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Communal landowners block a road during a protest over the land issue last year. Communal landowners block a road during a protest over the land issue last year.

Communal landowners in Coahuila take their fight to Mexico City

They claim that corruption among local authorities has allowed their land to be taken

A group of communal landowners from Coahuila has pledged to take the fight to defend their land to Mexico City, charging that municipal authorities in their home state have acted corruptly and allowed impunity to prosper.

The landowners, or comuneros, from Cerro de la Gloria in the municipality of Monclova charge that local authorities have allowed the dispossession of their lands even though they have title deeds and a 1923 presidential resolution that prove they are the rightful owners.

The group said it has filed 10 criminal complaints against the brothers Arturo and Alfredo González Palma, who they claim have illegally entered their property and removed their livestock.

The complaints relate to assault, property damage, dispossession of land and falsification of documents among other crimes, but none has been acted upon.

The comuneros said they will seek an audience with the transition team of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the capital and also take their case to the central offices of the Secretariat of Agrarian Development and Urban Planning (Sedatu) in order to show that they are the legitimate owners of the land.

If necessary, the landowners said, they would stage a protest or go on a hunger strike in order to be heard.

The comuneros claim that the former mayor of Monclova, Gerardo García, and the ex-director of the city’s land registry office colluded with the González Palma brothers by providing them with local government plans and authorizations that allowed them to falsify ownership documents that supposedly superseded their titles.

However, when they asked for access to the same plans at municipal offices, the landowners said that their requests were denied.

They also said that García is the owner of a water park located between their land and a property owned by the González Palma brothers, adding that they would like to know how he acquired the property, what price he paid for it, what commitments he made and what his future plans for the land are.

Source: Noticias del Sol de la Laguna (sp)

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