Full beach erosion after summer rains. At site of the San Cristobal Hotel
Full beach erosion after summer rains. At site of the San Cristobal Hotel

The months of August and September 2015, brought heavy rains to Baja California Sur and made a huge impact to the area and the beach shown in Black Creek’s corporate videos for the development Tres Santos, has in large part disappeared over the past 60 days. During this time period the high tide was causing high waves and widespread erosion to the shoreline. The erosion was caused by a seawall that Tres Santos installed for their 32-room Boutique “San Cristobal” Hotel now under construction in Punta Lobos Beach. Fishermen scrambled to pull boats up the beach, away from danger, literally pulling their pangas into the weeds to keep them from washing away. Mexican Federal Law requires a freely-passable 20-meter area between the high tide mark and any construction. This has been violated by the developers.

This photo is of the beach front of the San Cristobal hotel in Punta Lobos. This erosion is claimed to be “mar del fondo” and blamed on El Nino by local government offices.
This photo is of the beach front of the San Cristobal hotel in Punta Lobos. This erosion is claimed to be “mar del fondo” and blamed on El Nino by local government offices.

October rains had a huge impact on the area. In addition to the seawall creating widespread erosion, the company created a platform. This area was originally wetlands and mangroves before Black Creek Capital/Tres Santos removed them in August 2014, prior to Hurricane Odile. By removing the wetlands and changing the roads that lead into the beach (which are actually for water flow during the rainy season), the rains created new arroyos and completely washed out the area of beach where two fishing cooperatives use to launch and store their boats.

The video in the following link shows the conditions of the local beach known as Punta Lobos on Sunday Oct 11, 2015: Rompeolas de Tres Santos daña pangas de cooperativas pesqueras en Todos Santos. [English Subtitles]

Dialog with the Coopertiva Punta Lobos and Directors of Tres Santos 10/30/2016
Dialog with the Coopertiva Punta Lobos and Directors of Tres Santos 10/30/2016

On October 29, 2015, the fishermen of the cooperative Punta Lobos had enough of the damages to their boats and lack of beach began to protest the company Black Creek Capital and their development Tres Santos. The next day representatives of Tres Santos; Beatriz Ledesma, Carlos Lozano, and Juan Pablo Berrelleza showed up on the public road where the fishermen were camped out. During this 3 hours meeting local Diputado Alejandro Blanco was in attendance and witnessed Beatriz Ledesma confirming that Tres Santos would meet with the fishermen and the local community on November 11, 2015, to provide documentation and development plans. Besides the fishermen, their representative, and the town officials from each state department came to discuss the issues. However, the company never showed up to that meeting. Rumor has it that they sat a block and a half away having cocktails at the Guaycura Skydeck, which coincidentally has a perfect view of the town plaza in Todos Santos. This is the first promise Tres Santos broke with the town and the fishermen.

The following link is a video of the November 11, 2015 town meeting: MIRA/Tres Santos deja plantado a todo el pueblo
The Eight Points of the Punta Lobos Coopertiva: In Contra Development Tres SantosThe Eight Points of the Punta Lobos Coopertiva: In Contra Development Tres Santos

The following text is an excerpt of a general assembly of the Cooperative Society of Fishing Production Punta Lobos, S.C. de C.V. of R.L.Prior to take legal action aimed procurement and safeguard the rights and interests of the cooperative against the effects caused by the development Black Creek Capital (Denver, CO), MIRA Companies (MX City) and the development Tres Santos (BCS, MX), the determination to provide opportunity for dialogue through the development taken of list of demands and approach to the competent authorities of the three levels of government in order to apply for legal and proper intervention in order to jointly seek and seek a comprehensive solution to the problem, which this Cooperative Society of Fishing Production Punta Lobos states that must necessarily include and cover the following points:

