MÉRIDA.- A group of Ixil environmentalists, who in the middle of last year denounced before the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) the deforestation of large tracts of jungle within the 712 hectares where the development of semi-urbanized lots Aludra is built, achieved a few days ago the suspension of the work and the closure of the project by the environmental authorities at the federal level, they announced this morning at a press conference held in the city of Mérida.
The adviser to the Ixil inhabitants who promoted this complaint, Sergio Oceransky of the Yansa Foundation, led this meeting, in which the closure of the project was described as a great achievement by environmentalists who seek to defend the integrity of their lands at all costs, and the community spirit of the people, rejecting large-scale projects that harm the natural environment, such as in this case a real estate development seven times the size of the Ixil town and where large tracts of hundred-year-old trees and jungle were razed.
The environmentalists, including Ixil residents such as Peregrina Cutz, Bertha Garrido and Jorge Yam, to name a few, expressed their satisfaction with the decision of the country’s environmental authorities to suspend activities and close the development. They have already sold in a first stage about 16 hectares at a rate of 65 million pesos.
Investment lots north of Mérida, flagged for deforestation.
As reported in this press conference, when the environmental authorities tried to carry out an inspection of the site to verify the deforestation complaints, the personnel in charge of the project did not accept the diligence, arguing that the project is not owned by the developer, a situation that arouses suspicions among some Ixil people who fear the entire operation is a fraud.
“The Aludra project deforests large tracts of jungle and lacks the permits to operate” was said in the middle of last year when it was announced that a complaint would be filed with PROFEPA for these events.
Aludra is a development of semi-urbanized lots located in the municipality of Ixil “in a residential area with high added value and urbanization,” it is advertised in some real estate companies that promote the site. “Just 20 minutes from the city of Mérida and 10 minutes from the Yucatecan coast, urbanized land designed to be inhabited immediately and with ‘premium’ services,” say the promoters.
Although the work is suspended and the site closed, the developer has not yet indicated that it wants to take any legal action, amparo or appeal that will allow it to continue with the project.
Inhabitants do not want investment lots in Ixil
“We tell people not to be fooled, in Ixil we don’t want big projects that imply handing over huge tracts of land, we don’t want real estate developments, or wind farms or anything. We want to continue working our land and continue growing onions and coriander. Large projects only bring deforestation and flooding in the rainy season, as happened in 2020” commented Berta Garrido.
The environmentalists denounce mismanagement by the communal and municipal authority that has overlapped this project to the detriment of the Ixil inhabitants who have seen the integrity of the natural environment which they enjoyed compromised.
“Real estate developers do better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission,” stressed Oseransky, who has provided legal advice to protesters through the Yansa Foundation, an authorized grantee that supports the defense of rights and territories and the design of community governance systems for the management of benefits derived from community projects.
Fines for developers of investment lots
“The developers know that once deforested and built, they only pay fines and can continue operating, if they get 65 million pesos from 16 hectares, of course they can pay the low fines,” he added.
“It is important to tell people that it is better for them not to invest in communal lots. They are a risk because they are on fraudulently acquired land and then those who pay the consequences are those who buy in good faith,” said Peregrina Cutz.
Source: Diario de Yucatan