Mayan Train Still Going Despite SuspensionsBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 04/21/2021 - 10:52
Union leaders representing Mayan Train construction workers declared last week that work has not stopped despite the accumulated legal suspensions that have been ordered against it, reports El Diario de Yucatán. As reported one month ago by MBN, a number of provisional suspensions against the construction of the Mayan Train in the state of Yucatan were made definitive by judges in that state who agreed that the project’s impact and legal status need to be clarified and negotiated with indigenous and civil associations before it can be declared valid. Since then, FONATUR has issued no direct response to these suspensions.
However, leaders from the Autonomous Confederation of Mexican Workers and Employees (CETAM), a union that represents over 2,500 construction workers currently employed by FONATUR in the Mayan Train’s preliminary and currently ongoing phases of development in Yucatan, held a press conference in a Merida hotel last week. During the press conference, CETAM’s National Infrastructure Minister Raúl Uribe admitted to reporters that these suspensions were not being followed and that work was to continue. He then made clear that this was the case because these legal suspensions “do not concern CETAM, our workers or any other union.” In Uribe’s perspective, workers could only halt the train’s construction as a response to a direct order from their employers. As long as workers could prove that they had not yet received an order to stop from the companies involved, their work remained perfectly legal. He also said that FONATUR’S legal team was currently working on addressing the questions posed by those suspensions. Uribe went on to express his enthusiastic support for the project, claiming to have seen the final designs of what the train’s stations will look like and that they made him realize that the Mayan Train was “the most important construction project in the world.”
No response has yet been issued to this seemingly contradictory state of affairs by Yucatan’s legal authorities. Meanwhile, the project continues amid both support and rejection. Last week, the Yucatan environmental organization Articulación Yucatán also sent a letter to President López Obrador claiming that the Mayan Train will threaten a number of ecological reserves in the state, along with the hydrological systems that supply the entire peninsula, according to a report from Expansión Obras. FONATUR issued a response to this particular criticism, claiming that they have under their wing a panel of academics and field experts that are addressing all of the organization's concerns.