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Maya communities resist Mayan Train, slam new administration

Railway is a 'tourist project that will only benefit the well off and foreigners'

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Angered at not being consulted beforehand, various grass-roots organizations representing indigenous communities said they don’t want the Mayan Train to proceed.

The Maya communities collectively declared that the project would violate rights that are enshrined in Mexico’s Constitution.

The Mayan Train, promised by incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, would link Cancun with less-traveled stops in Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Campeche and Chiapas. Lopez Obrador said the train would help spread the Riviera Maya’s wealth, with little environmental impact.

But the groups replied that they “do not want to be a Cancun or Rivera Maya.”

Saying they first learned about the project through the media and from leaks before being approached directly, the signatories of the joint statement demanded a project timeline “with the objective of guaranteeing the fulfillment of our territorial rights.”

But they expressed doubt that they were even considered when the train was proposed.

“We are sure that (the project) will not bring us benefits or regional development, it is not planned for us, the common people, it is a tourist project that will only benefit the well off and foreigners; We, the owners of the land, will only see it happen, since the stations are not contemplated in most of our towns and only points of tourist interest that have already been taken over by the big capitals are considered; our communities will only have to bear the pernicious part of the project,” they said in the communiqué, signed by 10 allied organizations.

“We hoped that with the change of government we would be visible to the Federation … but with displeasure we realize that in this new administration, history will not change and the expected justice will not reach the indigenous peoples of Mexico,” they continued.

Despite an upcoming public referendum on the project, they called the project a “fait accompli, since, to date, the Mayan Train has already started and proof of this is that there are already budgets, bids … and even start date, and with us nobody has agreed absolutely to anything.”

Among the signatory organizations are El Consejo Regional Indígena y Popular de Xpujil SC, Prodiversa AC, Red de Productores de Servicios Ambientales Ya´ax Sot´ Ot´Yook´ol Kaab AC, Colectivo de Comunidades Mayas de los Chenes and El Consejo Indígena de Astata.

Source: La Jornada Maya, Animo Politico

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