AMLO promises to create 10 industrial parks on the Isthmus of Oaxaca


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the creation of the 10 industrial parks is so that in the Isthmus area there is a lot of employment and that people do not have the need to migrate.

During a meal of tlayuda, cheese and beans in a soup kitchen at the edge of the road l Istmo in Oaxaca, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador  announced the creation of 10 industrial parks “so that there are many jobs in the Isthmus.”

And with this, that the populations of the Mexican southeast “can be happy with their families and their cultures.”

This is what López Obrador said, after a dissertation on the dishes of the region, “we are going to create 10 industrial parks very soon so that there is a lot of employment in the Isthmus that people do not have the need to migrate.”That they can stay in the southeast, on the Isthmus, working so that they can be happy with their families and their cultures.”

After talking about Oaxacan food, he reported in a 4.58 minute video, circulated on his social networks that “we are doing a supervision because this is a great project is to unite the Pacific with the Atlantic, all the countries of Asia with the East Coast of the United States “.

Explaining his project, he specified the place where he was eating “here in this part of our country, where the two oceans meet because they are 300 kilometers from Salina Cruz to Coatzacoalcos. We are rehabilitating the two ports of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, rehabilitating the two refineries, Salina Cruz and Minatitlán. We are rehabilitating the Isthmus railway. “

During the recording, the head of the Federal Executive is seen, dressed in a traditional white shirt, sitting at a wooden table. 

At the beginning he gave the location where he ate: in San Juan Guichicovi, on the Isthmus of Oaxaca.

He himself described that location “in the corridor of the Isthmus on the edge of the highway, before reaching Matías Romero, it is on the trans-isthmus highway.”

He spoke about the existing languages ​​in the region, such as Mixe or Zapotec, among others.

He said that our country is a cultural mosaic but that all the cultural greatness of Mexico is concentrated in Oaxaca “I have the enormous happiness of knowing the 570 municipalities of Oaxaca and all the municipalities of Mexico.”

He spoke of Oaxacan food “look at this ripe, roasted banana, in Tabasco it is called a male banana, it is exquisite you can put cheese, fresh cheese, cream, I don’t want to whet your appetite …”.

It scares the flies and adds “I just ate some black beans, too, succulent, exquisite …”.

He points to the central part of the table, the center of his dishes “and this is the most important food in this region, and I think from Oaxaca , although it has a variety of stews, Oaxaca foods, this is the tlayuda, the queen of all the traditional dishes of the state “.

Pointing to the tlayuda served on a ceramic plate, he illustrated “this corn, also from the Isthmus, is special corn. The milpa does not grow because there are many winds, here is the Ventosa, so it is native, organic corn that grows little, but that It’s unique.”Nothing to do with transgenic corn that we are not going to allow to be grown in our country, because we have a great variety of native seeds, corn is originally from Mexico.”

San Blas Atempa, a Zapotec community in Oaxaca, approves the first Interoceanic industrial park

In a special way, he requested that the Monte Virgen area, in El Pitayal, not be affected by the construction of the Podebis

La Jornada - Aprueban construir un parque industrial en San Blas Atempa

Juchitán de Zaragoza.-Zapotec settlers of the municipality of San Blas Atempa, granted their consent to the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT), so that an industrial park, known as Polo de Development and Well-being. Right in the place known as El Pitayal.

During an assembly of a consultative nature, which was convened by the CIIT authorities and the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), citizens of the municipal seat and their communities, such as Puente Madera, Santa Rosa, Tierra Blanca, Monte Grande, Rancho Llano and Santa Rosa de Lima, expressed their agreement with the installation of the industrial park.

However, the assembly informed the municipal president, Antonino Morales Toledo and the leader of the commissariat of communal property, Manuel Ramírez Ortiz, left pending the compensation mechanism of the 340 hectares of land for the CIIT to occupy. 

Given this, the procedure authorized by the assembly of community members will be followed, in accordance with the law.

While the CIIT authorities offered the residents of the Blaseño municipality the possibility of supporting education with the construction of schools and a specialty hospital, as well as municipal infrastructure, a few kilometers away, some 50 residents of Puente Madera blocked the road. Transístmica, to request that the industrial park be installed on their lands.

During the assembly, the farmer Mariano de la Rosa Jiménez, a community member of Puente Madera, asked that the CIIT take into account the owners of the lands, so that they are included in the Pole of Development for Well-being, that they not only buy their land.

And in a special way, he requested that the Monte Virgen area, in El Pitayal, not be affected by the construction of the Podebis.

