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Fisherman protesting in Todos Santos pushed out by police officials

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Police stand watch over a road that was previously blocked by fisherman protesting the housing company MIRA. (Photo Credit: Salvemos Punta Lobos)

Tuesday morning, police officials from La Paz, Mexico, forcefully removed protesting fisherman from their beach blockade against the housing company MIRA, a company with ties to Colorado State University and its educational center in Todos Santos.

At least two to three people were injured from the intervention: one with a broken arm and the other’s injuries are unknown at this time. Since Oct. 29, 2015, fisherman had blocked the road to Punta Lobos beach where MIRA was constructing a hotel as part of its major housing development in the region.

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The development includes land donated to CSU for a research center, however the center has been scrutinized by activists criticizing the University’s relationship with the housing development.

“CSU is not involved in any negotiations or activities at Punta Lobos,” CSU spokeswoman Tiana Nelson wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The university extends support for the wellbeing and livelihood of all Todos Santos community members, as well as respect for Mexico’s legal process.”

Members of the Punta Lobos Fisherman’s Cooperative decided to protest against the development after citing many environmental and social harms the development could cause to their historic fishing beach that has been used for generations near the town of Todos Santos.

MIRA’s construction on the hotel halted after the protest began in October. The company was recently in negotiations with the fisherman to resolve the dispute. According to John Moreno, a local lawyer representing the protesting fisherman, there was supposed to be another dialogue later this week between the two parties and government officials, but intervention from police has left many blind-sided.

Moreno said there was no warning that police would intervene. Officials dressed in SWAT gear approached the beach at about 5:00 am and began to tell people to leave.

According to Moreno, injuries occurred after officials from MIRA was allowed through to the beach. Other fisherman tried to follow to the beach, at which point police began to march forward. Moreno said police had blocked access to the beach from the public and all fisherman including the other cooperative that is not part of the protest and have only allowed members from the development, including Project Director Ernie Glesner.

“Ernie was with uniformed police officers,” Moreno said. “And they are totally favoring, it’s unheard of … completely out of line.”

The Collegian reached out to Glesner for a response, but have so far received no comment.

In a letter to the editor to the Collegian, Glesner wrote that the leaders of the Punta Lobos fisherman cooperative had not wanted Moreno to represent the fisherman and that he did not have the cooperatives best interests. 

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According to Ricardo Madrazo, an activist for the fisherman, the fisherman leaders met officials from the housing developer without alerting the entire group. Madrazo said the cooperative forced the leader’s resignation after they signed a deal with MIRA without a majority vote from the cooperative.

Earlier last week, Madrazo and six other activists against the development were charged by  police on claims of dispossession and invasion. Madrazo called the charges a fear tactic.

Video Courtesy of Baja Sur TV.

Tensions between the housing development and activists have grown substantially in the past month. On Jan. 23, over two hundred people from the Todos Santos community participated in a march against the housing developer, with another impromptu march happening soon after it was announced activists were charged.

Collegian Executive Editor Skyler Leonard can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Skyler_Leonard.

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Comments (16)

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  • P

    Perry GasparDec 13, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Careful Gringos. You could be deported. Back the cause but in private only.

    Reply
  • A

    Amir ArbermanFeb 3, 2016 at 10:19 am

    The Colorado State University branch in Todos Santos has blocked half the town from commenting on their facebook pages. I was blocked by Mr. Drew Wilso for asking questions. The truth needs to get out and you are starting to expose it.

    Reply
  • R

    RedroasterFeb 3, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I have been following the protest from LA for months. I was stunned to realize that Colorado State had been sucked into this sickening exploitation. The article’s use of the term “housing development” is terribly misleading. The development is pillage of the community plain and simple. The beach location is where local fishermen landed their catch, I bought fish on that beach and what is happening sickens me.

    Reply
  • J

    Joaquin SalgdoFeb 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Again- young man, get your facts from other sources that the main opposition from people that are fishermen, why don´t you interview people from the Ejido?, why don´t you write about the local government´s posture?? you are so biased and are eager to have recognition from your poor journalism and superficial analysis of the situation. Did you know that Moreno´s main business is the sell of land to americans? that the land that he commercializes doesn´t have a urban permit? that the americans living in these properties does not pay real estate taxes ??
    Again as a business man in Todos, as a local from Todos I ask you if you consider yourself a reporter to search deeper and not just on the top of the iceberg with the Moreno´s and lazy guys as Madrazo who are being paid by americans to cause this riot. Did you know that Madrazo was expelled from the Music Festival for corrupt acts and that he ran away from Mexico City because he used to steal from his former boss.
    These kind of guys are the ones you are basing your facts on.

