Vivo Resorts
Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12

Vivo Resorts In The News

Photos: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12

In November, there was national news coverage of the million-peso fine levied by Profepa, (the prosecutorial arm of the federal environmental agency, Semarnat) against Éxito Resorts, S.A. de C.V. for the construction of Vivo Resorts, a condominium/hotel complex on the Chila coast, a few kilometers northwest of Puerto Escondido. This was followed by reports of a claim by some comuneros that they and not Éxito Resorts have the rights to the land. The following article is a summary of those published reports plus interviews with the Comisariado de Bienes Comunales of San Pedro Mixtepec and an official of the Municipality of San Pedro Mixtapec, as well as e-mails from the lawyer representing Éxito Resorts and the lawyer representing the comuneros.

I believe that how these problems are resolved will affect not only Vivo Resorts but also the future development of the Chila coast.

Barbara Joan Schaffer

Vivo Resorts, beach<br />Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12
Vivo Resorts, beach
Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12

“We thought Canadians were smarter,” commented Saúl Cerón, the president of the Bienes Comunales (Communal Land) of San Pedro Mixtepec, shaking his head in disbelief, referring to Calgary native Cary Mullen. According to Cerón, Mullen, the developer of Vivo Resorts, has never gotten approval from the Assembly of Comuneros to rezone the land from agricultural to residential use. The zoning issue is at the core of Profepa’s suit against the project. Profepa also claims that the project was never approved by Semarnat and that it should be restored to its former condition.

Vivo Resorts, pool<br />Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12
Vivo Resorts, pool
Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12

Vivo Resorts was temporarily closed by Profepa, but construction of the four-story towers now continues while the fine is being contested in the courts. Even so, it appears that the lots that were sold by Éxito Resorts for the construction of private homes are still subject to a Profepa closing as we observed a “clausurado” sign in September on a house under construction in the community.

Éxito Resorts’ legal representative, Eric Alberto Heras, has informed us that the development was rezoned by a vote of the Assembly of the Bienes Comunales, but he was unable to provide information as to when the vote took place. In an article in Tiempo en Linea, he took strong exception to what he called a leak by Profepa, to the same news organization, while the fine is being contested in the courts.

Vivo Resorts, house construction 9/15<br />Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12
Vivo Resorts, house construction 9/15
Photo: Ernesto J. Torres, Casa 12

Meanwhile, a group of comuneros (a comunero is a person who possesses communal land) has a registered a complaint with the Agrarian Court in Oaxaca claiming that the 32 hectares now in the possession of Éxito Reorts was unlawfully taken from them. According to their lawyer, Rogelio Nuñez Ramírez, the property was in the possession of a collective of comuneros when it was wrongfully transferred to Eleuterio Ríos Luna, who in turn transferred it to Marco Antonio Bruciaga Fragosa, who later transferred it to Éxito Resorts.

Nuñez Ramírez held a press conference in Oaxaca in November in order to draw attention to his clients’ claim and to pressure the Agrarian Court to deal swiftly in this matter.

Bienes Comunales of San Pedro Mixtepec.<br />Photo: Barbara Schaffer
Bienes Comunales of San Pedro Mixtepec.
Photo: Barbara Schaffer

Even though Éxito Resorts holds the acta de posesión for the Vivo property, it does not give actas de posesión to people who buy land from them to build houses; instead the buyers receive escrituras públicas issued by the District of Juquila. (In condo communities in Santa María Colotepec like Cumaná and Rancho Neptuno, the property owners have both escrituras públicas and actas de posesión.)

All the land in San Pedro Mixtepec, outside of the area of Puerto Escondido that was privatized through a presidential decree in 1970, belongs to the Bienes Comunales of San Pedro Mixtepec. However, the administration of the land, both private and communal, is the responsibility of Municipio of San Pedro.* The municipio issues building permits, and it is the policy of the municipio to grant permits to anyone having either an acta de posesión or an escritura pública, regardless of whether or not the escritura is for communal land.

*The three levels of government in Mexico are Federal, State and Municipal. The Bienes Comunales is a completely separate entity from the Municipio.

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