The site known as Monte Virgen, is a surface little greater than 7 thousand hectares that the Blasean ancestors left as a reserve for livestock. In that area there are mesquite, hachalalá, which are trees with medicinal properties to regulate glucose, blood pressure and act as anti-inflammatories. And also seasonal fruits such as pitaya.

Since March 14 of this year, the community members authorized their agrarian representatives to establish negotiations with the CIIT to learn about the projects of the industrial parks or Podebis and later that body and the INPI convened the information assembly last week as part of the consultation, the same of which the consultative assembly was held

Mexico’s Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor: Much more than a Pacific-Atlantic link

The Mexican government plans to turn the Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor into something more than just a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It seeks to boost the region’s economy with the construction of 10 industrial parks on the isthmus, among other projects. 

Besides the rehabilitation of a 300km rail line and the expansion of two ports – Salina Cruz in Oaxaca and Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz – the program involves highways, pipelines and telecommunications infrastructure.

The ambitious plan, one of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) priority projects, will also strive to attract those Mexican companies that use the Panama Canal, Héctor Ramírez Reyes, director of the agency in charge of the Tehuantepec isthmus program, told BNamericas. 

Ramírez says the corridor will transport passengers and freight across the isthmus in an estimated three hours, while rehabilitation works on the rail line began recently. 

BNamericas: We know the project consists of the construction of a 300km rail line for an electric train that will connect the Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz ports and the expansion of the ports. But, what else does the Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor program consist of?

Ramírez: The development program seeks to strengthen the regional economic roots to improve the wellbeing of the local population. It has, of course, an economic aspect. An important economic aspect for strengthening infrastructure and productive activity in all regional sectors. It has a very important social aspect, to alleviate the special situation of the regions that have been living in extreme poverty, which are mainly the peasant areas. It also has a very important environmental aspect, it’s a delicate and very environmentally damaged area. So, the idea is to promote projects that seek to strengthen natural capital, in the broadest sense, natural resources, and ecosystem biodiversity.

It has a very important project, which we call the backbone of the program, which is the integration of the logistics platform of the interoceanic corridor. And what we’re looking for here is to link three companies that worked separately – [the two ports and the railway] – and that want to be linked in a single company or in a single business orientation.

The restructuring of the world economy now means that a lot of production takes place in Asia and is consumed in developed countries. So, taking advantage of this situation, what we want to do is to use an interoceanic corridor, which is of strategic importance for the country, the world and Latin America and currently, only Panama has one. This step would allow the transportation of merchandise from one side to another.

BNamericas: AMLO decided to create a separate and independent agency to develop the corridor program. Why?

Ramírez: [The isthmus corridor] is one of the strategic projects of this administration and the president. So AMLO gives a personal and now weekly follow-up on the project, and the most comfortable organism was a type of agency that can only be achieved through a decentralized public body [OPD].

BNamericas: According to the government’s plans, the first stage of the program involves the construction of the rail line, the second entails the port expansions and the third stage will incorporate the local communities of Oaxaca and Veracruz into the project. What other infrastructure-related factors does the project include?

Ramírez: Perhaps the second major project is the integration of 10 development poles throughout the entire isthmus. The idea is that those 10 development poles are, in terms of land, acquired by the government or covered by the government … [and then] a special tax regime will be established so they can be tendered and turned into industrial parks … It will be some kind of association that will allow a private developer to put all the infrastructure and even be in charge of the administration of these development poles.

BNamericas: Development poles? The Maya train project also contemplates the construction of ‘development poles’, but the national tourism board Fonatur defines them as train stations with characteristics that will trigger economic development. How do the isthmus developers define the term development poles?

Ramírez: Here, a development pole is the way in which we try to boost the productive activity that is paralyzed, especially in the interior of the Tehuantepec isthmus. In the northern part, the entire enclave is linked to the oil and gas industry. In Salina Cruz, there is nothing but the refinery, it was not able to grow as Coatzacoalcos [in Veracruz state] did, but half of the isthmus is practically dead in productive activity. The industrial sector is a little diversified, very rudimentary and [more than 90%] are small- and medium-sized enterprises with very low productivity. So the idea is to attract private capital, to be able to establish clusters linked on one hand to agro-industrial activity … livestock and agriculture, which are powerful in some of those regions. But nevertheless, there’s no capacity for transformation and incorporation of added value. The idea is to make development poles linked to agro-industrial activity, to hydrocarbon activity – especially the southern part of Salina Cruz – and even to see the possibility of developing other clusters that have no previous background in the region such as the aeronautical industry in Querétaro and the automotive industry in Aguascalientes.

