Following violent government raid, will Tulum ever be the same?

Tulum
Tulum

The party is over in one of Mexico’s ritziest resort towns following a government raid – and it may never be the same again.

Tulum, the resort town on Yucatán Peninsula along the Caribbean Sea, has long catered to well-heel pleasure seekers. But last week, about 500 private security guards and Tulum municipal police officers raided the town’s Punta Pierda zone forcibly evicting 16 hotels and restaurants, according to Mexico New Daily.

Federal, state police in Tulum (credit: Mexico Daily News)
Federal, state police in Tulum (credit: Mexico Daily News)

The security forces are to have fired guns into the air and tossed tear gas canisters into crowds when some business owners and patrons resisted.

The chaos is said to have stemmed from an alleged breach of an oral lease contract between business owners and the municipality. However, locals say that the raid, where furniture and personal possessions were seized, was ordered by Quintana Roo Governor Roberto Borge.

“We know well that all this is in response to the sale — with false documents — of several beachfront pieces of land by the governor. Now, before he leaves office, he wants to make sure he doesn’t lose what he earned from the sale,” one eviction victim said, adding that they had been paying the agreed upon rent all along.

The businesses were given no notice of the eviction.

Town and Country notes that oral rent agreements with hotels and local governments are “the norm, not the exception.”