Support Maclovio Rojas (English)
- Support Maclovio Rojas (English)
Date: 5/11/2003 4:06:08 PM Pacific Standard Time
Members of the Latin American Society, advisors Don and Marjorie Bray of
Latin American Studies; students from Prof. Michele Ladd (Liberal Studies)
and Prof. Ester Hernandez (Chicano Studies) visited this weekend the
autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas in Tijuana, toured an abandoned
maquiladora that left an environmental disaster behind and drove by the many
industrial parks in Otay. During our visit we had the opportunity of
learning from members of the community how Maclovio Rojas came to be. Their
story and their struggle is compeling. On behalf of the people of this
community, please read on.
Latin American Studies
Public Programs Coordinator
The people of Maclovio Rojas need our support.
Barbara Flynn, Puentes de Amistad
The people of Maclovio Rojas need our support. This struggling community on
the outskirts of Tijuana was founded by landless agricultural workers in
1988, with the hope of using cooperative effort to provide better
opportunities for education, economic self-sufficiency and health and human
services for its members. Many of you who receive this have spent time there
and met the inspiring leaders who are genuinely committed to these ideals.
Unfortunately, government agencies have often denied them the support and
services they are entitled to. Under the current right-wing PAN party
control, they are suffering what we believe to be politically motivated
Arrest warrants have been issued for Maclovio leaders Hortensia Hernandez,
Artemio Osuna Osuna, Nicolasa Ramos, Juan Regalado and Ruben Garcia Rocha on
contrived charges. Nicolasa Ramos has been held in the state penitenciary
without bail since December 4. The others are in hiding to avoid arrest.
While they are unavailable, officials are pressuring the community to give up
Please take a moment to give your support:
1. Copy and paste the email below or compose one of your own to Governor
Eugenio Elorduy gobernador@... and a copy to President Vicente Fox
ciudadano@... (There is no need to write in Spanish.)
2. Copy and paste this message into your own new mail and send to all who
might help. A deluge of letters can make a difference. (If you forward this
as is, please delete the addresses of the prior recipients.)
3. Please reply to this message with "Sent (date)" in the subject line so
that we can keep track of the response.
Puentes de Amistad
"When the people lead, the leaders will follow."
Dear Governor Elorduy:
I am writing to express my concern about the present situation in the
community of Maclovio Rojas Marquez. As you may be aware, arrest warrants
have been issued for community leaders Hortensia Hernandez, Artemio Osuna,
Nicolasa Ramos, Juan Regalado and Ruben Garcia. They are charged with
"stealing water". Nicolasa Ramos was arrested on December 4, 2002 and is
still being held in the La Mesa State Penitentiary without bail.
The community of Maclovio Rojas is an inspiration for many of us in the
United States. They are a model for how low-income communities can organize
to face economic challenges. They are developing their community through
their own limited resources, determination, local community organizing
efforts, and networking with international organizations such as the Ford
Foundation, Border Arts Workshop, Puentes de Amistad, Waljo'k Foundation, The
American Friends Service Committee, InSITE, and Global Exchange, among
others. Through these efforts they have succeeded in building schools, a
sports field, a women's center with a child care program, a community arts
center, and several neighborhood meeting halls. The leaders of the community
of Maclovio Rojas are honorable individuals who are genuinely committed to
bettering the lives of the members of their community. They deserve your
support and encouragement.
I feel that the current arrest warrants served on Maclovio Rojas' community
leaders are unjust. While it is true that the community has relied for
several years on water taken directly from the aqueduct, there is a
decades-long history of ranchers and others in the area using the aqueduct
water long before Maclovio Rojas was even founded. It is my understanding
that currently, in addition to local ranchers, the police academy on the west
side and the public elementary school on the east side of Maclovio Rojas are
connected to the aqueduct for their water supply. Moreover, on many occasions
the community of Maclovio Rojas has petitioned the State government to
provide them with running water. This petition has been approved by the State
Commission of Public Services, but the implementation of it has been delayed
for several years. Connecting to the aqueduct was a temporary measure taken
by the entire community as an interim solution to alleviate their water
problem. It is not fair to single out a few individuals for the collective
action of an entire community.
I understand that there are many other important issues that need to be
resolved between government agencies and the community of Maclovio Rojas. I
encourage the government of Baja California to seek a solution with the
community through negotiations with the legitimate leaders of that community:
Hortensia Hernandez, Artemio Osuna, Nicolasa Ramos, and Ruben Garcia.
Please take action to cancel the arrest warrants and free Nicolasa Ramos so
that these leaders may represent their community at the negotiating table.
Thank you for your consideration.
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