Oaxaca: Death-threats to human-rights defenders

Parque eólico en el Istmo de Tehuantepec @ La Jornada

Wind-farm in Isthmus of Tehuantepec @ La Jornada

On 21 October, approximately 50 workers from the hydroelectric firm Wind Development of Mexico (DEMEX) entered the lands of the indigenous Zapotec community Unión Hidalgo and threatened the human-right defenders Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Maribel González with death.  These two are accompanying the property-owners who oppose the Wind Corridor of the Isthmus (CEI).

The Urgent Action released by the Project on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights A.C. (PRODESC) indicates that “since 24 May of the present year harassment and death-threats directed against the community opposed to the project have worsened, given that a group of dissident owners met in an assembly called for by the Committee of Resistance against the Wind Project of Union Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and decided to request that the firms suspend this project in light of the great and irreparable damage inflicted on the environment, their lands, and natural resources.  Since this date, the work has been suspended, but regardless, the firm has maintained strong pressure against these owners and has rejected to close the rental contracts even though these depend on the will of the community.  It is important to stress that the owners of the lands in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, signed rental contracts with DEMEX by means of trickery.  At no time did the firm report in accordance with established international accords regarding prior informed consent for the community regarding the destructive consequences that this project would imply for the land, nor did it give a sense of the magnitude of the wind-project or what this would imply for the cultivation of crops on these lands.”  The PRODESC document specifies that as an antecedent of these death-threats, on “18 October, Mr. Jaime de la Cruz Gómez, known as ‘el Mocho,’ together with Jaun Altamirano, workers for Wind Development of Mexico (DEMEX), which is affiliated with the transnational Spanish firm Energy Renewal, were accompanied by ministerial police from the State Agency of Investigation (AEI) from the state of Oaxaca and a group of persons from other communities who had been offered work threatened to enter to work on the lands of the owners who are opposed to the wind-project in Unión Hidalgo.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente de PRODESC (21/10/2011)

Comunicado de la Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (18/10/2011)

La Jornada: Firmas eólicas intentan robar tierras de indígenas en el Istmo (23/10/2011)

NSS Oaxaca: Ejidatarios impiden trabajos del proyecto eólico Piedra Larga (22/10/2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Indigenous individuals from the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants (5 July 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)

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