  1. Removal, delimitation of the maritime federal zone Playa Punta Lobos taking into account the historical tides.
  2. Removal, delimitation of the maritime federal zone Playa Punta Lobos has been owned and exploited historically by the cooperative and determined that meets the needs, interest and future viability of this Cooperative Society, which should include area stiffness, maneuver, shelter and protection, work area and area of loading / unloading, based on the factual possessions that have been exercised and comprising from the hill of Punta Lobos to the bower that had fellow Fisheries Cooperative Todos Santos.
  3. Removal of all construction within or outside the federal maritime and coastal areas, causing beach erosion and impact of cooperative activities adversely.
  4. Expanded Public access and the demarcation and allocation of public parking that meets the collective public interest.
  5. Changing the plate filling and leveling to prevent channeling of the stream to the Estero de Lobos and the work area of the Cooperative Society, as well as full respect for the limits, guidelines and restrictions set forth in Program Development urban Las Playitas-Todos Santos-Pescadero in terms of maximum limits and distances allowed for construction in relation to the federal maritime land and the various existing wetlands and coastal ecosystems in place.
  6. Conservation and protection of the Estero de Lobos; no occupation, building, or use not promote and protect flora and fauna of this habitat and other wetlands in the area.
  7. Delimitation and transfer of possession and control of the surface of the historical offices and fishing colony bordering the Playa Punta Lobos, historical legal possession of the Cooperative Society.
  8. Repair materials and work items damaged by detachment of riprap installed erratically for development such as engines, pangas, propellers and transmissions.
  9. Convention non-compete both fishing and tourism activity at sea.

Note: To this day the Fishermen of the Coopertiva Punta Lobos have only seen 1 point of their 9 addressed. It wasn’t Tres Santos whom resolved it. It was SEMARNAT after lawsuits were filed by the Coopertiva. Their concessions were returned to them on February 2, 2018, which was 1,000 meters. In addition they were awarded an extra 1,700 meters.

Link to article: Recuperan pescadores concesions de Punta Lobos en manos de Tres Santos

Out to sea…

The erosion of Playa Punta Lobos
The erosion of Playa Punta Lobos

On November 4, 2015, two Fishermen had suffered damage to their transmission from the rocks washing out to sea from in front of the seawall to act as extra protection.  The Navy went out to recover them and had to turn back being low on fuel. So the 2 men drove their boat from the cove where they were sitting waiting for rescue, back into Punta Lobos. They got in at 6:15 the following morning. The seawall which is now located in federal ZOFEMAT zone) is completely exposed and damaged several motors.

The Punta Lobos cooperative had no financial help when it came to replacing motors, meanwhile the Todos Santos Cooperative had replacement motors within days. Once again talks started to happen among the fishermen about how the Tres Santos team had bought the Todos Santos Cooperative out early in the project development stage. For several generations the Punta Lobos cooperative had the concessions to launch and fish in this area. It was in 2008 when the Todos Santos Cooperative gained their concession, they too began to use this area. Historically there has been rivalry between the two fishing cooperatives and in this case it does seem to a person opposing this development, that the company uses that to their advantage.

In this video, John Moreno explains in a clear and visual way the problem that exists in Punta Lobos with regard to the federal maritime concession areas, and the discrepancies that exist among the concessions granted to the Tres Santos development and the two fishing co-ops that operate on this beach. (English Subtitles)

The months of November and December had many twists and turns between Tres Santos and the Fishermen. During this time Tres Santos was able to gain the approval of the Mesa Directiva of the Punta Lobos co-op, which means they acted as representative for the entire group of over 70 fishermen. However, the remaining fishermen on the co-op had the company far from their favor, and did not agree with them. In addition to the internal struggles with the cooperative the media was releasing publications that the erosion was due to “mar del fondo,” from local authority.

BCS Noticias: Semarnat culpa al “mar de fondo” por la invasión de Tres Santos en la Zona Federal Marítima

In early November the fishermen entered into negotiations with the company as well as kept the installation of the Planton.

During this time Tres Santos released several press announcements that implied they held the best interest of the Coopertiva Punta Lobos. The following statement comes from their Facebook page; “Tres Santos has tremendous respect for the fishermen. That’s why we, along with the authorities, worked hard to reach an agreement with both fishing co-ops. Learn more about the agreement including the granted fishermen requests here”. Note as of 7/28/2017 the link to Sudcaliforniano has been removed from the internet. We used the Way Back Machine to grab a screenshot for our archives. Click here for link to article.

sudcaliforniano-jan-26-2016-screenshot-of-article
sudcaliforniano-jan-26-2016-screenshot-of-article

To get a better understanding of the Fishermen and how this project has impacted them as well as the local community, Patrimonio Trailer, click here to view.

