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)


Oaxaca: More harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

March 22, 2015

Juchitán de Zaragoza, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Juchitán de Zaragoza, @ SIPAZ archive

Mariano López Gómez, member of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), Héctor and Gloria Sánchez López, directors of civil and political organizations from Juchitán, and David Henestrosa, a columnist covering the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have denounced that they have suffered harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation, which began on 3 March in Juchitán de Zaragoza.  They claimed that they were booed and insulted by people in attendance, but they indicated in particular Eduardo Centeno, the legal representative of the Southern Wind-Energy firm (previously, Mareña Renewables Capital), such that they will submit a penal denunciation holding the wind-energy firm responsible for whatever could happen to them and their families.  Mariano López added that the CTM construction union is bringing “yes-men” to the forum who “obey the interests of the PRI, some PRI property-owners, and other abusers.  They are not taking into account the women’s groups, artisans, or fisher-people.”

The consultation process for the installation of the wind-energy park has been gravely challenged since its start in November 2014.  The Assembly of Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), in a letter written to the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, affirmed that it does not oppose wind-energy, “but its use should be based in the form and means of life of the indigenous peoples and communities, promoting communal control,” as has been ignored byt he government and the firms that have installed 21 wind-energy parks by means of “injustice, abuse, and the illegal occupation of our communal lands.”

Beyond this, the organizations Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the Gobixha A.C. Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) documented in a second report from the Observation Mission the “worrying procedural vices” related to the observance of the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as the rights to participation and information on the part of indigenous peoples.  They detected more than 20 security incidents, including threatening phone-calls and text messages, vigilance, and acts of intimidation in homes, verbal aggressions, and threatening actions taken by armed persons.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian asistentes a consulta eólica hostigamiento de empresa eólica Del Sur (Página 3, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Foro de consulta indígena en Juchitán con tintes violentos (Romo Noticias, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Vicios procesales y violaciones a derechos humanos caracterizan consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Prodesc, 23 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepec Isthmus challenged on several fronts (16 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Oaxaca: Third anniversary of movement against wind-energy projects in San Dionisio del Mar

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ;  Parque eólico en el Istmo de Oaxaca

On 29 January, the Huave people of San Dionisio del Mar commemorated the third anniversary of their wind-energy resistance.  In this sense, there was held a march in which 500 people participated.  During a political act in the municipal auditorium, protestors reiterated their opposition to wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Arturo Lona Reyes, bishop emeritus of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and a representative of the Tepeyac Center for Human Rights, celebrated a mass and affirmed that “the communal assemblies are the light in the darkness.”  Members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), CIARENA, the Network Organization of Young Indigenous Women, the 21 June Mareños Mototaxi group, and the Mugier Ndyuck Civil Association were present at the action.

It should be recalled that in January 2012, following debate regarding the conditions under which a contract had been signed with the Preneal firm in November 2004, the communal assembly agreed to censure the mayor Miguel López Castellano after it was revealed that he had received 20 million pesos from the firm in exchange for an authorization of change in land use.  For the same reason, protestors decided to occupy the municipal palace.

An Ikjoot communard said in an interview with La Jornada that “the threat against our territory persists because the concession for the wind-energy park has no end-date.  Beyond this, now the PRI would like to open the door to more mining.  We know that there are six mining concessions for gold, salt, and other metals in San Dionisio, in the La Riqueza park, where they are attempting to build an open-pit mine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblos impulsan su autonomía tras evitar construcción de parque eólico en Oaxaca (La Jornada 28 de enero de 2015)

Lucha por la autonomía en San Dionisio del Mar (Video Subversiones, 28 de enero de 2015)

Frente al extractivismo capitalista, San Dionisio del Mar lucha por la autonomía (Subversiones, 29 de enero de 2015)

Las asambleas comunitarias son esperanza en el Istmo: Lona Reyes(Quadratin Oaxaca, 29 de enero de 2015)

Cumple San Dionisio tres años de resistencia (Noticiasnet.mx, 29 de enero de 2015)

Huaves conmemoran tres años de “resistencia eólica” en el Istmo de Tehuantepec (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Conflicts over extraordinary elections in San Dionisio del Mar (30 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepc Isthmus challenged on several fronts

December 16, 2014

La Ventosa, Istmo de Tehuantepec @SIPAZ

La Ventosa, Tehuantepec Isthmus @SIPAZ

After the beginning of the consultation process began in November regarding the implementation of a wind-energy project by the Wind-Energy Firm of the South in Juchitán de Zaragoza, Tehuantepec Isthmus, a number of acts of intimidation and harassment against members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) have been reported.  Once the session from which they had been barred and insulted upon questioning the information provided by the firm had ended, three APPJ members were followed by a white truck, and they heard gunfire as they entered their homes.

