National Guard to Surveil the Mayan Train
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National Guard to Surveil the Mayan Train

Photo by:   José Pablo Domínguez
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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 01/17/2023 - 16:18

The federal government announced armed forces would arrange the security of the Mayan Train, one of the major infrastructure projects of President López Obrador’s administration. The decision comes after National Guard (GN) elements were deployed in Mexico City’s Metro.

This Monday, Mexico’s Minister of National Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, declared that over 5,000 elements of the armed forces will be deployed along the Mayan Train’s route. According to Sandoval, the elements will be deployed along the 1,500km railroad in stations, terminals, archeological sites, workshops, warehouses and further infrastructure.

Sandoval said that for this purpose, the Ministry of Defense (SEDENA) will coordinate elements from GN and the Airforce in specialized Railway Safety Battalions, which will support the existing Touristic Guard Battalion. Despite the existence of the latter, SEDENA will also create another unit to guard archeological sites. Sandoval also announced the construction of facilities for GN elements along the route. 

Sandoval specified that GN personnel will be present on trains to safeguard operations while the Airforce will operate helicopters along the route. Sandoval added that the helicopters will operate from existing airbases, though others are under construction in Palenque, Chetumal, Tulum and Merida. 

The Chief of the Mayan Train’s Operation Coordination Center, Blas Núñez, said that the army started the construction of a hotel in Palenque. The hotel will be located 1.6km from Palenque’s archeological site and will be constructed along 6.5ha. The project will consist of a three-level tower with 64  bedrooms and services like a restaurant, gym, bar and lobby, as well as another tower with 96 rooms. 

The militarization of key infrastructure like the Mayan Train has been discussed over the past year. On Oct. 6, 2022, MBN reported that SEDENA’s document leaked by the hacktivist group Guacamaya revealed the creation of Grupo Aeroportuario, Ferrioviario y de Servicios Auxiliares Olmeca-Maya-Mexica (GAFSAOMM), which would manage five infrastructure projects including the Mayan Train and the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA). 

Recently, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum declared that due to the recent “unusual incidents” in the Metro system, she asked the federal government to deploy GN elements in the system to ensure the safety of users.

Photo by:   José Pablo Domínguez

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