Paradoxical declaration by Semarnat and its order on beaches, after two decades with irregularities; “We have come to put some order to the mess they have made”
Construction and sales, timeshares on El Medano Beach; Parking lots and sale of food on Salto Seco Arroyo land at trial; Restriction on access to beaches and closure of easements for free passageways to beaches on the coast of the Gulf of California.
“Some bad-hearted men believe that they are reconciling with heaven when they give alms.” (G.C. Lichtenberg)
As in all main tourist destinations in Mexico – and we can imagine in other countries of Latin America as well – the defense for preserving the beaches for public use has been a problem without truce, without real or substantive strategies to give a favorable solution to all the parties involved. The use, exploitation, order or preservation attempts drift in and out beyond the worn-out statements of politicians relating to the exercise of legal rights. The citizens continue to lose ground and rights – which are stipulated in the lawbooks – as far as practical application is concerned. Los Cabos, as its residents and visitors can attest due to the increase of concessions and restrictions, has seen no tangible advancement outside the aforementioned declarations and socio-political events, such as the one that took place last July 20th in a hotel located between La Marina and El Medano beach in Cabo San Lucas.
During an official event for concessionaires of the Federal Maritime Land Zone on the above-mentioned beach, located starting at the north shore of La Marina and ending next to Misiones, the Delegate of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) in BCS, Jorge Ivas Caceres Puig, granted 3 of 15 concessions authorized for the use of that federal zone. He claimed that it was an historic event after two decades of problems and chaos created by the lack of compliance with the respective law. This ordinance grows year after year under the shadow of officials from the three levels of government. It extends to the construction of palapas on one side of the containment wall that was appropriated or granted by Conagua (sic) to a tourist development adjacent to the Salto Seco Arroyo streambed. At the same event, Carlos Sanchez Gasca, the Director General of the Federal Maritime Zone of Semarnat, stated that the documents were delivered within a historical framework of national scope, since it was carried out following a detailed survey to bring in a legal ordinance in favor of concessionaires who have documentation in order and supposedly in favor of users of the beaches. But similarly, some concessionaires are ignored as they continue violating the law and regulations for use, enjoyment and use of the federal maritime land zone area when they do not leave their concession area free, installing posts and rope barriers, even up to where the waves are, which is prohibited in the ordinance and its regulations. The same is true for constructions that are built where there was once a public walkway donated to the Municipality in the decade of the 90s last century, adjoining and using the federal zone.
During the weekend that followed and prior to the presidential visit with secretaries of state, among them the head of Semarnat, the Municipal Zofemat department carried out an inspection operation and gave out fines of up to 100,000 pesos to concessionaires lacking authorized documentation. Similarly, to date after waiting ten days there is no response from Conagua delegation on the legal status of the Salto Seco Arroyo streambed, as there are ongoing legal proceedings with a private individual who claims ownership of the property. The property is being used as a public-private parking lot at a cost of 35 pesos per vehicle, and mobile food establishments and other services are installed. This is an area bordering to the North with a wetland and a hotel complex, and to the south with the streambed and private parking, to the East is the Bay of Cabo San Lucas-Playa El Médano beach and to the west the Old Road to San Jose del Cabo.
Neighbors of the subdivision as well as concessionaires have insisted on truthful and timely information on the situation from the Municipal Tax Inspectorate, who are the ones responsable for inspecting and supervising the commercial activities within the municipal boundaries. Consider the fact that the streams are owned by the nation, and a private lot under legal proceedings should not be subject to lucrative activities. In this sense the municipal authorities indicate that there is a protective action in place because the individual argues that at no time has there ever been a formal expropriation. The Writ of Amparo protective action, despite having been requested by neighbors and concession holders, has never been presented.
It is important to note that on the beach area of El Medano where the Salto Seco Arroyo streambed flows into the sea, tents are set up where tourist services of various kinds are provided. These were mostly the ones recieving fines from the municipal authority.
On the other hand, the coastal road that joins the community of La Playa with the beaches along the coast between a residential complex and Cabo Pulmo is in the process of being declared in disuse, even though according to the General Law of National Assets, this road is subject to the legislation regarding the existence of a mandatory easement, as noted in our previous edition and in other previous ones.
“There are people who believe that everything that is done with a serious face is reasonable.” (G.C. Lichtenberg)