The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and two indigenous organizations have called the consultation process on the federal government’s Maya Train project “a sham” in a strongly-worded statement.
“The evil federal government pretended to consult the [indigenous] people” of the five southeastern states through which the railroad will run but is in fact “imposing” the “poorly-named” Maya Train project on them, said the EZLN, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Government Council (CIG).
Issued at the conclusion of the fourth national assembly of the CNI and CGI in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, last week, the statement said the government’s objective is to “hand over indigenous territory to large industrial and touristic capital.”
The consultation – or “vulgar deceit” – overrides “our collective will, ignoring and offending our ways of organization and decision-making,” the groups said.
The month-long process, which concluded on December 15 with a vote that found 92.3% support for the 120-billion-peso (US $6.3-billion) rail project, was also denounced by the Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ONU-DH, which said that it failed to meet all international human rights standards.
The Secretariat of Foreign Affairs said it would review the observations of the ONU-DH but noted that other United Nations agencies collaborated on the consultation process.
A federal lawmaker for the Democratic Revolution Party called the consultation a “farce,” asserting that it lacked legal legitimacy and had limited participation.
Claudia Reyes Montiel also said that President López Obrador had made his mind up about the project before the vote was held, recalling that during a visit to Campeche he declared that it would go ahead regardless of “rain, thunder or lightning.”
The EZLN, CNI and CIG also took aim at all of the government’s “mega-projects of death” (such as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec trade corridor), which seek to “reconfigure our country in order to leave it at the disposal of multinational capital.”
“. . . To advance in its war, the evil government is betting on dismantling the community fabric [by] encouraging internal conflicts,” the groups said, charging also that the government is selling off the livelihoods of future generations for the “million-dollar benefit of a few crooked people.”
“. . . We will resist and fight because we are alive . . . even though we are afraid of ceasing to exist as we are now . . .”
The Zapatistas, best known for their uprising in Chiapas in January 1994, have had a testy relationship with López Obrador over the years and made it clear from the start of his presidency that they would oppose his “destructive projects.”