Oaxaca: Assembly in Unión Hidalgo defines its position regarding the effects of wind-energy parks

May 3, 2014

Tehuantepec (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

Wind-energy towers (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

On 23 April, communards from the community of Unión Hidalgo, organized by the the mayor, representatives of the Communal Goods, and the pro-works committee, carried out a general assembly to address the issue of the repercussions imposed on the local population by the Piedra Larga I and II wind-energy parks owned by Mexican Wind Development (DEMEX), a subsidiary of Renovalia Energy.

According to the Asamblea of Indigenous Peoples from the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT), in 2011 DEMEX began its construction of the Piedra Larga I wind-energy park without having the necessary permits that would follow the prosecution of studies regarding environmental and urban impacts of said project.  Neither did DEMEX provide free, prior, and informed consent to the local community, as is stipulated by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Persons in Independent Countries, signed by Mexico, an accord that outlines the obligation to report and consult to the population before taking any legislative or administrative measure which could affect them

The construction of the wind-energy park, which the assembly says was imposed using tricks such as contracts and pressure from trade unionists and hitmen, has generated different impacts on the community, including socio-economic ones which have affected the agro-fishing activity in the zone.

At the end of 2013, the installation of 65 wind-energy towers was confirmed as pertaining to the construction works in Piedra Larga II, which is located less than 500 meters from the urban zone of Unión Hidalgo, in violation of international norms and laws.

Amidst this situation, the General Assembly of the community has outlined the measures it will take, and it warns that if DEMEX does not agree to a dialogue, it will consider blockading the wind-energy parks from the community.

For more information (in Spanish):

Asamblea general y marcha silenciosa del pueblo binniza de Unión Hidalgo, en resistencia contra la empresa eólica DEMEX (Renovalia energy) (Tierra y Territorio, 23 de abril de 2014)

Definirán rumbo de empresa Demex en Unión Hidalgo (El Imparcial, 23 de abril de 2014)

Realizaron comuneros, primera asamblea municipal para fijar postura sobre eólica DEMEX (Página 3, 24 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Communards from Unión Hidalgo request that the TUA totally nullify Demex contracts (24 June 2013)

Oaxaca: Meeting of People in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepc 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)

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Oaxaca: Communards from Unión Hidalgo request that the TUA totally nullify Demex contracts

June 24, 2013

Foto @ La Jornada

Members of the Zapotec indigenous community of Unión Hidalgo, located in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have publicly announced the presentation of their case before the Agrarian Unitary Tribunal (TUA) to absolutely nullify the rent contracts they had signed with the wind-energy firm Mexican Wind Developments (Demex), which is a subsidiary of the Renovalia Energy firm from Spain.

Demex first approached the Unión Hidalgo community at the beginning of 2007, expressing its desire to rent their lands for the development of a wind-energy park called Piedra Larga I.  The rent proposal promised large benefits and the possibility of continuing to utilize the lands for day labor of agriculture and pastoralism.  However, the community was not informed of the precise magnitude of the wind-energy park, nor of the implications that this would have in terms of the development of their everyday lives.

Such was the report made by Guadalupe Ramírez Castellanos and Esteban López Sánchez, members of the Committee of Resistance to the Piedra Larga Wind-Energy Project, who indicated that they within a period of two weeks the TUA would order a suspension of the project to protect their agrarian and collective rights as indigenous peoples, “in light of the violation against these that is perpetrated by the firm, the lies, criminalization of protests, pollution of lands and waters, together with the deaths of birds and land animals that the first stage of Demex’s wind-energy park which is already operating.”  They also noted that “it was overlooked that the land is collective property and, as such, demands prior informed consent, beyond the assemblies which are carried out to approve change in use of land.  Instead, there were created false small properties so as to sign individual contracts, changing the collective nature of these lands.”

López Sánchez added that “Demex raised the land to install the wind-energy generations, and this causes the water to pool, thus leading the maize and sorghum crops to spoil.  For this reason, wind-energy is not clean energy for us; instead, it is an energy of death.”a

It should be noted that other communities in the Isthmus, such as San Dionisio, Álvaro Obregón, and Playa San Vicente among others, have initiated a series of legal resistance actions to denounce the practices of violation that are being imposed by renewable-energy plans.

