A series of evictions in the Caribbean resort town of Tulum has given rise to accusations of unfair dispossession of business operators on the part of the state government.
The evictions were in response to an alleged breach of an oral lease contract between business owners and the municipality and were supposedly the subject of a judicial order.
Early yesterday morning, moving trucks, about 500 private security guards and Tulum municipal police officers arrived in the town’s Punta Pierda zone to carry out evictions of 16 hotels and restaurants and undeveloped pieces of land.
Those who were to be dispossessed tried to resist the officials, who in turn shot firearms into the air and used tear gas to force them out.
Men who had arrived with police then moved in and sacked the premises, removing the furniture and other possessions of the business operators.
One hotelier claimed that the seizure of her real estate — and the rest of those affected by the eviction — was orchestrated by Quintana Roo Governor Roberto Borge.
According to the hotel operator, the governor has “strong interests” in the Tulum area: “We know well that all this is in response to the sale — with false documents — of several beachfront pieces of land by the governor. Now, before he leaves office, he wants to make sure he doesn’t lose what he earned from the sale.”
The eviction victim said officials claim they weren’t paying rent, when in fact they had been doing so.
“The pressure comes from the highest levels [of government].”
Tulum hoteliers say there was no notification prior to the eviction orders being carried out, which was in violation of their right to a hearing, and a copy of the judicial order was not provided.
Not only were hoteliers, workers and tourists affected by the eviction but owner of ejido land as well.
Ejidatarios, or ejido owners, have asked for President Enrique Peña Nieto to intervene and stop what they also call a dispossession.