The so-called Maya Train and conflict engineering

The Maya Train will travel at a high speed and fueled by hydrogen-fueled train

By: Magdalena Gómez

February 20 completed one year of the unjust and not investigated murder of Samir Flores. This crime will mark the current government although it seems not to realize it. Numerous peoples are carrying out actions throughout the country and some in other countries, as part of the Days in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, “We Are All Samir,” which will culminate in Amilcingo, Morelos. This movement is a backdrop now that the government strategy of the so-called Maya Train is in progress, yes or yes, or it goes because it goes or its most recent and absurd translation, such as the statement of the head of Semarnat [1], Víctor Toledo, in the forum “Nature, Indigenous rights and national sovereignty on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” in the sense that the Indigenous consultation was “totally legitimate,” despite recognizing that “it was not technically adequate,” as marked by international standards. He added: “The general answer was a conditioned yes.” A lot has already been written regarding the principle of validity. Habermas, in particular, emphasizes that it is the sum of the principles of legality and legitimacy. Not one or the other, but both, and in this case both are absent, therefore the official consultation is invalid.  When I talk about strategy I mean the one that is evidently in progress to defend the pseudo-consultation through voices that challenge those who have denounced its invalidity. Meanwhile, the project is progressing and the vast majority of the communities that will be affected are unaware of its environmental and cultural impact, and immediately, in the increase in the land market for the development poles that are projected from train stations of the so-called Maya train. It is not only with indispensable media debates that this dispute will be resolved, nor through them will communities that were not consulted have conditions to accept or reject the aforementioned megaproject. The damage has already been done, the simulation of a consultation has been consummated.

We have to see what the definitive position is of the first district court based in Campeche (12/2020) on March 3, regarding the amparo promoted by the Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (Cripx), which has provisional suspension. It will surely be followed by others, justly challenging the validity of a project that was not decided with and from the Indigenous peoples. For now, the official response has been the discrediting and threats to the promoters of the amparo, through those who are aligned with the project. That’s a task that closely resembles what’s called conflict engineering, which consists of the classic method of maintaining control of a group, increasing the visibility of their internal differences, highlighting their contradictions, in order to amplify their latent divisions and paralyze their organization. The challenge is not minor and the consequences of this will be the state’s responsibility.

However, the determining factor will be the resistance of the Indigenous communities that have been displaced in the so-called consultation and supplanted by ejido and municipal authorities in the five states through which the so-called Mayan Train will cross, which, as it has been insisted, is more than a train and even when it was stated as a territorial reorganization plan, it has already been decided not to mention this dimension. Toledo, called on opponents not to fall into “simple denial” and not to be “immature.” A day later, in a statement (016/20), the continuity of the decision-making scheme without consultation was announced: “Semarnat is organizing the formation of committees in the 84 municipalities involved in the projects, in which they will be generating participatory ecological systems to trigger processes of permanent dialogue for the purpose of not repeating ‘the Cancun model’, which is prey to enormous tourist corporations.

Will they form committees without Indigenous communities giving their voice? Will they continue with the ejido and municipal interlocution? How will they explain that these committees are a supposedly palliative mechanism of damage that originated over a decision vitiated around a project that has not been analyzed in the integrality of its impacts and that was never previously consulted?

Firmness was expected from Semarnat in the absence of environmental impact studies; it’s not enough to point out that no tree will be cut down because the damage was already done when the old railroad tracks were built. It is clear that the entire federal government has joined Fonatur [2] in defending the so-called Maya Train. Meanwhile, organizations, such as the Assembly of Defenders of the Maya Múuch ‘Xíinbal Territory, despite the threats against Pedro Uc Be, continue their work with the communities opposing it and other devastating megaprojects in their territory.

Samir Vive, is a sowing, wait for the harvest.

[1] Semarnat is the Spanish acronym for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

[2] Fonatur is the Spanish acronym for the federal agency that promotes tourism.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: