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“Invasion Alert: Bacalar & Mahahual Land Grabs Shock Quintana Roo!”

Bacalar and Mahahual, two municipalities in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, have seen a record-breaking increase in irregular land settlements over the past year. Seven new unauthorized land occupations have been recorded, adding to the existing five. This is a significant increase compared to previous years when only up to three new settlements were reported annually.

The Strategic Projects Agency of the State of Quintana Roo (Ageproo) confirmed that authorities are struggling to prevent the illegal occupation of both private and public lands. The majority of these new invasions are being orchestrated by groups from Yucatan. They are advertising these lands as "high opportunity" on social media, promising increased value due to their proximity to the Mayan Train and coastal areas of the Laguna de los Siete Colores and the Costa Maya.

According to José Alberto Alonso Ovando, the head of Ageproo, the primary goal of these invasions is to profit from real estate fraud. The newcomers to these settlements are not interested in establishing assets in the area but rather exploiting it for financial gain.

In some instances, however, a genuine need for housing has been identified, leading to attempts at regularization. Ovando stated, "In some cases, we have discussions with the settlers to regulate their lands, but only those lands that are state-owned and have been inhabited for some years."

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Ovando did not specify the number or location of settlements undergoing regularization to avoid encouraging further invasions. However, he mentioned that they are located in Mahahual, Bacalar, and north of Chetumal. The settlers were sold lands at prices ranging from 160 to 240 pesos per square meter, far below the average property value of 2,400 pesos per square meter in the southern region of the state.

Ovando also noted that regularization is a lengthy process that can take up to seven years, which is the maximum time they offer the settlers to cover the purchase amounts.