Government Expropriates Land for Mayan Train’s ConstructionBy Paloma Duran | Fri, 08/05/2022 - 11:15
Although protests and criticism against the construction of the Mayan Train persist, President López Obrador issued a new decree to expropriate 36 plots of land in Quintana Roo to continue with the construction of Section 5.
This Monday, President López Obrador expropriated 1.09km² of private property in the municipalities of Puerto Morelos, Tulum, Solidaridad and Benito Juarez to continue the construction works of the Mayan Train. This is the second land expropriation process for the project carried out by the president in less than a month. On July 23, López Obrador ordered the expropriation of 8 private grounds, forming an area of 165,000m² in the municipalities of Cozumel, Solidaridad and Tulum.
The decree was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, highglighting that it enters into force immediately despite local resistance. “The Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development will proceed to the immediate taking of possession of the assets subject to this expropriation. The intervention of any means of defense will not suspend the issue indicated in the previous paragraph,” the decree stated.
According to the decree, the agrarian ministry will be in charge of paying compensation to those who prove their legitimate right to the land that has been expropiated. Meanwhile, the Institute of Administration and Appraisals of National Assets will issue anopinion in which the compensation for each square meter will be dictated.
López Obrador highgilighted that the construction work on Section 5 of the Mayan Train will continue despite criticism from civil organizations and resistance from landowners. “It has cost us a lot to get the land on the outskirts because it is no longer owned by peasants, but by real estate companies. They do not want to support the region, only themselves. They think that because we have little time, they can put us with our backs against the wall. Well, no, even if it takes time we will finish it. We are going to ask the judges to resolve these issues as soon as possible,” López Obrador said.
Last week, after the government declared the construction of the Mayan Train to be a “national security” issue, a judge refused to lift the suspension on the works on Section 5. The First District Judge in the State of Yucatan, Adrián Fernando Novelo, said that the section remains suspended because the works pose irreversible damage to a system of caves, cenotes and underground rivers.
Many Mexican citizens continue to resist the construction of the Mayan Train Section 5 South, a key part of one of President López Obrador's flagship infrastructure megaprojects. Following the suspension of the project's construction by a federal judge in May 2022, the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (FONATUR) and environmental ministry SEMARNAT published the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), since its absence caused the project's suspension. As part of the attempts to reactivate construction, the authorities called for a consultation to assess the project's viability. However, civil organizations said the consultation process was found to be lacking substantial information.