Maya Train Designated a National Security Project Amidst Legal Tensions
Federal Government Elevates Status to Prevent Halts and Delays.
Section 1: National Security Designation
The Maya Train, a 1,500-kilometer railroad project, has been officially designated as a project of national security by the federal government. This decision, made during a National Security Council meeting, aims to shield the project from potential legal challenges and disruptions.
Section 2: Implications of National Security Status
Javier May, the director of the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), emphasized that the national security declaration places the responsibility for the Maya Train under the Interior Ministry and the Security Ministry. Despite Fonatur's management role, the move is seen as a strategic measure to ensure the project's continuity.
Subsection 2.1: Legal Challenges and Existing Injunctions
The declaration, however, does not override existing injunctions, including a definitive suspension order against section 5 of the project, connecting Cancún to Tulum. Fonatur acknowledges and respects these legal constraints, particularly related to environmental impact concerns.
Subsection 2.2: Environmental Impact Statement Approval
Fonatur's position is strengthened by the recent approval of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for Tramo 5 Sur by the federal Environment Ministry. With this approval, Fonatur is preparing to file for the revocation of the suspension orders, awaiting a court hearing that has been postponed several times.
Section 3: Project Resumption and Controversies
Despite the validity of suspension orders, work on Tramo 5 Sur resumed last week. Fonatur Chief Javier May confirmed that the Security Council's determination of national security allowed the project's restart, emphasizing that it is the Interior Ministry and the Security Ministry, not Fonatur, overseeing the resumption.
Subsection 3.1: Environmentalist Opposition and Legal Challenges
Environmentalists, concerned about irreversible damage to jungles and cenotes, reject the government's stance. Critics argue that the project's resumption violates court orders, accusing the government of contempt of court and emphasizing the serious threat to environmental laws.
Subsection 3.2: Government's Response to Criticism
In response to accusations, Fonatur Chief May rejects the notion that the resumption of work violates court orders, reiterating that the Interior Ministry and the Security Ministry are the entities overseeing the project. This defense aims to clarify the government's position amidst growing criticism.
Section 4: Context of National Security Declaration
The declaration of the Maya Train as a project of national security comes eight months after President López Obrador's decree to protect and fast-track federal government infrastructure projects. This National Security Council declaration provides additional layers of protection specifically tailored to the Maya Train.
Section 5: Project Timeline and Presidential Commitment
President López Obrador, emphasizing the developmental impact in Mexico's southeast, pledges that the Maya Train will begin operations in 2023. However, challenges persist, with the northern stretch of section 5 expected to be completed by July 2024, as outlined in a recent environmental impact statement submitted to the federal Environment Ministry.