On the 8th of the Caravan the South Resists arrived in the city of Felipe Carillo Puerto where we marched through the streets of the city making visible the problems caused by the Mayan Train project.
After the march, we leave for Xpujil, Campeche, however, we stop at the stop on the cruise to Laguna Ocom.
As soon as we arrive, the panorama is bleak. In this place, section 6 of the misnamed Mayan Train has already taken the lives of thousands of trees; cedars and mahoganies have been felled without any regard for all that is lost with each tree that is felled. Home to hundreds of species, it has been ripped from the ground in order to hand over these lands to American, Canadian, and German companies.
The Mayan jungle, once full of life, flora and fauna, is now a space split in half where there are only stones and all the trees have been killed. There where life has been destroyed, the heat does not let up, the drought is felt in the environment, the dust is felt floating in the air.
Although photographs of this crime have been seen on the internet, being in the midst of destruction and death is painful for everyone present. The person responsible for this ecocide has a name: Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Comrade Angel Sulub, from the Mayan community of Noj Kaj Santa Cruz Xáalam Naj K’ampokolche’, talks about what this disaster means for his people, the Mayan people who have inhabited and defended this jungle for millennia:
“With a lot of courage, with a lot of rage in the middle of a sacred territory, the jungle that our ancestors have bequeathed to us, a territory for which our grandfathers and grandmothers fought to care for and guarantee that we and their granddaughters can enjoy the well-being that gives us the territory. This Mayan jungle is being stripped, this Mayan jungle is being brutally murdered. Here where we are there were cedars, mahogany, chicozapotes, here the deer walked, here the jaguars walked. Right now we are looking at a desolate place.
We are seeing the beginning of what they, those from above, want, looting, the most voracious extractivism of the towns. Sacred waters pass through this territory, coming from the state of Campeche and going to the coast. We are not only seeing the devastation of these ecosystems, we are seeing the destruction of the way of life of the peoples.”
Two compañeras perform a ritual in this place of destruction, they offer water and honey to the wounded earth, they tell Mother Earth to resist, that we are here, and that we feel her pain.
A model of destruction and death
At the site of the devastation, we spoke with Sergio Madrid and Sara Cuervo from the Mexican Civil Forestry Council, about the destruction of the Mayan jungle in the Yucatan Peninsula as a result of the advance of the Mayan Train project.
Sergio Madrid and Sara Cuervo explain that this region and the Yucatan peninsula is one of the regions with the largest forest area in the country along with Chiapas, and the second most important forest system in America recognized as the Selva Maya. They also talk about the variety of endemic species in this region such as the jaguar, the tapir and many others.
Sergio Madrid talks about how the model of extractivist tourism, environmental and social destruction of Cancun wants to be replicated throughout the Peninsula.
“That model has been about taking away people’s access to the beach, the territory has been taken over by large tourism capitals, what FONATUR wants is to carry out this scheme of large investment by businessmen, and the government is the one that opens the way so that these entrepreneurs can enter. The environment, the organization in defense of the territory, human rights, are a hindrance to this scheme.”
Sara Cuervo also talks about the need to not only see the terrible devastation of the train tracks, but also all the ecocide in other areas, such as the filling of cenotes and waterholes. Also look at the violence that has been provoked from the implementation of this project and that has been generated with the arrival of the Army and National Guard to the places where the project is going to be built.
“Despite more than 500 years of resistance, we are living in a historic moment of seeing communities traversed by a genocidal and ecocidal project. There is terror and fear due to militarization and the arrival of these bodies; there is also this ignorance of everything that is being woven with this project, and how it is connected to the Interoceanic corridor and all the geopolitical interest in the region.”
Sergio Madrid talks specifically about the deforestation process, and about the lack of public policies of the Mexican State to address and stop deforestation in the states of Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula. On the other hand, the Government of Mexico has encouraged this massive deforestation by not implementing any type of environmental regulation to cut down thousands of hectares and plant monocultures such as sugar cane, sorghum, and soybeans in an agro-industrial manner or under the Sembrando clientelist and assistance project. Vida, which has been commented during the Caravan as one of the main promoters of community division.
Finally, Sara Cuervo talks about the arrival of other exploitative industries in the region along with the arrival of the Mayan Train, including real estate for luxury constructions and tourism projects for foreigners with high purchasing power, trafficking in women and childhoods, as has happened in the Cancun area and in other areas impacted by mega-projects of death.
Before leaving, we took a picture on a pile of stones and construction material, with our fists raised, the Caravan of the South resists, shouts, The Jungle is Not for Sale, it is Loved and Defended!
We leave with a sore heart from seeing the cruelest form of murderous and voracious capitalism, but our hearts are also full of rage, promising Mother Earth to fight to defend her, to defend ourselves, today more than ever we need to understand that this fight is for the life.