TULUM, Quintana Roo – In a bid to halt the construction of Section 5 of the controversial Tren Maya project, civil organization Sélvame del Tren announced on Tuesday its intention to present the necessary legal resources before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN). This move comes after a judge rejected their plea for a definitive suspension against the ongoing construction.
“From Sélvame, we reiterate that environmental laws continue to be violated, and the so-called Tren Maya megaproject is causing the greatest ecocide in Mexico’s history. See you in the SCJN!” expressed the collective on their social media platforms.
Javier May, the Director of the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), took to Twitter to celebrate the judge’s denial of the definitive suspension. Although the suspension was approved on June 23, it was made public only yesterday.
“They wanted to once again stop the work on Section 5, but once again, we have demonstrated that the Tren Maya is legal and does not harm the environment. That is why the amparo 2878/2022 suspension was denied, and the work continues,” he wrote.
On February 8, “Sélvame del Tren” claimed that the First District Judge of Yucatán, Adrián Pérez Novelo, had granted a definitive suspension against the construction of Section 5 of the Tren Maya, which stretches from Cancun to Tulum. However, it appears that this ruling has been modified.
On June 23, Judge Novelo ruled that “there is no proof of a suspensional interest (through a legitimate interest) since it is in no way demonstrated that the removal of vegetation due to the aforementioned project… given that the fourth requirement for admissibility has not been satisfied, it is pointless to analyze the various requirements established for granting the requested suspension. Therefore, the requested provisional suspension is denied.”
Sélvame del Tren stated in a press release that “an area cannot be impacted without first conducting an environmental impact assessment, and deforestation cannot take place without prior change of land use.” They alleged that these procedures were not followed in the train project, as clearance work commenced before the necessary permits were obtained.
“The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources authorized environmental impact assessments after the area had already been impacted, which did not reflect the reality of Section 5. Judge Novelo, whose functions do not include verifying whether Semarnat is performing its duties correctly, lifts the definitive suspensions granted due to the absence of this document, considering the authorizations granted by this ministry,” the organization accused.
They clarified that Semarnat authorized the requested changes in land use by Fonatur when the section had already been unlawfully cleared, and as a result, they will take the case to the Supreme Court.
“Hence, the legal process continues, and the amparos [legal protections] remain in force. We face legal maneuverings from the opposing parties, which, by delaying the confrontation with the law, continue with the imposed destruction in the Quintana Roo jungle. There are more suspensions and ongoing complaints across all sections of this project. By rejecting the proposed alternatives, it was forcibly implemented against the law, thereby undermining the biocultural prosperity of all the regions it traverses,” the press release stated.
Furthermore, they accused state officials of fearing reprisals from the federal government. “We will continue documenting the destruction perpetrated in the aquifer, cenotes, and Mayan jungle, even though no notary public from the state of Quintana Roo wants to visit Section 5 to verify the damages for fear of confronting the government. We will seek alternatives to provide the judge with legally binding evidence,” they concluded.