Since July 7 private security guards trucked in from the State of Mexico have been denying vehicles access to the pretty Careyitos beach on the southern Jalisco coastline.
Visitors and fishermen now have to find a place to park on the coastal highway and walk a considerable distance to the beach.Locals fear the move is the first step in the full privatization of the popular beach area.
Three years ago, Imagen y Espectaculos, a Mexico City-based company believed to be owned by former Banamex owner Roberto Hernandez, received a 15-year federal concession (from the Zona Federal Maratimo Terrestre) to operate a 13,000-square-meter area adjoining the beach. Unfortunately, the zone bisects part of a 400-square-meter concession granted to the local fishermen’s association (Produccion Pesquera de Rivera Punta Perala) in 2005. The disputed area has caused friction between the two parties and a complicated legal battle.
Hernandez owns the nearby luxury Tamarindo complex, where public access to its beaches is restricted. Legally all beaches in Mexico are owned by the nation and must be freely accessible to all. However, the law is circumvented by dozens of tourist developments built around beaches that effectively seal them off to all but their paying guests.
Locals believe Hernandez wants to develop Careyitos in the same opulent style as El Tamarindo.
Careyitos is located a few miles from Tenecatita beach, itself the victim of a privatization takeover in August 2010. According to some sources, eight out of ten beaches in the La Huerta municipal zone on Jalisco’s Costalegre are now basically in the hands of private enterprises.
The 18-member local fishermen’s association has vowed to protest the imminent takeover of the zone. They are also upset that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) recently forced them to stop work on a new five-million-peso processing center under construction on their concessioned land that was receiving funds from the federal Agriculture and Fisheries Department.
La Huerta city hall says it will ask the appropriate authorities to revoke the concession of Imagen y Espectaculos.