Saturday, October 18, 2008

So, what's the latest atrocity in Lomas del Poleo?

NB. If you're a new reader here, you'll find background on this post by clicking the label "Lomas del Poleo" in the sidebar. Or simply this particular post will summarize the setting.

from: Grassroots Press. 10/16/08. Mexican Army Is Being Used in Push to Dispossess Residents of Lomas del Poleo.
photo caption: "Welcome. Lomas de Poleo." The sign strikes me as ironic.

The latest threat to the poor people who earned deeds to the driest wasteland in Mexico is army intimidation: torture and framing for illegal weapons and drugs to try to pin federal crimes on the residents. If the army can indiscriminately arrest the people there, the Zaragosa family could finally oust these impoverished citizens from their homes--which now lie in the valuable path of a proposed bi-national highway.

If it works, the soldiers would take care of the dirty work that can no longer be done comfortably by the private guards, paid by this very wealthy family, which has for several months been in the public eye. Two of the men who have resisted the relentless Zaragosa takeover effort were picked up and tortured on October 10.

From the testimony of 72 year old Alfredo Piñón Valenzuela:

“Your time is up, stupid bastard!” the soldier yelled at him, while aiming his gun.“You are really screwed” he told him, kicking him straight in his injured ribcage.

“Shoot, whatever, it was time,” the man replied, thrown on the ground and blind-folded.

“Ah, so you are not afraid?” the soldiers carried on, mocking him. “You think you are really tough, you have ‘big pants’ (‘muchos calzones’)?” [B.E.'s translation: "big boy" pants]

“Yes, and after you kill me, I will lend them to you”.

This is only the beginning of the story. You can read the entire account at Grassroots Press. It includes illegal entry, illegal search, framing for weapons/drugs violations, abduction, torture, and his subsequent abandonment in the middle of the night in a deserted, rural area.

“I thought they were going to kill me, but they just kicked me again, laughed at me and left me there.”

Readers, I am almost beside myself. I will be back on the Border in six weeks. There is so much to do.

I urge you to read the gripping account in Grassroots Press in its entirety. You will not be bored. In the least.


Dada said...

B.E. The border desperately needs more folks like you and Mr. B.E.

This Grass Roots Press article was extremely compelling!

And I am left in awe of a young Mexican army soldier with a gun standing boldly over the "cowardice" of an elderly, blind folded man as the soldier courageously kicks him in the ribs.

My admiration for Alfredo Piñón Valenzuela is boundless. He indeed wears "big boy" pants. (Thanks for the Spanish translation. [grin])

I wonder if America has folks with "muchos calzones"?

It may be they will surface in the sinking economy and post-questionable election outcome?

They haven't yet and the last eight years has shown they have limitless capacity to adorn their "little boy" pants. (Sorry, my Spanish isn't good enough to attempt a translation.)

Border Explorer said...

Feeling guilty about throwing my own (uninformed) translation on "muchos calzones" I just looked it up and the definition was "to be a real man." In our family we talk about "big boy/girl pants" to kids who learn bladder control and graduate from diapers.

(Don't know how you feel about that as a description of the US citizenry. I may have said too much.)

This most recent Lomas incident is over-the-top in an ongoing story that defies my ability to communicate adequate outrage. I am still beside myself. But knowing other people--like you and Mrs. Dada--care is empowering and supportive.

Ingrid said...

that highway your're talking about..would that be the NAFTA highway that's been planned to run from this one port in Mexico up through TEXAS (the Trans Texas Corridor fiasco by Perry and his cronies) up to Canada???
Just wondering..

btw..I appreciate your focus on this blog, it isn't mine but yours is a voice and an advocacy that needs to be included and heard by so many more people in the blogosphere..

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

How painful to read this. Thank you for keeping us up to date on this issue.

Border Explorer said...

Ingrid, I'm not sure. I doubt that this is the same highway you're speaking of. That highway is pretty secretive--what little I know of it. I think this proposal is simply another avenue to get goods across the border which could promote a new industrial park or "free trade zone" on the west side of El Paso.

Also, I appreciate you and everyone who takes time to read the issue posts here. It really is a support to me to know people who care about these things.

Ruth: You're welcome & the above paragraph applies to you!

Border Explorer said...

I awoke thinking about "muchos calzones" and was relating it to the English idiom: "wears the pants in the family."

I'm calmed down finally about this incident. We've got company (grandchildren!) this weekend...great distractions.

Mariamariacuchita said...

you always seem to pick the perfect story...And I keep coming back to learn more. Thanks, BE.
This one man stood by his truth in the face of brutality. What more can a person do?

an average patriot said...

Thanks! It is not good what is happening in Mexico nor is it what is happening here and it seems every country in the world today. I will shut up and only say What a future!

