Mayan Train Will Be Military PropertyThu, 03/18/2021 - 18:26
The entirety of the Mayan Train’s 1500km of rail lines and all resources produced through its operation will be property of SEDENA, according to a statement by FONATUR Director General Rogelio Jiménez Pons, reported El Financiero. Previously, only segments one, six and seven would be owned by the armed forces. Now, all proceeds from passenger tickets and cargo fees will go to military pensions without passing through SHCP or state finances. Pons explained this decision was taken to prevent a privatization of the Mayan Train. He also said that the Mayan Train “represents an element of national security, because there are conflict zones in Mexico’s southeastern regions where cartels operate along with human trafficking groups, so military participation would decrease the impact that these activities would have on the project.” Pons did make it clear, however, that the train’s commercialization schemes and structures would still be designed and determined by FONATUR.
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Suspensions Against Mayan Train Made Definitive
A Yucatan judge has made definitive the suspensions against the Mayan Train requested by the Múuch’ Xíinbal Assembly for the Defense of Mayan Territory and the Chuun t’aan Maya Collective, reports Proceso. The provisional suspensions were reported back on Feb. 19. Suspensions were made against the construction of the train’s third segment under the argument that SEMARNAT’s approval of FONATUR’S Environmental Impact Report for the Mayan Train was unconstitutional because none of these studies or their methodologies were ever made available to local indigenous communities, thus violating their constitutional right to information. A Yucatan judge has now made those provisional suspensions definitive by agreeing with these arguments, declaring that “the project’s true impact remains uncertain.”
Mayan Train Could Threaten Quintana Roo Tourism: Hotels
Presidents of hotel associations in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Tulum, along with Iberostar representative Ramón Roselló, put out a statement claiming that the Mayan Train’s current route will threaten the already affected tourism industry in the state of Quintana Roo because of the obstacles that its construction will create in the only major highway that connects the state’s northern half with its southern half. La Jornada reports this construction process is expected to last no less than three years and that it would also affect the connection between Cancun and its airport. Furthermore, the statement claims that no plans have been made to economically compensate the industry's segments that will be affected by this construction.
Real Estate and Infrastructure Earthquake Restoration Plan Announces Latest Progress
SEDATU National Reconstruction Commissioner David Cervantes said the government has allocated US$44 million to repair damages from the 2017 and 2018 earthquakes. Together with programs and donations, the funds have helped to carry out 54,451 actions to help the population affected by the earthquakes that hit Mexico City, Oaxaca and Puebla in 2017 and 2018. Cervantes explained that US$1.4 billion has been invested in the reconstruction of homes, schools, hospitals, temples and other important buildings. "Where has this money been invested? According to the criteria, the program has been applied where there was more serious damage: Oaxaca was first , with 17,000 actions, followed by Morelos, Puebla, Chiapas and the State of Mexico," Cervantes said.
INAH has invested US$256 million to carry out 1,354 actions for the restoration of buildings with heritage value that were damaged in the 2017 and 2018 earthquakes. In addition, it has trained craftsmen and builders in the affected localities. Minister of Culture Alejandra Frausto announced that the reconstruction of historic buildings has advanced by 50.4 percent and that it is expected to be 99 percent completed by 2023, since "another stage of restoration is coming, especially for sculptures and everything that was affected." Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat highlighted that reconstruction of the Juchitan municipal palace is 30 percent complete and emphasized that thanks to the national reconstruction plan, between 2019 and 2020 around 17,551 actions were carried out for the reconstruction of the state, where 305 municipalities suffered serious damage. Meanwhile, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said that the damage to the Angel of Independence is superficial and that it will be ready for the 200th anniversary of the commemoration of Mexico’s independence.
Debt to Invest In Infrastructure Unavailable; Another Economic Crisis Is Possible
President López Obrador said Mexico is not exempt from a new economic crisis and explained that this new crisis would be due to external issues and not internal. "The economy contracted but now we are growing and recovering. However, we must be prepared." López Obrador assured that his government is not going to spend more money than it generates and said that Mexico has healthy finances because "there is no devaluation, reserves are growing, there is no high inflation and the economy is growing." López Obrador explained that due to the pandemic, many countries increased their debt. The US is injecting into its economy the equivalent of eight years of Mexico’s budget, in part through large amounts of infrastructure investment. “We cannot behave like this and that is why we must take care of ourselves, especially now that there is a third wave of contagion.”