For more information (in Spanish):

La comunidad indígena zapoteca de Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, presenta demanda agraria en contra de la empresa eólica española Demex (PRODESC, 12 de junio de 2013)

Zapotecos presentan recurso contra proyecto eólico (La Jornada, 13 de junio de 2013)

Zapotecos buscan anular contrato de tierras con empresa eólica (Milenio, 12 de junio de 2013)

Empresas eólicas en México desoyen sus propias recomendaciones (Proceso, 7 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Meeting of People in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepc 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: confrontations between PRI militants and opponents to wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (7 December 2012)


Oaxaca: Five members of the Committee of Resistance to Wind Projects from Unión Hidalgo are arrested

April 2, 2012

(@Ciudadanía-Express)

On the afternoon of 22 March, five members of the Committee of Resistance to Wind Projects from Unión Hidalgo who are associated with the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT) were detained by agents of the state police in that community.  They oppose the Piedra Larga wind-energy park that has been developed by the firm Wind-Development in Mexico (Demex), which is a subsidiary of the Spanish company Renovalía Energy.

The APIITDTT communiqué denounced that “Our comrades who are defending human rights are being charged with the crime of ‘opposition to public works,’ when the project is being carried entirely by PRIVATE interests.  The energy that is sought through development in the community of Unión Hidalgo, like all wind-projects in the region, will be to provide energy to another private firm–in this case, the BIMBO corporate group.  It is in no way a public resource or utility.”

Human-rights organizations indicate the following in light of these arrests: “Newly social protest is criminalized, as is the defense of rights to land and territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus,” adding that “Today’s arrest is only the latest in a series of intimidational and violent acts that human-rights defenders from Unión Hidalgo have been subjected to.”  They recall that “One month ago was arrested the defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez in an attempt to put a halt to her defense of the land and territory of the small landowners of Unión Hidalgo.”

On 27 March, in a protest regarding arrest without arrest-orders, members of the community of San Dionisio del Mar and San Francisco del Mar, delegates of the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni), as well as of Section 22 of the National Educational Workers’ Union carried out a five-hour blockade of the work carried out by the Demex firm.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bloquean trabajos de Demex en parque eólico Piedra Larga (La Jornada, 27 de marzo de 2012)

Eoloeléctricas, obstáculo mortal para aves viajeras (La Jornada, 25 de marzo de 2012)

Los Ikoojt’s y la invasión transnacional (Noticiasnet.mx, 27 de marzo de 2012)

Boletín de prensa de la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIITDTT, 23 de marzo de 2012)

Boletín de prensa de OSC de Derechos Humanos, 23 de marzo de 2012

Detiene la policía del estado a cinco integrantes de la Asamblea de Pueblos de Unión Hidalgo (NSS Oaxaca, 22 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Oaxaca: Communards of San Dionisio del Mar revoke contract for wind-farm (9 February 2012)

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

Oaxaca: Indigenous individuals from the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants (5 July 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)


Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez

March 7, 2012

Bettina Cruz Velásquez @ Oaxaca Digital

On 22 February 2012, the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) detained the human-rights defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, member of the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, in the Santa María Xadani municipality, Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca.  Cruz Velázquez, who is also a member of the movement of Civil Resistance against High-Electricity Prices, was accused by the Federal Public Ministry of the crimes of kidnapping CFE workers as well as a charge against “consumption and national wealth,” supposedly committed last April during a protest outside the Ministry’s offices to demand the release of one of her comrades.  Cruz Velázquez was released on bail after paying this on 23 February; the judicial investigation is still proceeding.  It should be noted that in response to her detention, many social and civil organizations released communiqués demanding her immediate release, alleging that the true reason for her detention was the criminalization of the work of human-rights defenders.

Cruz Velázquez enjoys precautionary measures awarded b the Office for the Defense of Human Rights from the Oaxaca state-government since 14 November 2011 for her having been assaulted by state police during her work of informing indigenous communities regarding their rights to property of land.  According to Alejandra Ancheita, director of the Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Spanish firm Wind Development in Mexico (Demex) had made communities sign contracts for rental of lands without having informed them in their proper languages of the conditions this would imply–even if these might include outright displacement.  Bettina Cruz was a member of a resistance committee to help with the termination of the contracts.  On 8 February 2012 a work-table was agreed to for dialogue to demand the end of rental contracts signed by residents of Unión Hidalgo with DEMEX.  That day it was agreed that there would be a second meeting on Saturday 25 February in Oaxaca de Juárez so as to hear the formal response of the firm to the petition for the cancellation of contracts.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos(Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, 24 February 2012)

