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    NewsLatin AmericaThe latest suspension of the Mayan Train works complicates the construction of Section 5

    The latest suspension of the Mayan Train works complicates the construction of Section 5

    Aerial view of the deforestation in the jungle to build the tracks of section 5 of the Mayan Train in Quintana Roo, in 2022.Theresa of Michael

    The latest suspension of the Mayan Train works, granted by a federal judge on Tuesday, complicates the construction of section 5 of the project, which connects Cancun and Tulum, in Quintana Roo. Adrian Novelo Perez granted an injunction to the Selvame del Tren association because the Government does not have the corresponding authorization for the change in land use in many of the hectares that will be affected by the construction of the tracks. With this decision, he obliges to paralyze “any act that has as its purpose the continuation of felling or clearing on the land that includes section 5 south and north of the Tren Maya project.” This is the last judicial obstacle that the mega-project of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is facing, who has been fighting since last year with civil organizations to continue his flagship project and which has already caused other suspensions previously due to the lack of environmental authorizations. .

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    The Mayan Train has practically been involved in a judicial mess since its inception. Numerous environmental associations have been filing lawsuits over its construction for many of its seven sections. Route 5, which crosses long stretches of virgin jungle and threatens the ecosystem of caves and cenotes, is one of the most delicate. Since April 2022, the Government and the organizations have been in a tug of war.

    Last May, the same judge ordered the definitive suspension of the work, maintaining indefinitely the provisional stoppage that he imposed a month earlier due to the lack of the environmental impact statement (MIA). In June, they obtained the authorizations to resume the works and, although they did not have the explicit order of the judge to carry them out again, they started them again a month later with the argument that it was a “national security” project.

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    The project seeks to build 1,550 kilometers of track to join a railway route through five states in the southeast of the country: Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. It is divided into seven sections and, although progress can barely be seen in four of them, the Government has promised to fully inaugurate it in December of this year, before the end of the six-year term. “The work will continue, they will not be able to stop us,” Lopez Obrador assured in May 2022, when he announced that he would resort to the second of the suspension orders.

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    The project has been controversial due to the impact it has caused in the territory. The Institute of Ecology of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) recognized that the works carried out between Playa del Carmen and Tulum would cause a “critical impact” due to the deforestation of more than 485 hectares of jungle and vegetation that “enjoy a level conservation high. In the report, the authority listed some thirty negative impacts, ranging from the collapse of the cave system, to the alteration of the water flow or the affectation of jaguar specimens, an animal in danger of extinction in Mexico. The Government tried to reduce tension with environmentalists by announcing the creation of the Jaguar Reserve, a protected natural space with an area of ​​2,249 hectares.


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