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AMLO releases animated short to promote Mayan Train

Referendum begins to measure public support for the project

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

Promoting the so-called Mayan Train, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s staff has released a three-minute animated cartoon. AMLO himself has a cameo.

The cartoon was released shortly before Saturday’s referendum on the project. Voting concludes Sunday, and Lopez Obrador takes office the following Saturday.

Although he said the multi-billion-dollar project will go to bid immediately, he later arranged the referendum, which he said he would take as binding.

The colorful cartoon depicts a rail trip made through the Yucatan Peninsula’s most prominent archaeological zones. The real-life train is intended to connect five southeast states with Cancun, easing travel to more remote destinations.

Lopez Obrador and his main associates appear briefly getting on the train to go around the Peninsula, passing through places such as the ruins of Tulúm, the Laguna de los Siete Colores, the Palenque and Chichen Itza archaeological zones, to finish in Valladolid.

The video, “The Mayan Train will Multiply Tourism and the Development of Mexico” features a girl from Chiapas who wears a traditional embroidered dress. She receives her out-of-town cousin in a wheelchair, and both board the train to tour the Peninsula. The famous sights appear through their window.

The project has been controversial with indigenous communities, who say they were not consulted about a project that affects their land.

Civil organizations have asked the president-elect to cancel the citizen’s consultation and review the required environmental impact results before starting any work.

An earlier referendum, also run by a nongovernmental agency, convinced Lopez Obrador to cancel further construction of Mexico City’s new international airport.

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