Indigenous peoples of Yucatán protest against Mayan Train

A group of indigenous leaders demanded that they be consulted for the construction of major projects

44 peoples of Yucatán ask to be consulted about Mayan Train project
Brandishing signs and banners, they headed towards the main square of Mérida, where they read their stance out loud, in both Mayan and Spanish - Photo: Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
English 21/11/2018 15:21 Yazmín Rodríguez / Corresponsal Mexico City Actualizada 15:34

Around 44 representatives from indigenous peoples in Yucatán protested to demand that they be consulted for the construction of major infrastructure projects including the Mayan Train, arguing that they have not been consulted on the matter.

A group of approximately 200 people from different municipalities of Yucatán, accompanied by the civic group Indignación A.C. and other members from the civil society coming from the neighborhoods of La Mejorada, San Juan, Santa Lucía, and Santiago gathered for the protest.

Brandishing signs and banners, they headed towards the main square of Mérida, where they read their stance out loud in both Mayan and Spanish. Their protest was addressed to all three levels of government.

In their manifesto, they considered that their rights as members of indigenous peoples had been violated, since they have not been taken into account for the approval of major projects in their communities.

They regretted that public referendums in indigenous territories had been made “arbitrarily and in bad faith.” They also stated that the necessary information for the so-called democratic mechanisms had not been provided. Furthermore, they demanded the inclusion of local villagers to have the advantages and/or disadvantages of the projects explained to them so that they may assess whether or not, and in what way, their communities may benefit from it.

“The Mayan Train is one of the many projects that will be subject to referendum, though there are also wind power and photovoltaic projects we need to discuss,” claimed Martha Capetillo Pasos, member of the Indignación team in Yucatán.

The activist pointed out that, in many occasions, the lands of indigenous communities are taken away whenever these projects are undertaken, through purchase transactions that offer unfair conditions for landowners.

Last weekend, Mayan groups from Campeche filed complaints in which they declared themselves against the Mayan Train project if the ethnic groups living in the territory in which the railway will be built are not consulted or provided with detailed information on its environmental and territorial impact.

The indigenous leaders felt that companies involved in the construction of the train only wanted to enrich themselves at the expense of the territory and its people.
 

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