Saving Beach Access
The accountant Francisco Calvo is the director of the Federal Zone for San Pedro Mixtepec. Among other duties, he and his three assistants are responsible for making regular inspections of the beaches. They check to make sure there are no unauthorized palapas, no permanent constructions and no evidence of turtle poaching. When they observe an infraction, like the steel fence which was erected by the State of Oaxaca on Bacocho Beach and Punta Colorada, they report it to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa). The fence was later removed after many complaints to Profepa by both private citizens and the municipal authorities.
Sr. Calvo and his men have twice been hampered in their work by the administrators of Vivo Resorts on the Palmarito peninsula who refuse to give them access to the beach via its private road. Whether this road is on private property or not is a matter of contention between the authorities of San Pedro Mixtepec and the developers of the condominium complex. (See ¡Viva Puerto! #4). On August 27. 2013, Viva Puerto! accompanied Sr. Calvo and his crew on their rounds. After being stopped by the security guard at the entrance to the private road, we parked the car and entered the beach through the dunes and then walked around 500 meters to the project. There we observed construction of a one-story building, which might be in the Federal Zone. It was photographed and put into the official report.
The Marines also inspect the beaches. Coincidentally, they were making their rounds at the same time as Sr. Calvo. The Marines, who were there to protect the sea turtles, were allowed to use the private road to access the beach.
The roads passing through the properties east of Vivo Resorts were also closed off by gated fences.
BEACH ACCESS A PRIORITY FOR THE BIENES COMUNALES
In an interview on August 29, engineer Saúl Cerón Patiño, the president of the Communal Land Commission (Comisariado de Bienes Comunales) of San Pedro Mixtepec, said he was all in favor of hotels, golf courses and other tourist development near the beach as long as it was done in orderly way. He characterized the current situation as total “anarchy”, as exemplified by Vivo Resorts having unilaterally declared its land private property when in fact it is on communal land. He stressed that he would not allow the beaches bordering the communal land of San Pedro Mixtepec to suffer the same fate as those in Huatulco where local people have been denied access by the owners of the hotels.
One of Cerón’s goals is to work with the municipio to build a walkway (malecón) on the communal land bordering the Federal Zone extending from the Barranca Onda lagoon through Agua Dulce all the way to the tip of the Palmarito peninsula. There would also be roads to connect the Coastal Highway to the beaches.
UPDATE: Vivo Resorts was closed by Profepa (the federal environmental protection agency) at the end of September, presumably because of problems with new construction there.