LatinNews Daily - 21 March 2023

In brief: US firm accuses Mexican forces of illegal property seizure

* Mexican cement giant Cemex has defended its use of a port terminal which US construction company Vulcan Materials claims is its private property. In a statement seen by the local press, Cemex stated it had a contract with Vulcan Materials allowing it to use the terminal and that its actions were backed by a local court and a recent order from state prosecutors. Cemex was responding after Vulcan Materials accused the company and Mexican security forces of illegally taking over its port terminal in Punta Venado, Quintana Roo state. In a letter to Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Esteban Moctezuma, Vulcan CEO Tom Hill stated that “heavily armed naval forces, state police, and special investigative forces answering to the state prosecutor”, as well as Cemex personnel, “forced entry into our private property” on 14 March, saying they had an order to bring a Cemex vessel into the port to unload cement. According to Hill, no legal document, court order or warrant has been presented justifying or ordering the act. Hill urged Moctezuma to call on the Mexican government to order its forces and officials to leave Vulcan’s private property, adding that “the government’s participation in this gross violation of our property rights is yet another example of the government’s arbitrary and illegal treatment of Vulcan and its investments in Mexico”. In May, Mexico’s ministry for the environment and natural resources (Semarnat) shut down one of the company’s quarrying sites in Quintana Roo, an action which Vulcan Materials argued was illegal.

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