Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) revealed that the Government of Mexico authorized the change of land use of almost three hectares of jungle so that Grupo Vidanta —belonging to a businessman related to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his son mayor— will develop a tourism project in Quintana Roo.
“The land use change was authorized on February 22, 2019. With this authorization, Grupo Vidanta was able to build and operate three access roads and their necessary services for its tourist center,” the investigation indicated.
In a public document from Semarnat (Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources), it is specified that Grupo Vidanta bought —on June 20, 2002— the ownership of the 250-hectare plot of land called Veracruz, located at kilometer 47 of the Puerto Juárez-Tulum highway, north of the municipality of Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, in the Mexican Caribbean.
“The Secretariat requested Vidanta an environmental compensation payment of 221,351 pesos (about US$11,000), which were used for reforestation or restoration and maintenance activities of some 12 hectares that cannot be used to build roads,” the information pointed out. .
The land use change authorization was granted for a term of ten years and may be extended by Grupo Vidanta as long as it complies with the prevention, mitigation and/or compensation measures for the flora and fauna of the place, the text added.
In addition, always according to MCCI, in October 2020, the Ministry of the Environment, through the delegation in Quintana Roo, authorized Marina Vallarta Developments to change the use of land on forest land for a property located in the municipality of Solidaridad for where the Mayan Train, one of López Obrador’s flagship works, was planned to pass.
The controversy continues
Last Wednesday, MCCI —an organization highly critical of the Mexican government— revealed new links between Daniel Chávez, a businessman related to the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the eldest son of the president, José Ramón López Beltrán, criticized for leading a luxurious life in the United States. Joined.
Grupo Vidanta, a tourism consortium founded by Daniel Chávez, a businessman, friend and advisor to the president, received in 2020 the extension for 15 years of a concession to occupy a beach, as well as a permit to build a cable car that will connect two tourism megaprojects in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, indicated the MCCI investigation a few days ago.
This concession and the permission they received were “granted the same year that López Obrador’s son obtained a visa to work in the United States at the management and invitation of KEI Partners,” the text pointed out.
KEI Partners, the investigation continued, is a real estate company founded in Houston by the sons of the founder of Vidanta, “who have also had shareholdings in companies of that tourism consortium.”
The scandal surrounds the eldest son of López Obrador, since the end of January, when MCCI and the Latinus outlet, of the journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, reported that the president’s son lived in 2019 in Houston, Texas, in the house of an executive of Baker Hughes, which that year extended a contract with Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Both López Obrador and Pemex, in addition to the son himself, denied any link between the state company and the firstborn.
In a full-page statement published this Friday in the main newspapers of the country, the Mexican businessman Daniel Chávez denied this Friday that he, his family or the firm Grupo Vidanta have a “commercial relationship” with the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
For his part, the president said this Friday, during his morning press conference, that this company has been in the tourism sector in Mexico for many years.
“All his permits were given by previous governments,” said the president, who assured that these investigations only “want to sow doubt” about his management.
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