The community collective Assembly of Defenders of the Maya Territory Múuch Xíinbal (Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch Xíinbal), could not participate in the public consultation carried out by Semarnat for the operation and administration of the Cuxtal Ecological Reserve, to establish its position on the layout of the Maya Train in this protected area of Mérida.
The reason was that federal instance did not accept copies of the applicants’ identifications.
Pedro Uc Be, a representative of this group of Mayan communities, reported that due to the pandemic, many made their online participation process and sent copies or photographs of the identifications, but Semarnat did not accept them.
Semarnat demanded the original IDs and said these must be delivered in person, despite the confinement provisions.
“They did not give us that right to participate in the public consultation,” said the leader of Múuch Xiinbal. “They left us out. They did not accept the credentials because these were sent via the internet”, said Pedro Uc Be.
“There were colleagues from other civil organizations whose identifications were accepted, but for some reason, Semarnat required the originals from us,” he denounced.
Professor Uc Be, originally from Buctzotz, considered that this is “cheating” intentionally since there is no other way to explain the exclusion of the group he represents.
For him, the message is clear: the federal government tries to avoid any type of legitimate demand, and federal authorities have them well-identified as critics and opponents of the Maya Train project and that is why they left them out of the public consultation.
Likewise, he explained that in the first instance most of the 25 communities that make up the Assembly of Defenders of the Maya Territory were excluded by Fonatur in the request for information on the public consultations of the Environmental Impact Manifests (MIA) where the railroad will cross. “And from there they left us defenseless,” he added.
In his opinion, Fonatur continues with the logic of dividing the Peninsula without taking into account the problems faced by the Maya indigenous people of the region.
“For this reason, the federal government divides the communities to handle this issue in a convenient way for them, and those who are against them or think differently were not included in the MIA consultation”, stated Pedro Uc Be.
Regarding the public consultation on the layout of the train in the Cuxtal Natural Reserve, Uc Be said that some of his colleagues who live in Mérida made their request, but at the last minute Semarnat applied a bureaucratic move: they asked for the original ID of the participants, which could not be fulfilled because the people are in their towns confined due to the pandemic.
“Semarnat rejected the copies or photos they sent via email, and given this situation, we were again left in a state of defenselessness”, he said.
“We take this as an imposition because it is not considered, as the agreement indicates, culturally appropriate, more in the middle of a health contingency,” said the professor. “They applied that policy to leave us out of the consultation, it was part of their strategy to leave us defenseless violating our community rights.”
“The problem of the Maya Train is not only about Cuxtal, but it will also generate a serious problem in the whole Yucatan Peninsula,” he said.
“The mayor of Maxcanú, who gave the ‘flag’ of the work of the Maya Train has already died of COVID. The mayor of Samahil has also died of the same cause. There is a risk of contagion in the communities and the federal government continues to push that project in order to impose it ”, Uc Be continued.
The process for public consultation on the passage of the Maya Train through the Cuxtal de Mérida Ecological Reserve is open and ends on the 30th of this month, reported Aarón Rosado Castillo, territorial liaison of the Maya Train project representing the federal government in Yucatan.
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