X'cacel, approx. 50 miles south of Cancun, the most important green and loggerhead sea turtle nesting beach on Mexico's Atlantic is being sold for development! Also found at X'cacel are: the boa constrictor, marsh turtle, Creaser's mud turtle, crocodile, Pseudophoenix sargentii, Thrinax radiata, Bravaisia tubiflora, Acacia dolichostach and mangrove (Rhizofora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erecta). Since pressure has been put upon the governor he has declared the area from the 60 meter isobath to 100 meters up the beach the "Santuario de la tortuga marina X'cacel-X'cacelito". This does not protect the sea turtles or the other "protected species" found there; it is just a public relations move. The beach had been protected by the federal government but is now under state control. The federal government is not willing to stand up and do the right thing.
At the 5th reunion of Latin-American Specialists, held during the 18th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium, February 28th to March 7th, 1998 in Mazatlan, Mexico, representatives from NGOs from Quintana Roo, Mexico presented to the scientific community the proposal that X'cacel be considered as a protected zone. The federal authorities promised to pursue the resolution made by the specialists that included that X'cacel's ecosystem be protected and that the recommendations of the Ordenamiento Ecologico Cancun-Tulum of 1994 be fulfilled.
Blanche Petrich described in "La Jornada" April 24 & 25, 1998 the sale of X'cacel/X'cacelito. (Below is a link to the original Spanish versions and the translations.) Ms. Petrich reported that the land was sold for a fraction of its value. The sale is also a "slow death sentence" for the sea turtles who depend upon the isolation of these beaches for their reproduction. GEMA, among others, proposed in 1994 that X'cacel/X'cacelito be incorporated into the National System of Protected Areas. The National Institute of Ecology (INE) last March rejected the proposal, saying that the area was sufficiently represented in the rest of the state and that there was a state decree that established a low impact plan for the area. Experts countered that X'cacel/X'cacelito is the only area that has not been cut up or drastically altered and furthermore that the "low impact plan" is not sufficient to protect the area. Among the buyers of X'cael/X'cacelito are GA-Sol, who bought 48 hectares for 2 million 280 thousand US dollars, and the Melia hotel chain from Spain, who bought 45 hectares. Even with the "low impact plan" in effect 3,000 hotel rooms can be built on X'cacel/X'cacelito.
The only thing that is going to stop the development of X'cacel is public pressure! Please send the people listed below a letter, email, fax, etc...and demand that development NOT be allowed on any of X'cacel's 311 hectares!
1.M. EN C. JULIA CARABIAS LILO (SEMERNAP)
PERIFERICO SUR 4209 6o PISO
COL JARDINES DE LA MONTANA
MEXICO D. F. 06500
Tel. (5) 6280606 , 6280607 and 6280608
FAX (5) 6280609
2. The president elect of Mexico, Vicente Fox.
His email is: email@example.com
3.SR. ERNESTO ZEDILLO PONCE DE LEON
PRESIDENCIA DE LA REPUBLICA
RESIDENCIA PRESIDENCIAL DE LOS PINOS
MEXICO D. F.
4.LIC. PEDRO ALVAREZ ICAZA
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ECOLOGIA
5. LIC. ENRIQUE PROVENCIO
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ECOLOGIA
6. B. MAGDALENA GARCIA RENDON>
DIRECTORA DE ORDENAMIENTO ECOLOGICO
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ECOLOGIA
- to maintain the area that has been cleared of vegetation along the sides of the existing facilities, for controlled camping activities, because it is one of the sites that a great sector of the population of the State uses for its relaxation and recreation activities.
- to discontinue allowing the public to visit the well-known beach X´cacelito (South of X'cacel), with the intent to preserving it, without any type of tourist or recreational use.
- That the activities allowed at X'cacel after the publication of the Management Plan be reviewed and regulated.
7. At a public input meeting about X'cacel at Playa de Carmen on July 17, 2000 Araceli Domínguez, president of Grupo Ecologista del Mayab (GEMA), presented more that 7,500 letters. These included letters from a broad scope of institutions, private individuals, biologists, etc. from all over the world denouncing the planned construction at X'cacel. She also criticized the handling of the entire process, from the irregularities in the sale and purchase to the Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The EIS violates part of the Territorial Ordinance and is not compatible with the objectives of the of the management plan for the sea turtle reserve. The developers believe that the sea turtle reserve is sufficient to protect the sea turtles. The developers never did a sea turtle study!
The 12 studies done by a private environmental consulting agency hired by the developers show that X'cacel is a fragile zone and contains a high biodiversity! However, the EIS does not include the recommendations from these studies and does not state the proposed construction's impact on the sea turtles and the endangered ecosystems.
8. At the following web page the National Institute of Ecology posted the Environmental Impact Study made by the tourist developers. The project includes 5 hotels (1,500 rooms). http://www.ine.gob.mx/dgoeia/impacto/sad/mapas2000/qroo/index.html
9. Many people have received an email informing them that the IES on X'cacel has been submitted to the INE with the same web address as above, with this signature:
Lic. Alejandra Cuellar
Gerente del Centro de Comunicación y RR.PP
Desarrollo Turístico Sustentable
Centro de Comunicación y Relaciones Públicas
My understanding is that the company that sent this message is responsible for the public relations for the development of X'cacel! GOOD LUCK!
10. On August 15, 2000 INE declared that they needed additional time to respond to the developers request to build at X'cacel. INE also told the developers that they needed to do more studies.
If you want to help contact me by email. Click on link below for more details!
If you have any questions or want more information please contact me.
COORDINATE OR PARTICIPATE IN AN UP COMING PROTEST!!!
Jelle's Home page with lots of good turtle info.
Friends of X'cacel
Summary of the articles in English
Contact American and Continental Airlines and Save X'cacel!
Global Reponse's Alert about X'cacel