Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tenacatita one-day 'picnic' goes off without incident

TENACATITA, Jalisco, Mexico - A one-day picnic on the Tenacatita Beach Monday went off without any serious hitches, according to Rebalsito resident Dobie, writing on the La Manzanilla message board.

"It was a great day. Wonderful to watch boatloads of people go by, waving their Mexican flags," she wrote.

Here is a link to the full message: Tenacatita Beach picnic report

The picnic was put together to draw attention to the seizure of the Tenacatita Beach August 4 by armed forces under the direction of Jose Villalobos,  a Guadalajara developer who claims he owns about 42 hectares of land on Tenacatita Bay and on the oceanfront side, too.

Nearly 800 residents were evicted that day and lands owned by Mexicans and non-Mexicans were seized and have been under armed guard since. The beach restaurants were razed and homes destroyed.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against Villalobos in federal courts from people trying to regain their land. Much of the property is federally titled, though Villalobos claims the titles are invalid.

A number of beachfront homes and a small RV park owned by non-Mexicans have been destroyed also, according to reports.

Monday's 'picnic' was the first time that the guards let a large group of people through since August 4. Previous attempts at gaining access to the beach have been met with force by the guards.

For this organized picnic, participants came via boats from La Manzanilla and via the formerly public road, which now has a gate across it.

According to Dobie's report, people coming through via road had to leave their identifications with the guards at the gate. People who arrived via boat were not asked for anything, she said.

Though Monday's event went off without any problems, it remains unclear if public access to the Tenacatita beach has been restored, or if this was a one-time reaction by Villalobos and his security forces designed to avoid a public confrontation. Since seizing the beach in August, Villalobos has told public officials that the beach is open to the public and that the guards are there only to maintain order.

The photo below, from Informador.com.mx, shows what people who arrived by car had to face.

Beach access, but first...

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