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: COPUDEVER celebrates its eighth anniversary

July 23, 2015

Río Verde (@Sipaz)

Río Verde (@Sipaz)

On 11 June, the Council of United Peoples in Defense of the Green River (COPUDEVER) observed the eighth anniversary since its founding in favor of the defense of land and life. The Council struggles for the cancelation of the “Paso de la Reina Project for Hydroelectric Exploitation,” which consists in the construction of an installation comprised of two dams being built by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). This project has been rejected by local people, “who have realized that the government seeks to allow foreign investment on their lands to appropriate natural resources,” members affirmed.

This anniversary commemorates also the sixth year of the existence of the El Zanate block, a strategy of non-violent resistance to impede CFE workers’ access to the Paso de la Reyna community, Santiago Jamiltepec municipality, in the coastal region of Oaxaca, which would be the most affected, as it is located between the two planned dams.

We will not countenance the environmental devastation that the government seeks to promote. As indigenous peoples we have the right to defend our land and to decide what we want to have happen on our ejidos, and what we do not want,” said Eloy Cruz Gregorio, a resident of the Paso de la Reyna community and member of COPUDEVER. “The Paso de la Reina hydroelectric project threatens indigenous peoples, their lands, culture, natural resources, and subsistence practices, thus threatening their right to consultation.”

For more information (in Spanish):

COPUDEVER conmemora ocho años “defendiendo la vida y el territorio” (video) (Educa, 10 de julio de 2015)

Comunidades de la costa de Oaxaca dieron su “no” rotundo a hidroeléctrica Paso de la Reina y se niegan a la consulta(DesInformémonos, 16 de julio de 2015)

Comunidad de Paso de la Reina celebra 6 años de organización y 8 de la fundación de COPUDEVER (Boca de Polen, 16 de julio de 2015)

Mantienen rechazo contra presa Paso de la Reyna (NoticiasNet, 12 de diciembre de 2014)

This is Not Development – The Story of Paso de la Reina (YouTube, 4 de junio 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)

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

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: CFE cuts off 14 communities from Tila, provoking tensions

June 30, 2015


In a communique published on 21 June, the organization Peoples United for the Defense of Electricity (PUDEE) denounced that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) suspended service on 17 June to residents in 14 communities from the Tila municipality, northern zone of Chiapas. Some of the affected homes find themselves in a position of resistance to paying for electricity, due to high prices.

In light of these events, PUDEE has reported increased “tensions in the communities that struggle and resist to defend their rights” and that “amidst the situation and the rise in violence that could take place in the communities of the northern zone, we hold the three levels of government responsible.”

PUDEE indicated that “if it is this way that CFE will treat the communities in resistance, we will organize ourselves by means of the self-determination of our peoples. The way they are privatizing the electricity, we too will privatize our lands, and the CFE will have to pay us for the use of our lands. If this does not happen, they can take their light-posts and transformers. We will not allow them to plunder our land, which belonged to our parents and is for our children.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo del PUDEE (Denuncia Pública, 21 de junio de 2015)

CFE corta el servicio a comunidades ‘en resistencia de pagos’ en Chiapas (La Jornada, 24 de junio de 2015)

CFE suspende energía a 14 comunidades indígenas de Chiapas (El Financiero, 25 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Communique from PUDEE regarding structural reforms (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces “climate of violence” generated by the CFE in the zone below Tila (15 April 2013)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE (24 March 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal reject dams and high electricity prices, affirming “Free Rivers and Living People” instead

April 10, 2015

Foto @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

Photo @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

On 14 March, in observance of the International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a communique “against the looting and plundering of our lands in Chiapas and in Mexico.”  Said plundering “which is imposed by the rich and the bad governments of Mexico is the principal cause of forcible displacement, forcible disappearance, torture, arbitrary arrests, and massacres,” as they say.

In this way, they reaffirmed their “civil resistance to paying for electricity.  Why do we not pay the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)?  For the following reasons:

a)  the San Andrés Accords have not been faithfully observed.

b) justice has not been done in the Acteal massacre

c) the prices are unjust

d) there are firms in Mexico and federal enterprises that do not pay for electricity, as has been confirmed by the secretary general of the Mexican Electricians’ Union (SME), as revealed in La Jornada in 2009.

e) Chiapas produces 45% of the hydroelectric power of the country, and it unjust and shameful that we should have to pay so much for electricity, while many communities and families lack this service altogether,” Las Abejas noted.

