RealNews

Pro-Zapatistas Overrun U.S.-Owned Ranch In Mexico

Dozens of Mexican peasants sympathetic to Zapatista rebels took over a hotel-ranch owned by a U.S. couple on Friday as part of a campaign to forcibly redistribute land in the southern state of Chiapas, local authorities said. Rock-wielding Indian peasants had blockaded the Rancho Esmeralda ranch since December, prompting the owners, former Peace Corps volunteers Glen Wersch, 49, and Ellen Jones, 55, to move to a nearby town. On Friday the peasants moved in. “Around 80 Zapatista followers entered the ranch installations while another 50 are staying outside,” Emilio Zebadua, Chiapas assistant governor, told reporters. Indians, some wearing ski masks and carrying machetes and sticks, blocked a road near the 26-acre (10.5-hectare) ranch. The ranch, which incorporates an eco-friendly hotel, is mentioned in the 2002 Lonely Planet guide to Mexico as one of the country’s top 10 places to stay. Local authorities said two employees were in the ranch when it was overrun, but there were no reports of violence. Full Story

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