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State Tourism Secretary: No Arms in the Convention Center

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 20 April, 2011

(Acapulco, ElSur 20 April) The new Secretary of Tourism for Guerrero State, Graciela Báez Ricárdez, announced yesterday her willingness to mediate between the Secretary of the Navy and the private sector group (called Grupo CAABSA), which thought it had a concession for the exclusive use of the international convention center property. Her objective is to prevent the Navy’s proposed use of the property from inhibiting tourism because of an armed military presence in the holiday venue. She assured the public that there will be no weapons or armaments on the property, and stressed that the Secretary of the Navy does not plan to place a Command and Control Center against drug trafficking there, but rather a center for monitoring climate and seismic activity.

This information directly contradicts statements by Secretary of the Navy Admiral Francisco Saynez Mendoza to the effect that the Navy would take over the center of tourism and convert it into a military bastion of the conflict against drugs and organized crime. The Grupo CAABSA was said to have a 30-year concession of the property from the State of Guerrero and would invest $40 million in upgrades and diversification of uses. The apparent “glitch” is that the property is not the State’s to give. The tourism secretary said that the Navy “has no intention of appropriating the buildings to convert them into something that has nothing to do with tourism. On the contrary, they are conscious of, and sensitive to, the importance of this convention center to life around the Bay.” Her aspiration is to harmonize, to the extent possible, the two apparently conflicting claims on the real estate, perhaps permitting both to go forward.

Secretary Graciela Báez emphasized that the Navy’s use would be as a research center to alert the public of potential natural disasters. It would be just one small building, leaving absolutely unaffected the existing structures of the Convention Center. They will continue to be used to support tourism development. “Nothing will be there that has anything to do with fighting narcotics traffic,” she said. “It will be dedicated to research, nothing more.”

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