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News Article

Court Suspends Works on Three Sections of the Mayan Train

By María José Goytia | Tue, 03/15/2022 - 10:54

A court issued a definitive suspension against construction works in sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Mayan Train due to the negative environmental impact it creates for Mayan communities. The suspension was awarded after the Assembly of Defenders of the Mayan Territory filed for a lawsuit.

The Múuch' Xíinbal Assembly for the Defense of the Mayan Territory announced that the Collegiate Court for Labor and Administrative Matters of the Fourteenth Circuit confirmed the decision of the Fourth District Court on the definitive suspension of the environmental permits awarded to the Mayan Train project. This effectively suspends the construction of sections 1, 2 and 3 of the train, which run from Palenque, Chiapas to Izamal, Yucatan.

Previously, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) had authorized a permit requested by the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (FONATUR), allowing the entity to modify 800ha of land, spanning 635km across Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco and Yucatan.

On January 2021, the Múuch' Xíinbal assembly filed an amparo against what it considered violations from SEMARNAT and FONATUR on the right to a healthy environment, as well as the right to information and participation regarding the effects the construction would have on local communities. The amparo was granted the next month.

In April 2021, SEMARNAT challenged the resolution before the Collegiate Court and appealed for a review to reverse the effects of the amparo. However, last week, the Collegiate Court in Labor and Administrative Matters of the Fourteenth Circuit determined the definitive suspension of the environmental permits and the further suspension of construction works of sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Mayan Train. The decision therefore supported and confirmed the initial amparo requested by Múuch' Xíinbal.

The court warned about the uncertainty regarding the true environmental and social impact of the project. Despite the definitive suspension, President López Obrador assured that the amparo will not stop works at the Mayan Train, as it "does not have that scope to suspend them." The president also added that he will leave the matter to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Until then, the government will not stop working on the Mayan Train.

This suspension is not the only setback that President López Obrador's mega-project has suffered. Last week, section 5, which runs from Cancun to Tulum, was also suspended due to strong protests against massive jungle deforestation near Playa del Carmen.

President López Obrador declared that only 100ha of jungle would be removed but that his government will plant 200,000ha in return and will create three natural parks in Yucatan, totaling 18,000ha. The recent statements contradict his 2018 promise to not remove a single tree for the construction of the train.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Economista, Forbes, Animal Político, Mexico News Daily, El Financiero
Photo by:   Pixabay
María José Goytia María José Goytia Journalist and Industry Analyst