Entrance of the wind-energy park. Photo @Tierra y Territorio
Members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) have confirmed that the communal pathway used on 30 November during the annual pilgrimage carried out by the Guela Be’ñe’ chapel has been closed by the Constructoral firm, which is carrying out the construction of the Bii Hioxho wind-energy park on the orders of the energy multinational Fenosa Natural Gas. During the pilgrimage taken on that day–always on communal lands–pilgrims were harassed by state police and the firm’s private security forces, according to a denunciation made by the Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH).
“During the pilgrimage that crosses communal pathways from which could be seen the seashore, giant wind-energy towers belonging to the Bii Hioxho project are being built in a polygon of 2000 hectares of communal lands […]. This year, the Constructoral firm which is building Bii Hioxho for Fenosa Natural Gas did not allow the vehicles making up a pilgrimage to pass, […] and the pilgrims were surveilled by the private and state police,” notes the APPJ in the communique released for that occasion.
According to Código DH, the people and communities have a right to their identity, and to “manifest, development, and show their traditions, customs, and spiritual and religious ceremonies, and to protect their religious and cultural spaces,” as is stipulated in article 12 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and it demands “the cessation of harassment, criminalization, and legal accusations against communal defenders and the denial of governments to recognize indigenous lands and territories. The residents of the Seventh Section of Juchitán have the right to maintain their customs, to say NO to the wind-energy park, and to travel freely through their communal lands.”
In the middle of December, there will be held a new annual pilgrimage to the chapel of Guuze Benda, another sacred place for the residents of Juchitán that is located on the communal lands which the APPJ denounces as having been usurped for the construction of the Bii Hioxho wind-energy park.
For more information (in Spanish):
Peregrinación de la Santa Cruz Guela Be’ñe’ (Estero Lagarto) un recorrido por nuestras tierras comunales Binnizá (Tierra y Territorio, 2 de diciembre de 2013)
APPJ en defensa de su identidad y costumbres (Código DH, 3 de diciembre de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Oaxaca: New threats of displacement from Playa Vicente (25 October 2013)
Oaxaca: “The Isthmus at the Crossroads” Seminar (20 August 2013)