Sunday, March 3, 2024

Railroad’s solution to rail blockades: enforce the law and jail protesters

The solution to railway blockades that disrupt the movement of goods is to enforce the law, suggests the president of Kansas City Southern of México.

José Zozaya said allocating the necessary personnel and jailing protesters who block the rails are the way to get freight moving again.

“We have filed complaints and believe [the protesters] will be held responsible and some may go to jail. Once this happens, I’m sure that they’ll stop going out to block the tracks,” he said.

The federal penal code stipulates a jail sentence ranging from 15 days to two years for anyone blocking railways without inflicting damage. That sentence can be as long as five years if there is damage to the tracks.

Zozaya’s comment came after 10-15 members of the CNTE teachers’ union blocked the tracks in the port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, for several days last week, an action which disrupted the movement of around 20 trains.

The company filed complaints against the protesters with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR).

The Nuevo León Chamber of Industrial Transformation (Caintra) called for authorities to find a solution to the problem, stating that blockades are difficult to deal with even when companies have prior warning of them.

“Caintra is asking for support and is joining the petition with other chambers to resolve a problem that gravely impacts logistics and the industrial sector of Mexico,” said institutional relations director Jesús Francisco López.

The blockade that paralyzed rail traffic in the port was lifted late last week after Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo promised to grant the teachers 2.24 million pesos (US $113,000) to settle outstanding debts with them.

Zozaya said investigations should still be carried out despite the negotiations.

“If the negotiations arrive at a happy ending, we can consider withdrawing the complaints . . . but in the interim, whoever blocks railways should go to jail,” he said.

Sources: El Financiero (sp), Reforma (sp)

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