After negotiations lasting an hour and a half did not achieve the desired result, the Piste land holders (ejidatarios) agreed to convene a meeting to plan their strategy for demanding payment from the government for the right of way on their ejido lands to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza.
On Wednesday, March 4th, a group of 70 people blocked access to the Mayan zone, one of the “Modern Seven Wonders of the World”, and demanded a toll 10 pesos per visitor. They collected more than 20 thousand pesos in three hours.
The president of the Ejido Commission, Evelio My Tun, former mayor of Tinum, said upon leaving the meeting with state and federal authorities that he disagreed because they want to give them the resources through the City of Tinum, not directly to the Commission.
“They want the Municipality to collect the money to give to the land holders. That is not the solution, The State Government charges 156 pesos per tourist. From that money, we requested 15 per cent and then 10 per cent, but they refused.”
He said that the meeting found that the secondary road that provides access to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza is ejido, so it is now in the hands of 599 landowners and 264 landholders.
They are requesting a percentage of what goes to the Patronato Cultur, not the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), because they are not asking for a handout “but only what we deserve.”
Meanwhile, the state government reported that the talks with the ejidatarios are ongoing, in the interests of providing legal certainty to their demands for recognition of land tenure and to the feasibility of having access to the revenue collected by the municipality of Tinum.
Both ejidatarios and government representatives, headed by Government Director Ruben Valdez Ceh, noted the willingness to talk and to find solutions.
Government representatives received the ejidatarios led by Evelio Mis who showed plans provided by the National Agrarian Register that noted an access road that used to be part of a Highway to Valladolid, before the “ejido” were constituted in 1928 with 1,216 hectares under 67 land holders.
Both sides recognized that such access is a common and natural thoroughfare to a federal zone. This means that you cannot charge a toll or close the road without running afoul of federal law.
The government representatives explained that although the area in question is part of the Piste municipality, the section of road is still part of the federal highway, even with the municipal modifications.
According to the General Road and Communication Law, as published on the DOF 09-04-2012, it is forbidden to obstruct the vehicular and pedestrian traffic or to charge fees.
Enrique Magadán Villamil, Cultur patronage director, said the municipality can obtain federal rights related with the access charge into the archaeologic area, but they must follow the law.
The land holders were later summoned to the Tinum City Hall to file the appropriate applications and to resolve matters related to quantities, timing, and delivery methods.
The number of tourists traveling to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza increases significantly during this time of the year due to the Spring Equinox.
Chichen Itza is absolutely the most popular spot in Mexico to celebrate the spring equinox.
The site’s most famous building, The Kulkulkan temple, is the site of a dramatic display of Mayan astronomical knowledge. Every year on the autumn and spring equinoxes the light of the sun makes a play of light and shadow which makes it look like a serpent is slithering along the steps of the pyramid. The effect begins in the late afternoon, around 4 pm, and lasts for an hour or so. This year, the serpent will appear from March 19th to the 23rd.
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