A Call for Action in Lomas del Poleo sign now

Attn: President Felipe de Jesus Calderуn Hinojosa, President of the United Mexican States
cc Mr. Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the United States
cc Mr. Enrique Escorza, Office of Political Affairs of the Mexican Embassy

Dear President Calderуn,

The colonia of Lomas del Poleo, located west of Ciudad Juбrez, has been involved in a land dispute with the wealthy Zaragoza Fuentes family since 2003. Some of the residents of Lomas have lived there since the 1970s; they built homes, sent their children to a federally approved school located in Lomas del Poleo, and hold official documents stating their entitlement to the land.

The Zaragoza Group claims that the land has belonged to them since the 1960s, but they did not occupy the land and only expressed their claim after a proposed border crossing made the territory of Lomas del Poleo valuable for development. While the case is delayed in court, the Zaragoza Group is trying to force the other residents to leave through financial incentives and violence.

The people of Lomas del Poleo have suffered extensively in this dispute. A barbed wire fence guarded by armed thugs hired by the Zaragozas encloses Lomas del Poleo. Municipal services such as electricity, water delivery and trash pick-up have been taken away. The residents livelihoods have been destroyed because the guards do not allow them to bring food to their animals or seeds for their gardens. The people of Lomas have been beaten and their houses torn down. On August 17, 2005, a man was shot and later died. On September 29, 2005, two children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. These examples are just two of the tragic acts of violence against the people of Lomas del Poleo. The colonia, once home to more than 300 families, now consists of nine families struggling for justice and a peaceful settlement to the dispute.

On February 17, 2010, you promised to review the case of Lomas del Poleo. In March 2010, Luis Camacho-Mancilla, Director of the Office of Order and Regularization of the Department of the Agrarian Reform, was sent to hear the case. In December of 2010 and January of 2011, representatives from Lomas del Poleo met with lawyers from the Zaragoza Group with Camacho-Mancilla as moderator in order to negotiate a settlement. The residents hoped to reach a peaceful and fair end to the conflict. However, the representatives from the Zaragoza Group have acted in a threatening, non-conciliatory manner. Citing this hostility, Camacho-Mancilla called for a halt to the negotiations until they could be productive.

Groups such as Amnesty International and concerned citizens on both sides of the border have called for intervention, but the intimidation and violence continues.

Concerned for the safety of the residents of Lomas and the endangered state of human rights in the region, we ask that you review the developments in Lomas del Poleo and support a peaceful and quick resolution.

We ask that the Mexican government reconvene negotiations through the Agrarian Reform Office and encourage the Zaragoza Group to be conciliatory and respectful.

We ask for the Mexican government to ensure that the residents of Lomas del Poleo be protected from further violence, coercion and intimidation for the remainder of the disputeeither until a mutually satisfactory settlement is reached or the court reaches a decision.

We ask that the Mexican government conduct an investigation into the violence and injustice that the people of Lomas del Poleo have experienced.

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Bette SchroederBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa, President of the United Mexican Stateso

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