There is nothing “Mayan” about Mexico’s Mayan Train

by Alexander Gorski, & Pedro Uc Be

IMAGE/Duck Duck Go

Mexican president AMLO’s pursuit of megaprojects will benefit the tourism and extractivist industries, but not local people, explains Mayan activist Pedro Uc Be.

When Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) assumed the Mexican presidency on December 1, 2018, he promised the country a transformation and an end to the neoliberal politics that have led to the severe, multifaceted crisis Mexican society is facing today. In order to realize his promise of economic and social progress, AMLO and his administration have developed an infrastructure policy that focuses on so-called megaprojects: large-scale, complex ventures that would restructure whole regions of Mexico in order to open them to the national and international market and integrate the local populations into the capitalist economy.

Three projects stand out in particular:

Firstly, the Tren Maya, a railway line of more than 1,500 kilometers that is intended to make the impoverished south-eastern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo accessible to mass tourism.

Secondly, the Corredor Transístmico, a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, through the development of train lines, logistics centers and ports, which is supposed make Mexico a hub of international trade.

And third, the Proyecto Integral Morelos, which consists of various heat and natural gas plants and is intended to supply the industrial corridor of Central Mexico with energy.

While international corporations applaud these policies, left-wing Indigenous organizations like the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI) and the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) heavily oppose them, since they fear the destruction of natural resources and do not see any benefits for the populations affected.

About all this, and more, ROAR Magazine spoke to Pedro Uc Be, a Mayan poet and activist, who lives in the southeastern state of Yucatán and forms part of the Indigenous organization Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch’ Xíinbal’ and is a delegate to the CNI. He has been active in the defense of Indigenous territories for several decades.

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