When he was out stumping for some Dems, activists in Las Cruces NM brought Lomas del Poleo to his attention, according to Grassroots Press (10/24/08).
"On Saturday, Oct.18... the governor was provided a new packet of information containing documented human rights reports, articles and photos of demolished homes. The group explained how the situation was escalating in Lomas, and that within the past two weeks four homes had been destroyed, two elderly residents were kidnapped and beaten by the Mexican military, and that residents were being denied water and electricity by “guards” employed by the powerful Zaragoza family, which claims ownership of land in the colonia.
"After making the rounds and giving a short speech, the governor returned to the group to talk about the situation. He admitted he remembered hearing about the conflict, though in the past six weeks—crunch time for the political campaigns—it had slipped his mind.
“What do you want me to do?” Richardson asked. “I want to do something more than just make a public statement about it.” [BE: emphasis mine]
Contacting the Chihuahua governor and pushing to stop future development until the human rights of Lomas residents are respected were two action suggestions Richardson received. He learned that residents of Lomas had wanted to come and speak to him personally about what life is like living in the besieged community, but that they were too afraid to leave their homes out of fear that they would be destroyed while they were away.
“I will see what I can do,” Gov. Richardson told alliance members.
According to the article, about 35 families remain in the fenced-in area of Lomas. While several families have left out of fear and relocated elsewhere, those living within the barbed wire are still fighting for their rights to their land. They are without access to water or electricity, and they face daily acts of intimidation and violence, now by the Mexican military as well as by the guards hired by the Zaragoza family.
Residents have asked for: water (gallon jugs), flashlights and batteries, kerosene lamps, walkie talkie radios, cell phone chargers, and whistles. Blankets and warm clothing are also welcome. Students and faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso are collecting items for Lomas.
People from outside the local area can help by participating in an email campaign. Addresses and letter to email are on this post. Join Bill Richardson and voice your concern for this oppressed community.