MEXICO CITY – Despite the fact that the Maya Train is becoming more and more of a reality after recent statements by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), activists and members of indigenous communities in Yucatan insisted on Wednesday, March 22nd, on stopping the construction of the emblematic project of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Since the announcement of the idea, members of the communities of Bacalar, Calakmul, Puerto Morelos, and Carrillo Puerto immediately spoke out against the “misnamed Maya Train”, considering that its construction implies “ecocide”. This is why to this day they continue to warn of the environmental damage.
It is a struggle for all of us, for the water, for the jungle, for our world, in a climate crisis that we are living through”, declared Alexis Gamiño, a member of Selva Maya SOS.
The Sélvame del Tren collective , made up of organizations and communities affected by the construction of the Mayan Train, denounced this Wednesday at a press conference the devastation of ecosystems throughout the Yucatan peninsula as the works progress. Not only in the jungles or cenotes, but also in marine ecosystems and mangroves.
The residents demand a halt to the work of the different sections of what they call the “misnamed Mayan Train” , the flagship work of the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Those affected describe the construction as “an ecocide” that has caused the deforestation of thousands of hectares, the disappearance of cenotes and aquifers, displacement of biodiversity and communities. Members of the communities of Bacalar, Calakmul, Puerto Morelos and Carrillo Puerto warned that environmental damage will affect more than 100 indigenous communities, including damage to water, flora and fauna. “If we don’t have land, how do we live? We work the land. That they help us protect it instead of harming it,” said Nicolás Moreno, from the Calakmul Popular Indigenous Council.
The latest scandal that has plagued the Mayan Train has been the images that show at least 20 cenotes filled with cement and concrete and the placement of piles in the caves to support the structure of the tracks. According to Sélvame del Tren and the National Forestry Commission (Conafor), the work on the train has involved the felling of more than 10 million trees since construction began. Activists and environmentalists have complained that the president has never agreed to have an informed meeting on the subject and demand a meeting soon to discuss the environmental impact of the project.
Moreno, as part of the original communities, has assured that the Government never carried out an informed consultation on the construction and that the Army and the National Guard are currently being used to exert pressure against the residents and ejidatarios of the area. In addition, he has denounced that despite the appeals filed that grant a suspension of the works, the work of the Mayan Train has not stopped. “Where there are indigenous peoples, nature exists, that is what we are defending. We are not against a party, my policy is life and the development of us as original peoples”, Moreno declared before the press.
The activist Raquel Flota considered that if action is taken soon, the damage already caused can be reversed, for which she asked President López Obrador to reconsider his insistence on this project. “They are killing that ecosystem, that train is not even Maya, they didn’t ask me for permission to put my name on it,” the woman said. Activists say that hotel developments and infrastructure, such as the creation of solar panel fields to produce energy for the train, are damaging the ecosystem and affecting the economic activities of the residents. “I don’t want modernity if modernity kills water, natural medicine,” she said. “If we don’t take care of the water, the jungle, the land, our medicine, where are we going to end up,” she added, Flota.
Aldair Suaste, a young man from the Bacalar community, pointed out that the growth of real estate developments, hotels, restaurants, and others that use the construction of the Mayan Train as a springboard are also fostering the expansion of organized crime, “when this did not exist more than of five years”. In addition, he pointed out that the military presence “is not fulfilling its functions of caring for the population, but rather threatens tranquility.” The inhabitants of the affected communities denounced the expansion of illegal poultry and pig farms that contaminate the cenotes, filling them with excrement from these animals, exploiting the aquifer and changing their ecosystem.
For her part, Gemma Santan, from Sélvame del Tren, explained that there are more than 10 injunctions in the Judiciary that are still frozen in court, so they will send a letter to the president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Norma Pineapple, to attract the case. In addition, Elena Dimondi, from Colectivos Ciudadanos Puerto Morelos, called this Saturday to join a human chain in protest against the arrival of the ship that transports ballast from Cuba and the expansion of a highway that implies the destruction of part of the mangrove swamp that is in the town.
According to activists and environmentalists, damage has been detected in the protected corals of the Puerto Morelos coast caused by the Melody ship that carries a load of 200,000 tons of stone that will be used in the works. “Not even an environmental impact report on the contamination to the subsoil that this rock can cause has been presented,” representatives of the platform said today. “It is everyone’s fight, which corresponds to us for water, for the jungle, for our world, in a climate crisis that we are experiencing,” said Alexis Gamiño, from Selva Maya SOS.
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