3 blockades take their toll on coastal tourism

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There is nothing quite like a highway blockade to get the attention of authorities — and raise the ire of travelers.

Tourist activity in Huatulco was affected for several days due to a number of highway blockades set up in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region.

The president of the Association of Hotels and Motels of Huatulco, Gustavo Ficachi Figueroa, said that as a result 12% of hotel reservations had been canceled for the Mexican Revolution holiday.

“I don’t quite understand the culture of blocking [roads], where for some nonsensical reason they close a highway, despite it being a federal crime. I don’t know where the National Guard is to guarantee free transit for all Mexicans and foreigners within the national territory,” he said.

As an example, Ficachi reported that a family of visitors from Chiapas took twice the time to travel to Huatulco, going through three blockades, and at the last one they had to pay a fee to get through.

“Ungovernability is incredible . . . these blockades not only affect hoteliers, but the entire state, because the highway is not only used by tourists, but also [to transport] medicines and supplies. We do not fully understand what four or five people gain by closing a road to have an internal problem in their municipality resolved,” he remarked.

He pointed out that tourists who travel from Chiapas have become the hotel sector’s main visitors because although Canadians are already arriving, they tend to choose Airbnb accommodations. “For tourists from Chiapas the beach is six or seven hours away so it is their weekend beach.”

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec region has been under a virtual siege by three main blockades: one by residents of Palomares, Matías Romero, on federal highway 185. The protesters have demanded that Mayor Obdulia García López release federal resources totaling 3.4 million pesos (about US $175,000) allocated for infrastructure projects.

Another blockade has been carried out by fishermen from San Francisco Ixhuatán, who blocked the Pan-American Highway in the eastern area of ​​the Isthmus to request that the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Commission, Conapesca, open registration for BienPesca, a federal program designed to boost production for small fishing and agricultural activities.

A third blockade was set up by the Committee of Earthquake Victims on kilometer 246 of international highway 190, between Jalapa del Marqués and Tehuantepec, in El Caracol.

The four-day-long blockade was lifted Friday evening, although protesters have yet to receive any response from the state government.

They denounced what they called stubbornness and a lack of empathy by Governor Alejandro Murat to solve the problem and comply with their disaster relief payments.

The state Civil Protection office in the region reported Friday night that all roadblocks had been lifted and free transit restored by 8:40 p.m. Friday.

As was the case for the victims of the 2017 earthquake, the protesters from Palomares and Ixhuatán have warned that their blockades are not over, and that come this week they could be set up again if they don’t hear back from the state government.

Days are running short for the incumbent state administration, and the resolution to some grievances is long overdue, at least in the eyes of some of the parties.

Governor Murat, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), will step down on Nov. 30, and Governor-elect Salomón Jara Cruz, from the ruling Morena party, will be sworn in the following day.

With reports from NVI NoticasLa Onda Oaxaca and RIOaxaca


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