Alejandro Cárdenas Peralta, third from the left, leading the men reclaiming the Punta Zicatela en 1982.
Alejandro Cárdenas Peralta, third from the left, leading the men reclaiming the Punta Zicatela en 1982.

Alejandro Cárdenas Peralta

By Nicolás Santiago Aguilar *

Alejandro Cárdenas Peralta is one of the most important figures in the history of Brisas de Zicatela, that’s why the main avenue bears his name. He was born on April 12, 1958, and died as a result of bullet wounds in 1985 before he was 27. In his short life time he led the successful fight for the return of the Punta Zicatela from San Pedro Mixtepec to Bienes Comunales of Santa María Colotepec.

In 1982, while serving as the local deputy for the district of Pochutla, which includes Colotepec, he came to the aid of the president of Bienes Comunales of Colotepec, Justo Salvador Maldonado (for whom another avenue in the Punta is named). Justo Salvador wanted to reclaim the Punta from San Pedro, which had held it since 1969.

A little history here. The coast of Puerto Escondido, including the Punta, was expropriated by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz in 1970 so that the land could be privatized and developed as a resort. FONATUR, the national fund for the development of tourism, was founded in 1974 and put in charge of the project. For various reasons (!Viva Puerto! 34) FONATUR abandoned Puerto Escondido in 1980 and developed Huatulco instead.

When Colotepec had given up its land on Zicatela in 1969, the terms were that it was to be given access to San Pedro’s electric grid within a period of five years. Since this did not happen and the property was not being developed for tourism, in the early 1980s Bienes Comunales of Colotepec wanted the land back.

Alejandro Cárdenas was a young man full of revolutionary ardor. He led a group of his followers to reclaim the land. They were successful and Bienes Comunales was able to issue actas on it in 1982. In 1984, the Agrarian Authority recognized the land as belonging to Bienes Comunales of Colotepec.

Fonatur began its development of Huatulco in 1984, and once again Alejandro Cárdenas attempted to protect the rights of its inhabitants. (Huatulco is also in the District of Pochutla, and Cárdenas was still the local deputy.) This time, he was not successful.

On February 23, 1985, while dining in a restaurant in Pochutla, Cárdenas was provoked into a fight with two government agents. At some point he decided to retreat. Then the agents shot him in the back. The young deputy succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in Mexico City on March 23, just a month short of his 27th birthday.


Alejandro Cárdenas Peralta when he was a student.

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