Photo: Maksim Shutov/Unsplash


A federal court on Monday, March 8, ordered the suspension of the environmental construction permit for the first three segments of one of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) pet vanity megaprojects, the Tren Maya tourist train, which would cut across the Yucatan Peninsula.

The federal court suspended all construction of the 1.500-kilometer railway from Palenque, Chiapas, to Izamal, Yucatán.

In an unappealable ruling, the court annulled indefinitely the permit that had been issued by Mexico’s Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat (Semarnat) to the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) in response to an environmental impact statement that allowed changing the use of 800 hectares of rain forests along 635 kilometers in 25 municipalities in Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco and Yucatan.

Residents of the four Yucatan Peninsula states had appealed to the federal court to void the permit that had been issued by a lower court two weeks earlier, claiming that it would harm the environment.

“The suspension entails the cessation of all work covered by the authorization, which implies deforestation and putting at risk native animal and plant species,” the federal court ruled.

Fonatur had already signed contracts with construction companies to build sections one to three, worth 49 billion pesos.

The determination was approved unanimously by the three magistrates of the court.

Fonatur asked the court to clarify the sentence, since apparently it is not clear whether it should stop all the works, or just some.

This is the only case in which a federal court has granted a suspension, since it has revoked three others that had been granted by various lower courts.

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