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Sunday, September 26, 2021
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Train project threatens to destroy neighborhood at La Plancha

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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.
Homes and businesses in La Plancha face an uncertain future. Photo: File

Residents living across from Artículo 123 park in Mérida’s La Plancha area were given some bad news from a Tren Maya representative.

The envoy informed the homeowners that they would either have to relocate or live with restrictions — including a complete lack of street parking — since the entire area is to be surrounded by vegetation. 

The restrictions in the area will also include a complete ban on businesses. This is problematic for a handful of residents who operate small shops out of their homes. 

Authorities have said that no other homes in the area will be affected by the project.

Few details exist regarding where exactly the government intends to resettle the affected homeowners.

“I cried, but there is nothing I can do, who knows where they intend to send us,” said a weeping woman to Diario de Yucatán. 

The homeowners expressed sadness at the news but said that they are still holding out hope that something will change. 

Expropriation of private property — like eminent domain in the United States — is relatively rare in Yucatán, but is on occasion deemed necessary in the service of “the greater good.”

Once completed, the controversial Mayan Train is expected to carry passengers and cargo across 1,554 kilometers of rail on the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Critics have expressed skepticism regarding the economic viability of the project, as well as environmental and social concerns.

“In the end, we always end up cleaning their toilets,” Manuel Puc, a rural worker who lives off the cultivation of his land, told El País. “Why do we always have to be the bricklayers or the waiters for the tourists? Maybe we don’t want a train but good universities or an equipped hospital.”

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