Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

...then there is no barrio(s)

A friend called. "We just drove by the new barrio - Colosio - it's being torn down. Cops are there, bulldozesrs, dump trucks." D. and I were getting ready to go to Popeye Beach, out toward the Estuary, so we decided to drive out to Barrio Colosio.

It was like something out of Mad Max. We'd just driven through there the day before and were impressed at the amount of work that had been done on the houses - plywood walls, wood beams. By the time we got there this morning most everything was gone. Piles of debris - or possessions - burned. Cars and trucks and vans passed us loaded down with building material, blankets, chairs. Neighbors in real houses let people stack their belongings and material alongside their homes. Police cars sat at all roads leading into the barrio.

We decided to visit another barrio, the one we'd heard was also to be torn down. On the way we stopped at a home rented by some gringas and they said the bulldozers were there now. They said the homes were being torn down to make way for that rumored marina...rumored for decades. The barrio was on the road to the estuary so we headed there only to be met with lines of police cars - brought in from Hermosillo - and people standing about watching a bulldozer raze another home.

I got out of the van and wandered around with my camera, hoping not to catch the attention of the police. We were told to move our vehicles back so I did then got out for more picture taking. A white truck came down the hill from where a fairly large home was standing, people surrounded the house, stood in a line along the top of the dune. A policeman yelled and cops went running toward the white truck. More police trucks arrived with masked and armed officers standing in the bed. I went back to the van and sat inside, shaking at the horror and the potential for violence. A policeman yelled for me to vamos. He didn't have to tell me twice.

We found an alternate route to the estuary, spent an hour or so there, then returned via the back road to the highway, past a new dump site where they were dumping people's belongings.

That was on Thursday. The next day we made another trip to the estuary, this time with a group of women to kayak and paddle board. We didn't know if the road was blocked but we didn't want to risk it so we took the road from the highway, past the new dumpsite. This is what it looked like on Friday morning.

The dump area had grown. Now people's possessions were covered with dirt, to be burned? Or to discourage rummaging, looking for something of value, maybe that photo of the abuela, maybe a rusted coffee pot?

I don't know the details of the razing. It seems to be true that the people in the more established barrio had been given notice since January that this was going to happen. It seems that these are the people who hustled out to Colosio looking for a new place to live. But apparently they were there illegally so they had to leave. I keep asking "but where are they supposed to live? where are they now?"

It's no wonder people risk their lives to cross the desert into the United States. Their lives are all they own.

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