An investigation by the newspaper El Universal identified critical information about the Mayan Train related to its route, the possible demands and risks of the construction, which was hidden in order to speed up the works and tenders.
The information comes from activity reports and other documents prepared by the consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers within the framework of the Financial Economic Advisory requested by the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism – FONATUR.
El Universal identified that some sections of the Cost Benefit Analysis were omitted, in order to expedite the approval of the project by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. Likewise, potential dangers related to environmental problems, badly planned urbanization, increase in predatory tourism and the transformation of communal lands into hotels or tourist centers were also analyzed.
The megaproject of the Maya Train consists of 1,500 kilometers of route, of which 726 kilometers will be rebuilt while the rest will be new tracks. The two most complex stretches, where there are no roads yet built and which cross the Calakmul and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserves, will be built by the army.
FONATUR has also bypassed environmental legislation in order to begin construction of the megaproject without having an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the investigation states.
Furthermore, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) was hired by FONATUR to design the “relocation plan”, and although they assure that this will be a process “based on consensus, improvement of living conditions, legal certainty about property and access to adequate housing”, several consider it to be a disguised forced eviction. Likewise, El Universal recorded that 40% of the right of way is occupied by families who prefer to identify themselves as in a situation of forced eviction, and not as relocated by consensus.
Another of the United Nations agencies that has supported the project is UNESCO, which together with FONATUR established a Scientific-Cultural Council dedicated to the Maya Train.
Finally, it is observed that some courts avoid the injunctions against the megaproject, while the protected citizens feel criminalized, particularly from the executive branch.
For more information in Spanish:
Los papeles secretos del tren maya; Fonatur ocultó información crítica con el megaproyecto (El Universal, 28 de junio de 2021)
Fonatur Unesco crean un consejo científica cultural para el Tren maya (Proceso, 23 de junio de 2021)
Los contratistas del Tren maya (Animal Político, 21 de junio 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: