Todos Santos, Playa Santos Beach, Tres Santos…Santos controversy!

“I understand that lying is deception and truth is not. But I have been deceived by both.” (Antonio Porchia)


Baja California Sur has always proven to be a natural location for tourism thanks to its geography, climate and wealth of natural treasures. Indeed, there is also mineral wealth, but when those resources are exhausted, it leaves the ground tired. That is, it leaves hostile wastelands, barren and dry, that do not encourage any recreational or productive activities. There is therefore no significant production, unless the state becomes a manufacturing site, which would come to make use of all the mineral wealth that today is unused, due to extremist ideas, ranging from high speed progress to intolerant conservatism.

There is a lot of information about growth strategies and sustainable development, to maintain growth within the capabilities of a state in terms of water, fertile land, land and sea, mountain and beach attractions, extreme sports and relaxation spots, sport fishing, diving, surfing, camping, cycling and/or mountain biking, or bird watching. The alternatives are endless, but the over-exploitation of that wealth does have limits, especially when there is no long term plan, and when you lose sight of the actual concept that created it.

Several decades ago at the world summit in Rio de Janeiro the theme was “sustainable development”. The municipality of Los Cabos experienced a boom and became famous worldwide for its fishing and its natural beauty. It has since then been the subject of endless controversies and confrontations between sectors, each and every one of which has a good reason to defend its interests, its heritage, its future and that of its family. Nevertheless, it is clear that what is interesting and productive for some, is harmful to others if an agreement cannot be reached. For example, Cabo Cortés-Cabo Pulmo, Puerto Los Cabos-La Playa, Sierra la Laguna –Open Pit Mining, new highway section- loss of municipal property. In the case of the development Tres Santos, there is the loss of livelihood for the fishermen and alteration to the natural wetland environment.

One of the key points is seen in the treatment of people in the community. When there is conflict of interest, or when “progress” is the cause, things are done despite not having support from the other sectors. True, when the entrepreneur or investor creates jobs, everyone from the laborer to the general manager gets paid a legal bonus. But we must not forget that this is a labor and business agreement. Of course, the power of money always gives the ability to import external labor, but that excess labor generates a negative effect in the exclusive tourist destination, as observed worldwide, with overcrowding as the population creates shantytowns that tourists who are spending thousands of dollars a day do not wish to see.

We have seen everything in Los Cabos, Todos Santos, La Paz and throughout the state, with illegal sales or repeated sales of lots, changes in land use made under the table, buying consciences at the three levels of government, the executive (Presidents, Governors and mayors), legislative (Congress, state legislatures and councils) and judicial (courts, attorneys and trustees). We all know that as long as there is a hand full of bills and/or benefits”, there will be another that because of a lack of funds or greed and obsessive empowerment, will give in.

Everyone involved in actions where money and power are at stake will have different reasons and stances, although apparently only one objective, to improve the quality of his or her life. If nature gives us enough for all, then why does our nature prevent us or limit us?

In Todos Santos, a development is proposed for an area of more than 400 hectares, just over 4 million square meters which includes an important part of the beach area where cooperatives have fished for generations. In 2013, when they began permitting procedures and consultations for Integral Tourism Development Playa Santos, they presented a project that did not match the Environmental Impact Statement, similar to the mining projects and Cabo Cortés, not to say the same, but similar to the “Conceptual Project for the Highway Section”. Each year, with each new idea of growth in real estate development areas, the objective is not the welfare of the community, but rather, immediate profit. It is a fact, and the population lives it, perceives and suffers, with housing projects in very poor condition, with pathetic quality and inspection that should be looking after their interests, but is absent. The supply of hotel rooms and/or residential developments and airplane seats increases, but not proportionally with improved public services. The airport expands, and a better quality of life for those who take care of it is required. They have to be all smiles and attentive to those foreign currency carriers, but where is the sustainable development that the owners of the money boast about?

Perhaps the premise applies, “Meeting the needs of current generations, but without forgetting to keep open the possibility of meeting the needs of future generations.” Any other option will eventually lead us to death.

“If I live eighty years, when I die I will leave a pile of books, and I will take with me to the grave a vast imaginary library.” (Jorge Ibargüengoitia)

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2 Responses to Todos Santos, Playa Santos Beach, Tres Santos…Santos controversy!

  1. Denise says:

    Yes, very important to remember future generations when doing something now!

  2. Bob Dannenhold says:

    What a wonderful article.Thank you for your insights.
    The development in Todos Santos is such an insult to the land and the people of the community.
    The Anerican developers have manipulated so many people, including Colorado State University. But, the project goes on and all the unethical behavior on their part seems to be supported by the government of Mexico. This is all so very sad.

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