GUERRERO: Suspension of La Parota Hydroelectric Dam Project

September 28, 2007

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On the 14th of September a federal judge from Acapulco decided in favor of the indefinite suspension of work on the hydroelectric dam project La Parota and ordered the Federal Commission on Electricity (CFE) to stop construction. The District 8 Court in Guerrero conceded an appeal to the inhabitants of Cacahuatepec halting the work that was initiated in June of 2005. This project is considered one of the most important of Vicente Fox’s government (2000-2006). Since the beginning of construction four years ago, environmentalists and non-governmental organizations have denounced the many environmental risks to the waters of the Papagayo River and the biodiversity within the zone, as well as, the irreparable damage to the constitutional right to a healthy environment.

The inhabitants opposed to the mega-project, organized within the Council of Collective Landholders and Communities Opposed to La Parota (CECOP) in the region have argued that the construction of the dam will provoke the displacement of 25,000 people and flood 17,300 hectares of land. It is worth remembering that the resistance against La Parota dam project has cost the lives of three rural farmers who were assassinated during a confrontation to impede its construction.

The lawyer for the Mexican Center of Environmental Rights (CEMDA), Xavier Martínez Esponda, indicated that the provisional suspension of the hydroelectric dam project sets a precedent in Mexico now that the protection of the environment has been privileged over a project around infrastructure, as well as, permitted the protection of public interest.



Six Prisoners from Montes Azules Released

September 28, 2007

On the afternoon of September 24th the six men detained during the forced eviction that took place in Montes Azules were released from prison according to the press bulletin of the Chiapas State Government. The penal actions were halted in regards to the crimes for which they were accused (robbery and environmental destruction).

On the 18th of October the men were detained during an operation to evict the communities of El Buen Samaritano and Nuevo Salvador Allende. Their families, 33 women and children, are currently in Bodega de ARIC (Rural Association of Collective Interest) in the municipality of Ocosingo.


Evicted indigenous communities are temporarily relocated to Ocosingo

September 8, 2007

Background information

On Saturday the 18th of August 2007, the Federal Government of Mexico and the State Government of Chiapas, in a coordinated military and police operation, forcibly evicted 39 indigenous tseltal inhabitants (including 26 children) of the communities Nuevo San Manuel (also known as Nuevo Salvador Allende) and Buen Samaritano, both belonging to the muncipality of Ocosingo, located within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Buen Samaritano has existed for 12 years and the settlement of Nuevo San Manuel for at least 8 years.

According to testimonies from the displaced families, at around 8am several helicopters arrived, from which armed agents were lowered, who began to force people out of their homes in a violent manner without previous warning, presentation of any documents, or any explanations. They simply made the families climb into the helicopter without letting them take any of their belongings or disclosing where they were being taken. Six men have been detained in “El Amate” prison (CERESO 14), located more than four hours away, accused of attacks against state ecological property and robbery.

The relocation

On 6 September, the evicted families, initially hosted in a former brothel near a garbage dump in the outsides of the municipality of La Trinitaria, were temporarily relocated to Ocosingo. The designated place is a shed, normally used as a warehouse, belonging to the ARIC (Indingenous and Farmers Rural Association). At the moment of the relocation, the shed did not have electricity, nor did it have adecuate toilets. Moreover, it is a very humid place (rain water drips from the roof) that does not allow for a minimum level of privacy for the families.

SIPAZ accompanied the relocation and keeps monitoring the situation.

 

Photos of the relocation

Click here for a slideshow

Relevant documents:

Communiqué by the Network for Peace (Red por la Paz)

Urgent Action by Amnesty Intenational: AI: AMR 41/054/2007

More information on Montes Azules from SIPAZ (in Spanish)

 

Video interview shot by SIPAZ in La Trinitaria

(Audio in Spanish, English translation available here)


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