Ecocides, the latent environmental risk of the ‘Tren Maya’ in southeastern Mexico.

The real estate and urbanization projects could generate at least 19 environmental impacts in southeastern Mexico.

MEXICO (El Universal) – The Tren Maya, one of the projects that Mexico’s President López Obrador (AMLO) is most proud of, could cause around two dozen ecocides due to its construction, according to the Fondo Nacional del Fomento al Turismo (Fonatur).

These events could be caused by the real estate and urbanization projects to be carried out. The objective, according to a study -to which El Universal newspaper had access- is to replicate in the “sustainable communities” the model of the city of Cancun in Quintana Roo, one of the most important tourist areas in the country.

This scenario would be presented in the southeast of Mexico, specifically in the areas surrounding the Calakmul and Escárcega Biosphere Reserve in the state of Campeche, in Palenque Tabasco, and Mérida, Yucatán.

Violeta Núñez, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UAM), told journalist Carlos Carabaña that “They are going to try to reproduce 19 ‘Cancunes,’ a depredation of nature”.

However, the resort data does not give an encouraging picture of the projects. The Fonatur study also revealed that during the last 40 years, 77% of the jungles and 64% of the coastal dune vegetation in Cancun were lost. Also, there is a risk of rampant urban growth if the projects are not developed correctly.

Experts consulted by the media pointed out that this would represent a threat to the environment, especially in section number seven of the Mayan Train, which crosses 287 kilometers and passes through Escárcega in Campeche, Bacalar in Quintana Roo.

According to EFE, the train’s construction will cover 1,554 kilometers in seven sections with 19 stations for transporting local passengers, tourists, and cargo in the five southeastern states starting in 2023: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo.

The Government estimates a total investment of more than 6,294 million dollars for the project. Of which more than 2,092 million dollars will be executed this year and the creation of 80,000 jobs with the construction of the first five sections.

To this estimate, 715,000 new jobs would be added between now and 2030 in the 16 municipalities that will have a railroad station and another 150,000 associated jobs in the rural economy, totaling almost one million, according to a study by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

The United Nations Program also anticipated a 28% increase in the native population employed in 2015, estimating that 46 out of every 100 people employed will be indigenous communities.

“For the Government, it is progress, it is development, which means more jobs and more urbanization. For us as Mayas, it means that once again we are seen as cheap labor. It means land speculation and, therefore, dispossession,” Alberto Velázquez, of the civil association Indignación, told EFE.

On the other hand, the Tren Maya has aroused opposition from a sector of Mexico’s native peoples, such as the recent pronouncement by the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Council of Government announcing a “fight against the president’s mega-projects.”

“The lying words of López Obrador and his so-called Fourth Transformation (of Mexico) seek to create a wall that hides the war being waged against the peoples and the life of Mother Earth, wanting to isolate us and present us as the opponents of progress,” they denounced.

The Yucatan Times
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