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)

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National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace

May 16, 2014

Protesta contra el proyecto hidroeléctrico de Paso de la Reina. Foto (@Sipaz)

Protest against the hydroelectric dam Paso de la Reina. Photo (@Sipaz)

During the last week of April, the office of the President of Mexico published its decree to approve the National Program on Infrastructure (PNI) for 2014-2018 through the Housing Ministry.

According to President Enrique Peña Nieto, the PNI “is the general strategy for the construction of works and projects that will contribute importantly to liberating the potential of our country.”

The Program, which is backed by 7.7 billion pesos from public and private funds, comprises six strategic sectors (communication and transport, energy, hydraulics, health, tourism, and urban development and housing) contemplated for 25 strategies and 23 lines of action.

In the presentation of the PNI, it was announced that the program would have presence primarily in the south and southeastern regions of the country, where 189 projects are sought to increase touristic, agro-fishing, energy, and industrial potential.

Some of the projects announced within the PNI that are to be implemented by 2018 have generated a great deal of rejection from the populations that will be affected by their development, such as, among others, the construction of the Paso de la Reina dam in Oaxaca and Chicoasén II in Chiapas, the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Palenque, and the Sureste II-V wind-energy plants in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  These projects have been rejected by local communities and organizations due to the grave impacts they could have on local peoples, such as loss of lands, environmental degradation, or displacement, given the lack of observation of the rights of local peoples to be informed and consulted previously about any administrative or legislative decree that could affect them, as is stipulated by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which has been signed by Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Enfocan obras en el sur-sureste (Am, 28 de abril de 2014)

Publican decreto para el Programa Nacional de Infraestructura 2014(Excelsior, 29 de abril de 2014)

Cinco entidades dominan el programa de infraestructura (El Economista, 05 de mayo de 2014)

Documento: Programa Nacional de Infraestructura  2014-2018

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)