More Rows in the Press over Mayan Train ContractorsBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 05/13/2020 - 18:32
We have reported previously on criticism against Mayan Train contractors that seems to appear in the press as a response to announcements of said contractors. In many occasions, FONATUR or even the companies involved have been quick to answer to the accusations. Now an article written in Proceso and published on Monday has combined a number of these existing criticisms with others. The piece begins by talking about first segment Mayan Train contractor Mota Engil as a company that enjoyed a boom time in Mexico during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto. This was pointed out before back when criticism against another member of that winning Lumat consortium, China Communications Construction Company, were being made in response to that consortium being awarded the contract for the construction of the train’s first segment, a contract worth US$622.18 million.
Proceso’s piece goes as far as to say that the company was “coddled” by Peña Nieto’s government. It also remarks that their Mayan Train contract represents a “happy transition” to President López Obrador’s government under ethically questionable circumstances. This is because, before his presidency, AMLO was critical of the sort of contracting practices that Mota Engil supposedly took part in during the Peña Nieto administration. The piece then also mentions an additional recent contract won by Mota Engil and awarded by the Puebla state government (its governor, Miguel Barbosa Huerta, being also a member of the President’s MORENA party) for the construction of the Cuapiaxtla-Cuacnopalan highway, along with other existing contracts with FONATUR itself, such as a tourist mega project in Nayarit. For the most part, the piece goes on to trace the connections between Mota Engil Mexico’s current leader, José Miguel Bejos, and the Peña Nieto family. It also goes into the links that connect Miguel Bejos’ family with ex-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, previously criticized by the current president as one of the top members of the so-called “mafia of power”.
FONATUR’s sharp response was published on Tuesday. It begins by acknowledging Proceso’s reputation as a renowned medium for investigative journalism. However, the piece and its author, Mathieu Tourliere, are criticized for “betraying the spirit” of this reputation with this article. FONATUR claims the piece is nothing more than a list of names that “exchanges true journalism for gossip” and that, by also mentioning the Mayan Train’s criticism from indigenous organizations in an article written by a man assumed to be a foreigner, expresses a “neocolonialist vision.”