Mayan Train Triggers Investment, TurmoilBy Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 09/15/2020 - 18:51
MSN Noticias reported that a new tender for the construction of the fifth segment (the first one was cancelled last week) will be announced next Monday, Sept. 21. The report quotes FONATUR head Rogelio Jiménez Pons saying that, as previously speculated, the tender would divide the segment “in two or three parts.” He also claimed that all of the train’s segments in the state of Yucatan and Quintana Roo would be powered by electricity.
This development exemplifies the project’s relentless march forward, albeit not free of obstalces. For example, a report published yesterday in Por Esto! details the dangerous divisiveness that the project can create in local communities, in this case communal landowners near the Quintana Roo capital of Chetumal. The article mentions that the extraction of rock-based construction materials to be employed in the construction of the Mayan Train is happening without the permission of a full quorum of landowners in the community of Juan Sarabia. A segment of the community is claiming that specific commissioners within the community are looking to create a false consensus to enable the Mayan Train project while sidelining all opposition. While this particular conflict might be happening at a comparatively small scale, it is a good model for the communal and institutional rifts that this project has been opening since day one.
An example of how these kinds of conflicts could unfold was published yesterday in Sipse detailing the formal equivalent of a lawsuit against the government and the Mayan Train project from INAH researchers Felipe Ignacio Echenique March and Juan Manuel Saldoval Palacios. They claim that the project will cause much damage to archeological sites to a degree that would explicitly violate Mexico’s laws regarding the conservation of historical heritage. They also accuse INAH director Diego Prieto Hernández for conspiring to benefit the project and to silence opposition by failing to intervene and take action against the Mayan Train, opposing the better judgement of many experts within INAH.
Despite these quarrels, the Mayan Train is beginning to attract the promised economic investment. MSN Noticias reported the port of Progreso in Yucatan will be receiving over US$165 million in investments from SCT to develop its capabilities to receive larger volumes of construction material and freight cargo in general, while increasing its interconnectivity with other ports in the region. This will include dredging work and extensive rehabilitation of existing facilities.