Monday, March 31, 2008

Corruption In Mexico’s Baja California Sur Taking A Toll On Land Owners

Corruption in the Los Cabos area of Mexico’s Baja California Sur is a bigger problem than some investors might think. According to a recent press release from the Association for the Protection of the Environment and the Marine Turtle in Southern Baja (ASUPMATOMA), government officials in Baja California Sur have seized hundreds of acres of beach front land from a group of investors and conservationists even though the claims being presented have been proven to be falsified.

The press release states that ASUPMATOMA has provided evidence that the land titles submitted by a Sinoloa company on July 27, 2007 were forged by a man who was recorded legally dead several months prior. State officials still proceeded to clear the land last week, actually reversing the charges against René Pinal, who is the main owner.

This land was being used as a sanctuary for sea turtles, and was open to the public to visit them in their natural habitat. However, it seems the government has other ideas for this valuable land: probably something more along the lines of hotels and resorts, which provide taxes to the government.

Corruption can be common in developing countries, adding extra risk to foreign investments, but this situation in Baja California Sur is more the exception than the rule. If these unsubstantiated seizures become more commonplace, then investors will have reason to think twice before investing in Mexico, but for now it seems to be a rare event.

ASUPMATOMA is still campaigning to fight the seizure. If you want more information about them or their cause, visit


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this is a very uninformed article. First, the author needs to keep his states straight. Baja California and Baja California Sur are as different as Washington and Oregon. There is a WHOLE lot more behind this story that has been made evident here. The current owner is USING the evnironmental organization to make his position look more respectable. This is ONE particular parcel that has been a political hot buttonin Cabo for about 12 years. Niether side would be called squeeky clean. Today title insurance is available on most legitimate Baja properties and those looking to make big bucks on aquisition of Ejido properties are still throwing the dice but for many more reasons that legal corruption. Investments in Baja properties is still a good bet, as they aren't making anymore seaside tropical resort areas anywhere in the world. (except Hawaii at the rate of 1/4 acre per year!)

Eric Ames said...

I appreciate the comment from someone on the ground there in Baja, who might be privy to facts unknown to the rest of us. Let me start by saying that I was in no way intending this to be a bashing of investments in Baja California Sur (We have written several articles saying how great of a place it was). I was merely informing people about something that was going on down there. Unfortunately the only information I had on the subject came from the press release issued by ASUPMATOMA, who obviously could be very biased about the situation.

I can only include so much information in one blog post however, so sometimes things will be overlooked, or unable to get covered. That is why it is great to be able to get feedback from our readers who might have the missing pieces. Anyway I appreciate the comment (and by the way I'm very aware that Baja California Sur is different than Baja California, it was simply a typo (that is why in most places it said Sur) which I am fixing.)

Anonymous said...

I think having your property stolen in Baja is the least of your concerns. The narcos have recently killed every chief of police in Rosorito Beach and have cut off their heads. The narcos control the whole area. The other day they had a 6 hour gun battle in the town.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely a legitimate case according to credible third-party sources. The documents used by the Sinaloa-based company to claim ownership over this land have been falsified, and are recorded in the official notary archives of the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.

Additionally, the environment, while a separate issue, is certainly one we cannot minimize, as it is a real problem for Cabo San Lucas, and all developing areas, for that matter.

Manuel said...

Corruption in Mexico's Baja, is not isolated to Sur. Baja Norte is riddled with problems. The United State's State Department has a warning issued against signing ANY contract in Mexico without proper legal advice. Google Baja Real Estate Complaints. Research the complaints. Become informed. Even firms like Coldwell Banker in Mexico have had SERIOUS problems. Consider your sources of information, anything that is associated with a real estate firm, like bajainsider, is out to make a dollar, and not honest. Even programs like Sunday Morning did not make people aware of the huge risk this is. Developments that look good like Real Del Mar, built by Frisas, and ran by people like Jose Luis Corona have proven to be very BAD businesses and people to deal with. Rent in Mexico for at least six months before purchasing. Real estate is the one thing we buy without trying it on. We try on shoes, test drive cars, why buy a house without trying the area first. Be very careful in Mexico.