Guerrero: resurgence of conflict over the possible construction of the La Parota dam

At the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010, various sources said that the proposed construction of the La Parota hydroelectric dam, near Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, would be postponed until 2018. Still others contended that it had been cancelled due to financial constraints.

However, on April 6, 2010, the Commissariat of Communal Property in Cacahuatepec, one of the agrarian projects to be affected by the construction of the dam, announced a first-call for a community General Asembly on Sunday, April 18, 2010 aimed at, among other things, “Analyzing and appropriately acting regarding the request for consent, established by the Federal Electricity Commission, to be carried out before the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, of the administrative process of expropriation for public use of an area of 1,383 hectares belonging to the community and intended for the construction of hydroelectric dam La Parota.”

The April 18 assembly saw the arrival of some 400 members from the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Project (CECOP), with only ten people supposedly supporting the project. Those in favor of construction argued that the project will benefit all inhabitants of communities that would be submerged in ther reservoir and that the Assembly was cancelled due to intimidating tactics taken by opponents of the project.

The president of the Ejidal Communal Property Cacahuatepec, Eustaquio García Vázquez, assured that they had not approached the employees of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and held that the notice was issued because officials have requested employment opportunities for their constituencies. He recognized, moreover, that the standards have up to 12 years and there are some people dead or living in the United States still listed.

A new assembly was convened on April 28. A Civil Observation Mission was organized “with the end of being present at the completion of the second meeting, maintaining a civilian presence in the area as well as assisting in documentation and national and international resonance.”

Referring to the case of La Parota and the Paso de la Reina project in Oaxaca, an article published in El Universal suggests that the construction of these dams violates the rights of indigenous peoples and peasants “to public information, to consultation, to participation in their own development, to a healthy environment, to be respected as traditional authorities, and of course to the right to life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alert regarding accord to expropriate land for the construction of La Parota (La Jornada Guerrero, 18 April)

CECOP impedes “assembly” designed to expropriate land in favor of dama (La Jornada Guerrero, 19 April)

The people of Acapulco will die of thirst if La Parota is not built, claims leader (La Jornada de Guerrero, 23 April)

Assembly to promote construction of La Parota fails (La Jornada, 19 April)

CECOP blocks attempt by the CFE to reopen project La Parota (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 19 April)

Dams:  threat to human rights (El Universal, 20 April)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca:  “Rivers for Life, Not Death” (11 February 2010)

Guerrero:  The Popular Gathering “Water, Energy, and Alternative Energies” Concludes in Cacahuatepec (November 12, 2008)

Oaxaca:  Ríos para la vida, no para la muerte (9 de febrero 2010)

Guerrero:  Finaliza el encuentro Popular “Agua, Energía y Alternativas Energéticas” en Cacahuatepec (11 de noviembre 2009)

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