Mexican Military Apparently Bars Birdwatching at La Plancha

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A group of birders say they were harassed and asked to leave Mérida’s La Plancha Park for using cameras and binoculars. Photo: Courtesy

A local group of birdwatchers claims members of the National Guard harassed them in Mérida’s Parque la Plancha. The National Guard soldiers allegedly cited national security concerns. 

According to the birdwatching club, authorities told them that they were not allowed to use cameras or binoculars without a special permit. 

According to reports, the members of the club did not argue and agreed to leave the grounds, but were then followed and told off yet again just a couple of minutes later. 

Parque La Plancha officially opened on the morning of Nov. 19, 2023. Photo: Courtesy

Parque de la Plancha is also home to the soon-to-open Ie-Tram station, which connects to the Tren Maya.

Tren Maya and its related projects were declared a “matter of national security” by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to dodge judicial rulings to halt its construction on environmental grounds. So the whole thing could be a misunderstanding.

Noting that the park is a public space, the birding group Colectivo Los Cardenales says it has filed a complaint with the National Guard.

When the story broke over the weekend on social media, several similar accounts emerged. 

Earlier: Flying into Tulum’s New Airport? Read This First

“I was out taking photos about a week ago at La Plancha and was told to stop because it was prohibited. We better get used to this kind of thing if the federal government continues militarizing the country,” said Mérida resident Felipe Puc Sabido on Facebook. 

CCTV cameras have become increasingly abundant in Mérida, but perhaps nowhere as much as in La Plancha. Photo: Yucatán Magazine

As of yet, the National Guard has not made any statements regarding these sorts of incidents but has affirmed repeatedly that La Plancha is under their jurisdiction. 

This sort of issue raises doubts regarding the implications of Mexico’s armed forces management of the Tren Maya, as well as several planned hotel complexes near its stations. 

Still, several people have been seen at the park taking photos with smart phones and professional cameras without any issues. 

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