Saturday, December 2, 2023

Defense department set to argue that Santa Lucía airport is in ‘national interest’

The defense department was to argue in court Tuesday that injunctions against the construction of the new airport at the Santa Lucia Air Force Base were contrary “to the national interest,” but the hearing has been postponed.

The judge cancelled the hearing without setting a new date.

The collective #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste), which has requested over 100 injunctions to stop construction of the airport, announced yesterday it was aware that the government intended to apply to overturn the injunctions by arguing that the base and its facilities are strategic installations.

The collective argued that the military airport at Santa Lucía continues to operate normally in spite of the orders halting work on the new airport.

“The only thing the court suspended was the construction of the Santa Lucía international airport until the proceedings are over, and that suspension doesn’t affect national security, or the public interest, or public order.”

The collective added that a ruling in the government’s favor would set a “worrying precedent.”

“It would open the door to future appeals to ‘national security’ and public order to deny citizens their right to seek injunctions,” they said.

In conversations with the newspaper El Financiero, legal experts questioned the federal government’s legal strategy.

Rogelio Rodríguez, professor of aerospace law at the National Autonomous University, said the government’s argument was “not exact,” noting that the injunctions only prevent the construction of a civil airport, not the expansion of the military base.

“Neither the president, nor the head of the armed forces, nor the national defense secretary is being prevented from expanding the Santa Lucía military base,” said Rodríguez.

However, the experts agreed that there is a possibility the court will rule in the government’s favor, lifting the suspension on construction. But if that happens, #NoMásDerroches will have a chance to appeal the ruling, according to constitutional lawyer Lot Bautista.

“It’s not an immediate decision,” said Bautista. “After the request to modify the suspension, the judge has to notify the other side in order to guarantee the right to a hearing, and then the judge will make a ruling. It’s like a mini-trial that is part of the injunction proceedings, and it lasts about a month. But after the ruling, there can be an appeal.”

The Santa Lucía airport is part of a federal government plan to relieve pressure on the Mexico City airport and replaces the previous government’s plan for a new airport at Texcoco.

Source: El Financiero (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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