Federal Government Takes Advantage of the Current Situation to Advance the Mayan Train: Indigenous Communities

Mexico City / Desinformémonos

The Official Journal of the Federation published this Tuesday the assignment granted by the Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) to the company Fonatur Tren Maya “to build, operate and exploit the general railway communication route called Tren Maya, the provision of public service of rail transport of cargo and passengers, which includes permits to provide the required auxiliary services,” for a period of 30 years.

For their part, communities, activists, collectives and organizations defending indigenous peoples rejected the fact that the construction of the Tren Maya continues despite the health emergency caused by the coronavirus and denounced the “state of defenselessness towards those people and communities who have expressed their rejection or opposition to the project.

“It seems that the federal government is taking advantage of the current situation to move forward, without the risk of opposition, in the continuation of a project that has been questioned by various sectors and whose opacity has even led to the issuance of an order of suspension by a federal judge in response to an injunction filed by the communities of Calakmul and Candelaria,” criticized the organizations, including the Assembly of Defenders of the Maya Territory Múuch’ Xíinbal and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A. C. Human Rights Center. (Frayba).

In the assignment, the SCT conferred exclusive rights on the company and specified that the construction of the railway and other buildings needed to provide the public rail transport service must be completed within 48 months of the publication of the assignment.

The document states that Fonatur Tren Maya must be responsible “for the preservation and conservation of the assigned properties that have historical, cultural or artistic value”.

“The Assignee shall be responsible for the environmental remediation derived from the damages in ecological matters and environmental protection originated from the validity of the present Assignment, and derived from acts or omissions in its charge, in accordance with the laws and applicable dispositions in the matter”, adds the document.

Finally, the SCT established that the assignment is valid for 50 years, counted from the day following the date of its signature.

For their part, the organizations and groups that oppose the mega-project demanded that the federal government suspend the construction of the so-called Mayan Train and, after the health emergency, initiate a process of real, serious, informed and equitable dialogue that guarantees the rights to information of indigenous peoples.

Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos on April 21sth, 2020


English translation by Schools for Chiapas

Note: our recent blog post, The Beast Knows No Shame, points out that in both the U.S. and Mexico, capital and the bad governments (both on the authoritarian right and the neoliberal left) are manipulating the current crisis to force their agendas by evading public process and transparency, preying upon the helplessness of a population in quarantine. We will be posting a series of translated articles to this effect.

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