Mayan Train’s Construction Declared Matter of National Security
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Mayan Train’s Construction Declared Matter of National Security

Photo by:   Antoine Beauvillain
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 07/21/2022 - 09:34

Despite a judicial suspension and several amparos against the construction of Section 5 of the Mayan Train, works have resumed after the government declared its construction to be a matter of national security. President López Obrador stressed that this new decree does not violate any court order and emphasizes it will not cause any legal problems for the government.

The president explained that the government opted for the measure because it would take a long time to wait for a judge to resolve the amparos. In addition, López Obrador stressed that the construction had become highly controversial due to misinformation, which would stretch out the already lengthy judicial process even further.

“It has already been decided that [the Mayan Train] is a matter of national security and that we are not going to stop a work for the benefit of the people because of the interests of opposition groups and pseudo-environmentalists. In addition, the time we did not work incurred a high cost, which is paid by the people's money," said López Obrador.

The new decree establishes that the Ministry of National Defense will not be in charge of the construction works. Instead, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Security and Civilian Protection (SSPC) would oversee the construction, explained Javier May Rodríguez, Director, the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (FONATUR). Morevoer, May explained that the government's decision does not violate the law and does not impede the legal protections. Consequently, evidence regarding the environmental sustainability of the Mayan Train will be presented so that the definitive suspension issued by the First District Judge in the State of Yucatan, Adrián Novelo, is lifted.

“We are going to respect the times of the amparos determined by the judge. We are waiting for the hearing to be announced again, which has been postponed several times. But we are already collecting evidence to prove it is a good project,” May said.

Previously, the government published a decree regarding federal works to streamline procedures and guarantee that works are not held back by bureaucratic processes. The decree also allows that information related to the development of these projects remains safeguarded.

Protesters continue to resist the construction of the Mayan Train’s Section 5 South, a key part of one of President López Obrador's flagship infrastructure megaprojects. Activists say the project could damage karst landscapes, harm the integrity of cenotes and cause significant deforestation, as well as destroy unique archeological findings.

Following the suspension of the project's construction by a federal judge, FONATUR and environmental ministry SEMARNAT published the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), whose absence caused the project's suspension in the first place. As part of the attempts to reactivate construction, federal authorities called for a consultation to assess the project's viability. However, civil organizations said the consultation process lacked substantial information.

Photo by:   Antoine Beauvillain

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