Published On: Thu, Jan 24th, 2013

Federal Deputy keeps Dragon Mart Cancun in the spotlight

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Much has been said about the permits required to build the Dragon Mart Cancun mega project, so far there is no proof they exist.

Several questions have yet to be answered:

  • Which permits are these?
  • Who will be granted them?
  • Do they exist or not?

Valuable information has been compiled by a team journalist from “Pulso Politico” (a well-known website of political analysis) who interviewed the PRD federal deputy Graciela Saldana Fraire, looking for answers. She has followed this case closely, even asking a point of agreement to the Permanent Commission of the Congress of the Union to investigate into the ambitious Asian project.

Saldaña Fraire, federal deputy for the Third District of Benito Juarez, which comprises a major geographical area of the tourist city of ​​Cancun, said that a number of permits in the three levels of government (federal, state and municipal), especially in environmental areas are required, not only for the project in question, but for anyone trying to do any kind of development.

For this specific case, the deputy explained, the permits required in the first instance are:

  • Development and Deforestation Permit issued by the General Office of Ecology from the municipal government.
  • Construction License by the Urban Development Office, also by the municipality.
  • Change of Use of the Floor Permit, which is granted by federal government.  In this case, the lawmaker explained that no matter the type of ground or surface, either with or without vegetation, this permit is required by law.

She pointed out that at the federal, state, and municipal levels prevails an instrument called the Local Management Program, which determines what can and cannot be developed at the site, however, as the Asian project will be outside an urban area, then the main legal instrument of control is the Environmental and Ecological Program (SOP).

In the state of Quintana Roo there is the Institute of Environmental Impact and Risk (INIRA), from which the Asian company received an Environmental Impact Statement (MIA), this document authorizes the completion of the project. In this sense, Fraire Saldaña said, that the document needed to be authorized by a federal authority, i.e., SEMARNAT, and not just from a local authority, “since the construction will take place in front of a federal zone.”

According to information published in Proceso magazine, the INIRA authorized the construction and operation of Dragon Mart Cancun and associated works, because it was presented supposedly as a project of “tourist commercial development” and not as a “redistribution of Chinese origin products”.

Given these elements, the permits granted by that state body raises serious questions about the legality and transparency of the project, considers Fraire Saldana, and obviously suggests that there are strong interests of certain groups.

Moreover, Fraire Saldana showed a journalist from Pulso Politico a response letter by SEMARNAT dated December 19,2012, where it clarifies that there is no such a project on file with the name of “Construction and Operation Cancun Dragon Mart Mall and Associated Works”. The document states that SEMARNAT has not granted any permission and that there is only knowledge of the state government of the intention of the Chinese project. She stressed that the INIRAQROO itself authorized the development of the project as stated in the document INIRAQROO/DG/DIA/156/2012 dated September 6, 2012.

In this regard, Graciela Saldana made a list of the permits that the project must have and which government offices must grant them. Even the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), CONAGUA and the CFE must issue permits to start building the project. The following picture, courtesy of Pulso Politico, shows clearly the lack of all the required permits.


Little or nothing is known about who owns the land on which the shopping complex is intended to build on. The property located at Manzana 01 Lote 22-09 Left Flexion kilometer 333 +000 of highway 307 Chetumal-Cancun, municipality of Benito Juarez, Quintana Roo belongs to Ana María Díaz de León Erosa also known as Ana María Díaz de León Erosa  de Castillo, as recorded in a document of “promise of sale”.

Graciela Saldana Fraire showed to Pulso Politico a copy of a document that is the promise of sale mentioned above, where the beneficiary is the company Dragon Mart Cancun Real Estate Inc. This document states that the legal representative of Erosa Diaz de Leon is Carlos Rafael Castillo Medrano, who on June 19, 2012 signed before the Public Notary number 89 of the city of Merida, the promise of sale for the amount of 28 million USD  by the company Dragon Mart Cancun Real Estate Inc. represented by Juan Carlos Lopez Rodriguez.

According to information published by Proceso, Castillo Medrano is mentioned as one of the “Yucatecan businessman” who owns half of the shares of Dragon Mart. This publication also states that the other half of shares are owned by Mexican investors known as Grupo Monterrey from the state of Nuevo Leon, whose owners are Luis Felipe Benavides Salas, former director of Farmacias Benavides, and Jose Luis Salas Cacho who is related to Vicente Fox and Transportation Maritima Mexicana (TMM).



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