People from the Texcoco Lakeside, central Mexico, welcomed a delegation headed by the president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s future transportation and communications minister, Javier Jimenez Espriu, on Wednesday to give them a tour and show them how the new airport project has devastated their lands.
The team agreed to visit the sites after a meeting with the affected people, who oppose the New International Airport of Mexico City (NAICM).
The Atenco’s Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land (FPDT) showed the future environment and agrarian, territorial and urban development ministers, Josefa Gonzalez Blanco and Roman Meyer, the direct and indirect environmental effects of the airport.
They first visited the San Nicolas Tlaminca community, in Texcoco, where they have dumped residual toxic waste.
Jose Espino Espinosa, researcher from the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACh), said that more than four million cubic meters of toxic waste extracted from the construction site of the airport, containing boron, chlorine, sodium and carbonates, have been dumped into mines in the community, affecting all surrounding land and polluting ground water.
State and federal authorities, said Espino, have not done anything to stop it.
Jimenez Espriu said that Lopez Obrador’s future projects will prioritize regional development, and that these would be “defined in the territory, not the desktop.”
The tour then stopped at Santo Tomas Apipilhuasco, in Tepetlaoxtoc, where rocks are being extracted for the construction of the airport. This is one of the municipalities that has been affected the most.
Juan Pablo Murillo, a community leader, said that authorities and the construction company are working together to devastate the region, destroying surrounding forest and a big part of the ecological reserve.
They continued on to San Agustin Actipan, in the Teotihuacan pyramids region, where mines have been installed to keep bringing construction materials to the airport.
Besides the environmental damage, the new economic activities have brought side-effects with them, like corruption, harassment and fuel stealing from nearby pipe lines.
En Actipac, zona de las pirámides del #EDOMEX, constatamos la agresiva explotación de las minas de tezontle, que esta siendo usado para rellenar el lago y la tierra en donde se esta construyendo el Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de México #NAICM @JesusRCuevas @julioastillero pic.twitter.com/a5HfmF8SHp— Adelfo Regino Montes (@DEELAYUUK) 10 de octubre de 2018
“In Actipac, the pyramid zone of the State of Mexico, we denounce the aggressive exploitation of the Tezontle mines, used to fill the lake and land where the New International Airport of Mexico is being built.”
The FPDT and Lopez Obrador’s visited one of the mines in Tezoyuca, also in Teotihuacan, where they had an unpleasant encounter. The legal representative of Jose Rene Martinez Moncayo, the mine owner, showed up and ordered them to go away or she would call authorities. The future government delegation was able to experience once what the local inhabitants have experienced for years.
#RecorridoAlEcocidioNAICM— Atenco FPDT (@AtencoFPDT) 10 de octubre de 2018
En #Tezoyuca pobladores explicaban afecciones y corrupción d José René Martínez Moncayo cuando se presentó su apoderada legal a correr a @JimenezEspriu y la comitiva d gobierno @lopezobrador_
Amenazando con traer fuerza pública https://t.co/P1zhMJVikz pic.twitter.com/RZ4o9hUl5Z
“In Tezoyuca the people were speaking about the damages and corruption of Jose Rene Martinez Moncayo when his legal representative appeared and kicked out Jimenez Espriu and Lopez Obrador’s delegation, threatening with calling public force.”
The delegation ended their visit in San Salvador Atenco, an emblematic community that has been the center of the struggle since the early 2000s.
The NAICM is being built on a lacustrine area where the old Texcoco Lake used to be. The lake was dried up through centuries and now only artificial lakes remain, such as the Nabor Carrillo, aiming to revitalize the area and provide water for the local and traveling fauna.
These lakes, however, are now under threat.
Canceling the construction of the NAICM was one of the main campaign promises of the now president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but with time he softened his discourse and now claims there will be a national debate and referendum to decide its fate. The people that live in the lands where the airport is being built have rejected any airport on their lands and denied being consulted about it beforehand.
The team recently reunited with social organizations that oppose the lake and Espriu and other high level representatives they also preferred the lake.