23 October 2008

Urgent plea for people served by Columbans on Mexico-US Border

Columban Justice, Peace, and
Integrity of Creation Office


Support the people of Lomas de Poleo


We have received an urgent request for action from Fr. Bill Morton, Columban missionary in El Paso, Texas. As many of you know, Fr. Bill and the entire Columban community have accompanied the families of Lomas de Poleo for many years and the violence continues with increasing intensity.

We are asking that you email a personalized version of the following letter to the Governor of Chihuahua, Sr. Jose Reyes Baeza, asking for his immediate intervention to bring peace and justice to the Lomas de Poleo community and hold the Pedro Zaragoza family accountable for their illegal actions.

Please circulate this action request widely.

Many thanks for your solidarity.

Amy Woolam Echeverria

Columban Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office


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. A deep ditch has been dug around the elementary school house making it difficult for the students and their families to gain entry. The teachers are frequently absent, now, due to escalating violence and attempts by Zaragoza surrogates to close the school and force the families to go to another school in the relocation area.

On Saturday, October 18, 2008, a small group of the Lomas del Poleo Alliance of Las Cruces met with New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, who indicated he would be willing to intervene since the disputed land, literally, borders on his state of New Mexico. Lomas del Poleo is also in the path of a proposed multi-billion dollar, bi-national development plan involving major business figures from both sides of the border, as well as government officials from New Mexico and Chihuahua.

For a more detailed history of the situation visit: Paso Del Sur website.

Action Requested:

Please use the sample English or Spanish version of the letter below, and sign with your name, city/state and send via email this Wednesday, Oct. 22, to the three email addresses noted below.

Please personalize the letter.

Don't just forward this email. Please invite anyone in your network of friends, families, civic groups, church and other groups to do the same. If you happen to miss the Wednesday Oct 22 "send" date, send it Thursday, Friday or whenever you can.

Send letters to:

secretarioparticularchihuahua@hotmail.com (This doesn't seem to work)

Sample Letter – English

Honorable Jose Reyes Baeza

Governor of the State of Chihuahua

Republic of Mexico

Owing to the escalation of violence in recent weeks against the inhabitants of the Colonia of Lomas del Poleo by the employees of the brothers, Jorge and Pedro Zaragoza, we are asking your immediate intervention so that the appropriate authorities might guarantee the security of the residents in this Colonia. Also we urge that you order the State Attorney General's office to immediately investigate the crimes committed in this area which have already been presented to the Attorney General.

As you well know the lands in Lomas del Poleo are the subject of a legal dispute in the Agrarian Court Number Five in Chihuahua so we are also asking you to oblige the Zaragozas 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.


(Your name, title, city, state, country)

Sample Letter: Spanish Version
Sr. José Reyes Baeza

Gobernador del Estado de Chihuahua, México.


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.


(Your name, title, city, state)

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