“The Mayan Train of Shame”: Italian newspaper La Reppublica’s strong criticism against AMLO’s project.

The prestigious newspaper highlighted the tremendous environmental impact that the construction will have, which is rejected by the affected regions’ indigenous communities.

MEXICO (Times Media Mexico) – The Mayan Train, one of AMLO’s signature projects, has been strongly questioned, above all, because of the enormous damage to the environment. But it has received criticism not only in Mexico but also abroad.

The prestigious Italian newspaper La Repubblica dedicated an extensive article entitled “Il Treno Maya della vergogna: 1500 km di rotaie al posto delle foreste” -The Mayan Train of Shame: 1500 kilometers of rails instead of forests- signed by Daniele Mastrogiacomo, in which the environmental impact of the work will run through the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo is highlighted.

The article begins by highlighting that Andrés Manuel López Obrador considers this work as “his flagship,” the symbol of modern Mexico “that will connect the poor and isolated south with the rich east, with its archaeological sites, its Aztec monuments, the golden beaches of Yucatan and Quintana Roo.”

” The Mayan Train 1500 kilometers of rails will cross the States of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, to the peninsula overlooking the Gulf and the Caribbean. An impressive work, which spent between 6 and 7 billion dollars, to be done in a concise time, to dispel myths and legends and prove that even Mexicans can be efficient”, wrote Mastrogiacomo.

The newspaper notes that the announcement was made “in a big way” at the beginning of the year, but the excavation work began four months. “Then, when the project became known in detail, the first faults came out. The contracts were awarded by private agreement. To some state-owned companies but also to large holding companies, such as Grupo Carso, owned by the tycoon Carlos Slim”.

But he also highlighted the substantial environmental impact. “The land to be excavated, the mountains of earth to be removed, the forests and vegetation to be cut down change the morphological structure, break not only the human but also the environmental balance. Entire communities have begun to wonder how much and how the new railroad will change their lives. They asked the government for information, comparisons, news. In the face of evasive responses and often silence, they mobilized with the support of indigenous tribes and environmental activists,” Mastrogiacomo emphasized.

He recalled that an estimated 70% of the Tren Maya’s income would come from the transportation of goods. At the same time, “development poles” are planned around the 19 train stations in which “they will favor urban reordering” and include “services and infrastructure.

Daniele Mastrogiacomo also questions the issue of water availability “a good that is worth gold and that conditions the cycle of crops, land, type of planting and plants,” he said. He noted that the little available water is diverted to the tourist centers born around the world’s most famous archaeological sites. It serves hotels, tourist complexes with their pools and guests’ needs. “Without considering that the rails will run through some of the most admired natural reserves where 280 species of birds and 50 species of reptiles live”.

“We don’t want to see a new Cancun that has already taken away all the food we produce, leaving only the naked forest,” complains Geno, the leader of the Regional Indigenous and Popular Xpujil Council. They have appealed to justice by opposing the project. They claim that the Mayan Train plan affects the right to a clean environment enshrined in Article 4 of the Constitution.

The prestigious newspaper noted that when President Obrador began construction last June, the Environment Secretary had not yet issued an opinion on the environmental impact. This happened a few days ago.

The Italian newspaper explains, “the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was limited to dividing the work into different lots without addressing the project’s possible consequences as a whole on the territory. The impact study foresees the deforestation of 80 hectares of vegetation, something like 1,120 soccer fields. And this only in the first phase of the work. The report also explains that the felling will be compensated with a reforestation and repopulation program of species destined to succumb or flee”.

The article from the European media concludes by emphasizing that for the indigenous communities, what is truly important is nature, so they are willing to fight, for the moment, at the legal level. Although the courts have already rejected their appeals twice, a third appeal has already been sent to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).

The Yucatan Times
Newsroom



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