    Reply
    • M

      Maria MartinezFeb 3, 2016 at 10:49 am

      jajajajaja as 5th generation Todosanteña I am telling you….. Why aren’t you defending Tres Santos instead of defaming people who are protecting their rights? Since when is it a crime to defend yourself from opportunistic, CORRUPT DEVELOPMENT. This development HAS NO CREDIBILITY THAT IS WHY IT HIRED the University of Colorado to GREENWASH their MEGADEVELOPMENT. Tres Santos is so curupt that the government allowed them to lead the police charge. Ernie Glesner and The Arq. Ledesma rode in the backs of the police trucks and they were obviously in charge. SHAME on them for hurting, intimidating humble fishermen. THIS is how Tres Santos deals with locals? THIS is how Tres Santos respects the fishermens rights? Shame on them and shame on CSU for not taking a stand for basic HUMAN RIGHTS! Why are you not mentioning that Tres Santos is stealing the towns water? CSU is using that water with no meeter and has not paid usage fees for almost a year.. Why aren’t you mentioning that there are local Zoning laws that Tres Santos has violated? Why aren’t you mentioning the ecological damage that they have already caused? I truly truly hope that you are just a Tres Santos lackey because if you are as you say from Todos Santos, I am ashamed for you, you have turned your back on your roots, your neighbors and your friends. You are truly the lowest of the low.

      Reply
      • J

        Joaquin SalgdoFeb 3, 2016 at 10:55 am

        good english for being a TodoSanteña , for sure you are a gringa that is only trying to stop more income into our town… our town.. not american town!!! shame on you! get out of Mexico-

        Reply
        • M

          Maria MartinezFeb 3, 2016 at 12:26 pm

          Mira PENDEJO.. Soy mas Todsanteña que tu por que YO SI AMO A MI PUEBLO. Lo amo tanto que no me vendo por un Pinche hueso como tu lo has hecho. Ahora resulta que nosotros no podemos escribir en Ingles? ESTAS PENDEJO!

          Now it is a Crime to know how to write & speak english? So you think all Todosanteños are not educated get out of here I will not sell myself like you have obviously done. Income what income? Low paying jobs, gardeners and maids! Please. I only see gringo faces in Tres Santos or the few Mexican faces I see are people from mainland how many locals have they hired? Probably less than 10% THAT IS HOW YOU SUPPORT THE LOCALS. Tres Santos is finally showing their real colors and they are definitely not SAINTS.

          Reply
        • P

          Pp ParraFeb 3, 2016 at 1:52 pm

          En español te lo digo vas y chingas a tu puta madre pinche traidor de mierda ni a chilango has de llegar, piensas que sólo los gringos hablan ingles? Ignorante hijo de mil putas

          Reply
        • K

          Karen WymanFeb 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm

          Sr. Salgdo, you’re writing in English too, so that must make you a gringo.

          Reply
    • K

      Karen WymanFeb 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Sr. Salgdo, I suggest that YOU get your facts straight. (Except there are no facts in your “reply” above.)
      And if one watches some of the videos of the protests, hay muchos mexicanos que protestan. The reporter did a decent job of reporting on this issue.

      Reply
      • J

        Joaquin SalgdoFeb 5, 2016 at 6:55 am

        PP Parra, cuando quieras nos vemos en el parque frente a la Gasolinera, curioso que no identifico tu apellido como Todo Santeño, para que te rompa tu madre, a ver si cuando no tienes una camara enfrente eres tan velenton.. maricon! has de trabajar para los drogadictos de la basura de gente que anda con los grinogos que no quieren que este pobre pueblo avance-

        Maria- de Todo Santeña no tienes un pelo, eres una vende patrias a las gringas que por unos cuantos dolares les lames las botas, que has hecho tú por el puebo? NADA!!!!!- que no ves en que condiciones se encuentra? pues donde carajos vives que no recorres las calles ni vez el estado de la mayoria de nuestras casa, de que me hablas cua ndo con orgullo dices que eres de aqui? eres una lamebotas, venede patrias !

        y Karen a ti ni me voy a desgastar, vete a tu país, no eres bienvenida, con tus miseros centavos vives como rica a costa de nosotros, asi que cuidate cabrona- y largate-

        Reply