For its part, the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTyt) denounced that the conditions under which the process were progressing are incorrect: “As seen in the screams and insults and harassment by armed men, as was seen on 11 November, the events confirm that this is not a free consultation.  Instead, it is proceeding under conditions of coercion and assault.”  Furthermore, they indicated with respect to the second phase of the consultation, which was “approved despite the grave irregularities,” that “the meeting was held in a different place from the beginning, despite the fact that there was little diffusion of this information, with the result that the majority of those who attended were Coce groups, city hall workers, landowners who have signed contracts with the firm, and lawyers who are committed to the corporation.”

Beyond this, Saúl Vicente Vázquez, mayor of Juchitán, assured that in case the “representative institutions” of the communards and the people of Juchitán decide not to build the wind-energy park on the land, City Hall “will respect this decision totally.”

Beyond this, the announcement by President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) regarding the creation of an exclusive economic zone for Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Chiapas to catalyze development, with the creation of an industrial inter-oceanic corridor in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, “is a double discourse, because on the one hand it speaks of combating corruption and not having nefarious ties with firms, but on the other it is saying to corporations that they have all the support.  They come once again to speak to us of development but without taking into account us indigenous people, our human rights, or the decisions of the people regarding our resources,” stressed an APPJ member.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de la APIIDTyT (6 de diciembre de 2014)

Misión de Observación presenta Reporte del proceso de consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Juchitán, Oaxaca (Prodesc, 12 de noviembre de 2014)

Rechazan juchitecos tiempos de la consulta para el parque eólico (La Jornada, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

Preocupantes violaciones en consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Juchitán; genera confrontación (Página 3, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Comunicado: APIIDTT hace entrega de observaciones y propuestas al protocolo de consulta previa, libre e informada en Juchitán (Educa, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Violan derecho de consulta en plan eólico de Oaxaca: ONG (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Ignora DH de pueblos indígenas zona económica propuesta por Peña: juchitecos (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Threats against APPJ members in terms of consultation regarding wind-energy project in Juchitán(13 November 2014)

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: Civil Mission reports violation of right to consultation; APIIDT shares views

December 6, 2014

Consulta en Juchitán (@CODIGO DH)

Consultation in Juchitán (@CODIGO DH)

Three non-governmental organizations-the Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC); the Project for Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER); and the Gobixha AC Committee for Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH)-were present during the preliminary accords for the consultation process regarding the installation of a wind-energy project in Juchitán, Oaxaca.  In a first report, they reported that there were “violations against the basic principles of the right to consultation, including that it be prior informed, culturally adequate, transparent, free, and in good faith try to accord with the highest international standards on human rights.”  They indicated furthermore that clear and transparent mechanisms were lacking during the decision-making process, leading to “an antagonistic environment among the parties.”  They denounced as well “security incidents against participants represent one of the gravest aspects seen in this first phase of the consultation.”  They mentioned concretely that “members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), from the the Assembly of the Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), as well as a communal radio denounced that during the sessions they were subjected to harassment, direct threats, and security problems related to the consultation process.”

For this reason, they made the following recommendation: “That translation and interpretation be carried out by certified translators and interpreters during all stages of the consultative process; that the participants be assured of having sufficient information regarding the breadth, limits, and implications of the consultative process in an adequate, complete, and consistent manner during each of the sessions; that clear, explicit mechanisms of participation be established; that these conditions of participation be ensured for all those in attendance; that security measures be adopted to guarantee the security of participants, so that the consultation progress in a free manner and in good faith, without harassment or intimidation.”

Members of the APIIDT also presented a document including observations and proposals to the techincal committee of the consultative process.

