Oaxaca: Various denunciations in theTehuantepec Isthmus from Community Assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ)

In recent weeks, the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT) made public several complaints regarding the situation of resistance against mega-projects of wind farms in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.

On August 22, they informed that “members of the Attorney General’s Office, detained the Zapotec Indian José Ángel López Vásquez in the community of Santa Maria Xadani”. They added that “the PGR called him to tell him that a prior inquiry was opened against him due to a complaint of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). H3 was maintained in solitary confinement and denied the right to have an interpreter.” The community of Santa María Xadani is struggling against high electricity tariffs imposed by the CFE. The APIIDTT expressed that it’s “ironic that in a region where our air is producing more than 1,600 megawatts of electricity per hour, we have to fight and be criminalized for demanding low electricity rates.”

On the other hand, they reported that on August 17, the mayor of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Saul Vicente Vasquez, “simulated an election for the second time to impose Jorge Alonso Santiago as authority in our community Binnizá of Gui’xhi ‘Ro’ – Alvaro Obregón […] whose election was previously not acknowledged to the Electoral Court of the State of Oaxaca”. They also mentioned an aggression on the Community Police “General Charis” which protect the Permanent Assembly installed in the town square: “they were attacked by about 20 armed people.” They finally mentioned that “Saul Vicente and COCEI continue with their intention to impose at all costs a manipulable authority according to their interests and permit the entry of the wind project.”

Regarding the situation of defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, a member of the APIIDTT, the National Network of Human Rights Women Defenders in Mexico (RNDDHM) demanded the end of the persecution: the defender is on trial on charges of illegal deprivation of freedom, as well as crimes against consumption and national wealth. a sentence is to be issued in the days following. The RNDDHM reminded that the legal demands against Bettina Cruz derived from the APIITDTT peaceful demonstration held on April 13, 2011 outside the offices of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in Juchitan. On February 22, 2012, Bettina Cruz was arrested by members of the Federal Ministerial Police, and released two days later. The 168 members of the RNDDHM expressed they will alert to the resolution to be issued in the coming days and to be sure that “the sentence is not used as an act of coercion against the defender.”

As regards to the fight against the wind farms in the Isthmus region, it is also worth mentioning that the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) recently reported that “the Secretary of Energy implements a simulation of consultation more to keep up the appearances than to comply with a legal ruling or to respect the right of indigenous peoples.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Exigen justicia para activista indígena bajo proceso penal desde 2012 en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 26 de agosto de 2014)

Exige RNDDHM cese criminalización vs defensora Bettina Cruz (Diario Oaxaca, 26 de agosto de 2014)

Comunicado segunda elección de autoridad impuesta AO (APIIDTT, 22 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Oaxaca: Denunciations of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (December 9, 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (March 7, 2012)

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)

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