President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, temporarily delayed by third COVID diagnosis, returned to Yucatán to survey the Tren Maya’s progress from the air.
Before leading two evaluation meetings of the tourist train, on Sunday, he flew over the Mérida-Campeche-Escárcega line and the future station and hotel near the archaeological zone of Edzná.
On his Twitter account, the head of the federal Executive shared a video of the overflight aboard a helicopter of the Mexican Air Force (FAM) of the archaeological zone of Edzná, which he described as a “jewel,” and commented, “A dónde lo vas a agarrar, primo hermano?” meaning, where are you going to jump on the train?
López Obrador on Saturday doubled down on his promise that “come rain, shine or lightning, with the favor of science and the creator,” the Mayan Train will begin running in December 2023 — in another seven months.
The massive infrastructure project, designed to link Cancún to several lesser-known sites across the Peninsula, has been widely criticized for its environmental and cultural costs. Pristine jungle, fragile cenote ecosystems, and hidden ancient relics have been sacrificed to make way for thousands of miles of tracks.
For example, the sudden construction of a hotel in the middle of a protected jungle surprised residents in January when developers, without permits, broke ground in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.
His tour was delayed last month when he reportedly felt faint — he denies fainting — at a meeting at Military Air Base 8 in Mérida.
“My blood pressure dropped, and while I was in a meeting evaluating the Maya Train, I fell asleep,” he said.
The president, 69, said he was flown back to Mexico City aboard an “air ambulance” but refused a stretcher.
López Obrador caught COVID-19 in early 2021 and then in January 2022, amid a spike in infections.
López Obrador declined to enact mandatory mask mandates and refused to wear one as well, unless in close quarters, such as on airline flights. He famously refused to use Mexico’s presidential jet, which was eventually sold to Tajikistan.
While AMLO was in isolation, Interior Secretary Adán Augusto López filled in at the daily presidential morning news briefings.