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Tren Maya project suddenly stopped in its tracks by judge

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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.
Several indigenous groups claim the Tren Maya project is an environmental disaster. Photo: File

Yucatan’s fourth district court has temporarily halted construction on the Tren Maya rail project.

The order came after a judge ruled in favor of three complaints issued by the Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch’ Xíinbal and the collective known as Chuun t’aan Maya. 

Both groups argue that the so-called Mayan Train would cause unacceptable levels of harm to Yucatán’s natural environment. 

Previously: Third District Court grants provisional suspension to parts of Tren Maya work

“All activity which involves the cutting down of trees or puts native fauna in harm’s way must immediately stop,” said a spokesperson for nongovernmental organization Indignación, Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos.

Charges leveled in court against the Tren Maya also allege that the project is unconstitutional. Critics of the project argue that the federal government failed to properly inform or establish agreements with several indigenous collectives.

Several indigenous groups have accused President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of hypocrisy when it comes to issues surrounding the environment and indigenous rights. 

“The words of President AMLO are a trick used to hide the war which he is waging against indigenous peoples and the life of mother earth itself,” said a joint press communique issued by El Concejo Indígena Mexicano and el Congreso Nacional Indígena.

The first phase of construction of the Tren Maya began in May 2020. The project is intended to connect Mexico’s southeast via rail and possibly with Central America, bringing tourists and cargo to the nation’s poorest areas. Plans call for the construction of 1,554 kilometers of rail and 18 train stations, costing at least US$8 billion.

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