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30 August, 2010

A Millennialist Cult in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula?

A Millennialist Cult in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula?

INEXPLICATA sometimes receives information that does not clearly fit under its high strangeness/UFO/paranormal banner, but which is nonetheless compelling and worthy of being shared with our readers.

On August 27, 2010, Mexico’s El Universal newspaper published an article regarding the discovery of a “micro-city” known as Las Aguilas in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula – a discovery substantiated by an overflight conducted by El Universal itself. Reporter Yazmin Rodriguez writes that a group of foreign investors purchased hundreds of acres of jungle and low-lying hills in the Maya heartland two years ago to build the city. The locality, she adds, is known in the Mayan language as Xul – “The End”.

Mexico has been a destination for immigrant populations for decades, usually fleeing political persecution in their own countries. But this group of predominantly Italian settlers has constructed nearly two dozen homes made of reinforced concrete made to very high standards, capable of withstanding temperatures of up to fifty centigrade (110 Fahrenheit), forest fires and catastrophic floods. The core of the community, writes Rodríguez, is located between two hills, among the few to be found in the Yucatan.

“According to reports from the residents of Xul,” she adds, “the Italians have the idea of creating an area that will offer their families protection against possible “difficult times” and periods of adversity that are still to come. They even hope, it is said, to survive a catastrophic “end of the world” which could come about in 2010, according to Mayan prophecy.” The architect responsible for the project, however, has flatly rejected any such millennialist aspirations, but has said “difficult times are ahead, and many climatological nuisances.”

Las Aguilas, as the micro-city is known, is near Xul and an area of archaeological interest known as Kiuic. A survey revealed that the twenty-two homes of the community have up to twenty-four bedrooms each. Fifteen of these, curiously enough, are oval-shaped and equipped with reinforced windows and large cisterns. The compound also includes an artificial lake –according to El Universal – warehouses and cultivation areas, as the immigrants are hoping to subsist from the local soil. Las Aguilas gets its power from solar cells.

The newspaper article notes that Alfonso Keb Centeno, a laborer, says that the Italian immigrants built their community with a specific purpose in mind and that they belong “to some religious group, as we see them pray a lot, especially on weekends”. Access to the 2000-acre compound is restricted and constantly monitored.

The El Universal article goes on to add: “The entire area is surrounded by low-lying jungle and a mile and a half away from the Xul police station. The area has some fifteen hundred residents who are faced with extreme poverty and unemployment. Most of them worked in the Italian construction project for months, and are amenable to its existence. “They gave us work for a while and are good people,” says Keb Centeno, 38, who supports his wife and four children.”

The Italian homesteaders, however, are not quite so sanguine about the locals associating their community with Xul’s description as the ideal place to die, in Mayan tradition. They insist that their only aim is to protect themselves against global climate change and the inevitable “hard times” that we all must face.

El Universal assures its readers that the National Institute of Migration (INM) conducted an inspection and that the Italian settlers have all their papers in order. Many of them have already acquired citizenship.


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