93 F
Monday, August 2, 2021

Mayan Train project ignites anger among Zapatistas

Rebel group has been cynical about López Obrador for years

Recent headlines

New permit allows restaurants in Yucatán to stay open longer

Yucatán's state government has announced that restaurants will now be allowed to remain for one hour longer, until 11 pm.

Will Yucatán’s love for cheese beat out its fear of COVID-19?

Event organizers have been quick to point out that they will be following all sanitary protocols, to protect vendors and patrons from COVID-19. 

Looking to buy ceramics? Look no further than Ticul

When entering the town on the road from the nearby town of Muna, you will notice a string of several shops ceiling ceramic crafts, plates, ornaments, and pots. 
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A community meeting in the Zapatista community of Chiapas in 2014. Photo: Getty

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) warned that it will oppose the Maya Train and the creation of a national guard, among other projects proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The new president, while described as a leftist, has never gained fans among the rebel group from Chiapas.

The Zapatista leadership commemorated its 25th anniversary with a renewed vow to defend their land.

“We are going to fight, we are going to face them, we are not going to allow (López Obrador) to pass his destructive projects here,” said one leader, known only as Subcomandante Moisés.

To contain violence linked to drug trafficking, López Obrador seeks a constitutional reform to create a national guard with tens of thousands of soldiers.

This proposal has been harshly criticized by human rights advocates because it reinforces the military-centered anti-drug strategy that López Obrador criticized for years. AMLO had campaigned on a promise that the military would return to their barracks.

The Mayan Train project is another outrage, they say. While some indigenous groups support the president’s plans, the Zapatistas are firmly against it.

“We tell him that we do not believe him,” said Moisés, calling the president a “trickster” and “crafty” for wanting to pretend to be with the indigenous people of Mexico when, in fact, he said, he seeks to “destroy them.” 

Moisés was offended that AMLO “grabbed our ways and our customs” and “pretended” to ask the spirits permission to build the rail line, which will link Cancun with forested archaeological sites.

The US$6 billion Mayan Train will connect tourist havens with less visited archaeological sites such as Palenque, which is in Chiapas, where the Zapatistas are based and control large amounts of territory.

Environmentalists are concerned the tracks will cut through virgin forest and jaguar habitats.

The rebel army has expressed doubts about López Obrador for years. In 2006, the first time he ran for president, then-spokesman Subcomandante Marcos openly discouraged voters from supporting him.

The EZLN took up arms on Jan. 1, 1994, the same day that the NAFTA came into effect. 

Since it began the far-left group has been in a declared war against government, military and corporate incursions into Chiapas. The EZLN in recent years has focused on a strategy of civil resistance rather than violence.

Source: El Universal, El Sol de Mexico

More news

A new way of looking at Yucatán’s famed Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá has gone from being thought of as simply one of many Mayan cities to nearly synonymous with Maya civilization itself.

Mérida will replace its airport with a new one, governor confirms

The Mérida International Airport in 2020 was in midst of a huge expansion and renovation. Photo: Sipse Mérida's...

Fundamental Arquitectura and the art of taking it slow

Zaida and Orlando have been creating narrative-heavy spaces in Mérida since 2015. With an important emphasis on public spaces, they have recycled iconic spaces of the city into new forms of living.

Progreso has welcomed its first cruise in over 16 months

Although only approximately 300 passengers disembarked from the ship, local and state authorities hailed the arrival of the Breeze as a victory and sign that Yucatán’s cruising industry is finally beginning to recover.