Portuguese intend to buy Punta Colorada, a natural reserve in Oaxaca 


The ecological reserve of Punta Colorada, in Puerto Escondido, is at risk: 

A tourism investment project could end this lung of the city of Puerto Escondido, which is a low deciduous forest, where there are mangroves, birds, reptiles and is a nesting area for three species of sea turtles: leatherback, olive ridley and brown. 

Punta Colorada has an extension of 111 hectares and at least six kilometers of beach. 

These lands are located right in front of the international airport of Puerto Escondido. 

The tourism investment project plans to use 40 percent of the land to build hotels, shopping centers and residential areas. 

The investment project for Punta Colorada would go hand in hand with the remodeling and expansion of the Puerto Escondido airport and part of this project is to connect the air terminal with the new development zone through bridges that cross the federal highway. 

Punta Colorada would be divided into three zones: a high-density residential zone, a hotel-commercial zone, and the third would be a conservation zone. 

The attempts to commercialize the lands of Punta Colorada are not new. 

For four six-year terms, different state administrations have tried to put them up for sale or allow the construction of hotels and residences, but the residents have not allowed it. 

The current authorities have said that the investment project would bring income to the state for more than two billion pesos, but environmental groups and ecologists consider that it would imply the destruction of this natural reserve. 

In addition, in Punta Colorada there has been a sewage treatment plant for several years, which collects all the drainage from the downtown area of the city and some neighborhoods on the periphery, but for at least five years, the plant has become obsolete. and a large part of the waste ends up in the sea, without the water being treated. 

The president of the Puerto Escondido Citizen Council, Cuauhtémoc López Toledo, assured that citizens are aware that development must come to Puerto Escondido, but in a planned and sustainable manner. 

“This message must be very forceful and direct to our municipal, state and federal authorities. We are fighting for the last lung we have left here in Puerto Escondido. We are conscious people, and we know that it is the last territory that can give us oxygen and we must conserve it. We know that Puerto Escondido must be developed, but in a conscious way, in a thoughtful way, not as they say out there, not to do foolish works”. 

This weekend, hundreds of citizens, residents and even tourists marched from the Puerto Escondido municipal agency to Punta Colorada. 

Dressed in white and with banners that demanded the authorities not authorize what they consider would be an “ecocide”, they descended several kilometers along the dirt road, through dense vegetation and reached the viewpoint area. 

With the sunset as the setting, they assured that they will not allow Punta Colorada to be sold. On the contrary, they said, it will be required to be declared a protected nature reserve. 

“We live here, we are from here, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and the people, present and future generations have the right to enjoy this natural area, we have to make Punta Colorada a protected natural area, it is for everyone, for the use and enjoy everyone, not just a few, we have to do it in one voice, this is from Puerto Escondido, Punta Colorada has no owner, Punta Colorada belongs to the porteños,” said Marta Reyes, Puerto Escondido Tourism Councilor. 

The intentions of selling Punta Colorada to a group of Portuguese investors to develop a tourist pole were revealed after a video of Javier Cruz Jiménez, municipal president of San Pedro Mixtepec, the municipality where the reserve is located, was leaked. 

He told a group of residents of the Rinconada subdivision of the intentions of the Government of Oaxaca to develop the area with tourist investment, which immediately sparked the protests and motivated the march last Saturday. 

Last Monday, during his weekly press conference, he insisted that the land is owned by the Government of Oaxaca and that it is the state authorities that have decided to promote the investment project, which he did not oppose as mayor of Mixtepec either. 

Punta Colorada is located exactly between Bacocho beach and Palmarito beach and is the only virgin beach left in Puerto Escondido. 

As its access is limited, there are no palapas, there are no houses, there are no camps, and it is only a lonely beach where turtles come out to lay their eggs at night. 

The protesters demanded a consultation before starting to build on the reserve and even, some people like Mrs. Tulia Cortés, former councilor of the Mixtepec town hall, spoke out that before building projects in the reserve, first they need to clean up and rebuild the drainage system, which this year began to contaminate the beaches due to being collapsed, but also, a project to solve the drinking water problem. 

Although there are still no intentions to begin construction work at the site, the residents of Puerto Escondido remain on alert. 

  Source: Quadratin