D.K. Raed said...

you do such an excellent job informing us of what is really going on there. there is so much that we would never even know about. after reading of this type of violence & the ruthlessness of the zaragosa family and knowing you are heading back down that way, I now know for sure what a brave soul you are! please please be (you know the rest).

BTW my pigeon spanish would've translated it as "many pants" -- as in, one pair of pants isn't enough to cover your, ummm, testicular fortitude. good thing I am not a translator, eh?

Liberality said...

It is scary to me that so little stands in the way of fascism in this day and age. Isn't this supposed to be an enlightened age of humanity? Or are we on the way out or on the way to a new dark age? Sorry so negative here. I admire your work on the behalf of truth and justice and mercy. We need more people like you and Mr. B.E.

susan said...

It was bad news a couple of years ago in Mexico when the election was widely understood to have been stolen from López Obrador.

I'm so glad you and Mr. BE are devoting yourselves to the righteous cause of our sisters and brothers there. You're doing wonderful work keeping us informed and I'm praying you get help in the form of a new government here in the coming months.

isaiah said...


Please, please copy and email  this Wednesday, Oct. 22,   to the three email addresses noted below.  Sign it with your name and city/state.  Don't just forward it, please.   And please ask everyone on your lists to do the same.  If anyone is unfamiliar with this "concentration camp" in Juarez, go to for more information.  We want to bombard this governor with messages sent on the same day.

This is really urgent because in the last two weeks  four more homes have been demolished, two elderly residents have been kidnapped and tortured by the Mexican military, and the residents’ access to water and electricity continues to be denied.  Moreover a deep ditch has been dug around the school house impeding the elementary students' entry and teachers are frequently absent having been scared off. 

On Saturday a small group of us met with New Mexico Governor Richardson and he indicated he would be willing to intervene since this is a binational matter: Lomas del Poleo is in the path of a proposed HUGE binational development.

My awkward translation: 

"Owing to the escalation of violence in recent weeks against the inhabitants of Lomas del Poleo by the employees of the Zaragoza brothers, we are asking your immediate intervention so that the authorities might guarantee the security of the people in this village.  Also we urge that you order the  state prosecutor  to make an immediate investigation of the crimes committed in the area which have been denounced..

As you well know the lands of Lomas del Poleo are the subject of a dispute in the agrarian court so we ask you also to oblige the Zaragoza businessmen to respect the law and immediately stop the campaign of oppression and harassment against the inhabitants of Lomas del Poleo.  It is obvious that these two businessmen are trying to get the inhabitants to abandon their lands before the courts make their decision.

In short, Mr. Governor we only ask that the law be followed and restored."

Many, many thanks.

Charlotte Lipson, Lomas del Poleo Alliance

Begin forwarded message:



  Sr. José Reyes Baeza
  Gobernador del Estado de Chihuahua, México.
  P r e s e n t e
       Debido a la escalada de violencia desatada en las últimas semanas en contra de los habitantes de la parte alta de la colonia Granjas Lomas del Poleo, por parte de  trabajadores al servicio de Pedro y Jorge Zaragoza Fuentes, le solicitamos su inmediata intervención para que las autoridades correspondientes  garanticen la seguridad de los vecinos de esa colonia. Asimismo, le urgimos  ordene a la Procuraduría de Justicia del Estado la
inmediata investigación de los delitos cometidos en esa zona, los cuales han sido oportunamente denunciados ante esa representación.
        Como debe ser de su amplio conocimiento, las tierras de la Colonia Granjas Lomas del Poleo están sujetas a una disputa legal que se dirime  -- a través de distintas demandas  en el Tribunal Unitario Agrario Número Cinco--,  por lo que le solicitamos, también,  obligue a los empresarios Zaragoza Fuentes respeten los tiempos de la ley  y detengan inmediatamente la campaña de presión y hostigamiento que han levantado en contra de los vecinos en Lomas del Poleo. Es obvio que lo que pretenden estos dos empresarios es obligar a
los colonos a que abandonen sus tierras, antes de que los tribunales competentes rindan su fallo final.
En suma, Sr Gobernador, lo único que le pedimos es que haga cumplir la ley y restaure el Estado de derecho en la colonia Lomas del Poleo.
  A T E N T A M E N T E

Border Explorer said...

I did a web search on the letter posted by the previous commenter and am choosing not to comply with this request until or unless I receive a personal contact assuring me that this move is generally agreed to be a positive one.

This Alliance was one of the signers on the paid advertisement I posted here on 10/20. That's all I know about the group. I can not verify this information. It appears to be based in Las Cruces, NM.

Border Explorer said...

VERIFIED! See the updated post here dated 10/22/08. Please send an email or two to help these people in Lomas.