Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Residents around the region were dismayed to hear remarks from Mexico’s president who downgraded the state’s sargassum issue as “not very serious”.
The remark was made by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in his recent speech regarding the the arrival of sargassum to the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean. While he did say the government will continue to support the issue, he also referred to it as not serious.
“We will continue to support the issue of sargasso. I have not talked much about that because I do not consider it, as some argue, very serious. No no. We will solve it. I already gave instructions to the Secretary of the Navy and they are going to build up special vessels to pick up the sargasso and put an end to that problem,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during his visit to Quintana Roo.
The comment came after state Governor Carlos Joaquín González said that every day, about 1,000 tons of sargasso is collected on public beaches in Quintana Roo.
It was the only reference López Obrador made on the subject in his speech. In a Twitter message, elected deputy Chanito Toledo criticized the remark saying, “The most serious thing is to hear from Pdte @lopezobrador_ that #Sargazo is a minor issue for #Turismo and #QRoo; Occupancy on the downside, hotel rates of shame, no tourists on the beaches, no strategy, no plan to combat it. Today’s photo #ElSargazoSiEsGravisimo,” said the deputy.
Despite multiple requests, the López Obrador government has not channeled federal resources to address the problem, instead, ordering the Navy to support the combat tasks, which up until now, has been of little success.
However, the State Secretary of Tourism, Marisol Vanegas, said that the issue of sargassum is a very serious matter for Quintana Roo and that is why a strategic master plan is being worked on to face the contingency.
She said it would be very worrying if there are no resources to address the issue, which she hopes will flow during their negotiations, adding that they hope that over the next weeks they can find a better plan since the Secretary of the Navy presented a strategy and the issue now focuses on financing.