Oaxaca: Declaration of rejection of hydroelectric and mining projects in the Coastal region

November 21, 2015

Durante el Foro @ SIPAZ

During the Forum @ SIPAZ

On 14 November, some 400 people representing 51 communities of the coastal and southern mountainous regions of Oaxaca as well as civil organizations met for the regional forum “Imperiled Rivers and Mountains” – Peoples and their Right to Land, held in Tataltepec de Valdés, Juquila. During the Forum, a declaration was developed that denounces the existence of “at least 14 hydroelectric projects in the coastal region of Oaxaca, as well as several mining projects. Many of these we reject in unison, but now they have been relaunched by federal authorities together with the Oaxacan state government.” Beyond this, they indicated “in a unanimous voice” their repudiation of the “projects of hydroelectric dams and mines that threaten our indigenous lands,” given that “new risks have been reactivated” following the “energy reform approved by the local and federal governments.”

Lastly, they concluded that “the dam- and mining-projects create great damages in our territories and environments by devastating the water supplies and thus putting at risk the continued existence of our lives as peoples. They also create social and cultural problems by dividing us over the question of whether to invite transnational corporations in. They further destroy the environment as they seek to flood our lands, and they use chemicals that contaminate the water, the land, the soils, and even the very air we breathe.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Declaratoria del Foro Regional “Ríos y Montañas en Peligro” – Los Pueblos y su Derecho al Territorio (Educa, 14 de noviembre de 2015)

Nuevos proyectos mineros e hidroeléctricos amenazan la Costa de Oaxaca (Educa, 10 de noviembre de 2015)

Al menos 14 proyectos hidroeléctricos en la Costa oaxaqueña; ONGs se oponen (NSS Oaxaca, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (28 March 2014)

Mexico: Murder of MAPDER member in Veracruz (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

National: IX National Intercultural Meeting of MAPDER in Presidio de los Reyes (15 October 2013)

Chiapas: Lawyer of the ejidal committee of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam arrested

November 19, 2015



On 21 October, state police arrested Arturo Ortega Luna, an activist opposed to the construction of the Chicoasén II hydroelectric dam and lawyer for the affected ejidatarios, “accused of the crime of mutiny following an investigation headed by the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).” This was the denunciation made by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in a communique from 23 October. The lawyer was arrested at a checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez and is currently being held in the El Amate prison in the Cintalapa municipality. According to the communique, the penal denunciation was submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which “seeks to criminalize protest amidst the arbitrariness perpetuated by the federal and state governments.”

Arturo Ortega Luna has joined the defense of the ejidatarios to prevent the construction of the dam, which would affect more than 180 hectares of ejidal lands used for agricultural purposes by Zoque indigenous people. Ecologists have denounced that “the project will deteriorate and fragment the Grijalva River, this only to satisfy the energy demand of the eastern region of Mexico.” According to a bulletin published by the CDHFBC following a press conference on “Violations of agrarian rights and the judicialization of those affected by the Chicoasén II dam” on 27 October, “the ejidatarios affected by the Chicoasén dam have carried out various peaceful and legitimate actions to avoid the progression of the construction of the hydroelectric project that would affect their lands.” On 9 October, the ejidatarios won a legal motion before the Collegiate Tribunal that demanded the suspension of the existing construction plan, though this ruling has gone ignored to date. 52 individual legal motions in process remain pending, and all involve the detained lawyer. The CDHFBC has held that his arrest “is an act of criminalization and harassment that corresponds to his actions in defense of the lands amidst looting […] which if carried out would imply the displacement of dozens of families.” The ejidatarios are confronting harassment due to their defense of their agrarian rights, though there exist formal agreements that were signed in July 2015 whereby the Chiapas state government committed itself to not prosecute those who defend their agrarian rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Criminalización a ejidatarios afectados por presa Chicoasén II (Frayba, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Violaciones de derechos agrarios y judicialización a afectados por la presa Chicoasén II (26 de octubre de 2015)

Exigen libertad inmediata a abogado de afectados por presa Chicoasen (Desinformémonos, 25 de octubre de 2015)

Aprehenden en Chiapas a activista opositor a la presa Chicoasén II (La Jornada, 24 de octubre de 2015)

Detienen a abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen (Frayba, 23 de octubre de 2015)

Encarcelan a abogado defensor de indígenas opositores a la presa Chicoasén II (Tiempo y Forma, 23 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated (24 March 2012)


Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Chicoasén initiate hunger-strike against Chicoasén II dam-project

November 19, 2015

Huelga de hambre contra construcción de la CFE (@Educa)

Hunger-strike against the construction of the CFE (@Educa)

On 3 November, elder males and females who have been affected by the construction of the Chicoasén II dam in the Chicoasén municipality undertook a hunger-strike to demand the release of their lawyer Arturo Ortega Luna, who was arrested on 21 October. In an urgent communique, the campesinos reported that “those who will be on hunger strike are at risk of having charges fabricated against them by the government, as it did the last time with the State Attorney General’s Office, given that municipal and state police and the Mexican Army are patrolling through our streets.” They indicated that the detained lawyer, who was assisting them in their defense against the construction of the dam-project, “was arrested unjustly, accused of a mutiny by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).” The ejidatarios demanded that the more than 10 arrest-orders against other members of the ejidal committee and associated lawyers be suspended.

