The Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) celebrated Wednesday the 26th anniversary of its uprising in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas by rejecting the Mayan Train project, one of the most ambitious proposals of President Andres Lopez Obrador.
Mexican Indigenous Communities Consent to Mayan Train Project
In a statement read by Subcommander Moises, the EZLN indicated that the consultations carried out by the government "have been simulated" and have not included "the opinion of all the indigenous population. He expressed that the round of consultations only spoke of how good the mega-project would be, but did not detail the misfortunes it would bring for the people and for nature.
The Mexican Ministry of Interior informed on Dec. 14 that the Indigenous communities in the Yucatan Peninsula and the state of Chiapas both located in the southeastern part of the country accepted “by consensus and without opinion against” for the construction of the Mayan Train.
Despite the popular consent, Moises called Lopez Obrador a "foreman" and added that his government "challenged all the native peoples" without caring about "what we think and feel" because he intends to "do what his boss capitalism orders."
The EZLN leader pointed out that the Mexican government challenges them with the project on Indigenous territories, and warned that the movement will defend the land "until death if necessary."
The 'Mayan Train' is a large-scale infrastructure project set to connect the whole Yucatan Peninsula for tourism, transportation, and economic purposes. The train would run 1,525 kilometers and connect the Riviera Maya resorts with archaeological sites in the interior of the peninsula.
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The referendum held in December 2019 occurred in the municipalities of Dzitas, Chichimila, Tunkas, Tixpehual, and Maxcanu, in the state of Yucatan; Tenabo, Campeche, and Palenque, in the state of Chiapas, where the Mayan, Ch’ol and Tzeltal peoples were consulted.
During the consultative assemblies, representatives and Indigenous authorities discussed key issues such as the preservation of the environment, of the archeological zones and the natural resources, as well as the defense of the territories and especially the sacred ones.
The Mexican government also reported that a series of mechanisms have been proposed in order to provide the communities with equal opportunities regarding the economic, cultural and social benefits the Mayan Train will seek to generate.