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Mexican military illegally seized US company’s port terminal – every AL lawmaker demands answers

A Marine with Zodiac Battalion, Mexican Naval Infantry Forces, provides security for a patrol as part of an amphibious landing training done in conjunction with Exercise Dawn Blitz 2015 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 5, 2015. (Pfc. Devan Gowans/DVIDS)
March 23, 2023

Every representative and senator from the state of Alabama has put their name on a letter demanding that Mexican troops withdraw from the property of an American company that was occupied earlier this month.

The letter – signed by all nine Alabama lawmakers from both parties March 22 – called for troops to be “immediately withdrawn” from a port terminal operated by Vulcan Materials Company, which is based in Alabama. 

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“Heavily armed governmental forces” seized the facility, just south of Playa del Carmen in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on March 14, according to the letter. 

The troops said they had an order to allow a Mexican company, Cemex, to use the port terminal, but have stayed there even after a Cemex ship finished unloading and a Mexican federal court ordered the troops to vacate the property, the letter stated.

The lawmakers asked that the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Esteban Moctezuma, “schedule a meeting with our delegation to discuss these troubling events.”

In a statement, Cemex said it has had a longstanding agreement with Calica, a Mexican subsidiary of Vulcan, that it could use the port to transport cement products. 

Cemex stated that since late 2022, it “has had difficulties” accessing the site and eventually filed a civil suit, which granted it “injunctive relief and a legal warrant to access the property and continue operating.”

“All parties were officially notified of the injunctive relief and warrant,” the statement said.

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Vulcan has stated that the agreement to use the port terminal expired on Dec. 31. The U.S. company “owns” the port facility, according to the statement.

The Mexican occupation of the port terminal was preceded by a protracted legal battle over Vulcan’s underwater limestone mining near the tourist destination of Playa del Carmen. 

Mexico shut down the operation in May citing environmental concerns following a five-year back-and-forth over what Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has described as an “ecological catastrophe,” Reuters reported.