Judge Refuses to Budge on Stoppage of Tren Maya Project

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In yet another chapter in the continuing saga of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) come-hell-or-high-water Tren Maya tourist train project versus the Mexican legal system, a judge in the Mérida, Yucatán, reiterated on Monday, July 25, his previous order for the definitive suspension of works of the train’s Section 5 South.

On May 30, the federal judge ordered a definite suspension of all construction on Section 5 the train because it had not been shown to be environmental sound, but just hours later, AMLO “rescinded” that order by a questionable presidential decree.

Meanwhile, with López Obrador’s blessing and an irrational claim that the tourist project constitutes a matter of “national security,” the government’s National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) has plowed full-speed-ahead with the railway construction anyway.

The judge, Adrián Fernando Novelo Pérez, had ruled for a judicial suspension on work due to the fact that there had been no Environmental Impact Statement (MIA) presented in the project, which environmentalists have warned could eradicate up to 50 percent of all the region’s indigenous flora and fauna.

López Obrador has contentiously insisted that the train will be built despite those warnings.

The train is one of his three major pet projects, along with the Dos Bocas refinery and the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), both of which have also been riddled with controversy.

Section 5 of the Tren Maya project, which is slated to run from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo, has been particularly contentious since the underground cenote river network in that area is extremely fragile.

The judge said that all construction must be halted until an injunction presented by local residents to protect the cenotes is resolved.

López Obrador said on Monday that he intends to continue with the railway’s construction regardless of any court order.

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