Mexico: Cirque du Soleil & Grupo Vidanta tourist complex will have negative impacts on livelihoods, environment & land tenure, according to locals

Media denounced alleged negative social and environmental impacts of Grupo Vidanta in Natyarit and Jalisco, Mexico. They also point out to the construction of a thematic park of Grupo Vidanta and Cirque du Soleil that would have negative impacts on the environment and the livelihoods of the local population.The article also denounces irregularities in the land acquisitions.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Grupo Vidanta and Cirque du Soleil to respond to these allegations; Grupo Vidanta response is available here. Cirque du Soleil referred us to Grupo Vidanta response. 

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Company response
21 June 2016

Grupo Vidanta Response

Author: Grupo Vidanta

…The Jarretaderas and Juntas towns neighboring the Vidanta resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, used to flood every year during the rainy season, thereby creating health hazards, property loss, and lack of stability for its inhabitants. In 2004, Grupo Vidanta—at its sole cost and expense and complying with all proper permits and regulations—built a river protection wall, over 2 miles in length and began dredging efforts to prevent the Ameca River from swamping and continuing to flood the local community…Grupo Vidanta is committed to its people and local communities without whom we would not be where we are today. We are also extremely proud of the Delia Morán Vidanta Foundation, a privately funded, first-class facility with the sole purpose of serving local underprivileged children and preparing them for a future filled with success…The group has never acquired a plot of land designated for school use. Any plot of land purchased from the ejidatarios (local land holders) is a legal acquisition through which local land holders hold an assembly and decide to sell the plot on their own free will…

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Article
31 May 2016

Construction of thematic park affects peasants and environment in Nayarit

Author: Antonio Tello, SinEmbargo (México)

…As golf courses and hotels multiply, the tourism consortium Grupo Vidanta, builds the first thematic park in the world of the famous Canadian company…Cirque du Soleil, suffocating the population of Jarretaderas, an old town of peasants and fishermen in the region of Bahía de Banderas…But it also runs over its neighbors in Nuevo Vallarta taking the streets and public paths, as well as the land for the local school. [Also, the project is] modifying the riverbed and grabbing the island in the delta, mangroves and beaches while destroying the habitat and affecting fisheries…According to an academic document…this tourism complex…has been buying parcels to “ejidatarios” [local landowners] of the neighbor town of Jadarretas using “not the best practices”…Vidanta´s security has also limited the access [to the beach]… “There is no question the habitat of the crocodile is being destructed”, says biologist… “The crocodile goes upper river or searches an exit from the devastated area and, in consequence, there are risks for locals”… “Grupo Vidanta is taking us out, they have the government on their side and corruption, but we will fight” [says local]…

[This is a non official abstract and translation by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre; the complete article is available only in Spanish here

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