Representatives of five Mayan ejidos located in the Municipality of José María Morelos, Quintana Roo, accused the State Government, headed by Mara Lezama, of excluding them from the Maya Ka’an tourism project.
In a statement, they assured that the declaration was made to convert 909,643 hectares located in the municipalities of José María Morelos and Felipe Carrillo Puerto into a rural area with tourist potential without having consulted them.
“Our ejidos have been systematically forgotten by administrations that come and go. When they approach us, it is to offer us a work in exchange for us giving to others what is ours, our land or our lagoon, so that they can grant it to others third parties and they get rich. Now they do it through tourism,” said Ubaldo Ku y Chi, a member of the Dziuché Commissariat.
The Ejidos that accused discrimination and exclusion from the project are Bulukax, Dziuché, Kantemoc, La Presumida and Santa Gertrudis, to which 850 ejidatarios and are owners of 37,397.1 hectares, within which are the Chichankanab Lagoon, and the largest body of inland freshwater in the Yucatan Peninsula.
On July 27, Lezama announced the declaration of the Mayan Ka’an area to take advantage of the increase in tourism that the Mayan Train will bring with it, so ecotourism and adventure tourism will be allowed in that area.
The project, the dissatisfied ejidos accused, establishes a secondary role for the communities, who will only be able to sign agreements to “collaborate” with the Maya Ka’an Managing Body, access loans and make recommendations and requests, without having any real participation in the administration and management of tourism projects.
The communities, they said, would not own the “Maya Ka’an” brand, despite owning lands and resources included in the project.
“Since the end of 2022 and during this year, the ejido assemblies of our ejidos have determined that they will not allow any project that strips us of our land, lagoon or our rights, and that excludes us from the management and benefits from the exploitation of our resources,” said Venancio Aban Mejía, member of the La Presumida Commissariat.
The ejidal representatives indicated that they are open to dialogue as long as the projects are managed by and for the communities themselves and are not only used to generate wealth for some from the economic poverty of others.