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New legal challenges to Mayan Train ignored by AMLO’s government

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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.
Mexico’s President López Obrador insists that construction of the Mayan Train will go on, despite legal challenges. Photo: Courtesy

Construction of the Mayan Train’s rail network continues its momentum, despite at least 25 legal injunctions against the project — including two more this week.

Most of the injunctions come as the result of legal actions taken by indigenous collectives who consider the project to be an environmental disaster.

There have also been several unresolved legal issues between indigenous groups and the federal government regarding the sale of land and its use once the project is complete.

“There can not be one set of rules for the federal government and another for everyone else. This is blatantly illegal, unethical, and hypocritical,” said Kanan Derechos Humanos in a statement to the press. 

For its part, the federal government says it will be continuing with the project without further delay. This, despite the fact that several legal analysts argue that the government is clearly acting illegally. 

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

Despite delays along several sections of the rail network, Section 1 of the rail network which runs through Tabasco, the home state of President López Obrador, is scheduled for completion this year. 

Earlier: Ejido owners near Chichén Itzá reject lowball offer for land

But severe delays have been reported along other sections, calling into question the viability of finishing the project by the end of the president’s tenure in 2024.

The most recent setback comes after Quintana Roo’s tourism industry strong-armed the federal government to change the path of the train, as to cause fewer disruptions to business. 

The sudden change of plans has been criticized by the opposition and environmental groups who argue that environmental impact studies must be completed before the path of the train is redrawn.

The President’s one-time ally Denis Dresser has been extremely critical of the Mayan Train project in recent months, citing a lack of planning and transparency. 

Adding to the controversy, Rogelio Jiménez Pons Gómez, General Director of the National Fund for Tourism Development (Fonatur), recently pointed out that the budget for the Mayan Train has increased by 60 billion pesos.

The project was a campaign promise of now President Andrés Manuel López Obrador who was elected in 2018. The project hopes to stimulate tourism in the region and contribute to the economic development of southeastern Mexico.

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