Protesters carry a banner calling for payment of money owed to communal landowners. Protesters carry a banner calling for payment of money owed to communal landowners.

Communal landowners mount new protest at Guadalajara airport

Airport users have enjoyed free parking since last week

The ongoing dispute between communal landowners and the federal government over the airport at Guadalajara, Jalisco, has flared up again.

Since last Friday, protesters from the ejido of El Zapote have occupied the airport parking area, allowing vehicles to enter at no charge. They claim they are the legitimate owners of the land on which the airport sits.

They are seeking what they call a fair payment by the federal government for the 307 hectares it expropriated from them in 1950.

Spokesperson Nicolás Vega accused the government of not having “the will to solve the issue and abide by the law.” A court ruled in favor of the landowners in 2016 and ordered the federal government to pay nearly 4 billion pesos ($214.4 million at the time). The federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) claims it has already paid in full its debt with the people of El Zapote.

The decades-long conflict has delayed the development of the Guadalajara airport, including the construction of a second runway.

The president of the Western Mexican Council for Foreign Trade lamented the current federal administration’s “lack of political will” to solve the conflict, an issue now in the hands of the next administration.

Miguel Ángel Landeros Volquarts urged the new government to resolve the issue to permit building the new runway.

Business leaders warned last week that the airport faces the possibility of gridlock if expansion doesn’t happen soon. “The airport no longer has the capacity to meet all the demand we have,” said one.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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