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Mahahual landowners say 200 hectares illegally occupied by squatters

Mahahual, Q.R. — Businessmen and property owners in Costa Maya say they are facing an invasion of properties by people who utter threats when owners attempt to evict them.

Owners of land in Mahahual say that there are at least five properties covering more than 200 hectares that have been invaded by squatters.

Juan Carlos Ortega Prado, one of those affected says “We are very concerned about what is happening in Mahahual, which is the jewel in the crown of Othon P. Blanco and cannot be abandoned. There is concern from investors and small owners.”

He explained that the invaders, taking into account their accent and physical characteristics, are arriving from Central America, most likely Honduras. He says landowners are fearful because these squatters are consistently armed with firearms and machetes to eliminate any attempt at evicting them.

José Alcocer, another affected landowner in Mahahual, says he fears losing his patrimony since there are no experts to deal with the issue saying “There is no expert and it takes up to seven months to start a file so the cases go to the archivist,” he said.

In a press conference, the land owners, grouped in a citizen council, asked for the intervention of the government to stop the security problems arising as a result of the invasions and also to avoid situations similar to what has happened in other areas like Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Affected landowners Juan Ortega, José Alcocer and Gilberto Carrillo explained that the problem is causing the Urban Development Plan to not be respected adding that there is a risk that the invaded areas become large favelas (informal settlements) due to population saturation and lack of basic services.

The invasions affect some 15 properties among which are the so-called Sacred Heart, Belem and El Manicero, all of which have been filed with the State Attorney General.

Although two of the cases have resulted in a judicial resolution, the landowners still have not been able to evict the invaders.