On October 29, the elected president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who will take office on December 1, announced that he will cancel the construction of the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) in Texcoco and that, instead, it will support the project at the current military base in Santa Lucia, about 40 kilometers north of Mexico City.
He made this decision after a national consultation in which more than one million people participated (a little more than 1% of the electoral register in the country): 29% of them voted to continue the Texcoco airport while 69% voted in favor of Santa Lucia.
Before this announcement, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that his government will continue with the construction of NAIM in Texcoco until the last day of his term. It is estimated that the current project has an advance of 30%. “If the decision to cancel the work continues, as of December 1, the next government will have to face the payment of commitments, which will probably require the use of fiscal resources in addition to the tax paid by airport users,” he said. .
Businessmen and opposition parties to the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) have questioned the proposal of Santa Lucia and the consultation process that they consider illegal, without binding character and only a montage or a simulation to endorse a decision already taken by AMLO. They believe that it will have a negative impact on the financial markets and that it will generate heavy economic losses. According to the Airport Group of Mexico City, it will cost the country at least 120 billion pesos.
Those who did celebrate the decision were the members of the People’s Front in Defense of the Land of Atenco and the coalition Pueblos Unidos contra el Nuevo Aeropuerto who have been opposing the project in Texcoco since 2001. Before the consultation, they conducted a campaign in social networks labeled #YoPrefieroElLago, expressing that “they prefer to conserve Lake Nabor Carrillo and to avoid environmental damage, instead of continuing the NAIM, which is located in the municipalities of Atenco, Ecatepec de Morelos and Texcoco, in the State of Mexico “.
On the other hand, before the closing of the consultation, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and its Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) as well as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), rejected the construction of a new airport, whatever its location. : “Deciding where to put the new airport should not be what the government ask us, because if they had a bit of shame in front of the millions who suffer from dispossession, poverty, repression, before those who must migrate by thousands before the destruction left in the whole world, before our mother earth that can no longer bear the serious illness caused by capitalism; the question should be whether we agree that they continue or not along that road that is leading us, all of us, to death, to war, to extermination.” They affirmed that “the indigenous peoples can not say yes to their extermination, even if the bad government pretends to make a consultation, even if it falsifies votes, even if it buys them or gets them deceived (…). The attack against the territories that sustain life and against freedom, will not be in our name.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Obras del NAIM continuarán hasta hasta el 30 de noviembre, dice Peña Nieto; afores, sin riesgo (Animal Político, 29 de octubre de 2018)
Nuevo Aeropuerto de México: AMLO confirma que su gobierno cancelará la construcción del aeródromo (BBC Mundo, 29 de octubre de 2018)
Santa Lucía: en qué consiste el proyecto de AMLO para construir un nuevo aeropuerto para Ciudad de México (BBC Mundo, 29 de octubre de 2018)
El caso Santa Lucía: qué nos enseña AMLO sobre el poder (Huffington Post, 29 de octubre de 2018)
Adiós al NAIM en Texcoco: arrasa Santa Lucía en consulta sobre Aeropuerto (Aristegui Noticias, 28 de octubre de 2018)
Adiós al NAIM: La opción de construir pistas en Santa Lucía gana en la consulta convocada por López Obrador (Animal Político, 28 de octubre de 2018)
Consulta tumba el proyecto del NAIM en Texcoco; gana opción de Santa Lucía (Proceso, 28 de octubre de 2018)
Rechazan NAIM en Texcoco, en casilla de Atenco (La Jornada, 28 de octubre de 2018)
El EZLN y el CNI rechazan “aerópolis” en Texcoco o Santa Lucía (Proceso, 27 de octubre de 2018)
COMUNICADO CONJUNTO DEL CNI, EL CIG Y EL EZLN EN RECHAZO AL MEGAPROYECTO DEL NAIM Y EN APOYO Y SOLIDARIDAD CON LAS POBLACIONES MIGRANTES (CNI/EZLN, 26 de octubre de 2018)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: Disturbances in Indigenous Territories over the Implementation of Megaprojects: San Francisco Xochicuautla and Atenco (April 14, 2016)
National: FPDT of Atenco initiates mobilizations following announcement of new airport (September 15, 2014)
National: After 8 years of impunity in Atenco, threat to build airport continues (16 May 2014)
Atenco: repression in San Salvador Atenco, 4 years on (11 May 2010)