The land is completely overgrown with long grasses and weeds, and in parts it gets pretty swampy so that some kind of drainage work will have to be undertaken. Nothing that a lot of hard work won't take care of. In fact, most of the villagers have moved over from other land occupations where land is already in short supply. Some of them are young people looking for a patch of land of their own to work, while others are parents with fast-maturing kids. All of them are looking to the future, hoping that the community will be able to guarantee them a living and a precarious identity in keeping with their indigenous heritage. The alternative is migration to the cities, and the anonymity which this implies. That's not an option for people who have dedicated their lives to this struggle. Sometimes the men have to leave for a few months in order to seek temporary work far from their homes, often as building labourers on extremely unsafe sites, but the prospect of moving away from the land on a permanent basis is something few can countenance. Indeed, one way of looking at the Zapatista project is as an attempt to find a sustainable way of life for the indigenous peoples of Mexico - instead of their being pawns for the needs of transnational capital.
It's a difficult path to walk, with plenty of ruthless opponents along the way. No one knows this better than the inhabitants of Cuaute'moc: their nearest neighbours are the Seguridad Pu'blica police, just out of sight around the next bend. Squad cars drive through many times every day, and some of the paths leading to and from the village are patrolled. There have been several threats of eviction, always staved off at the last moment. It's not the kind of stability one might desire for a young family setting up in their first home.
So far so good, however. Some money has come in from a solidarity group in Leeds to rebuild a bridge that was destroyed during the flooding, and this will enable the community to carry food back from the maizefields instead of having to walk several miles up to the roadbridge - which incidentally is also patrolled by the police. The rains have stopped now and life has taken on a rosier, more sociable hue. There is an unlikely feeling of normality even in the midst of such an absurd situation.
Nowhere is safe. The squatters are taking over...