Judge orders definitive suspension of work on Section 5 of the Maya Train

Work on Maya Train near Playa del Carmen. Photo: Rosario Ruiz, La Jornada Maya

By: Patricia Vázquez Correspondent and La Jornada Maya

In a hearing held last May 27, the first district court of Yucatán ordered the definitive suspension of work on Section 5 South of the Maya Train, from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The decision responds to the complaint filed by a group of divers from the Riviera Maya, contained in file 884/2022. The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) has five days to appeal the decision.

No personnel or machinery have been working in the area since last week, promotors of the suspension indicated. Adrián Novelo, head of the first district court, based in Mérida, Yucatán, granted the definitive suspension, although partially.

After learning of the determination, in response, the Fonatur said that: “the judicial suspension about work on Section 5 South of the Maya Train is ‘definitive’ only until the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project currently in process before the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) is fully resolved.”

He specified that the EIS related to Section 5 South (that goes from Playa del Carmen to Tulum) is composed of more than 4,000 pages and was elaborated by experts from the Ecology Institute, with support from the National Council of Science and Technology and the Mexican Institute of Water Technology, “which has broad national and international prestige.”

Aerial view of work on the Maya Train cutting through the jungle in Playa del Carmen. Photo: El País

The court “reiterated that what the Fonatur and Fonatur Tren Maya presented (the provisional permit) does not comply with the environmental impact evaluation procedure that should have been obtained before the start of the work.”

He determined that although said authorities indicate that they have presented the evaluation, this is “only the beginning of a procedure.” In addition, “the precautionary principle established that it isn’t necessary to prove imminent and irreparable harm, since this will constitute the substance of the matter.”

Considering that “the imminent danger exists that work is performed that causes irreversible damages,” the definitive suspension was granted, and therefore he ordered Fonatur and Fonatur Tren Maya to suspend or paralyze any act on the construction.

It should be remembered that on May 17, Fonatur presented the EIS on Section 5 South of the Maya Train to Semarnat and it’s currently under evaluation at the agency. This process can take from 60 to 120 business days, according to environmental legislation.

José Urbina, one of the cave divers who filed the appeal for suspension, explained that it is the first suspension that is resolved and it sets a precedent, since there are four other appeals for suspension on that section.

He added that the work that has been done, without authorization of the EIS, has left impacts such as the loss of vegetation that will take 30 years or more to recover.

The Maya Train | Tren Maya

There are several appeals against the Maya Train pending resolution in the first district court of Yucatán, in charge of Judge Adrián Novelo, the court to which most of the collectives opposed to the federal megaproject have gone.

As of now, two provisional suspensions and one definitive suspension have been granted. There is another hearing scheduled for next June 24.

With information from Angélica Enciso and Eduardo Murillo


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2022/05/31/politica/004n1pol and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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