The beginning of the fake news campaign, by the mega developer…

On November 17, 2016, Black Creek Capital (Tres Santos) takes out an advertisement in the local press El Sudcaliforniano. The ad states that The Development, TresSantos has always shown to be open to all dialogue with the community.

El Sudcaliforniano Tres Santos Fake News Campaign“We have looked for the fishermen to resolve their doubts and to come to agreements that translate into better working conditions for them and that will permit our company to continue being a fountain of employment and development for Todos Santos before the presence of authorities, we have promised to promote the following measures in benefit for the fishermen:”

“1. Concessions, our company is helping the fishermen to have legal certainty over their concessions and will modify before authorities the basis for their concession.”

“2. Support. We are supporting the fishermen in the repairs of their boats affected by the ocean swells, a phenomenon originated by climate change.”

“3. Beach access. Our company reaffirms that we will guarantee to the fishermen an open access road to the sea, which will be paved and secure.”

“4. Our installations. Our company maintains the commitment to the fishermen to build new installations with bathrooms, parking, and a fish market where they can realize their activities in dignified conditions.”

“With actions like these, Tres Santos reiterates their commitment to the fishermen and their good will to remain good neighbors.”

“For more information about the project, please consult the page: www.tressantosbaja.com” – Text taken from print version El Sudcaliforniano

November 20, 2016, Earlier that afternoon the Profepa inspector Daniel Munoz made his way out to Punta Lobos. When stopped by the Fishermen the inspector gave very conflicting information. The men are expressing their concerns while the inspector seems to want to brush them off and not address their issues.

On the other hand, Profepa was spotted outside of the Tres Santos development offices late on that Friday night. The truck was parked in front for several hours. This caused an uproar on local social media with tempers flaring that the company can sit behind closed doors with the authority, and the same respect was not provided for the Fishermen and the local community of Todos Santos.

Photos taken by local resident: Jesus Cota, of Profepa outside of the Tres Santos Development office.
Photos taken by local resident: Jesus Cota, of Profepa outside of the Tres Santos Development office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to view the Profepa & Fishermen video.

The authorities came to conduct an inspection on December 10, 2015, of Punta Lobos. After the inspection that was led by the Municipal government locals were expecting that the development would be shut down before the holidays. Then nothing happened and shortly after that locals learned that the issue had been taken out of the city governments hands and taken over by the State to oversee and manage. This changed the overall climate of the of conflict. Baja Sur TV covered the inspections at Punta Lobos. Click here to view and watch playlist.

In early December a few Mexican publications had been following the developments of the story and began releasing articles in which related to the corruption in the local government and the company. This began to be rebutted by several local media outlets in January 2016.

Additionally, on the 24th of December there was a new Facebook page published called “Truth Santos Lies”. This page was started to directly attack; John Moreno, Lisa Jackson, Ricardo Madrazo, and Jamie Sechrist. The page alleged that John Moreno and Lisa F. Jackson were guilty of hidden agendas, shady land deals, and NGO money to create the conflict with Tres Santos. The idea of this page is that it takes information from the facebook pages of the Todos Santos 6 and their friend pages or try to inflate information that is public town knowledge and airs it out like its dirty laundry. Nothing of substance has come from this page, however it shows a precedence for later in 2016 when Tres Santos installs a PR company to troll and attack our posts and comments on media publications. None of these attacks have been of substance either, just preaching the same old company line.

Chip Conely of Air BNB, was initially part of the marketing aspect to selling “mindful living,” for Black Creek Capital’s project Tres Santos. In the video link below he is at a launch party in NYC speaking about the project. On December 31, 2015 Chip Conely bailed out from the Tres Santos project and went under fire for his other company Air BNB.

Tres Santos Video
Rex Weiner Article from Capital and Main: Ambassador Recalled: Airbnb’s Chip Conley’s Mexican Misadventure

Continue to part 3…