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Fonatur director Varela at the launch of the tender process. Fonatur director Varela at the launch of the tender process.

AMLO defends start of Maya Train tender process without finishing consultation

President says train's opponents never questioned the harmful policies of previous governments

Starting the bidding process on the Maya Train project is valid even though the consultation of indigenous communities has not been completed, President López Obrador said today.

Replying to questions after the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur) announced bidding conditions and specifications yesterday, the president said he felt confident that the indigenous communities wanted the project to proceed.

“All of the legal proceedings are being followed in each case, and where the consultation is needed it will be carried out. It’s valid [to begin the tender process] because the majority of the people in the indigenous communities support this plan.

“Of course, there’s some dissent, and it should be respected, but the majority decides in a democracy; the minorities are respected, but it’s the majority that gets the chance to decide in the end. This is what is being done.”

López Obrador said the consultation on the project’s fate will be carried out according to the law. Responding to another frequent criticism of the project, he charged that those who opposed the Maya Train on the grounds of environmental degradation had been silent during decades of “neoliberal economic policies” that had also harmed the environment.

“Where did all these environmentalists come from? When did they oppose, for example, the construction of the airport on Lake Texcoco, which meant the destruction of Lake Nabor Carrillo? Did any of you read reports of anyone against it in the elitist media? Nothing.”

He added that the new administration’s transparency has opened it to disingenuous attacks from critics.

“But now that we’re the government and we have different positions and everything is, I repeat, legitimate, they all start in: have you completed the consultation? Since when have the conservatives defended indigenous communities?

“The truth of it is that they’re all very racist and classist, but they do have the right to express themselves, just as we have the right to communicate our points of view.”

Fonatur legal director Alejandro Varela said on Tuesday that the consultation of indigenous communities on the Yucatán peninsula should be carried out in September. He said the process was complicated by the region’s linguistic diversity.

“We must make sure they understand the project.”

He said publishing bidding specifications is the first stage of the project, in which as many as 4,000 questions are expected from prospective bidders.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Financiero (sp)

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