthy gringos. The legal residents, with deeds signed by the president, the families and descendants of the original settlers of the land, the communal-held ejido of the public beach have been left homeless, and with no way to make a living.
They have offered a “compromise deal” that still disenfranchises the homeless true-owners of the land.
There is breaking news on this story, please click through for the Update.
Amidst rumors that the heavy gates had been removed, this week past, the indigenous people of the area held a procession, hoping the hearts of the guards would be moved by the children in their white best dresses leading the Virgin of Guadalupe and allow access to the beach.
They were denied. The half way point, the people walking the miles back to the village, where they are staying with friends and relatives is heartbreaking.
I will quote our friend Dobie’s letter.
An article in yesterday’s La Jornada (a left wing newspaper from Mexico City) says that in less than 10 days the bay will no longer be private; BUT there will be conditions such as only day use (everyone will have to leave by 6 PM), no camping, no palapa building, no restaurants, bathrooms, etc. Vendors can sell (if they have a license) but whatever they bring to the beach during the day will have to leave with them at 6 pm. Of course most of the people here are not happy with the idea of conditions, but others see it as a step forward.
This essentially allows people a day-pass to an area where their homes and business used to be, yet does not address that it is still at the mercy of Villalobos who stole their land.
Some have seen this compromise, the potential tearing down of the gates and access as a step in the right direction. I see it as a way to get “customers” back to the area, for when Villalobos (Villian-lobo’s) opens his businesses.
This excerpt confirms that feeling. (my bold)
Rodenas and the state government continue with their accustomed cynicism, corruption and lies:
An older woman, widow (Doña Chayo, Cato and Chito’s Mom) demanded of Rodenas, why they destroyed the construction on her property on the beach; she rented rooms in a small hotel and last week she went to the beach with a judge, a lawyer and another person, so the judge could verify with she said. But the area where the hotel was, had been filled with dirt, leveled with machines, and covered with grass. The “representative of Rodenas” on the beach, said to the judge that there was never any construction there. Could one possibly be more of a pig, more corrupt? Those who are full of shit no take into account that there people have a huge amount of photos showing what was there, and if those aren’t enough, there are satellite photos on Google Earth that there’s no way the liars can negate.”
You can PLAINLY see by the images provided above, that Villalobos’ men are LYING to judges.
Dobie, again on the agreement.
Sorry to report that the gate is still there. Yes, the beach is open if they feel like letting you in, and you show your I.D. (so they can write your name down) and you don’t take a camera or a cell phone, and they’ll watch you the whole time, and there are no services, and, and, and….
In yesterday’s Jornada article it says that Villalobos “could” sign the agreement this week, (which would open the beach, but with many conditions) and then he would have 5 days to get his guys out of there, or at least only on his supposed 42.5 hectares. But the conditions include days use only, no camping, no one can build palapas or open restaurants, only vendedores ambulantes (with permits, of course). Doesn’t sound much like free access to me. Most people here think it’s unacceptable; others feel like it’s a first step.
It’s clear that it’s not just governor Emilio that’s backing Villalobos, but higher-ups in the federal government too.
I find it hard to believe that they’ll take the gate down, especially if they want everyone out by 6 PM. How are they going to keep people from coming back?
But I do believe in miracles, and at this point that’s what I think it’ll take.
The people allowed to pass a few mornings ago, first had to prove who they were, claim they were non-resident visitors, have their cameras and cell phones held back, and were watched by police the entire time. Worst? They were told “that in 5 months there would be a store and hotel…”
The people there are still relying on donated food, last Friday they gave away 140 bags of food containing beans, rice, oil, powdered milk, onions, tomatoes, toilet paper and laundry detergent (thanks to all your donations).
This “compromise” that has been reported is no compromise at all. It serves only the wealthy thief, not the working class people who have been torn from their very lives at Tenacatita.
This is no Christmas Present at all, it is a visitation to a jail.
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