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Judge in Yucatán interrupts work on Maya Train

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Rogelio Jiménez Pons is in charge of the Mayan Train project and director of the National Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR). Photo: Getty

A federal judge in Yucatán on Thursday granted a provisional suspension against the construction of the Tren Maya.

The Third District Court cited a lack of both transparency and consultation with indigenous communities in the Maya Train’s path, said the Kanan human rights group.

Inhabitants of Mérida, Izamal and Chocolá filed an injunction against Fonatur, the federal agency in charge of the project, pointing to a lack of environmental-impact information.

Related: Archaeology and Tren Maya collide

In November 2020, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, or Semarnat, approved an Environmental Impact Statement and validated the construction of the Maya Train. But a judge agreed with activists that Fonatur did not deliver all the corresponding documents to the public.

“Both authorities were sued as jointly responsible for failing to comply with their obligations in favor of environmental protection, transparency, access to information and public participation during the public consultation process,” the activist group stated.

“The groups hope that the provisional suspension will be maintained and the court will grant a final one. We urge the federal authorities to comply with the court decisions,” a Kanan statement reads.

The decision will likely be challenged by Fonatur before a Collegiate District Court, which has in some earlier cases sided with the government.

This is not the first time that Fonatur has faced court actions from communities against the construction of the Maya Train, one of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s key projects.

Since 2018, various administrative judges have granted provisional suspensions to halt its construction in at least three states.

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