Locals in the town of Pisté near Chichén Itzá say that crooked land deals threaten to privatize infrastructure in Chichén Itzá.
A report by Diario de Yucatán alleges that land just outside of the world famous archaeological site has been sold to Felipe Chan May, the former mayor of the municipality of Tinicum — to which Chichén Itzá belongs.
The land in question has long been used as a parking lot, but now the appearance of construction crews suggests the new owners have more ambitious plans in mind.
“There is so much money at stake here, and as always it’s those with power and influence that get their hands on everything. Chichén Itzá belongs to us all, not just politicians,” said a local tour guide who preferred to remain anonymous.
To further complicate matters, members of Tinum’s ejido say that sections of the land being built on still belong to the cooperative and are being occupied illegally.
Tensions surrounding the ownership of land in and around Chichén Itzá have long been a contested topic.
In July 2021, ejido members turned down a proposal by the federal government to buy 8.6 hectares of land for the Maya Train project.
Members of the cooperative say the 4.6 million pesos offered is extremely low given the land’s commercial value of 40 million.
“If the members of the edijo are upset it’s because they feel like the government is trying to take advantage of them,” said Roger Pardío Villamil, legal counsel for Pisté’s cooperative.
Similar disputes involving private individuals, ejido members, and the government have also flared up at other archaeological sites including Dzibilchaltún and Cobá.