We call them development poles and avoid the term industrial parks because they have a developmental connotation of another nature. Productive chains for micro, small and medium enterprises in the region will be promoted.

BNamericas: In the first part of the 2020-24 national infrastructure plan, private sector resources were allocated for two projects: 4bn pesos [about US$200mn] for the expansion of the Coatzacoalcos-Salina Cruz highway and 2bn pesos for expansion and modernization works at the Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos ports. What other investments are contemplated or guaranteed?

Ramírez: Right now what is estimated and budgeted in the country’s 2020 budget is 3bn pesos for the modernization of the road and reconditioning of the ports. That has been committed and even tendered … The entire rail track will be replaced, all the stations are going to be modernized, the passenger service – a requirement that the population made of the president – is going to be restored because they miss it because there are many villages that were born alongside the railway throughout the entire isthmus. It’s what they demanded the president do and the idea is to restore the passenger transport service, but the fundamental idea is to focus on freight transportation. Otherwise, we’re just preparing the business plan. I cannot comment exactly on the expected investment levels because we’re still working on the development plan and the strategic part for the development poles.

There is a pre-investment of 3bn pesos for the acquisition of land that’s going to be carried out this year … and in the next one too. But much of the substantive part is going to come from private investment that we’ll attract to the region. So, there are various sources of financing.

BNamericas: So the train will be adapted to transport passengers too?

Ramírez: Yes, especially for populations that live across the isthmus. For a long time, and before the last century, the railroad had a lot of movement and … it was the circulatory system of the local economy and it has been that way for more than 100 years. 

BNamericas: What about highway projects?

There is a whole approach to develop a first-level road system, but also the entire feeder system of these large roads, and above all the development of municipal road access and many populations that are marginalized and of which there’s no way to communicate there. This will be in charge of [the ministry of communications and transportation, SCT], all road and road development, of which this program is part of the broader development.

BNamericas: And who oversees the expansion of the ports? The decentralized organism of the isthmus?

Ramírez: In mid-2019, the president signed a decree to transfer the jurisdiction of the two ports, Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, and the rail line [from SCT to the Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor OPD]. They are already part of the agency’s assets now. 

First on the agenda is the integration of the corridor as a business unit, the linking of three companies that operated separately and that each one responded to their own business plans instead of a solid one, which we’re already working on … The works that are going to be developed are meant to adapt [the three companies] to this new business model at the interoceanic corridor and to complete storage units for vessels that do not exist as of now. The land is already in place and there is the probability that we award the service [to other companies] as industrial parks. Tenders will be launched in such a way that there are companies that can develop the infrastructure for the container transport service and that can even offer the transport service themselves. But those are things that are in the process of selection and the idea is to make that company able to offer a competitive service in time in cost and quality of service.

BNamericas: Where do you see a market for this business model?

Ramírez: We want to start pulling surplus cargo from Panama. We have information that in a short time Panama [Canal] will become saturated again despite the expansion works that they began in 2014 and, on the other hand, we have information that a large part of the clients of the canal are Mexican companies. [Ships have to travel 2,000 miles down] to Panama and back up to the east coast of the United States. There are conditions that allow us to be very optimistic about the possibilities of profitability and value generation that this region has and that has not yet been exploited. There’s not a single previous government that has not had an isthmus development program in mind, but they never decided to develop it until now. It’s the first formal attempt that has already started, it started last year with the first investments and will be reinforced this year and next year … [In 2020, the agency] will be dedicated to infrastructure construction with the idea of starting to operate the interoceanic corridor in 1Q21. 

BNamericas: What studies have been completed and which studies are missing?

Ramírez: Well, we started working on this project in 2016. The first diagnoses we made in the region, the first strategic planning works, we made even outside the government apparatus, before joining this office. After that, there are two fundamental studies. A study is being done with Surbana Jurong, a Singapore company, to carry out the conceptual and strategic plans for the interoceanic corridor. The other study uses funds from the Latin American development bank CAF for all aspects regarding industrial development … I think they are the fundamental studies.

BNamericas: The first set of tenders to rehabilitate the rail line was awarded to five companies on February 4. When will these works end and what bids are left to launch?

Ramírez: We expect works to begin and finish the railroad this year so that we can begin service in [2021], and that will coincide with the expansion of the ports. The [construction] outlook for this year will take place in the short term. We’re going to change of track, modernize the train facilities and then continue the port expansions, which are already underway, both in Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz.


The Oaxaca Post