domingo, diciembre 11, 2005
New Land Invasions
Local firefighters recently discovered and reported to municipal authorities the recent clearing by chainsaws of another large area of our ecological reserve. About 3 hectares have been cleared so far on the high part of Colonia Vicente Guerrero next to another irregular (illegal) settlement that receives economic support from mostly foreigners for a small school as well as a "co-operative" made up of women from that squatters community. Probably emboldened by the lack of action to remove other squatters as well as the economic support from foreigners given to a neighboring illegal settlement, this latest invasion of our protected ecological reserve underscores the need to do whatever is necessary to discourage further invasions, including cutting off economic support from well-meaning but misguided and poorly informed charitable organizations made up principally of foreigners whose actions may have contributed to this latest invasion. It's one thing to have politicians manipulate squatters in exchange for their votes by promising to give them titles to the lands they have stolen, but it's another thing altogether to have non-Mexicans providing any type of economic support for these land thieves and thus emboldening others to come and seek similar favors from "wealthy" foreigners. The large trees are gone and will take decades to replace, but we can help prevent further damage to our ecological reserve by not giving any hope to people who attempt to illegally occupy our public lands. Being charitable is a noble act of selflessness, but one should not be irresponsible and wreckless with that charity so that it causes irreparable damage to our small community and places at risk the future of Zihuatanejo and the livelihood of our lawfully settled residents. Less than a week later another hectare of zona ecológica was found to be cleared near the high part of the Colonia El Limón. The lider of a nearby colonia irregular (squatters community) was implicated by neighbors as having been responsible, though to date no detentions have been made or charges filed. But supposedly police have been stationed nearby to monitor the area. The same week in the colonia irregular where a predominantly U.S.-sponsored "charitable organization" helped establish a school for the children of this squatters community, a local inspector for public works correctly tried to halt the use of city equipment (bulldozer, etc) that was being used to clear and level an area near the school in order relocate the school from its current precarious location. But after receiving a call from someone at City Hall he was instructed to allow the use of public funds and equipment to continue providing this project for the illegal community. Precious public funds being irresponsibly allowed by elected and appointed public officials to benefit land thieves! All supposedly due to a work order authorized by an ex-official of the recent outgoing city administration who has a documented history of seeking political and economic benefits from the illegal settlements. Corruption wins again! And one of the squatters had the gall to say to the inspector that her taxes paid his salary, when the truth is that the only taxes squatters pay are federal sales tax, as does everyone. They do not pay the local property tax called a predial which is the basis of our city government's locally generated income. They do not have established business that pay income tax, rents, and emit facturas (official receipts for goods or services that contain the seller's tax number and that are supposed to be given to the recipients of the goods or services upon payment). In short, they are a huge drain on scarce local resources that local legal tax-paying residents deserve to have spent in their benefit instead of on the land thieves. But most Mexican political parties and politicians have long abandoned providing for the common good and instead concentrate on providing only for their personal interests and those of their party.