The Maya Train will destroy the last lung of the Mexican Southeast

The Calakmul Pyramid.

 By: Chiapas Paralelo and León Ávila

León Enrique Ávila, a professor at the Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH, its Spanish acronym) indicated that the “Tren Maya” {Maya Train) project that will run through 5 states of the country will imply a significant destruction of the jungles in Mexico.

Ávila, in his participation in the seminar organized by Otros Mundos A.C en San Cristóbal de las Casas, expressed that one of the 10 projects that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador designated as “priorities,” like the Maya Train, could have an important ecological consequence.

“We must recognize that from Palenque to Mérida and Valladolid there are already lines of the Maya Train that were created under the Porfiriato (the presidential regime of Porfirio Díaz). But between Cancún, Tulum, Sian Ka’an, Bacalar, Calakmul and Escárcega, it’s a totally new line, which implies a significant destruction of jungles in Mexico” he said.

The researcher warned that the proposal for the “Maya Train” to cross the Calakmul Reserve [1] right in the middle would have the consequence of breaking it in two. In addition to other problems in the nature reserves, he added: “the Lacandón Jungle has been deforested to plant corn. The other reserve in the region that will be affected is Sian Ka’an. [2] The train has to pass right through the middle of that reserve.” (See map below.)

“The impacts will be very strong. Simply by breaking the reserve apart from the highway with another train, the animals are going to have a problem of connectivity and of movement. If simply with the highway extension an emblematic place for bats that are now clueless around the highway was damaged, imagine the impact that a train is going to have!”

Ávila said that with this project the Selva Maya (Mayan Jungle) will be divided in two, imposing a dividing line and condemning it to extinction.

The 70% of the plant species in the world are now in danger [according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – IUCN].

Then the worst thing that Mexico could do in the face of this conjuncture of collapse would be to support these kinds of proposals that lead to ecocide and the extermination of life.

“The problem is not only that the railroad’s routes imply cutting down thousands of trees. The other problem is the economic development associated with the railroad and it is what we don’t see. It’s a large real estate project that includes resorts, shopping centers, residential lots, large-scale hotels, and territorial rearrangements,” he said.

The academic affirmed that the work of the Nacional Fund for Tourism Promotion is directed towards the 15 million American tourists that visit Cancún every year, so it would be a lie to say that it’s Mexicans who would travel on the “Maya Train.” [3]

Translator’s Notes:

[1] From Wikipedia: The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is located at the base of the Yucatán Peninsula in Calakmul Municipality in the state of Campeche, Mexico. It borders on the Guatemalan department of El Petén to the south and occupies 2,792 square miles and includes about 12% of the sub-perennial jungles of Mexico. Established in 1989, it is one of Mexico’s largest protected areas and covers more than 14% of the state. The important archaeological site of Calakmul one of the largest-known Maya sites, is located inside of this Biosphere Reserve.

[2] From Wikipedia: Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve in the municipality of Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It was established in 1986 and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. The vast majority of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve lies in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Part of the Sian Ka’an is on land and part is on the Caribbean Sea, including a section of coral reef. It is connected to protected areas to the north of it that protect coastal areas and archaeological sites.

[3] There is little doubt in this translator’s mind that the Maya Train is a key to opening up the Mundo Maya (Maya World) to mega-tourism, which will not only result in environmental damage, but also possible dispossession and displacement of Native and campesino peoples.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




2 Comments on “The Maya Train will destroy the last lung of the Mexican Southeast

  1. Pingback: Zapatista News & Analysis | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

  2. Pingback: EZLN warns Zapatistas will not permit ‘Maya Train’ mega Rail project – The Free

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