Why is the Mayan Train accused of causing Ecocide and Ethnocide?

The Mayan Train is a rail transportation infrastructure project being built in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The project has a length of approximately 1,500 kilometers and will connect the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.

The Mayan Train has been criticized for its possible environmental and sociocultural impacts. In particular, it has been noted that the project could cause irreversible damage to the region's biodiversity, as well as to the rights of indigenous peoples.


Concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of the Mayan Train in one of the most biodiverse regions of Mexico. The construction of the railway could cause the degradation of local ecosystems, including rainforests, wetlands and coastal areas. This could have a negative impact on flora and fauna, including endangered species. Concerns have also been raised about waste management, water pollution and the destruction of natural habitats.


The Mayan Train project crosses lands inhabited by various indigenous communities, such as the Mayans. There are concerns that the construction and operation of the train could negatively affect these communities, including the loss of land, the degradation of their natural resources and the disruption of their traditional ways of life. This could be considered ethnocide if the actions associated with the project result in the cultural assimilation or disappearance of these indigenous communities.

The Mexican government has stated that the Mayan Train will be carried out in a sustainable manner and that affected indigenous communities will be consulted. However, indigenous organizations and environmental groups have expressed skepticism and have called for a more rigorous assessment of the project's environmental and social impacts.

Environmental impacts of the Mayan Train

The Mayan Train will cross a region with great biodiversity, which includes tropical jungles, cenotes, lagoons and underground rivers. The construction of the project could cause the loss of habitats for endangered species, as well as the contamination of natural resources.

Among the specific environmental impacts that have been identified are:

* Deforestation of forests and rainforests, which could lead to the loss of habitats for species such as jaguars, tapirs and howler monkeys.

* The contamination of cenotes, lagoons and underground rivers, which could be affected by the construction of roads, drainage and other elements of the project.

* The emission of greenhouse gases, which could contribute to climate change.

Sociocultural impacts of the Mayan Train

The Mayan Train could also have negative sociocultural impacts for the indigenous peoples who inhabit the region. In particular, it has been noted that the project could lead to the loss of land and natural resources, as well as the destruction of indigenous culture and traditions.

Among the specific sociocultural impacts that have been identified are:

* The displacement of indigenous communities, who could be forced to abandon their lands to make way for the construction of the project.

* The loss of property rights over lands and natural resources, which could be expropriated by the government for the project.

* The destruction of archaeological and historical sites, which are important to indigenous culture.

Conclusion on the Mayan Train project

The Mayan Train is an ambitious project that could have a significant impact on the Yucatan Peninsula. However, the project has also been criticized for its potential environmental and sociocultural impacts.

Un study A study carried out by the organization Greenpeace Mexico found that the Mayan Train could cause the loss of up to 100 trees, the contamination of 10 cenotes, and increased the region's vulnerability to natural disasters.

In 2023, an International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature ruled that the Mayan Train is an ecocidal and ethnocidal project. The Court considered that the project has caused irreversible damage to the biodiversity of the region, as well as to the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Mexican government has rejected accusations of ecocide and ethnocide. However, the project continues to be the subject of controversy and opposition.