Members of the legislature’s Comisión de Asuntos Agropecuarios went to the Caribbean coast over the weekend to see first-hand the situation in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. There long-time residents are in danger of losing their homes because the properties are in the nation’s maritime zone where construction is prohibited.
Walter Céspedes, a lawmaker with the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana again raised the issue of incorporating both communities as cities. That has been tried before, but the Sala IV constitutional court voided the last bill. Residents prefer city status because then the land is not involved with maritime zone issues. Puntarenas Centro on the Gulf of Nicoya, for example, is a city.
At the very least, lawmakers seem in agreement with an executive branch proposal to freeze demolitions of properties for a year. The Contraloría General de la República is urging that the structures that infringe on the maritime zone be demolished. Two hotels that the government said were in the limits of the Parque Nacional Gandoca-Manzanillo already have been destroyed.
There is another measure in the legislature to modify the limits of the park.