Members of the Zapotec indigenous community of Unión Hidalgo, located in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have publicly announced the presentation of their case before the Agrarian Unitary Tribunal (TUA) to absolutely nullify the rent contracts they had signed with the wind-energy firm Mexican Wind Developments (Demex), which is a subsidiary of the Renovalia Energy firm from Spain.
Demex first approached the Unión Hidalgo community at the beginning of 2007, expressing its desire to rent their lands for the development of a wind-energy park called Piedra Larga I. The rent proposal promised large benefits and the possibility of continuing to utilize the lands for day labor of agriculture and pastoralism. However, the community was not informed of the precise magnitude of the wind-energy park, nor of the implications that this would have in terms of the development of their everyday lives.
Such was the report made by Guadalupe Ramírez Castellanos and Esteban López Sánchez, members of the Committee of Resistance to the Piedra Larga Wind-Energy Project, who indicated that they within a period of two weeks the TUA would order a suspension of the project to protect their agrarian and collective rights as indigenous peoples, “in light of the violation against these that is perpetrated by the firm, the lies, criminalization of protests, pollution of lands and waters, together with the deaths of birds and land animals that the first stage of Demex’s wind-energy park which is already operating.” They also noted that “it was overlooked that the land is collective property and, as such, demands prior informed consent, beyond the assemblies which are carried out to approve change in use of land. Instead, there were created false small properties so as to sign individual contracts, changing the collective nature of these lands.”
López Sánchez added that “Demex raised the land to install the wind-energy generations, and this causes the water to pool, thus leading the maize and sorghum crops to spoil. For this reason, wind-energy is not clean energy for us; instead, it is an energy of death.”a
It should be noted that other communities in the Isthmus, such as San Dionisio, Álvaro Obregón, and Playa San Vicente among others, have initiated a series of legal resistance actions to denounce the practices of violation that are being imposed by renewable-energy plans.
For more information (in Spanish):
Zapotecos presentan recurso contra proyecto eólico (La Jornada, 13 de junio de 2013)
Zapotecos buscan anular contrato de tierras con empresa eólica (Milenio, 12 de junio de 2013)
Empresas eólicas en México desoyen sus propias recomendaciones (Proceso, 7 de junio de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):