Despite court ruling, Mexico’s president decrees pet projects matters of 'national security'

By Kendal Blust
Published: Friday, May 19, 2023 - 4:19pm
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Mexico’s president has again decreed that some of his infrastructure projects are issues of national security - exempting them from certain transparency and permitting requirements.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s new decree came just hours after Mexico’s Supreme court invalidated his previous attempt to categorize some of his priority projects as national security matters. In an 8-3 vote, the justices ruled that the first decree was overly vague and sweeping, and would unduly inhibit access to public information.

Chief among the projects López Obrador wants to designate as vital to national security is the controversial Maya train. The president has attempted to rush through the project- which will connect key tourist sites in the Yucatan Peninsula, including ruins and beaches. But scientists and environmental activists say it will damage critical wildlife habitat and fragile underground caves, known as cenotes.

López Obrador has clashed with the court over several issues, and earlier this week said he supports a referendum vote to determine whether justices should be elected. They are currently approved by the Senate from a list of candidates selected by the president. Mexico's supreme court justices serve 15 year terms.

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