As February crawled to a close, two parades were held on Mexican Flag Day in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, a state on the Pacific coast in Southern Mexico. In the first event, handsomely-dressed school children with musical instruments filed through Zihuatanejo’s downtown headed for an official ceremony. Meanwhile, a few miles up the road in the popular international tourist destination of Ixtapa, about 150 landowners and their supporters marched in front of swank hotels and upscale shops. Passing by curious Mexican and foreign tourists snapping photos, the marchers carried protest banners and sported T-shirts with strong messages. “Tourist Friends, you are walking on lands robbed by Fonatur,” read one banner. “The Ejido of Zihuatanejo demands payment from the federal and state governments for our expropriated lands,” read another.
Since the 1970s, millions of foreign and national tourists have visited Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, dropping their cash in hotels, restaurants, bars, boutiques, massage outlets and car rental and tour agencies, many of which are part of international corporate chains. But Zihuatanejo Ejido members say Mexico City never fully complied with its end of the expropriation, despite years of patient waiting, some initial discussions and litigation that’s dragged on since 2000. “Nothing has been resolved. The court blocks everything,” said Danilo Valencia, former Zihuatanejo ejido president.
“More than anything else, (the protest) is for justice,” said Victor Manuel Espino, another ejido member and grandson of one of the ejido’s 1938 founders. “(The federal government) expropriated lands and hasn’t paid us. Almost all the ones who were alive then have died,” he said. “Very few are alive. Almost everyone involved in the struggle now are second- or third-generation.”
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