Judge Probes Mayan Train Status as a Matter of National SecurityBy Fernando Mares | Fri, 09/02/2022 - 16:47
The National Institute for Information Access and Personal Data Protection (INAI) asked the government to explain why the Mayan Train was considered a “national security” issue and if this denomination is justified. INAI now gained the support of a judge.
INAI accused the National Security Council (CSN) of violating a suspension issued by the Supreme Court (SCJN) against the Mayan Train, after the federal government labeled the construction as a matter of national security, thereby enabling construction works to continue. Therefore, Judge Juan González asked the executive power to clarify if a formal agreement that makes the Mayan Train such a priority formally exists.
The judge’s decision comes after the complaint filed by INAI against CSN and other government offices, which allegedly violated the suspension granted on Dec. 12, 2021, via a Constitutional Controversy against the presidential decree regarding infrastructure projects. This forbade President López Obrador from labeling his key infrastructure projects as priority issues to the point of making them national security matters.
According to INAI, authorities assured the media that the Mayan Train was labeled as a national security issue through an agreement. Nevertheless, the institute has not had access to CSN’s document declaring it so.
According to judge González, the government must report to the Judge’s Office if any authority in their office or the CSN issued the agreement or any formal document about the matter. Gonzáles set a deadline of three business days after his notification takes effect and added that when the government cannot deliver the document, it must pay a fine, without specifying the amount to pay.
The Mayan Train has been the source of much controversy. Most of the train’s detractors are worried that the project does not comply with environmental regulations, which could compromise the health of the country’s southeastern ecosystems. Therefore, environmental organizations have incessantly tried to stop the project using legal proceedings, some of which were fruitful and obtained definitive and provisional suspensions for Section 5, which connects Tulum with Playa del Carmen. On Aug. 3, 2022, Yucatan’s First District judge revoked three definitive suspensions that were granted in late May 2022, a move that was celebrated by the federal government but condemned by environmental organizations.
Despite the delays of these legal challenges, the federal government still expects that operational tests will start on July 2023, after which it can finally inaugurate the train by December 2023.