Image credits: FONATUR
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News Article

Yucatan Judge Provisionally Suspends the Mayan Train

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:29

A judge from Yucatan has granted a provisional suspension for all Mayan Train construction in that state, corresponding to the train’s third segment, in response to three separate lawsuits made by indigenous civil associations. Animal Político reports that the lawsuits were put forth by the Múuch’ Xíinbal Assembly for the Defense of Mayan Territory and the Chuun t’aan Maya Collective. These lawsuits target SEMARNAT’s approval of FONATUR’S Environmental Impact Report for the Mayan Train, claiming that the project’s approval was unconstitutional. The core of their legal argument is that none of these studies or their methodologies were ever made available to local indigenous communities, which violates their right to information. While the suspension is provisional, it could become definitive if the claims in these lawsuits are determined to have full constitutional validity. 

FONATUR has already responded to the suspension saying that these lawsuits are secretly being drafted and financed by political organizations for reasons that are unrelated to the interests of indigenous communities. “We want to make clear that even if some members of these associations are indeed indigenous individuals from these communities, the lawsuits were conceived, written and presented by organizations that do not actually represent these communities. Having said this, we do not seek to minimize the importance of these legal controversies but instead debunk the false narrative that indigenous communities are the ones enacting legal protections against this project. Our polls of indigenous communities enable a process of permanent dialogue with them, which is frontal, transparent and mutual,” said FONATUR officials to Expansión outlet Obras.

Suspensions against the Mayan Train have been common since the pandemic started, as reported by MBN. However, what makes this suspension unique is that Yucatan and Quintana Roo were considered more supportive of the project and its development goals than Chiapas, Tabasco or Campeche. FONATUR, through an official press release, shared a Buendía & Laredo poll from this month that shows 80 percent of the people surveyed in Merida, Yucatan’s capital city, supports the Mayan Train project. It remains unclear how this latest development will affect the contractor chosen to build the coveted northern segment of the train’s fifth segment, which is expected to be announced on Feb. 25, according to the latest FONATUR press release. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Animal Político, Expansión, Obras, FONATUR
Photo by:   FONATUR
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst