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AMLO softens his stance with environmentalists blocking the Mayan Train

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
“Not a single tree will fall because of the Mayan Train,” López Obrador said in a press conference back in 2018. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Amid a barrage of criticism of the Mayan Train from home and abroad, AMLO says he is ready to dialogue with environmentalists. 

This shift in tone comes as protests against the Mayan Train have grown louder over the past few weeks — especially with regard to its “route 5” which runs along the coast of Quintana Roo.

“It is time to dialogue, their objections come from ignorance of the reality not out of bad faith,” said President López Obrador during a press conference Wednesday. 

The president’s reply was characterized by critics as condescending and laughable. 

“It is the president who is disconnected from reality. We are here on the ground and see reality every day,” wrote @MMillerR2 on Twitter. 

Nevertheless, a group of activists made up of biologists, speleologists, artists, and academics says they would be happy to take the president up on his offer. 

“We thank you for your desire to dialogue. We have no other interest other than the protection of the jungle and the Mayan aquifer,” said the group Sevlame del Tren via a press statement.

Earlier: The new Mayan Train director says the project is 7 months behind schedule

One of the most recent protests involved Greenpeace activists tying themselves to heavy machinery in an attempt to derail the Mayan Train.

The president’s willingness to listen to other perspectives on the Mayan train coincides with a potential scaling back of the project amid significant delays and an ever-increasing budget.

Last week, Fonatur released a video update on the 932-mile rail project.

But the presentation made no mention of the project’s fifth stretch which runs for 75 miles between Cancún and Tulum.

The Mayan Train route is to span Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. 

The massive project was a campaign promise of the president, who was elected in 2018. 

The rail line is designed to stimulate tourism in the region and contribute to the economic development of southeastern Mexico.

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