Mérida, Yucatán, (April 07, 2021).- This Monday, the British media Financial Times put under analysis the problems that the local fauna is facing as a consequence of the Maya Train, a project of President Andrés López Obrador, in Calakmul; in the article: “Maya Train runs the risk of derailing in the precious biosphere of Mexico”.
This is the place where the Xpujil Popular and Indigenous Regional Council (Cripx), a local NGO, launched a legal battle to stop the Maya Train project in its tracks.
Cripx and local farmers are concerned about the environmental impact that running diesel engines would cause in the habitat of endangered jaguars, in a landscape of archaeological treasures, especially, after it was announced that the army would have total control of the work.
The local NGO fear confrontation
“They know that if they had awarded the section here to a private company, it would be easier for us to organize the resistance,” said Jesús López Zapata, one of the founders of Cripx.
“But not when it’s the army. “We are talking about a confrontation. We don’t want things to get to that point, but if the federal government does not hear our demands, we won’t have a choice. “
AMLO does not back down
More than a dozen legal procedures against the Maya Train are making their way in the courts as we speak, but López Obrador “does not back down easily. ” He has pledged to visit the project every fortnight if necessary to ensure the development and infrastructure of this flagship project are completed before he leaves office in 2024 and refuses to believe that legal challenges could thwart his plans”, says the Financial Times.
“I am a lifelong railroad worker and I would like nothing more than to see the rebirth of passenger railways in Mexico. . . However, from the beginning, I never thought that the Maya Train was a good idea, ” said Francisco Javier Gorostiza Pérez, ex-chief of trains and ex-government official to the College of Civil Engineers of Mexico.
According to the Financial Times, compared to other tourist trains, the projected number of passengers would be 12 times that of Peru’s Cusco-Machu Picchu service and would far exceed the 250,000 a year traveling on the Swiss Glacier Express, or the 200,000 people who travel in El Chepe through Mexico’s Copper Canyon, the only surviving passenger train in the country.
An ecological crime
Regarding the impact of the Mayan Train in some of the most biodiverse regions of the world, he said: “To circulate high-speed trains through areas of the biosphere and the jungle would be a true ecological crime.”
The other view
Despite the opinions that put the negative effects of the work under the microscope, the British media also offers the other look, that of those who anxiously await the job opportunity.
For Isaías Vásquez Sánchez, employed for 43 years in the Mexican railways, “the train will return the glory to southeast Mexico.” “I hope they give me a job,” he said, leaning on the barbed wire fence of the future construction site.
Many Escárcega, Campeche residents also like the perspective, what they oppose is the route. Tren Maya officials say they are in negotiations with locals and that expropriation of land for the train would be the last resort.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Varela, head of legal affairs for Fonatur, the state agency in charge of the Maya Train, said that the precautionary measures could not prevent them from modernizing the lines and that despite multiplying the legal challenges to the project, “we are sure that we will win in court. ”.
People think that the federal government wants to “buy” them
Around Calakmul, they note, some local farmers feel that they have been bought. Almost all are beneficiaries of López Obrador’s tree-planting program, “Sembrando Vida” (Sowing Life) because they get paid 4,500 pesos. a month.
Finally, the article concludes stating that many Mexicans fear that the train will turn out to be a “white elephant”.
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