In Defense of Palmilla Beach

BY BLANCA PEDRIN

It is the inalienable right of the Mexican people to access our beaches. This guarantee was written into our Constitution to protect our rights, also, by forward-thinking politicians to protect our people against the invasion of developers who use their vast monetary resources to make millions of dollars selling our natural resources and our beaches. As a nation that has always been open, service-oriented, and generous of spirit we have welcomed everyone to enjoy the beauty of our land, the beauty of our beaches and the hospitality of our people. We are a people and a nation that have open arms to anyone from any country, from any state from our own country, who is willing to embrace our culture, embrace our people, respect our traditions, our history, and respect our identity.

The beaches of Palmilla have been enjoyed for as long as I can remember, there have been people living in Baja California Sur.

It is a treasure. It is pristine. It is safe. It is swimmable. It’s our jewel! For what it represents historically, it’s an icon of our town, it keeps our secrets of many generations, the fun, the laughs and the best memories. Its location close to town gives it a special status because everyone can enjoy its natural beauty. Old men have memories of their fathers taking them to Palmilla beach on Sunday, every day in the summer, this is where families go to teach their children to swim, to build sandcastles, to picnic, and to share tradition and pride of the country. It matters not whether you are rich or poor, a doctor or a stonemason, this beach beckons for you to come.

There was a time, not so long ago, that access to this beach was from many different points. Today, the construction of million-dollar homes to be sold to wealthy individuals who come to enjoy our weather, our natural beauty, and our beautiful culture and our beaches, has narrowed the access to one specific location. We have accepted this, we been sharing as we are a generous people. We are not blind to the fact that development in the area has been good for the economy of all. We have always believed that we can live side-by-side with all neighbors, it does not matter from what country as long as they respect our land and our people.

It is a slap in the face to wake up one morning and discover that the developers of the different housing communities of Palmilla, are determined to build a security control point in our entrance, ancestral road, used by generations, the only entrance to our beach, and to our property, we the citizen of San Jose del Cabo owned, donated by a local family.

Why? Because they need to create the perception it’s safe, it’s a gated community, it’s already gated! All access to the residential areas, to the hotel, are gated, what is the purpose to install one in our road? A road of common use, a road that we have the right to use with no psicológica intimidation to our families, it’s a message to our families, that they are entering a private area, and are not welcome, it’s a way to control whom yes and who don’t without saying a word, only with the presence of the security control point is sufficient for our families to feel intimated.

The developers make sound that it’s no need to be concerned, nothing to worry about, we the people of this town feel it’s a total disrespect to our people, to our community, whom open arms to share our land, who respect our guest and welcome them.

Many American friends have expressed their concern, found this action inappropriate, they move in this community with no fear, we are a peaceful town, their excuse gives them no right to violate our rights, our laws, our access is to be shared with others, with the developers, with the residents, with the tourist, and with our people of this town.

Hotel One and Only Palmilla have expressed their concern and feel that they need a gate to control to block our final access to our beach. They make it sound all so innocent.

“We have been told, we just need more security, we are just trying to control traffic, we promise we won’t stop families from going to the beach.”

In the past they did it many times when they installed the control access to the parking lot and to enter our beaches, many complaints were reported, we intervened to stop the abuse of their guards. This experience cannot be repeated and we cannot live this precedent, we refuse as citizens to have them install a security control access to our land and to our beach at Palmilla.

The definition of gate is “a hinged barrier used to close an opening.” 

It matters not whether they promise everyone will have access to the road leading to the beach at Palmilla through the proposed gate,  the gate Is a barrier. It is a psychological blockade. It says we do not want you here. It says we do not trust you. It says go away.

It’s also installing an unnecessary feeling of fear when there is no reason to be afraid, thousands of tourist from all over the world, American walk in our towns every day, they are received with open arms, big smiles, if violence is a concern than people should not be going to malls, kids to school, in America, our town, our community is safe, and we welcome always those who respect our land and our people, embrace our culture, enjoy our music, our gastronomy, our natural beauty, our art, and respect our laws.

Imagine Sunday. Imagine cars lined up as the guards at the gate ask everyone where they’re going. Imagine someday in the future when ID’s must be shown and license plates recorded.

Imagine the day in the future when people who live in the development Have a special lane with a special car tag so they can go through without showing their ID or telling the guard where they’re going. Imagine a time when foot traffic is either monitored or restricted totally.

This is the reality of the future of our beach access if we allow the developers to build this gate.  Maybe not now, because they will work slowly, but it will happen. Like it has happen in other areas, we trusted them in the past, we have to learn we must protect our public spaces, for our families, our children, our youths, the beaches are our parks, the only free entertainment to our families, and we are not willing to give up Palmilla and our freedom to come in without feeling intimidated.

The construction of this gate has one purpose. To promote a gated community assuring safety, and increase their value on their real state, and attract more buyers and investors.

It’s a financial decision at the cost of our freedom. There is no reason for that, today,

Each individual subdivision within the development has a security gate, which is manned 24 hours a day. There is only one way in and one way out of each subdivision. They can get no more secure than they already are.

The real reason that the developers want the gate is that it creates an image of exclusivity, I repeat, this exclusivity increases the value of their property in the minds of potential buyers. They argue that other developments have a gate at their entrance. They conveniently forget that other developments do not have access to Palmilla beach, and to a piece of land that belongs to the citizens of San Jose’s Cabo.

They have already made millions and millions of dollars because they are the only developers and the only hotel that have access to Palmilla Beach. Palmilla beach, which we have so willingly shared, has made fortunes for investors.

As I stated before, we are a people and a nation that have open arms to anyone from any country who is willing to embrace our culture, embrace our people, respect our traditions and respect our identity. But the time to act to stop the aggression against our rights is now. If we do not stop this gate we are denying our children and our grandchildren, future generations, their

inalienable right to enjoy what is theirs by birth. There are a few guarantees in life, but our birthright is guaranteed and we must fight to ensure that this right is not taken from us.

“El respeto al derecho ajeno, es la paz.” (Ed’s translation: The respect to others’ rights means peace.”) Blanca Pedrin was born and raised in San Jose del Cabo. She comes from one of the oldest local families and is a local entrepreneur and activist that has defended the San Jose estuary, the Palmilla Beach and spearheaded the San Jose Art Walk and the remodeling of the San Jose historic art district.