The Good, the Bad, and the Tren Maya

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Nancy DeRosa

Since the beginning of the Tren Maya project, announced just 4 years ago in September 2018 by Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, there has been continual controversy and rightfully so. This world class project would impact tourism to Mexico, making quick and easy the destinations of the traveler. So, with this in mind, this colossal project raised its possibilities and by middle 2019, the federal government affirmed that they had a plan. A plan that would tie everyone and everything together in the Yucatan Peninsula, including famous ruins, colonial cities, cenotes, beaches, together in one neat concise package. Fonatur under the direct watch of president AMLO, announced that Tren Maya at the beginning of 2019 would encircle the entire Yucatan Peninsula, occupying the jungle, sleepy pueblos, along roads, on existing railroad tracks, and from Tulum to Cancun under the high voltage towers in the area known as the Rivera Maya.

When we, the groups of very concerned citizens and local NGOs realized this plan would not be practical, we decided to inform the government and society that there was a much better and safer plan. We were not against the train at all, it is just that this path that they selected would damage our fragile ecosystem, and that we could present a better plan. By changing the route to the freeway of the already built but antique Hwy. 307, they could widen the freeway, add bridges, and reconstruct this outdated freeway at the same time, making it beautiful and modern that not only would the freeway be better for the motorists, but also better for the animals, and a train would work perfectly, right down the middle of this already built space.

This change to the route would avoid future damage to our unique landform of karst, understanding that all the rivers are underground and all flow to the sea. Our world-famous submerged cave systems and cenotes (collapses of the land) would be safe from new destruction. Our jungles and jungle life would be safe.

We immediately made 2 videos that outlined this reasoning and sent them to AMLO. We had conversations with the federal government officials. They listened to us and decided to make this most perfect change. This was a marvelous moment for us, the citizens who work and pay taxes from our hard-earned monies for the benefit of a better country.

This route would modernize federal highway 307, making it a modern advanced highway, safe and environmentally friendly. Our proposed train was going to also be socially friendly. With the multiple stops and stations, a train not only for the millions of visitors who come to enjoy our beaches and our jungle activities, but also a train for us, the local people, and citizens.

Everything was approved and the train works started. But by December of 2021 a group of some 10 Spanish owned hotel owners including the over-built Gran Bahia Principe, decided that they did not like this plan as it would change their entrance looks, and they put tremendous pressure on the federal government to move the train far back into the jungle. Their pressure won and the federal government stopped all 307 works, losing the 552 million pesos already invested and moved the project to deep in the jungle, just what the hoteliers wanted. The stops for the train and the people wanting to go to Akumal, or Puerto Aventuras, or Tulum, etc. would now need a new way to get from the train to the coastal zone? This makes no sense at all. All would be so very complicated. We are amazed that the government readily agreed to this change and to the loss of our taxpayers’ monies.

Their new proposed plan would be in the middle of the jungle and over the most delicate of areas of the world’s longest submerged cave systems, the unique and only landform of this kind on this planet. In fact, we were all devastated.

But we have not given up. Since January of this year, 2022, the fight has been rough. Amparos on our side and violation, impunity, and dictatorial actions on the side of the federal government grew. No democratic institutions have been respected. The Supreme Court of our land has been ignored.

We feel betrayed and raped of our rights. Our treasures of the Riviera Maya are being destroyed. The biggest disappointment has been the inaction, cowardness, complicity and the SILENCE of the State government and the SILENCE of the State Congress.

We the people of Quintana Roo, the workers, the voters, the financers, we had our hopes in our representatives, our congress, our government. They are silent. We feel disappointed and ashamed with our governor Carlos Joaquin. We feel disappointed and heartbroken with our State Congress. They have done nothing to help us, not saying any words, just silence of complicity.

The only legitimate authority bases its authority with immorality. What is their morality?

To remind everyone that our landform is unique to this planet. Our cenotes are world famous. Cenotes are collapsed pieces of land. This is the base of the train in the far jungle, on collapses of future lands. A train track on a collapsing land would only mean death to future peoples not to mention the plight of the innocent animals. What will this show to the world, where everything is instantly filmed and broadcasted with today’s technology.

We have submitted 6 amparos, 3 of them were already removed by the judge but all with appeals in the courts. 3 are still firm. All 6 are still valid.

AMLO has ignored the orders of the court and stepped on the democratic institutions of our country to say the train continues. Our hearts are broken. We the citizens of Quintana Roo with a soul are devastated with this pressurized change. Please we ask the Congress of Mexico, the purest of all law enforcers, please help us. You are our only hope.

*Cavediver since 1986

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