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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 8, 2009

Colonia Km. 27 is in the outskirts of Juárez. It is a neighborhood without running water or street lights. Its inhabitants are going through tough times dealing with land ownership issues. Some have papers from the time of the Agrarian Reform but need legal assistance in clarifying their ownership status. Many of the long time settlers are afraid because during the past five years other residents have had their homes torn down or burned down by the supposedly new owners of the land. They reported that the new owners are usually rich and influential business people willing to expand their empires at any cost without proper compensation.

The local residents were very candid in sharing their experiences with us. Another injustice experienced by one of the participants and common to many other residents is that of falling prey to loan sharks. Although three of the residents settled out of court and were able to get out of the unreasonable high rate of interest and late fees (some as high as 800%), others are afraid to come forward because of threats made by the lender and her family. The lender is also a resident in the same neighborhood who is taking advantage of the emergency need of money (funerals, etc.) of her fellow neighbors.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks once again for your dedicated work. I find myself comparing what you report about shootings, etc., to the experiences of our most troubled neighborhoods in U.S. cities.
    In reading your comment about loan sharks, I recall that the credit union movement in the U.S. started as a grass roots reaction against loan sharking after the Great Depression. Are there organizations similar to credit unions in Juarez?