Mayan Train Faces Another SuspensionBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 12/09/2020 - 13:40
A first circuit judge based in Campeche has shut down construction of the Mayan Train’s second segment, reports El Economista. The suspension applies to the entirety of this second segment, which runs for 222km starting in the southern city of Escarcega to Calkini, located in the northern part of the state. Groups demanding the suspension are arguing that the deforestation and aquifer contamination the project is expected to cause violates their human rights. This also follows our reports in October of landowners in the state of Campeche claiming that they were tricked by legal firms representing the Mayan Train project into giving away their lands without proper compensation.
President López Obrador said he was unaware of the details of the suspension but that he expected it to be part of a political campaign against his administration. The president compared this suspension to Claudio X. González’s legal challenges to the construction of the Felipe Ángeles Airport in Santa Lucia, according to El Universal. “We always have to be jumping over obstacles, and we are now experts. The legality of the project is being fulfilled. We will see what this suspension is about and we will resolve it. The construction of the Mayan Train does not oppose human rights; it protects the environment and commits no injustices,” said the president. MBN reported back in August and September when the president claimed that NGOs and other civil organizations and groups who opposed the project were politically colluded against him to discredit his administration's most visible flagship projects.
As of today there is no official press release concerning the suspension of the second segment and it is unclear how exactly this suspension will play out in practice. FONATUR’s latest release mentions the signing of a deal with UNESCO promoting the protection of cultural heritage throughout the train’s construction. El Financiero reported over the weekend that SEMARNAT has testified to the environmental compliance of the operations surrounding the train’s first segment despite more than 800ha of rainforest expected to be cleared.