U.S.-Tepoztlan links, Sept 6

Harry M. Cleaver hmcleave at mundo.eco.utexas.edu
Thu Sep 7 16:07:15 MDT 1995


This posting has been forwarded to you as a service of Accion Zapatista de Austin.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 21:44:46 -0400
From: Andrew Wheat <awheat at essential.org>
To: Multiple Recipients of List Mexico2000 <mexico2000 at mep-d.org>
Subject: U.S.-Tepoztlan links

Please cross-post

Call write or fax Jack Nicklaus and GTE's Don Hayes to register your
outrage...

For Immediate Release                           For More Information:
Sept. 6, 1995                                   Call Andrew Wheat,

                                                Essential Information
                                                202/387-8034

Jack Nicklaus, GTE Tee Off
Mexican Community, National Park

U.S. Environmentalists Blast Luxury Development

September 6, 1995

Mr. Don A. Hayes                        Mr. Jack Nicklaus
President                               Golden Bear Course Management
GTE Data Services                       11780 U.S. Highway 1
One East Telecom Parkway                North Palm Beach, Florida
Temple Terrace, Florida                 33408
33637

Dear Mr. Hayes and Mr. Nicklaus,

Both of your companies are supporting a locally opposed $311 million
private development project slated to be built on Mexican national park
land over the strenuous objections of most residents of the local
community of Tepoztlan.
        It is hard to imagine how benefiting from institutional
corruption and helping to convert a national park into a private luxury
playground for the rich could serve anything beyond the very short-term
financial interests of your companies. Even a short-term benefit is
doubtful, given that the local community has vowed to never let the
project get off the ground.
        As you know, the REl TepoztecoS development would be a
multi-purpose luxury residential, recreational and business development
eight miles south of Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos. It is estimated
that TepoztecoUs golf course alone will consume more than 4,000 cubic
meters of well water a day, about five times the amount of this scarce
resource than the entire town of Tepotzlan now consumes. Community
members are also concerned about the golf courseUs expected heavy use of
agrochemicals and the potential for them to enter the water table and
harm the regionUs rich bio-diversity.
        Another reason that El Tepozteco Q which would cover 187 hectares
with 800 luxury homes, a five-star hotel, a business park, a helicopter
pad and recreational facilities Q is so controversial is because it would
be built on unusually beautiful land 45 miles from Mexico City, land that
has legally enjoyed multiple layers of federal protection. El TepoztecoUs
site sprawls across land that has been federally recognized as:
        % El Tepozteco National Park;
        % Ajusco-Chichinautzin biological corridor; and
        % Rcommunal propertyS of 800 local Rcomuneros.S
        Despite these pledged protections, both the federal government
and the state of Morelos are backing the bid by your business partner,
the Mexican development firm Grupo KS, to take over the site for a
private development. The overwhelming majority of the comuneros and the
28,000 residents of Tepoztlan, however, who have been billed as the
purported beneficiaries of the development, oppose its construction.
        According to local community leaders and a spokesperson for Jack
Nicklaus Golden Bear Course Management, which is designing TepoztecoUs
golf course, the financing of the entire project hinges on GTEUs
commitment to invest $27.1 million in a Rstate-of-the-art data processing
facilityS there. GTE Data Services would be the premier company in the
developmentUs El Recinto business park. As GTEUs own releases say, RGTE
Data Services is the anchor tenant in the high-technology El Recinto
Corporate Park.S
        The golf course designed by Nicklaus would be the anchor of the
residential and recreational portion of the development. The
international prestige attributed to Nicklaus courses is viewed as a
magnet that would sell the developmentUs residential and recreational
facilities.
        Despite the influence that you as individuals and companies have
over this misguided project, both GTE and Golden Bear officials have
disavowed any knowledge of the controversy that their projects have
touched off in Mexico. Proclaiming ignorance is no excuse, especially
since you will be hearing more about the problems that this project poses
to the people of Tepoztlan.
        Because of the beauty of their land and its proximity to Mexico
City, the Tepoztlan residents are veterans of many development scheme
battles. In the first attempt to build a golf course in the area 30 years
ago, the developers did not retreat until the dispute escalated into a
violent confrontation in which a professor leading opposition to the
project was fatally injured. Since then, the community has fought
attempts to build luxury homes, a prison, a train line, and a cable
tourist lift to ascend the parkUs mountain peaks. Despite this
resistance, TepoztlanUs population has tripled in 20 years and area land
prices have risen even faster.
        Although they enjoy federal and state government support, El
Tepozteco developers need local municipal approval to rezone the land
from agricultural use to residential and tourism uses. In a March 18,
1995 public vote on the issue, local officials rejected the zoning
request. But in an illegal secret meeting on August 22, Municipal
President Alejandro Morales Barragan and six of eight members of the
municipal council were persuaded to reverse themselves, approving the
zoning change under suspicious circumstances. Two days later, 2,500
outraged community members occupied the town hall and voted to dissolve
the municipal council for approving the zoning change without consulting
the community. They have vowed to continue to fight the project and enjoy
the backing of many Mexican groups, including Greenpeace Mexico, the
Group of 100 (an environmental group of 100 leading scientists and
artists in Latin America), Green Warriors, Save the Forest and the
National Ecological Convention.
        GTE and Golden Bear have great influence over the outcome of this
mislocated project. We are calling on you to exercise that influence
responsibly by withdrawing your participation.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader
Corporate Accountability Research Group, Washington, D.C.
Carl Pope
Executive Director, Sierra Club, San Francisco, CA
Barbara Dudley
Executive Director, Greenpeace-USA, Washington, D.C.
Brent Blackwelder
Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, Washington, D.C.
Lori Wallach
Global Trade Watch Director, Public Citizen, Washington, D.C.
Ed Maschke
Director, California Public Interest Group, Santa Barbara, CA
Andi Liebenbaum
Executive Director, People for Parks, Los Angeles, CA


Andrew Wheat
Essential Information                   |   Internet:   awheat at essential.org






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