For more information (in Spanish):

Violan derecho de consulta en plan eólico de Oaxaca: ONG (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Preocupantes violaciones en consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Juchitán; genera confrontación (Pagina3.mx, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

Reporte completo de la Misión de Observación (12 de noviembre de 2014)

Solicita Educa garantizar proceso de consulta en Juchitan (El Libertador de Oaxaca, 12 de noviembre de 2014)

Entrega APIIDTyT propuestas para protocolo de consulta en Juchitán(Pagina3.mx, 14 de noviembre de 2014)

Comunicado completo de la APIIDT (APIIDT, 13 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Threats against APPJ members in terms of consultation regarding wind-energy project in Juchitán (13 November 2014)

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

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


Oaxaca: Threats against APPJ members in terms of consultation regarding wind-energy project in Juchitán

November 13, 2014

(@cipamericas.org)

On 5 November, three members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) received threats by phone from a local number telling them “what have you been doing at the forum?  You have no reason to be there” and to “be careful of the consequences; we will meet.”  A fourth person from the same group did not take the call upon identifying the same number.  On 4 November, they also noticed surveillance in the place where the APPJ was holding a meeting with people linked to the Bii Hioxo wind-energy plant owned by Fenosa Natural Gas.  The APPJ members identified these surveillers as being the material authors of the harassment and threats made against the APPJ.

These threats come within the context of the first phase of agreements for a consultation that is being carried out in Juchitán, Tehuantepec Isthmus, regarding a new wind-energy project impelled by Wind-Energy of the South (formerly Mareña Renewables) that would install 132 towers in the region.

In an Urgent Action regarding these threats, the organization Código DH denounced that “[t]he violation of the rights of those participating in the consultative process imperils the security of persons.  It is a way of attempting to silence the critical voices and to reduce the participation of the citizenry within a process that should be open and broad.  It is unacceptable that this is a question of guaranteeing rights by violating those of others, either by action or omission.  The existence of these new threats against members of the [APPJ] who find themselves participating in this exercise shows this to be true.  It not only violates the right to participation by a specific group that has denounced the installation of the Bii Hioxo wind-energy park on communal lands and been critical of the process, denouncing death-threats and harassment on multiple occasions, but also taints the first phase of this consultative process, which should guarantee the participation of all those who are interested in participating.”

The APPJ together with other collectives and social organizations has questioned the consultation that has been initiated in Juchitán as a “joke” and a “circus,” given that it only began once 13 wind-energy parks and more than 800 wind-towers had been installed in the region.

For more information (in Spanish):

Nuevas amenazas a integrantes de la APPJ en el marco de la consulta que se realiza en Juchitán (Acción Urgente de CODIGO DH, 6 de noviembre de 2014)

Hostigamiento y amenazas obstaculizan el debido desarrollo de consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Juchitán, Oaxaca (CODIGO DH, PODER, PRODESC, 6 de noviembre de 2014)

Es viciada e ilegítima consulta sobre instalación de parque eólico en Juchitán (La Jornada, 5 de noviembre de 2014)

Es una burla consultar después de invadirnos de aerogeneradores: juchitecos (Página3.mx, 5 de noviembre de 2014)

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)

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


Oaxaca: Protests rage in Juchitán, like in 1886

September 16, 2014

Marchan en Juchitán (@EDUCA)

On 5 September, members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) marched to commemorate the battle of 1886 in which Zapotecos defeated the Imperial French Army.  In this sense, they demanded that the authorities respect their rights as indigenous peoples given that, as they say, their rights have been violated by the installation of wind-energy parks in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Mariano López Gómez, APPJ director, accused the leaders of the Worker-Campesino-Student Coalition of the Isthmus (COCEI) of attempting to support and manipulate a referendum to support the installation of new wind-energy parks in the region.

Another group of Zapotec indigenous peoples from Unión Hidalgo, Juchitán, Xadani, and Álvaro Obregón who are associated with the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory also protested in the same place to similarly demand respect of their sovereignty as indigenous peoples.

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan opositores eólicos para exigir respeto a sus derechos indígenas(Pagina3.mx, 6 de septiembre de 2014)

Comunicado de la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIIDTT, 5 de septiembre de 2014

Comunicado de la APPJ (APPJ, 5 de septiembre de 2014)

En conmemoración a los héroes Juchitecos, antieólicos marcharon a favor de los derechos de la tierra y el territorio (Realidades de Oaxaca, 8 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

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

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)