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López Obrador proposes protected area for Riviera Maya land due to ‘refusal of agreement’

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has raised the possibility of declaring Playa del Carmen land as a Natural Protected Area due to “refusal of agreement”.

On Friday, López Obrador proposed that the 2,400 hectares of Vulcan Materials (Sac-Tun) land in Playa del Carmen be declared a protected area since the company remains reluctant to agree to its sale.

“This alternative would proceed before the end of the administration and would be accompanied by a compensation payment if the American company remains reluctant to agree to the agreement with the Government of Mexico, which seeks the preservation of the ecosystem in one of the places with the greatest natural wealth in the country, such as the Riviera Maya,” he said.

“I want to tell all Mexicans here that I am not going to leave without resolving this, and the best way to resolve it is to declare a protected natural zone, everything, and to pay them in accordance with the law, the corresponding compensation,” he said during his Friday Presidental press conference.

“If there is no response from them, if they do not want to help, that will be the decision. We are going to wait, just before I leave, the 6 or 7 billion pesos are going to be deposited in a court and we are going to issue the decree to allocate the entire area to environmental protection. Nothing will be able to be built. It will be to preserve this reserve,” he added during his morning press conference.

López Obrador reiterated that the lands are part of the tropical forest, have archaeological vestiges and underground rivers that were highly damaged at the hands of foreigners, after a permit granted in previous six-year terms was perpetuated.

“It is a bank of materials that is destroying the jungle, that was improperly given permission to exploit these materials that they take, they take the gravel to improve the roads in the United States, but we are talking about Quintana Roo,” he pointed out.

The president reaffirmed that Mexico is an independent country and prioritizes the care of its territory. At the same time, López Obrador says he respects the law and the terms of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada (T-MEC).

“I have already said it several times, it is already known that Mexico is not a colony, it is not a protectorate, it is an independent country, so what we are proposing is we are going to defend the territory. We cannot continue allowing unpunished destruction,” he said.

López Obrador said he has sought dialogue with directors of Vulcan Materials with the aim of negotiating the purchase of the land and creating an ecotourism complex in the area affected by the irrational extraction of sand and gravel.

However, the American firm does not respond to the proposal, to the assessment made by the Institute of Administration and Appraisals of National Assets and to the letter from President López Obrador, sent through the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Esteban Moctezuma Barragán.

“The truth is the proposal, the appraisal, I sent them a letter. I asked the ambassador and, arrogance, they had no response for three months. We insisted again and now they say that they are being threatened. No, it is no threat,” he explained.

In July, the Government of Mexico offered to purchase the 2,400 hectares of land from Vulcan Materials for 6.5 billion pesos.