AMLO issues new decree so that mega-projects are considered as national security

By: Desinformémonos Editors

May 19, 2023

Mexico City | Desinformémonos

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) issued a new decree considering the federal government’s infrastructure projects to be national security matters, just hours after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared the invalidity and unconstitutionality of the accord that established the same terms and that the president published in November 2021. [1]

With the new decree, the works and operation of megaprojects such as the Maya Train and the Trans-Isthmus Corridor are established as [matters of] national security and public interest, which are protected despite the complaints of indigenous communities, activists, organizations and experts about the environmental and social impacts they will have.

The [new] decree was issued on May 18, the same day that the SCJN determined that the “Agreement declaring the federal government’s infrastructure projects and works as national security and of public interest,” published on November 21, 2021, was unconstitutional for violating the right to transparency and access to information.

According to the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda), the SCJN’s decision corrected “a situation of constitutional exceptionality” and obliged the environmental authorities of the federal executive to apply the provisions of the environmental legal framework, particularly in the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA).

Cemda recalled that since the presidential agreement was published in 2021, federal executive agencies such as the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) “began to ‘authorize’ projects without submitting them to the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (PEIA), as established by federal environmental law. “

The infrastructure projects that are now considered to be national security projects include the Maya Train | Tren Maya, the Trans-Isthmus Corridor and the airports in Palenque, Chiapas, and in Chetumal and Tulum, Quintana Roo.

Translator’s Notes

[1] The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), placed the Maya Train under the Army’s jurisdiction and declared it a matter of “national security” and “public interest” in 2021. That declaration was challenged and the challenge made its way to the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional. In response, AMLO issued another declaration, this time placing not only the Maya Train as a matter of “national security” and “public interest,” but also the Trans-Isthmus Corridor and 3 airports related to the Maya Train.

Last month, the Supreme Court declared AMLO’s placement of the National Guard under the Army’s jurisdiction and control unconstitutional. So, it seems fair to say that AMLO and Mexico’s Supreme Court are at odds.

Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformemonos, Friday, May 19, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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