During a meeting held on Wednesday, April 28 in La Concepción, ejiditarios of Communal Lands Cacahuatepec approved of the expropriation of more than 300 thousand hectares of land for the construction of the La Parota hydroelectric dam, near Acapulco. The assembly was guarded by 600 ministerial, state, and municipal police who blocked members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota Dam (CECOP, in Spanish) from entering the assembly. Construction of the La Parota dam will result in the eviction of thousands of peasants living in the region. CECOP announced that it rejects the result of the assembly and will demand its annulment by the courts.
Various civil society organizations sympathized with CECOP; Nicolás Chávez Adame, leader of the Popular Assembly of the People of Guerrero (APPG), announced that the organization will hold an urgent meeting next Saturday to develop a plan of action. It will however not be until Monday that the CECOP application of nullity will reach the Unitary Agrarian Court (TUA).
Assemblies that were carried out during 2005 and 2006 in Dos Arroyos, Los Huajes and La Palma ruled in favor of the project but were challenged and overturned by TUA. Another assembly of 2007 that resulted in a “No” response to La Parota was not annuled and since late last year, various sources reported that the Guerrero La Parota hydroelectric dam construction project had been postponed and even cancelled, due to financial constraints.
According to news from El Sur de Acapulco, the same day as the assembly, voters were hauled in by trucks driven by individuals who would recieve a “tip” to bring people. The approximately 600 ejidatarios that according to various sources that attended the meeting raised their hands in approval of the construction of the dam, while many are unfamiliar with the precise meaning of the project. El Diario, however, claims that two thousand five hundred ejidatarios voted, a figure given to the paper by Evencio Romero Sotelo, legal adviser to the group supporting the project.
According to Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the Mountain Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights, the assembly was illegal, given that 50% of all the people of the region would have to vote in favor for such a project to proceed. The 600 ejidatarios who attended the meeting thus reflect only 10% of the population of concern, which includes 5,000 people. Hernández asserted that this meeting will be rendered null and void in court due to the irregularities with which it was convened.
The members of CECOP were accompanied by several members of various national and international civil society and human rights organizations. Organizations that took part in the civil observation mission were the Mexican League for Human Rights, the Association of Relatives of Disappeared and Victims of Human-Rights Violation in Mexico (Afadem), the Advisory Services for Peace (Serapaz), the Habitat International Coalition, and FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), among others. They were also denied entry to the assembly.
For more information:
Guerrero NGO announces support for ejidatario-opponents of La Parota (La Jornada, 30 April)
CECOP fears that Torreblanca will give line in the TUA to affec them (La Jornada de Guerrero, 30 April)
It was a simulation for a decision already taken, claim civil observers (El Sur de Acapulco, 30 April)
The assembly shows that the government tramples on laws: Tlachinollan (El Sur de Acapulco, 30 April)
Some 600 state and municipal police surround the assembly (El Sur de Acapulco, 30 April)
Police impede entrance to assembly of 600 opponents to the dam (El Sur de Acapulco, 30 April)
The same rock (La Jornada de Guerrero, 29 April)
Assembly on dam is believed to be annulled (La Jornada de Guerrero, 29 April)
Ejidatarios say yes to La Partoa; CECOP once again initiates “resistance” (El diario de Guerrero)
Para más información de SIPAZ: