E.Young: Golf Kills/Tepoztlan Lives, Sep 11

Harry M. Cleaver hmcleave at mundo.eco.utexas.edu
Tue Sep 12 08:21:59 MDT 1995

This posting has been forwarded to you as a service of Accion Zapatista de Austin.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 00:35:45 CST
From: Elliott Young <eyoung at colmex.mx>
To: Mexico94 at profmexis.dgsca.unam.mx, chiapas-l at profmexis.dgsca.unam.mx,
    Mexico2000 at mep-d.org, reg.mexico at conf.igc.apc.org,
    soc.culture.mexican at dispatch.demon.co.uk
Subject: Golf Kills/Tepoztlan Lives

Tepoztlan Report, Elliott Young,  September 11, 1995


A half-billion dollar golf course/condominum "development" project has been
stopped in its tracks by the courageous efforts of thousands of native
Tepztecos.  They have said no to the degradation of their environment, no
to the expropriation of communal lands, no to the destruction of
archaelogical sites and no to the underpaid servile sector jobs that have
been promised them.
        On Saturday night, the main plaza in front of town hall buzzed with
energy as news of the Justice department's decision to suspend permission
for the golf course was read aloud.  Popular poetry readings interspersed
with calls for volunteers to guard the entrances to the town so that the
police could not enter with weapons to dislodge them.  A group of
foreigners from throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States, who
were working on the International Zapatista Plebiscite, read to the
gathered crowd a message of solidarity which was received by loud applause.

     Contrary to the misinformation spread by detractors of this movement,
those who have organized against the golf club are very clearly local
farmers and not Mexico City artists or foreign environmentalists.  While
several academics and artists from Mexico and abroad have written letters
of support, they are definitely not the ones who battled the police, who
held six state representatives as hostage, who took over the town hall, and
who stand guard at the barricades all night.  Why is it so hard to believe
that poor, and in many cases indigenous farmers decided by themselves to
oppose a project that would take away their land and turn them into maids
and golf caddys for the rich?  Why do certain people immediately assume,
without any evidence, that this movement had to have been orchestrated by
urban intellectual elites?
        On Sunday, thousands of supporters from 23 municipalities in the
state of Morelos formed a caravan to Tepoztlan and joined a rally calling
for the definitive end of the golf course project.  Speakers informed the
audience that the company had lied when it claimed to have permission to
build the golf course from INAH, the state agency that protects
archaelogical sites, and to have an environmental impact study from the
UAM, a university in Mexico City.  KS, the company behind the golf course
project, has bought full page ads in major Mexico newspapers, inlcuding La
Jornada, and hired small planes to fly over Tepotzlan to drop propoganda
flyers in an effort to discredit this movement.  While one speaker welcomed
solidarity from any group, including political parties, he emphasized that
their movement was not being organized by or beholden to any political
party.  Speakers from neighboring municipalities complained of similar
"development" projects which ended up dispossesing them of their land.
Towards the end of the rally a PRI representantive attempted to take the
microphone by force, but was prohibited from speaking by the thunderous
booing of the crowd and several men with large sticks who chased him from
the stage.
   Tepoztlan remains in the hands of local farmers who stand guard at
barricades at all of the entrances to the town, some wearing "Viva el EZLN"
T-shirts.  And if only for this brief moment in time one gets the feeling
that a small community united by its identification as a  pueblo and its
strong ties to the land can battle multi-national capitalists-- and win.
The Tepoztecos are also keenly aware that they are not alone.  They
continue to receive pledges of support from throughout Morelos, Mexico, and
the world.
        One speaker at the rally noted that although Emiliano Zapata was
not from there, his first coronels came from Tepoztlan. Thus, he exclaimed
proudly, "The armed struggle began right here in Tepoztlan!"  As the entire
world protests the French government for polluting the oceans with its
nuclear bombs, Tepoztecos stand vigilant that their community not succomb
to the environmental devastation of "development."  The victory in
Tepoztlan shines forth as an example in a world that seems destined to
ecological and social apocalypse by annonymous corporations with names like
KS, the French Government, Dow Chemical, Dupont, and Freeport MacMorran.

The writing is on the wall:
"No Al Club de Golf"
"Fuera KS"

Elliott Young
eyoung at colmex.mx

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