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The thought of a shrimp farm replacing a chunk of San Francisco del Mar’s lush mangrove swamps has gnawed at Leonel for the past sever al years. The mangroves serve as nurseries for the fish and shellfish the Huave people harvest from the Pacific lagoons. Above: Leonel Grimez are not sufficiently exploited.” It is statements like thisand fear of what they might meanthat inspired representatives from more than 300 associations of peasants, workers, women, local governments, and indigenous communities to gather in Quetzaltenango for the Xelajn Forum. One of the people to take the microphone at the first plenary session was Concepcion Colotla. From Puebla, Mexico, Concepcion leads the 10,000-member Emiliano Zapata Campesino Association. His Association has been at the center of a violent conflict over farms versus factories. In late 2000, the Puebla state government announced the “Millennium Project,” a plan to transform 50,000 acres of highly productive farmland into two industrial parks for maquiladoras, a golf course, a horse-racing track, and exclusive residential subdivisions. Much of the land in question is currently managed collectively by the people who work it. In a cowboy hat, with his feet planted wide apart, Concepcion’s voice boomed a warning through the cavernous auditorium. “Communities without land cease to be communities.” Sitting in the audience, Leonel nodded his head and murmured his agreement. Concepcion had voiced Leonel’s fear precisely. Only the oldest residents of San Francisco del Mar speak Huave and wear traditional clothing.The way Leonel sees it, the things that preserve their indigenous identitywhat they eat, how they manage their local government, and how they earn a livingrelate to their relationship to the land. Moreover, these things are dependent upon the Huaves’ continued control of it. Concepcion concluded his brief speech, “Companeros, indigenous brothers, I assure you, the only thing the Plan Puebla-Panama is going to bring us is the loss of our land.” The crowd cheered. Whether or not it is true, this idea is fed in part by the Mexican government’s unwillingness to consult with affected communities about the PPP. Even World Bank representatives in Mexico City have criticized the government’s closed-door approach. In April 2001, public “consultation” meetings were held in several Mexican cities. The three-hour meetings were announced three or four days before they were held, with invitations sent to a handful of non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. The great majority of the people who live in the region never heard about them. \(It was a month after these meetings that Leonel asked me The Mexican government has devoted much more attention to gathering a sales team for the 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2/1/02