Legal activity surrounding the Mayan Train has been constant since the beginning of last year. However, legal protections against it have been enacted only for small and specific indigenous and rural communities. Forbes reports that a federal judge from the state of Chiapas has issued an order for the suspension of the construction of the Mayan Train. This decree is made under the argument that the project endangers the health and rights of the Mayan Ch’ol community that inhabits the municipalities of Palenque, Ocosingo and Salto de Agua. Furthermore, the order claims that the construction of the Mayan Train would create a severe risk of COVID-19 infections in this community, not to mention a significant impact in its access to water resources. The judge ordered the construction of the Mayan Train to be suspended within the limits of the localities that these communities inhabit.
This has motivated an official and curt response from FONATUR released on Friday. In it, FONATUR begins by emphasizing the fact that they were never notified of this suspension and it thus “has no effect.” The response goes on to detail that even if they had been properly notified, the suspension would not have been applicable to their operations in those municipalities. The reason is because all Mayan Train work being done on the first segment concerns rehabilitation of existing rail lines that are currently still in operation, so a suspension of construction for new lines would simply not concern them at this moment. What is likely to intensify these complaints from rural communities is a report from Pie de Página, released over the weekend, in which academic researchers are quoted claiming that any land owners cooperating with the Mayan Train project will be forfeiting their collective rights to such lands when they submit them for use by any project with a FIBRA.