Politicians acquire prime state land for pennies

Raul Pineda

2,445Views 0Comments Posted 02/03/2023

Deputy Raúl Pineda –the PRD's third undersecretary– has obtained dozens of hectares of state land in the current government, paying pennies for land located in privileged areas in Colón reports La Prensa.

Pineda joined the select group of politicians who have obtained national land by paying pittances, such as former minister Alma Cortés, who, for $534, acquired 88 hectares of land on the banks of the Mamoní River, in Las Margaritas de Chepo, or former minister Franklin Vergara, who titled 128 hectares for $774 in Chepo. Also, the ex-minister Demetrio Papadimitriu, who obtained with his family 54.3 free hectares titled in the name of 12 companies and two individuals – on the beaches of Juan Hombrón, or the deputy Yanibel Ábrego, who obtained 9.3 hectares in Cirí Grande, Capira, by paying $60 for them, that is, less than $6.50 per hectare.

And it's not just about getting large tracts of land for pennies. They also get them in privileged areas, as in the previous examples. In the case of Pineda, they are farms located a few meters from beaches or in the mountains, thanks to the generosity of the National Land Administration Authority (Anati).

In May 2021, President Cortizo announced the start of the Cadastral Sweep of Coasts and Mountains of Colón program with Anati to "put an end to decades of waiting for these areas to be legalized and have a property title." Three months later, authorities from the district of Santa Isabel, in Colón, and Anati signed an agreement.

On June 22, 132.5 hectares in a wooded area, close to the beaches of the Costa Arriba de Colón, went from being national to being the property of the deputy from San Miguelito. It is about three farms. One, 14 hectares, located a short distance from Playa Chiquita, a fishing community on the Costa Arriba de Colón. It is an area that, due to the beauty of its beaches: crystalline waters and white sands –ideal for snorkeling–, is sought after by nationals and foreigners).

Congressman Pineda now owns 104.7 hectares of land near the crystalline waters of Playa Chiquita and forests in Miramar, on the Costa Arriba de Colón

For this farm, Pineda paid $1,587, less than $115 per hectare. The farm was requested by the deputy in July 2015, but it was not until the PRD came to power that the Ministry of the Environment approved its use, in June 2021. Shortly after, in October of that year, Anati determined -in a second visual inspection on the ground - that "there was no opposition or complaint from third parties" to grant the farm.

The edicts to obtain the extensive farm were published in February 2022 But he had eyes on another farm, twice as big. On that occasion, he asked Anati to award him 27.8 hectares in Palenque, also in Santa Isabel, Colón.

The farm is located along the road, in Palenque, Nombre de Dios. This time Pineda paid $5,951, that is, $214 per hectare. Palenque is an area of tourist potential, thanks to its beaches with transparent turquoise waters. This place, inhabited by about 400 people, according to the 2010 census, is promoted as an ideal area for surfers.

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