With their hunger-strike, the ejidatarios denounced the judicial persecution and threat against their agrarian rights, in light of the looting of land implied by the project. They have demanded just reparations for the loss of their lands as well as respect for the legal motion affirmed by a federal judge in May 2015 mandating the suspension of the dam-project. Avisaín Solís López, an ejidatario who has been affected by the dam’s construction, added that the state governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, “said that he would not allow the construction of any more dams that would violate the rights of peasants in Chiapas, but now we defend our rights, having received only lies.” Those affected seek to maintain their hunger-strike until the government attends to them, releases their lawyer, and respects their rights as indigenous people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos de Chicoasén inician ayuno por liberación de abogado (La Jornada, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Inician ancianos zoques huelga de hambre contra hidroeléctrica Chicoasén II (Educa, 4 de noviembre de 2015)

Ejidatarios de Chicoasen inician huelga de hambre (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

Adultos mayores inician ayuno contra hidroeléctrica de CFE en Chiapas (Proceso, 3 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

Chiapas: the International Day against Dams is celebrated (24 March 2012)

Oaxaca: Cancellation of construction of CCCO on the Fortín Mountain

October 25, 2015

Francisco Toledo, opositor al CCCO en el Cerro el Fortín, colocando una manta de rechazo. Foto: @Óscar RodríguezFrancisco Toledo, opponent to CCCO on the Fortín Mountain, exhibiting a protest banner Photo: @Óscar Rodríguez

On 21 October, the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué, announced the relocation of the construction project of the Cultural and Convention Center of Oaxaca (CCCO), which will no longer be built on the Fortín Mountain. According to an official communique, this decision was made to “guarantee the unity of Oaxacan society,” though the construction that has already begun for a parking complex to hold 600 vehicles will nonetheless continue.

It bears mentioning that by means of marches, fora, and expositions, there has been a large movement against this project, which was presented behind closed doors by the local Minister of Tourism, José Zorrilla de San Martín Diego, who was supposed to benefit by being a shareholder in a hotel close to the Fortín Mountain. Similarly, there was strong opposition condemning the harassment and attacks against people linked to the opposition of the building. It also should be noted that a public consultation was organized, which saw more than 96% of votes in favor of construction, though there are accusations that this process was manipulated.

In a communique, members of the Front in Defense of the Fortín Mountain observed that, though it took a while, the decision “is a triumph for organized civil society, and the Front can do no less than welcome the news.” In the same document, they demanded the cancellation of the parking lot project, the realization of an investigation into the process of construction, the immediate suspension of the campaign of harassment against activists, punishment of violence and threats and, lastly, the resolution of the legal demands that have been submitted and that they do not plan to cancel.

For more information (in Spanish):

Reubicación del CCCO; una decisión tardía de Cué: Defensores del Fortín (Uno Oaxaca, 22 de octubre de 2015)

Ganó Oaxaca: Cué cancela construcción del CCCO en el Cerro del Fortín (Educa, 22 de octubre de 2015)

La construcción del CCCO en el Fortín queda suspendida (La Jornada, 22 de octubre de 2015)

Toledo celebra “a medias” cancelación de construcción en el Fortín (Proceso, 22 de octubre de 2015)

Consulta favorece construcción de Centro de Convenciones de Oaxaca: Cué; Toledo acusa manipulación (Sin Embargo, 4 de octubre de 2015)

Gobierno de #Oaxaca pretende desaparecer el Cerro del Fortín (Más de 131, 8 de julio de 2015)

Oaxaca: Residents of Juchitan win motion to suspend construction of wind-energy park

October 25, 2015

Conferencia de prensa @ Cencos

Press-conference @ Cencos

On 12 October, representatives from the indigenous Binni’zaa (Zapotec) community from Juchitán de Zaragoza reported that, due to the legal motion they had submitted against the construction and the operation of the megaproject advanced by the Southern Wind-Energy Corporation on their lands, a judicial order has been made to suspend all the authorizations, permits, approvals, licenses, and land-use changes awarded by local and federal officials. The demand for the motion had been presented by 1,166 Binni’zaa indigenous people, and the suspension was approved on 30 September 2015.

