On Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the beginning of the referendum to know the opinion of indigenous communities about the construction of the Mayan Train, a process that will take place in 15 venues of the five states comprehended in the project.
The referendum will be carried out in a free and informed way, following national and international standards, pointed out Mexico’s President, who was accompanied by Rogelio Jiménez Pons, general director of the National Fund for Tourism Development (Fonatur); Adelfo Regino, head of the National Institute for Indigenous People (INPI); and Interior deputy secretary Diana Álvarez.
El presidente @lopezobrador_ reafirmó en la #ConferenciaPresidente, la suma importancia de voltear hacia el sureste mexicano. Dijo que este 14 y 15 de diciembre se llevarán a cabo las consultas por el #TrenMaya y para beneficio de la región. pic.twitter.com/BbbhK26WI9
— Tren Maya (@TrenMayaMX) 16 de noviembre de 2019
The process will consider the opinion of 3,425 local traditional authorities, of which 40% corresponds to indigenous population.
To design the referendum mechanism, several meetings were held with academics, universities, industry sector, students, communities, and NGO’s.
“There has been a preliminary and informal process, but there has been, since the beginning and for a long time, contact with communities; we have gathered opinions; we have shared our intentions during this whole process,” asserted López Obrador.
“A total investment of MXN $120 billion has been calculated, as has already been informed, and we’re talking about a population of 12 million people in an area that receives approximately 17 million tourists per year,” added Rogelio Jiménez.
— INPI (@INPImx) 15 de noviembre de 2019
Meanwhile, Diana Álvarez said that the modules for the referendum will be installed next December 15 in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo to know the people’s opinion on the project. They will be open from 8:00 to 18:00 in the municipalities directly involved in the train’s route.
She added that specific information will be available through a government website and later on they will establish the methodology to be used for the localization of the modules, the number of ballots, the way to identify the people who will participate, as well as criteria as the population, register, accessibility, and feasibility of the mechanism.
For his part, Adelfo Regino commented that “We are on the first stage that today formally begins the process with the publication of the call in the Federal Official Gazette (DOF). We will disseminate information about the project through all outlets; in our case, we have three indigenous cultural radio stations on the INPI located in Peto, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, and Xpujil, through which we will report.”
On November 29 and 39, 15 information meetings will take place on a first stage; then, there will be a consultative assembly on December 14 and 15 which coincides with the exercise of citizen participation coordinated by Diana Álvarez; and at the end, the assemblies will define the monitoring mechanisms determined by authorities.
The Mayan Train project proposes three transport services in which 95% of the train’s construction will use existing road rights, highway, and power lines. It includes the construction of animal crossings to reconnect divided natural areas.