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Ejidos reclaim Tulum Coba archaeological site

Tulum, Q.R. — Ejido members of Coba have challenged the authority of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) by reopening the Cobá Archaeological Zone.

On August 10, the INAH announced the closure of the Coba Archaeological Zone starting August 11 citing security and health issues. In a statement, the Institute said “in accordance with the health provisions for the prevention of Covid-19 infections, the Archaeological Zone of Coba will close its doors as of August 11 until further notice.”

Tape was placed at the entrance to prevent passage, but Ejido resident have since removed it and announced its reopening. Members of the agrarian community, who had already warned they would take over the site, did so Tuesday night.

The Ejidatarios stated that the closure was a retaliation against them by the INAH after both sides failed to reach an agreement regarding the administration and management of the archaeological zone.

Ejidal commissioner Fausto May Cen said “we are here to recover the (archaeological) zone since it is located within the common land and is owned by the Ejidatarios. They are retaliating by arguing that it is being closed on orders from the federal government.”

On Wednesday, the 133 members Ejido group were at the site to ensure it remained opened, providing free access to all visitors. Fausto May Cen told the press that they were waiting for a concrete answer about their request for control of the Mayan site that is within their lands, which documents would verify, but nothing yet.

He says they are hoping to reach an agreement with the INAH in which they benefit economically from the tourist income (ticket sales) generated by managing the cultural center.

The Ministry of Culture and the INAH are urging visitors not to go to the archaeological zone, saying that “as soon as the conditions for its reopening exist, the public will be notified.”