“We demand that all the authorities and firms involved in the Southern Wind-Energy project observe with the demand made by the judge to suspend this work, meanwhile we wish to denounce that as a consequence of this judicial resolution, harassment has increased against the people who had advanced the legal motion,” they indicated in a press-conference. Beyond this, they added that “there was no public consultation, given that last January the project had been approved by the Regulatory Commission on Energy and the Environmental and Natural Resources Ministry, but it was not until June of this year that the consultation was carried out. In any case, it was mere simulation.” Beyond this, it was recalled that the Southern Wind-Energy Firm belongs to the same groups of capitalists that in 2012 comprised the Mareña Renewables firm, against which the indigenous had won a different legal motion two years ago. But it has returned now with another name.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblo indígena detiene megaproyecto eólico en Istmo de Tehuantepec (Cencos, 13 de octubre de 2015)

Ordena juez frenar obras de megaproyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Proceso, 12 de octubre de 2015)

Logran amparo para evitar construcción de parque eólico en Juchitán (El Imparcial Oaxaca, 13 de octubre de 2015)

Análisis de la Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental y del Resolutivo del Proyecto “Eólica del Sur” (Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad, agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Indigenous Zapotecos mobilize themselves over grave violations to right to consultation (11 September 2015)

Oaxaca: Beginning of consultation regarding wind-energy park in Juchitán (12 November 2014)

Oaxaca: Various denunciations in the Tehuantepec Isthmus from community assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories (6 September 2014)

Guerrero: Release of the CECOP spokesperson, Marco Antonio Suastegui

September 11, 2015

Marco Antonio Suástegui (Tlachinollan, archivo)Marco Antonio Suástegui (Tlachinollan)

On 21 August, the spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, was released after having been incarcerated for fourteen months. He had been arrested on 17 June 2014 on the charge of having participated together with eight other opponents to the La Parota dam project in a shootout and attempted murder.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which provides him counsel, reiterated in this sense that “the case of Marco Antonio Suástegui is a clear example of how the ministerial power strives to fabricate charges and act swiftly to criminalize him. This they have done also with Nestora Salgado, Gonzalo Molina, Arturo Campos, and the communal police of Ayutla.”

On various occasions after his release, Marco Antonio Suástegui expressed his gratitude for the support he received, even though “justice is still pending.” He also affirmed that the struggle against the La Parota dam will continue, and he pronounced himself before the media in favor of the release of all political prisoners: “We will struggle for Nestora, Gonzalo, Arturo, and all those communal guardians who are unjustly imprisoned. I believe that CECOP has three objectives at this time. The first is the definitive cancellation of the La Parota dam, the second to request release of political prisoners, and the third to promote development in our communities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Sale de la cárcel Marco Antonio Suástegui; la lucha sigue, declara el líder del Cecop (El Sur de Acapulco, 22 de agosto)

Demanda Suástegui Muñoz liberar a los presos políticos (La Jornada de Guerrero, 22 de agosto de 2015)

Lo reciben en Salsipuedes con lágrimas, aplausos y consignas por la continuación de la lucha contra la presa (El Sur, 22 de agosto de 2015)

La apuesta por la justicia (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña, Tlachinollan, 24 de prestezaagosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Marco Antonio Suastegui, opponent to the La Parota dam, is ordered to return to a Guerrero prison (8 February 2015)

Guerrero: The Navy has tried to arrest him, denounces brother of CECOP spokesperson (30 December 2014)

Guerrero: Attack on CECOP members leaves 5 dead (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Arrest of a leader of the opposition to the La Parota Dam (23 June 2014)

Oaxaca: Indigenous Zapotecos mobilize themselves over grave violations to right to consultation

September 11, 2015

La Ventosa. Foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

La Ventosa. Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 20 August, the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), together with the organizations Project for Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TdT) made public a communique in which they reported a legal motion regarding grave violations to the right to consultation. This motion was carried through following the announcement by the Secretary for Energy (SENER) on 4 August that the wind-energy park owned by the Southern Wind-Energy corporation would begin to be built in the communities of Juchitán and El Espinal in the Tehuantepec Isthmus. SENER awarded the concession for construction of the park after a consultative process was effected.

In this consultation, the organizations that signed the communique, which formed part of the Civil Observation Mission reviewing the process, detected several irregularities such as the awarding of permits and contracts before the consultation was even carried out; more than 30 security incidents; 75 requests for information that went unheeded; a lack of certified translators; the development of sessions without considering the community’s traditions; and generally, a context of insecurity, coercion, violence, and lack of transparency. Furthermore, they indicated that “This is the first time that the authorities have developed a consultation with indigenous people as based on national legislation (the Law on Electrical Industry […] modified to conform with the Energy Reform). The consultation in Juchitán, in accordance with the authorities, will be the precedent to follow for projects derived from this reform, and it is for this reason that the grave human-rights violations we have documented during this process take on a national relevance.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Zapotecas se amparan por violación al derecho a la consulta ante el inicio de proyecto eólico anunciado por la SENER (Prodesc, 20 de agosto de 2015)

Estado mexicano valida simulación de consulta indígena para aprobar megaproyecto de energía eólica (Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, 31 de julio de 2015)

Sólo el 1% aprobó el parque eólico en Juchitán y no la mayoría como dijo Sener, acusa ONG (Sin embargo, 19 de agosto de 2015)

Reportes de la consulta sobre la construcción del parque de Eólica del Sur en Juchitán, Oaxaca (Prodesc, 8 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Beginning of consultation regarding wind-energy park in Juchitán (12 November 2014)

Oaxaca: Various denunciations in the Tehuantepec Isthmus from community assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories (6 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,127 other followers