Home Headlines Maya communities report a “real estate mafia”

Maya communities report a “real estate mafia”

by Yucatan Times
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In addition to the well-known battle that populations are waging against the social and environmental damage generated by mega-factories of pigs and chickens that are multiplying in Yucatán, in recent years the increasingly accentuated fight against progress of a real estate business combo that, through a mafia, is fiercely deployed in almost the entire Peninsula, accuse representatives of Mayan communities.

Inhabitants of Ixil and Kinchil are among the people that have been denouncing the violations of the right to their territories and give an account of the actions of a real estate mafia that, in complicity with the authorities, operates by illegally appropriating land for common use.

Within the recent International Day of Indigenous Peoples, representatives of both towns, along with the Yansa Foundation, provided details regarding the violations of rights and freedoms promoted by the capitals of the real estate sector in Yucatan and how these businessmen position themselves in areas that they see with potential for constructions aimed at “luxury” clients.

“On August 4, 2022, employees of two prominent families attempted to illegally occupy an area of ​800 acres of common-use land adjacent to the Ixil population.

“Many families live from the food they produce on these lands, which have always been cultivated by the community,” said Luis David Quijano Pool, former Ixil commissioner.

“These businessmen tried to dispossess them in the face of the passivity of the municipal authorities. The people came together and stopped the invasion of the land, but employees of these people continue to come flying drones to do surveys, often at night or early in the morning,” he adds.

Around 40 minutes from Mérida, Ixil is one of the few municipalities in Yucatán that has not yet sold communal land to real estate capitals.

“With the support of the municipal president, these businessmen came to say that they had papers that formalized the purchase of those lands. But the community came out to defend their land, which is a very important productive space for families. Mafias of speculators equipped with very good lawyers to businessmen who buy officials intervene in these actions against the communities”, explains Sergio Oceransky, director of Fundación Yansa.

“The position of the state government in these situations is in support of this type of action. When businessmen tried to steal Ixil land, they acted in the company of state police trucks. Of course they did not intervene because they saw the people united and willing to defend their place. But it is clear that there is a very strong level of coordination between businessmen and politics”, he adds.

In February of this year, and after filing a complaint with the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), the residents of Ixil managed to suspend a mega lot project that the real estate agency Aludra intended to carry out, without any permit or endorsement, on more than 1700 acres of lands covered by jungle. Despite lacking any authorization, Aludra even managed to market close to 40 acres of the same area for a value of around 65 million pesos.

“There are several real estate companies selling lots in Ixil in violation of environmental laws. We have already managed to cancel one of these real estate developments, called Aludra, through a complaint to PROFEPA, and we will present new complaints against other developments located in our municipality such as Terrakún and Cedrón”, says Karla Flores Arasola, a resident of Ixil.

In Kinchil, the dispossession attempt includes 12,300 acres that, according to the residents, are stalked by an investor focused on the sale of lots.

“Many productive activities are threatened by this businessman who wants to take away our land. I work in beekeeping, small livestock. In that area, pitahaya (firefruit) and citrus are also grown, on which hundreds of Kinchileños depend. These activities give essence and identity to our community, since we have always worked the land of Kinchil peacefully and respecting the environment”, comments María Modesta Canul Chuil, a resident of that municipality.

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