The other face of Cancun, thousands of residents live in poverty

According to a study, there are 250,000 residents in Cancun without services such as water, sewage, paved streets, electricity, and security.

The other face of Cancun, thousands of residents live in poverty
Cancún. Photo by Joseph Barrientos / Unsplash

On the other side of Cancun, far from the tourist opulence, in the regions and suburbs, 250 thousand inhabitants live in irregular human settlements, many of the employees of the hotel and gastronomic industry of this tourist pole. These are areas of invasions, where there is no decent housing, lacking water, sewage, paved streets, sidewalks, and some without electricity and public safety. There are thousands of Cancun locals, many of them work in opulence and live in misery.

According to a study for the rescue of these irregular zones presented by the councilman of Cancun, Samuel Mollinedo Portilla, called "Programa de Regularización para el Bienestar Patrimonial" ("Regularization Program for the Patrimonial Well-being"), there are 213 irregular human settlements in this city, which reveals that three out of every 10 residents of Cancun live in poverty. Samuel Mollinedo's initiative is aimed at rescuing the other Cancun, that of the periphery, which grows daily due to the migratory phenomenon that the destination has to attract labor and families in search of a better quality of life.

This proposal, he said, is to lay the foundations for a better Cancun, a project that seeks to have an Inclusive Cancun, with the same opportunities for quality of life, for those irregular human settlements that have been looking for more than 30 years to regularize, not for those that were created after the current state legislation and were closed by the past administration for falling into illegal conduct.

Given the current wave of insecurity and violence, these irregular zones are used to dump bodies executed by organized crime, so it is a priority to solve this problem with actions that reduce and stop the increase of this phenomenon and on the other hand to take actions that result in regularizing the old that has been forgotten. The rescue actions will also help reduce environmental and groundwater contamination, as well as improve water quality. In 2011 there were 67 irregular settlements, today they have grown to 213 and in 2020, according to INEGI data, Benito Juarez will have a population of 911,503 inhabitants.

It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people live in these areas, that is, almost 30% of the population of Cancun, or 3 out of every 10 people living in Benito Juarez, lack some of the following basic needs: public infrastructure (such as drainage, water, street lighting, paved streets, sidewalks, etc.), legal certainty of land ownership, or lack the resources to deed their homes, which leads to environmental pollution.

The proposal indicates that public policies at the municipal level are scarce, the burden of this problem falls mainly on the federation and the states, however, the law on the matter is of general order, that is to say, it applies to the three levels of government, The problem lies in the lack of interest in solving this severe problem that has been increasing in the municipality and that urgently needs to leave solid foundations so that the following administrations can face this problem that generates other problems and social consequences of priority attention such as violence, fraud, dispossession, and other illegal conducts that violate the human rights and constitutional guarantees of the citizens of Benito Juárez.

The work that has been done and the studies that generate this problem, such as the historical background of the urban growth of Benito Juarez, the hard data and the actions to be taken such as fiscal stimulus agreements with the State Government, agreements with notaries, and other associations to achieve the sum of wills to achieve legal certainty of land tenure and to manage deeds or titles to the inhabitants of these areas, as well as to increase the municipal assets to have certainty when investing public resources in these neighborhoods.

To this end, the initiative includes the Regularization Program for Patrimonial Well-being, which is the study of the problem of the phenomenon caused by the disorderly increase of human settlements that have been growing irregularly to obtain housing or patrimony, which do not have basic infrastructure such as water, drainage, public lighting, street paving, among others.

The program contains the bases of a solution to the legal certainty of land tenure, to manage deeds and titles for people who lack the most valuable thing that a family has, the patrimony; and to be able to gradually program the provision of basic public infrastructure to the neighborhoods that do not have it and take care that the contamination of these settlements does not reach cenotes, the sea, and lagoon systems.

Source: El Sol de Mexico