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Landowners protest at Guadalajara airport. Landowners protest in Guadalajara.

Guadalajara airport protest resumes; landowners reject appraisal

Their valuation is more than twice that of the government appraiser

Communal landowners in Jalisco are once again protesting to demand “fair” compensation for land that the federal government expropriated almost 70 years ago to build the Guadalajara International Airport.

The El Zapote ejidatarios have protested inside the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla airport in recent days and maintained a carpark sit-in.

The government expropriated 307 hectares of land for the airport in 1951 although an expropriation decree wasn’t published until 1975.

El Zapote landowners claim they were never adequately compensated for the expropriated land and have maintained that they are still the rightful owners.

Over the years, the ejidatarios have staged scores of protests to pressure the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation to pay them what they say they are owed.

Nicolás Vega Pedroza, a representative for the ejido of El Zapote, told the newspaper El Economista that the current protest is not only to demand payment but also to express opposition to a decision by a federal court in January to appoint Jorge Morett Ramírez as the government appraiser.

Vega accused Morett of wrongfully reducing the amount owed to the landowners.

He said the appraiser valued the land at 1.317 billion pesos (US $68.7 million) but indicated that 600 million pesos must be deducted from that figure because it has already been paid, an assertion that the landowners reject.

They also charge that Morret’s valuation significantly underestimates the true value of the land.

According to appraisals paid for by the landowners, the land is worth more than 3.2 billion pesos (US $166.9 million). The ejidatarios also want an additional 947 million pesos in damages.

“The ejido is willing to negotiate, but something fair,” Vega said.

Source: El Economista (sp) 

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