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May 17, 2011

Mexican and Hispanic Non-Profit Denounce the Cabo Cortes Project.

Help us Save Cabo Pulmo

Spanish academics are criticizing those who seek to replicate the tourism “predator” development model in Mexico.

Warning has been given that the Mediterranean Savings Bank (Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo), which has more than 24 percent of the shares of Hansa Urbana, could be rescued by the Bank of Spain and Cabo Cortés could be owned by the Spanish government.

Madrid, Spain, May 16, 2011 .- Academics and environmental groups from Mexico and Spain, reported that the firm Hansa Urbana, developer of the Cabo Cortés project in Baja California Sur, Mexico, is promoting a “predator” tourism style in both nations and therefore are denouncing to put an end to these practices. Rather than generating economic and social development, they will create socio-economic, environmental and political problems in the regions where they will settle.

During the conference "Models of real estate development and tourism: towards what development? Participants discussed the failed Spanish real estate tourism model and its rampant expansion in the world, mainly in the Mexican Caribbean and the Gulf of California, where the National Marine Park of Cabo Pulmo is located and it is now at risk because of Cabo Cortés.

"The goal of the Spanish real estate tourism industry is to expand using speculation, buying and consuming ground, adding value to sell so others can build. Evidence has shown that this type of tourism does not generate growth, but instead generates economic instability, social exclusion and disinvestment in development structures, and therefore, it is very difficult to generate new proposals. It is an anti-development model that produces environmental, political (corruption), economic, education (youth drop out of school to work), and social recapitalization,” said Antonio Montiel of the University of Valencia, co-author of 'The Spanish property model. "

"In Spain, 75 percent of the coastline is developable. Between 1990 and 2000, urbanization in Spain increased by 25.4 percent, while the population grew only 5 percent. This shows that the Spanish tourism model has destroyed the equivalent of 8 football fields per day over the past 20 years,” said Pilar Marcos, of the coastal campaigns of Greenpeace Spain.

This tourism predator model, which has come to Baja California Sur, is threatening the reserve of Cabo Pulmo in the Gulf of California, the region’s most expansive coral reef. The reef is a permanent and temporary habitat for a rich variety of species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, many of which are under special environmental protection, according to Mexican Official Standard NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2001. Scientists say it has a biological productivity five times higher than the average reefs in the Gulf of California and possibly any other in spot in Mexico.

"A development as big as Cabo Cortés, with a marina that will install 490 moorings on the dunes and two golf courses,  will involve irreparable damages to the Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve, in addition to affecting water supply of the present people living in Los Cabos. Therefore, this project is socially and environmentally unsustainable,” said Alejandro Olivera, coordinator of the campaign of Greenpeace oceans and coasts of Mexico.

"Cabo Cortés has been authorized by SEMARNAT to build 27,000 rooms and be build over an area greater than 3,800 hectares which would include a marina and two golf courses. It will have a housing capacity almost equal to Cancun, but in a fragile ecosystem declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

We are weaving alliances and starting to explore strategies and actions with environmental organizations and Spanish academics to combat predatory and speculative projects such as Cabo Cortés, which are promoted by Hansa Urbana,” said Agustín Bravo Gaxiola, from the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda).

Already in Bankruptcy!

"Another risk by Hansa Urbana's participation in the construction of the project is project’s economic fragility. The company’s funds depend on the participation of the Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM), which has serious financial problems.” Explains Fay Crevoshay of WiLDCOAST.

The CAM has more than 24 percent of the shares of Hansa, and the latter has a debt of 800 million euros with the CAM. The CAM is close to being rescued by the Bank of Spain, and that would make Cabo Cortés property of the Spanish Government,“ said Macia reported Blázquez, University of the Balearic Islands.