The Border Explorer began her story:
Once upon a time in a neighboring kingdom lived poor landless peasants without homes for their children. Desperate, they were willing to build cardboard huts in the most barren and remote lands of the kingdom where nobody else would ever live. According to the rule of their nation, after five years passed, that land belonged to them. It was called Lomas del Poleo. In the beginning there was no water, electricity, roads, schools or services. But the peasants only wanted to live: each on five acres with some goats, pigs, maybe cows, too.
But one day our kingdom passed a law making it possible to pass goods easily back and forth between the neighboring lands. Rumors of a new road which would pass through the barren Lomas del Poleo were whispered. The richest man in the country (who already owned more than all the people of the kingdom altogether) declared that Lomas del Poleo really belonged to him.
This cruel, rich man built a razor-wire fence around the town. He posted a goon on the only road into town to control who could enter the town and who was forbidden. Life became very difficult for the peasants. Their pig stys and their homes burned mysteriously while their animals and even their children perished in the flames! The rich man sent a goon to each house, telling people they are going to get evicted and will have nothing. “Hence, it is better sign over your rights to the land and go somewhere else to live,” said the goon. He lied to people saying that “so-and-so has already signed and most people are signing,” showing lists of names of people who are going to accept relocation—people to whom he hadn’t even spoken! One by one, families gave up and moved away from their poor, but cherished, homes. Then the goons came in and bulldozed them, one by one.
But some of the families rallied. They knew that if they banded together they could prove that their homes were theirs. They could stand up to the cruel, rich bully. They hired a lawyer and found friends to support them.
The Border Explorer received an email on Sunday, which read:
“Carlos Avitia, the lawyer who was representing most of the residents of Lomas de Poleo, was gunned down today in Chihuahua at 1:15 p.m. There were no details as to who the assassins may have been or why he was murdered. Lic. Avitia leaves behind, in addition to his wife, four young boys ranging in age from about 13 years old to 3 years old.”
We hope that that is not the end of the story.
To learn about human rights abuses in Lomas del Poleo: