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Judge orders suspension to Section 1 of the Maya Train

A Judge of the Second District of Amparo and Federal Criminal Trials of the state of Chiapas ruled in favor of the Ch’ol de Palenque, Salto de Agua and Ocosingo communities, ordering the definitive suspension of section 1 of the Maya Train. This legal ruling will remain in effect until the national health crisis caused by the coronavirus passes.

The first section of the construction of the megaproject of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government runs from Palenque to Escárcega.

Since May 7, members of different native communities have filed an injunction against the head of the federal executive, Jorge Alcocer Varela, head of the Ministry of Health ( SSa ) and Milardy Douglas Rogelio Jiménez Pons Gómez , director-general of the National Fund Tourism Promotion (Fonatur).

The amparo alleges a systemic violation to the detriment of their legitimate right to health and a decent life; as well as environmental effects and their rights as indigenous communities in Mexico.

The same day that the amparo was filed, the Second District Judge of Amparo and Federal Criminal Trials of the state approved the provisional suspension, since continuing with the works of the megaproject puts the health of the Ch’ol communities at risk and violates their rights to a healthy environment . The first provisional suspension was revoked by the magistrates of the Collegiate Court in Administrative Matters based in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; however, after a hearing, it was held in favor of the Ch’ol community.

Another objection to the megaproject that occurred in June was that it did not have the Environmental Impact Statement, a requirement to start new works since 1988. The National Fund for Tourism Promotion reported that, because it is a maintenance work for the rehabilitation and improvement of existing railway sections for the creation of the Maya Train, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) granted an environmental impact exemption to the works that started this month.

Fonatur argued that the original construction of the roads occurred before the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) came into force in 1988, which regulates buildings that may affect the balance of any ecosystem. To determine the impact, the State must apply a test called the Environmental Impact Manifestation (MIA), this is “an instrument of environmental policy that aims to prevent, mitigate and restore damage to the environment, as well as the regulation of works or activities to avoid or reduce its negative effects on the environment and on human health ”.

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