Indigenous people of Lake Chapala defend their hills from real estate developers greed


San Antonio Tlayacapan.- In Chapala the novelty “is that they sell pieces of our hills and then they offer parcels of properties with a panoramic view and spectacular sunsets”, says the old José Morales Rodríguez, a resident of San Antonio Tlayacapan, at the moment in which he is accompanied by his dog and after attending a demonstration on Sunday morning, where hundreds of residents of the municipality of Chapala, like him, show their rejection of the construction of new subdivisions in the area.

The elderly man exposes to the reporter as if he was claiming in front of the new developers and entrepreneurs who are pressing to keep the lands that do not belong to them:

“Like that is enough!” He says.

“Maybe it’s okay for them to do their thing, but not deprive us, not take away our access to the hills, the lagoons, the beach, not take away the possibility of being able to walk completely free, because we Our ancestors left us that legacy and it is not fair that they are privatizing us and that the roads and paths are closing them and that now we can no longer move, that is not fair “

Jesús Morales Rodríguez is an old man of small stature, originally from San Antonio on the banks of Chapala, the man says himself proud of being indigenous and also identifies himself as a protector of the rights of flora and fauna and of his community.

To attend the demonstration, he had to rescue the clothing used by his ancestors, which consists of shorts and a white blanket camisole, as well as a red sash, tied at the waist, and a wide hat made of palm.

The chronicles of that peasant community assure that the clothing of Don Jesús is similar to that always used by the Nahua natives and that it remains present in much of the territory of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán and they remember that it was still present until the middle of the 20th century. , there was a municipal decree in which indigenous people were prohibited from entering the plaza with this type of clothing, and members of the San Antonio community were forced to enter the first square of Chapala with denim pants and a checked shirt, in an effort not to bother the families in possession of those times.

Collectives representing almost 20 groups in favor of ecology, sustainability, as well as the protection of the indigenous territory of San Antonio Tlacayapan, participate in the defense of the land.

In recent months it is evident that several hills have been sliced ​​from that place, some even the invaders are located within the lands belonging to the indigenous community, which has the corresponding property titles and yet, now in some parts they deny the access, as is the case with runners and people who are used to doing sports outdoors.

On Tuesday, December 15, when immediate approval of the new urban developments was expected, the Chapala council removed from the order of the day the presentation and voting of the permits for the construction of two seven-story towers in a subdivision called Lourdes.

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According to the information provided by various activists, the sudden movement was due to the protest against the new subdivisions since within the council there are several councilors who openly are against the authorization that affect hills and properties that belong to ejidos or indigenous communities.

Eduardo Corona Vega, a member of the community of San Antonio Tlayacapan, denounced the following in the march held on December 13:

“We, part of the town –of San Antonio Tlayacapan- know that the constructions have affected the flora and fauna of the region. And the authorities are a group of builders who do not see for nature “, expressed Eduardo Corona Vega, representative of that indigenous community:” in article 27 of the constitution, all the rights that indigenous communities and those rights are being violated by all authorities “

In a march carried out earlier this month, several of the representatives of the groups expressed their annoyance at the damage caused to the environment. Other inhabitants of San Antonio Tlayacapan added that not only are the animals in the area affected, but also the population because their constitutional rights are violated.

The nonconformists complain about the boom in real estate developments in the area and the prohibition of passing through the roads of some of the hills where they have already begun to slice them, “those who make them, do not allow us to pass through those and not only us but to all the people who are used to going to walk or run in that area, and with that not only the right of way of the people is affected, they also affect the fauna of the area and it is being hurt “, as they expressed.

Less than a decade ago the price per square meter in the area was barely 30 pesos, today one hectare is priced at up to a million and a half pesos for the land that is in the elevated part of the riverbank and that allows having a beautiful view from the heights and facing Lake Chapala.


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The mark of destruction of the Lourdes hill, which can be seen from the lake, is in accordance with the law and the president of Chapala says that he can do nothing, since this is a developable area and not a protected area.  

In the urbanization on the Lourdes hill, everything is legal and the video broadcast on social networks, in which you see a backhoe demolishing trees, is something “simple” at least for the president of Chapala, Moisés Alejandro Anaya Aguilar, as he argued that ” There are two individuals who are fighting over the property and it is a matter for individuals ”in which he says he cannot intervene, but that the construction at the point is carried out in accordance with the law and that he can do nothing.

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“As for example that of Lourdes that has been very controversial, because there are houses above it, it is an urbanizable area, it does not have a protected area as such,” said Moisés Anaya in an interview with the media, ensuring that, if the area were protected, he would be the first to close.

Permits for real estate development in this area were granted during the current administration, in October 2019; The mayor’s pretext for not intervening and carrying out some kind of closure is due to the fact that they do have a license and this was approved by having an opinion on lines and destinations, authorized by the past administration -in charge of Javier Degollado- which is developable and that it has services “It is impossible for me to deny you a license in an area that has all the legal parameters and guidelines to do so” ensuring that they have done their part.

Anaya assured that they have always heeded the call of protected areas, that they have not benefited developers and that real estate developments are licensed and have valid land use for this, and that rather it is an issue that has been politicized.

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“They take us between their comments and remarks, I accept my responsibility, I am here to show my face in that sense, these are issues that have been controversial and have become politicized and there are people who want the municipality to do badly, that I go wrong “

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“With the tree grave, they had to be obliged to put three times as many trees,” said the president of Chapala, Moisés Anaya, assuring that those who carried out the felling that is observed from the lake, have already made donations to the induced forest and have put trees in the subdivision, according to the local president. 


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