▲ Diego Prieto, head of the INAH, explains to President López Obrador and the Governor of Quintana Roo, Mara Lezama, how the cave system will be preserved.Photo taken from the video posted on social media
Arturo Sanchez Jimenez
Newspaper La Jornada
Sunday January 8, 2023, p. 7
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador affirmed yesterday that the Mayan Train is a project that respects the environment and the archaeological heritage of the region
honestly, not demagogicand highlighted that the cave system known as Jaguar’s Claw will be preserved with a 290-meter cable-stayed bridge.
In the area where section 5 of the Mayan Train is being built, linking Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the railway will pass over flooded caves, underground rivers and the Jaguar Claw cenote. The original plan consisted of placing columns inside the caves that would support the railways, which provoked protests due to the risk it implied for the preservation of the cave system.
Now, the area will be circumvented with a 290-meter-long cable-stayed bridge that will clear a gap of around 180 meters for the train to pass over Jaguar’s Paw.
López Obrador published a video on social networks in which, accompanied by the governor of Quintana Roo, Mara Lezama, he appears listening to the director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Diego Prieto Hernández, who explained how the system will be preserved of caves.
Prieto Hernández highlighted that the INAH underwater archeology team is working in Garra de Jaguar, together with the construction consortium of section 5, whose works had been suspended in early 2022 after appeals filed by environmental groups.
The INAH director stated that the institute’s specialists are helping to
definitively avoid any contamination in the aquifer.
Prieto Hernández added that the teams of archaeologists have found Pleistocene fauna and
He explained that by agreement with President López Obrador and with the support of Governor Lezama, a road will be made in the southern area of Playa del Carmen, at the height of Puerto Aventuras, which will include four archaeological sites: Garra de Jaguar, Paamul II -which gathers more than 300 buildings–, the Cueva de las Manitas and the Cueva Ocho Balas.
The idea is that people can walk throughout this area on non-invasive trails and can recognize these eco-archaeological sites.
López Obrador added that the cable-stayed bridge
means the protection of underground rivers, caves, cenotes and he said that he will take care of himself
truly, not demagogically, the environment. He stressed that in the region there are
some who opposed the Mayan Train and who destroyed everything, made artificial underground rivers and that, as in Calica, they made gravel exploitations, in addition to the fact that within their lands
they even have archeological sites.
The Mayan Train is very different: it is modern communication, but taking care of the environment, our natural wealth and archaeological sites, which is what is worth the most, because it is what gives us identity.
Governor Lezama pointed out that
With the Mayan Train and this great construction (the bridge) many archaeological remains have been rediscovered. The Mayan Train is the spearhead for the whole world to know these natural wonders that our ancestors left us.