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Armed men claim Oasis AIDS shelter is on their property

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Oasis San Juan de Dios administrators say they purchased the property lawfully, but not everyone agrees. Photo: File

A group of men armed with machetes showed up at an HIV/AIDS shelter in Conkal insisting that the facility sits on property that belongs to them. 

The men also brought documents proving that they had paid back property taxes on the land, local media reported.

The leader of Oasis San Juan de Dios, Carlos Méndez Benavides, said that the men insisted that they had been cheated out of the land through crooked dealings. 

The exact nature of the fraud which the men allege is yet to be substantiated. 

Problems began in 2013 when a man identified as Peña Garza allegedly tried to take possession of the property, claiming he was the rightful owner. State authorities were called and escorted the man away.

Earlier: Real estate fraud case ends in arrest of woman

The man returned just last week and said that he was told by police “not to make a scene because it is an electoral year and the authorities don’t want any problems.” 

“Because they know that this lot is worth lots of money, these men are trying to take possession of it,” said Méndez Benavides. 

Both parties are urging local and state authorities to take action to determine the rightful owner of the property. 

With cases of property fraud on the rise, the government of Yucatán has developed a database that allows users to verify the legal status of a property before they buy. The database also notifies registered real estate owners of suspicious activities regarding their property.

Mexico’s Association of Real Estate Professionals claims that verifiable losses stemming from real estate fraud in México reach 600 million pesos annually.

The nonprofit organization Oasis of San Juan de Dios began in 1993 and relies on donations to serve people with HIV/AIDS at no charge.

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