Chiapas: campesinos protest in hurricane’s wake

From El Universal, March 31, via Chiapas95:

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Chiapas. Thousands of campesinos in southern Mexico blocked roads and bridges Wednesday to protest the alleged failure of the central government to help them cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Stan.

In Suchiate, some 5,000 residents of farming cooperatives blocked a bridge linking Mexico to neighboring Guatemala to dramatize their demands that the Suchiate River, which forms the international boundary, be returned to its original channel.

Members of the cooperatives, or “ejidos,” say that the rains and winds which accompanied Stan when it passed through Central America and southern Mexico last October shifted the river’s course northward, leaving some ejido lands on the Guatemalan side of the border.

The state’s secretary of public safety said state officials are still waiting for the National Water Commission to begin cleaning debris from the Suchiate and returning the river to its original channel.

Elsewhere in Chiapas, angry residents blocked highways to pressure the federal government into speeding-up storm recovery efforts in the region after writing a letter to President Vicente Fox.

APRO also reported March 30 that the Chiapas Women’s Human Rights Center protested that the ejido (agricultural cooperative) of Bella Vista, in Frontera Comalapa municipality, had passed regulations barring the ejido’s women from marrying outside the community, on pain of being expelled from the ejido. Two women from the ejido, Concepcion Suarez Aguilar and Rosario Arrambide Gonzalez said National Agrarian Registry had approved the regulation in August 2001. (Chiapas95)

See our last post on Mexico.