Two environmentalists in the region of Isthmus of Tehuantepec of Oaxaca have criticized the president’s decree that accelerates the government’s infrastructure projects and shields them from legal challenge and scrutiny.
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The decree was published in the official gazette this week this decree is designed to protect building infrastructure plans across various industries by claiming they are pertinent in the national interest of security.

Two leaders of environmental groups who spoke to the newspaper El Universal asserted they would not let the decree violate their rights.

The government is currently building an economic line through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a plan that involves the construction of a brand new highway, gas pipeline, the modernization of railroad that is in operation and improvements to the ports of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

The project is met with a great deal of opposition from indigenous and environmental rights groups.

Miguel Angel Garcia Aguirre, regional coordinator of the National Committee for the Defense and Conservation of Los Chimalapas Forest Aguirre said that the decree is similar to the language employed in the case of “repressive” former president Gustavo Diaz Ordaz who was in office at the time the military carried out the Tlatelolco massacre of students in Mexico City.

He warned that rights of individuals could be impacted by this decree that permits authorities from the federal government not have its projects put on hold through injunctions and different legal tools.

Betina Cruz Velazquez, a representative of the People’s Assembly for the Defense of Land and Territory in the Isthmus she said that the decree will eliminate the requirement for environmental impact studies to be conducted prior to construction begins on infrastructure projects. The decision to eliminate this requirement because of the speed-tracking feature that is in the decision would be in violation of Mexico’s constitution and the international treaties that Mexico is a party she claimed.

The decree violates indigenous rights, Cruz said, adding that the organization she represents is set to file a lawsuit against the decree.
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 The purpose, she explained is to stop “authoritarian policies” that threaten freedoms of the people.

The government is planning to invest over 10-billion dollars (US 465 millions) within the commerce corridor in the coming year. However, activists are worried that the spending of this funds won’t be transparent due to the effect in the decree of President Obama. A number of consultation processes regarding projects within the Isthmus aren’t completed yet, and there’s a concern that the government could continue to work on projects until they’re completed.