Indigenous collectives win definitive suspension of Maya Train work

The map shows all of Phase 1 of the Maya Train route with its 5 sections. “Tramo 2” on the map is the Section 2 protected by the court order.

By: Angélica Enciso L.

The first district court of Campeche granted a definitive suspension regarding the construction of new work on Section 2 of the Maya Train, from Escárcega to Calkini, [1] in Campeche, to the region’s indigenous communities and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda). With this resolution, those who filed the request for protection (amparo) can celebrate a legal process that prohibits work being carried out that causes irreparable damage to the environment.

Collectives from Campeche and Quintana Roo explained in a videoconference that the human right of access to a healthy environment is violated with these projects, since there is information that not just the railroad, but also the big development poles will generate great social and environmental impacts.

They indicated that the effects of the environmental assessment have not been presented in their entirety, because they fragment them so that the consequences they will have cannot be visualized; it also promotes speculation about the value of land.

Xavier Martínez, operations director of the Cemda, stated that it was incorrect for the Maya Train project to be divided for evaluation, since the environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be comprehensive to foresee global impacts; “the Semarnat [2] did not evaluate the project as a whole,” he accused.

This definitive suspension is related to the request for protection (amparo) filed in July 2020 against the Maya Train project. In addition, it affects Phase 1 of the Maya Train, whose EIA was authorized last week; they won’t be able to carry out work on Phase 1 because it would be dealing with new work on Section 2 from Escárcega to Calkini.

[1] The distance from Escárcega to Calkini is a long stretch from southern Campeche state to its northern border with the state of Yucatán. Old tracks already exist along this stretch of the Maya Train. The court’s decision does not stop repair and maintenance work on the existing tracks; it stops new work, which is significant.

[2] Semarnat is Mexico’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




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