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News > Mexico

Mexico: Organizations Oppose Mayan Train, AMLO Rejects Concerns

  • Mexico's President-elect Obrador attends a rally as part of a tour to thank supporters for his election in Mexico City.

    Mexico's President-elect Obrador attends a rally as part of a tour to thank supporters for his election in Mexico City. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 21 November 2018

Lopez Obrador made assurances that his government will consultat on matters wherever possible. He wants to "transform into a participative democracy."

The Network of Female Indigenous Lawyers (RAI), in Mexico, denounced that the popular consultation about the construction of the Mayan Train announced by President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) denies indigenous peoples their right to decide on their own development, forms, times and processes.

AMLO to Consult People Over Maya Train And Development Projects

"The Mayan Train is a presentation of the colonizing dynamics that prevail in the practices of the State, practices that commodify and magnify the Mayan ancestral past but exclude and discriminate against its living people," stated the RAI.

President-elect AMLO dismissed the environmental concerns during an interview with Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui, "There is not going to be a single tree brought down, on the contrary, we are going to plant 100 thousand hectares," AMLO said. Adding that the Mayan Train will profit from the almost 780 kilometers of railways that already exist in the region.

Indigenous organizations, ecologists, anthropologists, and other social organizations are warning left-wing AMLO, who will assume power on Dec. 1, about the Mayan Train and the popular consultation about its construction.

"No development project that involves us should be designed, concessioned and built without our consent. We urge them to guarantee the necessary conditions to achieve an open, respectful and balanced dialogue with the indigenous peoples and communities concerned," stated the RAI.

AMLO: Window of Opportunity Against 40 Years of Neoliberalism in Mexico?

Before adding that with this project "They are violating the prior nature of the consultation, which obliges the State to include the participation of the peoples from the design stage of the projects that involve them, with the purpose that the peoples themselves decide their priorities, and strategies for development with identity, including the possibility of identifying and controlling the possible negative effects the project could cause."

Lopez Obrador highlighted during his interview that his government will do consultations on the matters that it is possible, he wants to "transit into a participative democracy." In his administration, the work will be focused so "there will not be locks for the citizens to decide and to participate." 

“It won’t be like the consultation in the airport’s case, in which I was impartial,” said Lopez Obrador in earlier November. “In the case of these 10 projects that will be consulted, I will defend them. Regardless of what the people decide, it’s only my opinion and it will be my vote. Citizens will decide.”

The RAI statement concluded by saying: "We demand that in case of reaching a favorable agreement regarding the Mayan Train, the State should include the indigenous peoples that so wish in the strategic planning of the project, that is, establish how the peoples and communities will participate in the said project."

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