Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drama Update

We have spent almost the entire day sitting on our front porch, picking up bits and pieces of the story from various friends who have seen us and stopped by. A few clarifications:

* shots were fired in front of the palacio by the police. As well as tear gas to disperse the crowds. At no time did the police fire directly into the crowd.

* the crowd dispersed, running away from the tear gas. Most sought shelter in the neighboring Catholic church, located on the square. The Police followed them in and arrested them. This is an illegal action by the Police.

* this did not happen at the current "invasion" that many of you know about. That is a perfectly legal, peaceful protest village set up on federal land.

* all of these events took place at the newer, second invasion that is located on private property, which is an illegal action.

* the owner and Cancun police arrived with a legal order for the squatters to vacate the property 10 days ago. When it wasn't complied with, the Cancun police were sent over to enforce it.

* it appears (from witness reports and our local paper, Por Esto, that a prominent family on the island and even relatives of the Mayor are the instigators of all of this.

* wednesday morning, at approximately 2:30 AM, is when the police arrived to get the people off the land. They were met by about 300 families wielding rocks, pieces of wood and machetes.

* about 60 people were arrested. The rest fled into the night. The people who were arrested are required to post a 15,000 peso bail to be released.

* at some point, the time frame is unclear to me, the squatters also tried to set up residences on the Hacienda Mundaca park property in the center of the island. Everybody on the island knows that that is not federal land and certainly not someplace that just a few people can take over and claim as their own.

* as far as I know, none of the current problems and demonstrations/protests has anything to do with people being unhappy about tourism being down because of the H1N1 virus.

* when they found out that the police were on their way to vacate them, the leaders of the second squat tried to enlist the help and support of the neighboring first squat. These people, who are doing a legal action, refused to help, get involved or support an illegal action. As a result, their lives and homes were threatened by the new group. Most of the homes built there are made of wood. The new group went so far as to threaten to start a fire there, which, with the ocean breezes, would rapidly spread and potentially wipe out the entire encampment. That was a very serious threat and not to be taken lightly.

That's about all I know for now. Or at least all I am willing to publicly print.


Sue said...

For such a tiny island, we sure get our share of internet publicity!

Thanks for the updates, and I'm sure there's more that you cannot 'print'.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Another blow to the economy of Isla is NOT what the Islenos need right now.


Steve Cotton said...

Hmmm. It sounds as if those civil war genes simply will not take a rest.

Doug (aka Doogan) said...

Thanks for the update. I haven't been following the news much on Isla.
I will be reading your blog more frequently to stay up to date in the future.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the first invasion was concerned with the dump and some kind of construction relative to it ..... make sense?

O Robert

(how come the type is so small??)

Islagringo said...

Sue: correct on both counts!

Linda: you are correct also!

Steve: everybody is batting 1000! You are correct also. Except this one is just plain stupid and is not really about injustice at all.

Doogan: thanks.

O Robert: you are somewhat correct. The invasion which is now known as Colonia Guadelapena, is actually the second one on the island. Where the trouble started is then the third. The first one did occur on the land that used to be the dump but was filled in to make land. It was/is a complicated story of what went on there. Send me an email if you want to know the whole story as I understand it.

Calypso said...

I want to know the WHOLE story! This is reading like a Novella. Stay out of the main action hombre - but thanks for risking it all with photos.

There was a similar event on the road to our casa up in the mountains - quite a drama - and about 45 hombres were arrested - seems to have calmed down since then although the owner of the squatted on property just sold the place - and the beat goes on...

CancunCanuck said...

I heard about this on the radio and was thinking of you. Keep your head down amigo!

Sadly something similar happened last month on Isla Blanca (I think you may have even posted a picture of one of the men who was killed if I remember correctly). "Los invasores" are not a new problem, but the violence that comes with them seems to be increasing.

Be careful!

Islagringo said...

calypso: I'll cc you on the email to O Robert. Best to not get to involved with this dispute!

cc: I am trying to stay out of this one and just post what I know for sure and can verify and dare speak publicly about. Yes, I did foolishly print a picture of the guy who drowned but have since removed it. No more pictures of dead people on my blog. I just wanted to show people what we face when we even just try to read the stupid newspaper!

Anonymous said...

keep your head down and be safe!!!
-trina in idaho

Michele in Playa said...

And the plot thickens....

Be careful.