In a meeting with the people living in the territory affected by the New International Airport of Mexico (NAIM), the transition team of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recognized the project is full of flaws and negligence.
In the Wednesday meeting, the United Peoples Against the New Airport and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land (FPDT), demanded the team to cancel the construction of the new airport as promised during the first stages of Lopez Obrador’s presidential campaign. They presented their social environmental impact studies and said the current developments already affected their communities and surrounding territories with the spilling of toxic waste and destruction of the natural landscape.
As the July 1 elections grew closer, Lopez Obrador changed his mind on the subject and said he would submit the construction of the airport to a national consultation, preceded by a dialogue.
But the people of Acolman, Amecameca, Atenco, Chalco, Ixtapaluca, Ixtlahuaca, San Juan de las Piramides, Tepletlaoxtoc, Texcoco, Tezoyuca and other municipalities argued that’s them and only them who should be consulted on the construction, as it is them who inhabit the Texcoco lakeside.
Felipe Alvarez, from San Cristobal Nexquipayac, said the people of the lakeside were not consulted on the project beforehand, and “now you want to do it regardless of time, regardless of law.”
“We ask you not to inherit the bloody and deadly ways, those of prison, persecution, violation of human rights and raping of our women,” continued Alvarez, “the events of Atenco are crimes against humanity.”
The United Peoples Against the New Airport also denounced that the airport has brought aggression and violence to the communities, in which inhabitants have been subjected to repression, harassment, attacks and even murders, which have eroded the social fabric of the communities.
FPDT’s lawyer Sandino Rivero remarked that according to international law, the only people that should be consulted “about the future of their life and territory are the people affected by the new airport,” and not the whole nation as proposed by Lopez Obrador’s team.
In response, the future human rights’ deputy secretary Alejandro Encinas said the new airport “would be a great economic mistake, regarding plans for urban, social and environmental development,” and declared he also “prefers the lake,” in reference to the social media campaign launched by the people of the lakeside.
Encinas blamed the airport project on the government of incumbent President Enrique Peña Nieto, called it “a process of permanent trickery,” and said the consultation process will aim to collect the voices of those affected people as the current government didn’t take them into account.
The future communications and transportation secretary, Javier Jimenez Espriu, also said the consultation won’t aim to “give importance to business people, but rather to get to know everybody’s opinion,” as there’s no more chance for a previous consultation.
“Be sure the consultation will be legitimate, real and committed,” said Jimenez Espriu regarding the October 28 process.
Also, Josefa Gonzalez-Blanco, the next environment secretary, said access to water was a fundamental right “above the economic development of the few,” but also said the project should be discussed and all voices must be heard.
Despite the future public servants declaring they agree with the FPDT and the demands of the people of the lakeside, they all defended the controversial consultation process and declared it will be carried on despite opposition.
The FPDT invited Lopez Obrador’s team to walk with them along the lakeside for a guided tour showing the environmental and social impact of the project, to which they agreed.
The NAIM is being constructed on the lacustrine area of the former Texcoco Lake, putting at risk on of its last remnants, the Lake Nabor Carrillo.