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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tourism industry to Yucatán governor: End Dzibilchaltún blockades for good

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
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.
Protestors keeping Dzibilchaltún closed argue they are in the right, but the exact nature of their legal claim remains ambiguous. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Business leaders in Yucatán are calling upon Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal to ensure a speedy reopening of Dzibilchaltún.

The call to action comes on the heels of Vila’s successful negotiations which reversed the decision taken by the INAH to keep Chichén Itzá closed during the spring equinox.

Dzibilchaltún has been closed to the public, save for a couple of weeks, since June 2021.

Temple of the Seven Dolls in Dzibilchaltún, Yucatán. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Problems began when a group of protestors blocked the gates to the site claiming ownership over the land the historic site sits upon.

“We would be very grateful to Gov. Vila to aid us in finally resolving this matter. No industry can operate efficiently under this kind of uncertainty,” said the president of Yucatán’s tourism council, Jorge Carillo Sáenz.

An agreement was reported to have been reached between the government and the protestors in February. But now, a subset of the original group has apparently splintered off and closed off Dzibilchaltún, claiming that they were not satisfied with the agreement.

“Dzibilchaltún belongs to us because it belongs to the ejido. We will not move until our grievances have been addressed,” said an ejido leader, Manuel Aban.

Earlier: Ancient monuments in Teotihuacan endangered by illegal construction

Legally there is no ambiguity regarding Mexico’s ownership of Dzibilchaltún, north of Mérida.

However, both federal and state agencies are reluctant to use force to remove the blockade given the optics of removing indigenous people from the site of an ancient Maya city. 

Tourism industry leaders recognized that it is unlikely that the matter will be resolved before the spring equinox, traditionally the busiest three days of the year in Dzibilchaltún. 

The sun shines directly through the arch of the Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun, in Yucatan, as it rises on the spring equinox. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

During the 2022 spring equinox on March 20, the sun will appear directly through the main door of the House of the Seven Dolls Temple in Dzibilchaltún.

The phenomenon is also partially observable on March 19 and 21.

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