They added: “the CFE says that we ‘owe’ them a lot of money, but we tell them that it is they who owe us much, because they do business in our lands and fail to consult us.”  Las Abejas rejected the plans for more hydroelectric projects, “because the CFE and the bad governments of Chiapas and Mexico only seek more dams for their own economic benefit, while we poor people in communities suffer the consequences.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno (Las Abejas de Acteal, 14 de marzo de 2015)

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno:Abejas de Acteal(Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society expresses solidarity with the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero (5 February 2015)

Chiapas: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots” (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Activist Bettina Cruz is exonerated from federal charges

March 1, 2015

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press-conference, civil organizations reported that Bettina Cruz Velázquez, a human-rights defender who works with organizational processes opposed to the wind-energy megaprojects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus of Oaxaca, was exonerated of the charges that she had faced after a complaint submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

In 2012, she was arrested for having participated in a protest in front of a CFE installation, this being the institution which accused her of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.  The charges were based on her supposed blockading of the entrance and exit to a group of CFE workers during a protest in front of one of the firm’s buildings.

While celebrating the resolution of this case, Santiago Aguirre, subdirector of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, emphasized that this is an emblematic case of harassment that many other defenders suffer from in Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Exoneran de cargos penales a la activista Bettina Cruz (La Jornada, 13 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven a defensora de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (Milenio, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven de dos cargos a la activista Bettina Cruz (Ciudadanía Express, 12 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz (26 de septiembre de 2014)

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

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

National: Social organizations carry out “Disjointed National Mobilization” to demand release of political prisoners

July 14, 2014


Photo (@EDUCA)

On 8 July, members of 38 social organizations organized a “Disjointed National Mobilization” involving roadblocks and protests in Mexico City, Yucatán, Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Chihuahua. The mobilization was organized to demand the release of Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Enedina Rosas Vélez, and Abraham Cordero Calderón, who have been imprisoned in Puebla state since April of this year for their opposition to the Comprehensive Morelos Project (PIM).

PIM, which is overseen by the Federal Electricity Commission, seeks to build two geothermal plants as well as an aqueduct and a gas pipeline to supply these plants; the additional infrastructure would cross the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala.  The construction works are being conceded to transnational firms, both Spanish and Italian.

Also during the mobilization, organizations demanded the release of Marco Antonio Suastegui, spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), who was detained in the state of Nayarit on 17 June.  The member organizations note in a communique that “we cannot allow the bad governments to continue imprisoning members of our people so that the conquistadores of today who own the large transnational corporations have all the ability to continue looting us of our land, polluting our nature, threatening our life, destroying our culture, and violating our rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Mobilización Dislocada Nacional 8 de julio 2014 (Alianza Única del Valle, 26 junio 2014)

Exigen liberación de activistas y cancelación de megaproyectos (EDUCA, 8 de julio de 2014)

Protestas en 8 estados por el Proyecto Integral Morelos (La Jornada, 8 de julio de 2014)

Campesinos de Ixtapa anuncian movilización (Reporte Ciudadano, 7 de julio de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: 13 días de ayuno y oración de Alejandro Díaz Santis para pedir por su liberación (8 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Organizaciones exigen la inmediata liberación del vocero del CECOP, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz (27 de junio de 2014)

Guerrero: Operativo policial detiene a opositor de la presa de La Parota(17 de junio de 2014)

Oaxaca: Communities opposed to the Paso de la Reina dam report harassment and intimidation of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)

June 28, 2014
Demostration against the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric Dam (@SIPAZ)

Demonstration against the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric Dam (@SIPAZ)

Representatives of 42 communities in the coastal region of Oaxaca who oppose the construction of the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric dam have met with the Ombudsman of the Office for the Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) in Puerto Escondido.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform him of the harassment and intimidation from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against the people and communities who are opposed to the construction of the dam.

Although the hydroelectric project is a federal one, community representatives consider that municipal and state governments should get involved to promote, protect, and ensure the human rights of the population that could be affected. They have denounced that the communities have been deceived by the CFE since the latter has concealed the consequences the construction of the dam might have, among them forced displacement, disruption of the water supply, damage to the Lagunas de Chacahua National Park, and so on. All this would jeopardize the lives of Mixteco, Zapoteco, Chatino and Afro-mestizo groups in the region.

Meanwhile, the DDHPO committed himself to follow up on the complaints and to take up actions to protect the rights of the people and communities who would be affected.

For more information (in Spanish):

Preocupa a Consejo de la DDHPO, proyecto de la presa Paso de la Reina (NSS Oaxaca, 15 de junio de 2014)

CFE intimida a comunidades opositoras a Presa Hidroeléctrica (Voces Oaxaca, 16 de junio de 2014)

Preocupan a Consejo Ciudadano de la Defensoría comunidades afectadas por presa Paso de la Reina (Noticias, 16 de junio de 2014)

Hostiga CFE a comunidades por oponerse a la presa Paso de la Reina, denuncian ante DDHPO (Entidad, 16 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: The Diocese of Puerto Escondido expresses its full support to the communities in resistance to hydro project Paso de la Reina (June 13, 2014)

National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace (May 16, 2014)

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

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


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