A group of environmentalists from Ixil, who in the middle of last year denounced before the Federal Attorney General’s Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa) the deforestation of large extensions of jungle within the 712 hectares where the Aludra semi-developed lot development is being built, obtained a few days ago the suspension of the work and the closing of the project by the federal environmental authorities, announced this morning at a press conference held in the city of Merida.
The advisor to the residents of Ixil, Sergio Oceransky of the Yansa Foundation, headed this meeting, in which the closure of the project was described as a great achievement of the environmentalists who seek to defend at all costs the integrity of their lands and the community spirit of the people, rejecting large-scale projects that involve damage to the natural environment, as in this case a real estate development seven times larger than the town of Ixil and where large extensions of trees and jungle were razed to the ground.
The environmentalists, including neighbors of Ixil 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, of which they said they have already sold in a first stage about 16 hectares at a price of 65 million pesos.
Investment lots in the north of Merida, accused of deforestation
As reported in this press conference, when the environmental authorities tried to carry out an inspection of the site to verify the deforestation allegations, the personnel in charge of the project did not accept the inspection, arguing that the project is not the property of the developer, a situation that arouses suspicion among some inhabitants of Ixil who fear that the whole operation is a fraud.
“The Aludra project deforests large extensions of jungle and lacks permits to operate,” it was said in the middle of last year when it was announced that a complaint would be filed with profepa for these facts.
Aludra is a development of semi-urbanized lots located in the municipality of Ixil “in a residential area of high added value and urbanization“, as advertised by some real estate companies that promote the site. “Just 20 minutes from the city of Merida and 10 minutes from the Yucatan coast, urbanized land designed to be inhabited immediately and with ‘premium’ services,” say the developers.
Although the work is under suspension and the site is closed, the developer has not yet given any indication of wanting to take any legal action, injunction or appeal to allow the project to continue.
Investment lots in Ixil
“We tell people not to be fooled, in Ixil we do not want large projects that involve handing over huge tracts of land, we do not want real estate developments, wind farms or anything. We will want to continue working our land and continue growing onions and cilantro. Large projects only bring deforestation and flooding in the rainy season, as happened in 2020,” commented Berta Garrido.
Environmentalists denounce the mismanagement of the ejidal and municipal authorities, who have overlooked this project to the detriment of the inhabitants of Ixil, who have seen the integrity of the natural environment they used to enjoy compromised.
“The real estate developers are better off asking for forgiveness than asking for permission,” said Oseransky, who has provided legal advice to the non-conformists 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
“Developers know that once deforested and built, they only pay fines and can continue operating, if they take 65 million pesos from 16 hectares, of course they can pay the low bonds of a fine” he added.
“It is important to tell people that they had better not invest in ejido lots. They are a risk because they are on land acquired fraudulently and then those who pay the consequences are those who buy in good faith,” said Peregrina Cutz.
At this press conference, a call was also made to federal security and justice authorities to expedite the location of activist and community rights defender Ricardo Lagunes, who has been missing in Michoacán since January 15. Lagunes has been the architect of various territorial defense projects in the country, including this one in particular of the Ixil community against the Aludra real estate development.