Calgary-based CPKC railway pursues the Corredor Interoceánico megaproject in Mexico
Photo: CPKC executives, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, US officials and the Mexican military discuss the rail corridor, May 2023.
The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) company, rebranded as CPKC this past April, is involved in a megaproject variously called the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Trans-Isthmus Corridor, and the Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor.
In Spanish it is known as Corredor Interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec (CIIT).
Railway Age reports:
“Under the supervision of Mexico’s Secretariat of the Navy, the 188-mile (303 km) CIIT is being built to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with a mixed-used (freight and passenger) railroad crossing the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca on mostly long-neglected right-of-way. The project also includes modernization and growth of the ports at Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, and of the Minatitlán and Salina Cruz oil refineries in southern Mexico. It also plans to attract private investment through creation of 10 industrial parks in the Isthmus area.”
Mexico Business News also adds:
“Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) started the feasibility study for a passenger train to connect Mexico City and Queretaro, two important industrial and business poles in the Central-Bajio region. During a conference, Oscar del Cueto, President, CPKC, reported that the company will start the economic feasibility study, which is expected to be delivered in 1H24 [the first quarter of 2024]. Currently, CPKC holds the track concession for cargo operations, but not for passenger transport.”
And El Economista notes:
“Canadian Pacific Kansas City, he added, committed to deliver the study to the current federal government (2018-2024), in order to deliver a portfolio of projects to the new administration (2024-2030). The document will also study the feasibility of it being a public, private or shared investment.”
Test run on September 17
The CIIT is expected to undergo a “supervised test run” on September 17.
According to PasantesDF: “This locomotive with 10 hoppers with cement and two tanks with dangerous material (hydrofluoric acid), is the first machine that travels the tracks from Veracruz to Oaxaca.”
Human rights concerns
Last month, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project participated in a Civilian Observation Mission on the CIIT.
Video: A representative of PBI-Mexico (in green vest) speaks (starting at 35:26) at the observation mission media conference, July 27.
Significantly, Proceso reported: “During its three-day tour [July 25-27], the Civilian Observation Mission recorded human rights violations, framed in the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus megaproject, against members of indigenous peoples and communities, most of which involve the Navy and the National Guard.”
La Jornada has further reported: “The most worrying thing, [the civilian observation mission] said, is that there has been an increase in attacks this year and the integrity of defenders who resist this mega-project is at risk.”
The joint statement from the observation mission can be read here.
It notes: “Among the authorities responsible for the human rights violations identified during the mission are the National Guard, the Navy, the Sedena [the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense], [and] the State Police…”
The Canadian government
On May 20, Mexican Secretary of Economy Raquel Buenrostro met with Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, along with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, in Washington, DC to promote the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Photo: Buenrostro, Champagne, Ng, Raimondo.
We continue to follow this with concern.
Further reading: Extension of The National Dream railway has implications for Indigenous land defenders opposing megaproject in Mexico (July 30, 2023).