Cartagena reclaims ‘squatted’ beach for public use

Posted on Jan 28 2014 - 12:19pm by Rico
Baru peninsula (Photo: Wikipedia)

Colombia’s Caribbean tourism hotspot Cartagena announced on Monday that it will reclaim more than two miles of a private beach south of the city.

The announcement was made by Mayor’s Office which said that the eviction will be carried out on March 1 in compliance with a legal issued mandate named 0992 which allows the municipality of Cartagena to reclaim a section of the beach and evict current commercial establishments.

The mandate was issued by the local municipality declaring Playa Blanca on the peninsula of Baru public land.

The beach, which is located an hour by boat from the main port of Cartagena, is currently occupied by hotels and local businesses, local official Mauricio Betancourt told local newspaper El Universal.

According to the official, the current “occupants” are affecting the environment, sea and marches by mismanagement of garbage and mangrove cutting.

“The area is being invaded by commercial establishments and hotels. These invasions are done by people from inside the country and abroad,” Betancourt told El Universal.

The mandate which allows the government to evict 100 local businesses has received full support from the local military, judicial and administrative institutions.

Business owners have reportedly tried to stop the eviction by filing a “tutela,” a legal action taken to demand urgent protection of constitutional rights. However, the court reinforced the legal mandate for the third time stating that the business owners are not able to demonstrate entitlement to the beach.

Betancourt told El Universal that the the district would attempt to reach an agreement with the native workers so their careers would not be directly effected by the evictions, but emphasized that no construction or settlement will be allowed.

David Gonzalez Cardales, civic leader of Santa Ana, told the Colombian newspaper that the evictions breaks human right laws in the interest of private planning and the development of the tourism industry.

Corporation for the Development of Playa Blanca (Corplaya) is reportedly suspected to be behind the legal mandate, however director of the corporation, Clara Diego said Tuesday that the corporation is not involved and that Mayor of Cartagena is the one responsible for the action.

However, Diego said some may suspect the corporation to be behind the mandate since they have made several complaints about the environmental degradation and illegal occupation of the land.

Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Sources

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