Luz María Núñez speaks about Coppel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
“The current local administration has to be responsible for its authorizations and should not blame me,” said the former mayor, Luz María Núñez, after local media published that she authorized the construction of a Coppel store on calle Codo.
The origin of the issue
The process to get permits for the construction and opening of a Coppel store, which sells furniture and clothing and also includes a bank, started about five years ago. However, because the company did not meet all the requirements of the REZUS—Reglamento de Zonificación y Uso de Suelos (official rules for land use)—the permits were denied several times. Although it was finally approved, one of the members of Protege San Miguel said that the construction does not respect the REZUS guidelines, which state in Article 2, Part 33 that franchises are prohibited in the historic center.
On November 9, 2013, when the city council approved the change of land use on calle Codo—within the buffer zone of the area appointed a World Heritage site by UNESCO—from residential to commercial zoning, the city councilor of the PRD party was not in attendance but said he would have voted against it. Three city councilors of the PAN party did not approve the proposal; one of them talked to Atención and commented that it was because the company did not meet several requirements and the change would violate REZUS Articles 49 and 50 as well as the Guanajuato Code of Territorial Structuring, Article 262, Part 3.
Protege San Miguel is afraid that the city could lose its World Heritage appointment and that the construction of this building could damage colonial tunnels connecting the Instituto Allende with the Parroquia of St. Michael the Archangel.
Protege San Miguel, a citizens’ group, called a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the Coppel store located on calle Codo, asking protesters to wear white clothing. The protest was held on May 5 at 5pm and featured music. The workers of Coppel also held a demonstration with placards stating that the company currently is providing jobs for the heads of more than 70 families in the city and will create more jobs.
Former mayor Luz María Núñez attended the demonstration and told Atención that she was there supporting the sanmiguelenses’ idea that the local authorities do not respect the law to protect the World Heritage zone. She remarked that during her administration the company started the process to construct the store there but she offered alternate locations outside of the historic center, which they did not choose. “I am surprised that Édgar Bautista, the same head of Urban Development that I had in my administration, authorized this. He knows the law,” said Núñez. The former mayor also urged the local authorities to read the law before authorizing developments and invited them to listen to the citizens “as I did when the McDonald’s case emerged,” she said.
Nuñez’s presence criticized
Referring to Nuñez’s presence at the demonstration, activist Arturo Morales expressed that politicians use these public events, which have nothing to do with politics, for self-promotion and to garner nominations as political candidates.
Later, the former mayor talked to Atención and asked, “Who is Arturo Morales?” She added that “he is not Protege San Miguel.” The former mayor also questioned Morales’ moral grounds because “he is the one who contaminated the event because he politicized it.” Núñez also accused Morales of being a political operator who works for others.
Núñez made it clear that she does not need these kinds of events to get promotion because she knows that when she was mayor she did the right things, and that she can feel it when she is on the streets and people greet her. “Regardless of the attacks, I have proved that I did not commit any crimes, and for that reason the criminal complaints against me have not prospered,” she added.
When asked whether she plans to seek election in 2015 Nuñez told Atención that “running for a political post is my right, and whether I decide to participate or not I have the right. I could be the first woman elected as a local or federal legislator. I have my right and later I will decide whether I use it or not.”
“I did not authorize Coppel”
The former mayor said that those reporters who wrote in their articles that she authorized the construction of the Coppel are naïve, because a document signed by the director of the Civil Protection Department does not mean anything. It is just a part of the whole process that the company had to fulfill for constructing and opening a store like Coppel. Núñez mentioned that to get authorization for the store the company had to submit a report of environmental and traffic impact and she assured that these documents do not exist in this administration, so the city councilors did not know the impact this construction would have and for that reason they approved the project, she said. Núñez urged the IMPAN (Municipal Institute of Planning) to show and publish the documents of the meetings with experts during 2009–2012, where they talked about the reasons why Coppel should not open.
On Thursday, May 22, the group Protege San Miguel de Allende is holding a meeting to discuss some points about the Coppel issue. You can read the results online on Friday, May 23, at www.atencionsanmiguel.org.