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Beach Official Wants Cleanup of Illegal Businesses

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 27 April, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 27 April) The Guerrero State Director of Promotion and Administration of Beach Services, Rogelio Hernández Cruz, has complained that the previous administration allowed over 70 percent of the beach furniture rented to tourists around the bay to be controlled by local politicians and informal “beach bosses,” rather than subjecting them to legal requirements. The law specifies a permitting process, which contains safeguards against gouging visitors and provisions to ensure that the equipment is safe and serviceable. One such well-known “beach boss” is Leticia Zamora, known as the “leader of the beach umbrellas,” who was warned at the beginning of the Zeferino administration that she would be sanctioned for illegal operations. Today, her network continues to operate with impunity. For unknown reasons, his predecessor, Otilia Hinojosa Loza, never applied the rules. Hernández Cruz said that his office can only account for 30% of the businesses. That is, 70% are illegal and not permitted to operate on the beaches. The revenues from the irregular business go, according to Rogelio Hernández, into the pockets of local politicians, who control “millions” from the rental of chairs, umbrellas and loungers. Moreover, the environmental watchdog agency Semarnat has also condoned the illegal beach furniture concessions on federal property.

“We are going to have to step on some toes,” said Hernández, “but we have to do it to improve Acapulco’s image. The people who cover for the pirates and the irregular beach rentals have a lot of political pull, but it has to change.” Hernández said that shortly he will release to the press the names of the politicians who are involved in the irregular operations. He is just waiting for a green light from the General Secretary of the Aguirre administration to begin legal proceedings. He plans to meet with federal and municipal authorities to help bring the beach concessions back under the rule of law.

Hernández added that the state government will be spending $7 million pesos to construct the traditional palm-roofed palapas along the beach, which were such an Acapulco attraction forty years ago. They will substitute the motley collection of soft drink and beer logo umbrellas that now dot the beachfront.