On March 9th, the findings of a study commissioned by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) on the social, economic, and environmental effects of the Maya Train project that were published raised conclusions that are quite different from what AMLO and his administration have expressed on the megaproject.
Titled “Mayan Territories in the Passage of the Train: Current Situation and Foreseeable Risks”, the 26-page document was sent in February to several members of the Federal and state governments involved in the implementation of the Train. On March 9th, the newspaper El Universal published it.
The study concludes among other things that the Mexican government did not comply with international rules regarding indigenous consultation, and that it did not share with the public the impacts that the Maya Train would have. The study also questions the quality of the jobs that the Maya Train will generate, and expresses concern that it could increase illegal activities that often go hand in hand with tourism – such as human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Regarding the government’s proposal to build cities at train stations, or “development centers”, the study states that this plan will generate dispossession of local populations. The research goes further, noting that the project represents a “commitment to the commercial use of the culture of the Maya peoples as an engine for the tourism industry.”
According to collaborators in the elaboration of the document, the study was to be delivered to federal government workers from December 2019, but that the date was delayed several times, until February 28th when they shared it.
Regarding the environment, the collaborators declared that “These ecosystems have been recognized for safeguarding high biodiversity (flora and fauna), having the state, national and international recognition that has allowed the creation of different conservation areas that will suffer alterations (degradation, fragmentation and deforestation) associated with the construction, circulation and development proposed by the Maya Train Project.”
For more information in Spanish:
Contrasta informe de Conacyt sobre Tren Maya con discurso gubernamental El Proceso, 9 de marzo de 2020.
Ocultaron estudio que revela riesgos del Tren Maya para áreas naturales El Universal, 9 de marzo de 2020.
El informe del Conacyt sobre el Tren Maya que el Gobierno intentó ocultar Libre Noticias, 10 de marzo de 2020.
For more information from SIPAZ:
Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13th, 2018)
National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)