Sale libre bajo fianza la defensora de derechos humanos Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez (Boletín de prensa de ProDESC, CRPEUH, APIITDTT y Poder, 24 February 2012)

Detuvieron por orden federal a Bettina Cruz, opositora a los parques eólicos de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 24 February 2012)

Acción Urgente: La PGR detiene a defensora de derechos humanos Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez (Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, 23 February 2012)

Detienen en Oaxaca a la activista Lucila Cruz (La Jornada, 23 February 2012)

PGR detiene a defensora de los derechos humanos (El Universal, 22 February 2012)

Maestros de Oaxaca piden liberación de activista (Milenio, 23 February 2012)

La PGR detiene a defensora de DDHH Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez en Santa María Xadani, Oaxaca (Cencos, 23 February 2012)

Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos (Red todos los derechos para todas y todos, 22 February 2012)

EDUCA EXIGE LA LIBERACIÓN INMEDIATA DE LA ACTIVISTA BETTINA CRUZ VELASQUEZ (Educa, 22 February 2012)

DETENCIÓN DE LUCILA BETTINA CRUZ VELÁZQUEZ (ProDESC, 23 February 2012)

Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos en Oaxaca, México (Pozol Colectivo, 23 February 2012)

Acción Urgente: Libertad para Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez, defensora de derechos humanos (Chacatorex, 22 February 2012)

Detienen a la activista y defensora de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas BETTINA CRUZ VELÁSQUEZ (Kaos en la Red, 23 February 2012)

Integrantes del Movimiento de Resistencia Civil Contra las Altas Tarifas de la CFE se movilizan (NSS Oaxaca, 23 February 2012)

Maestros de Oaxaca piden liberación de activista (NSS Oaxaca, 23 February 2012)

“Hartos de abusos y amenazas”, comuneros oaxaqueños buscan anular parque eólico en Unión Hidalgo (Educa, 16 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Communards of San Dionisio del Mar revoke contract for wind-farm (9 February 2012)

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

Oaxaca: Indigenous individuals from the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants (5 July 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)


Oaxaca: Death-threats to human-rights defenders

November 4, 2011

Parque eólico en el Istmo de Tehuantepec @ La Jornada

Wind-farm in Isthmus of Tehuantepec @ La Jornada

On 21 October, approximately 50 workers from the hydroelectric firm Wind Development of Mexico (DEMEX) entered the lands of the indigenous Zapotec community Unión Hidalgo and threatened the human-right defenders Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Maribel González with death.  These two are accompanying the property-owners who oppose the Wind Corridor of the Isthmus (CEI).

The Urgent Action released by the Project on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights A.C. (PRODESC) indicates that “since 24 May of the present year harassment and death-threats directed against the community opposed to the project have worsened, given that a group of dissident owners met in an assembly called for by the Committee of Resistance against the Wind Project of Union Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and decided to request that the firms suspend this project in light of the great and irreparable damage inflicted on the environment, their lands, and natural resources.  Since this date, the work has been suspended, but regardless, the firm has maintained strong pressure against these owners and has rejected to close the rental contracts even though these depend on the will of the community.  It is important to stress that the owners of the lands in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, signed rental contracts with DEMEX by means of trickery.  At no time did the firm report in accordance with established international accords regarding prior informed consent for the community regarding the destructive consequences that this project would imply for the land, nor did it give a sense of the magnitude of the wind-project or what this would imply for the cultivation of crops on these lands.”  The PRODESC document specifies that as an antecedent of these death-threats, on “18 October, Mr. Jaime de la Cruz Gómez, known as ‘el Mocho,’ together with Jaun Altamirano, workers for Wind Development of Mexico (DEMEX), which is affiliated with the transnational Spanish firm Energy Renewal, were accompanied by ministerial police from the State Agency of Investigation (AEI) from the state of Oaxaca and a group of persons from other communities who had been offered work threatened to enter to work on the lands of the owners who are opposed to the wind-project in Unión Hidalgo.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente de PRODESC (21/10/2011)

Comunicado de la Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (18/10/2011)

La Jornada: Firmas eólicas intentan robar tierras de indígenas en el Istmo (23/10/2011)

NSS Oaxaca: Ejidatarios impiden trabajos del proyecto eólico Piedra Larga (22/10/2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Indigenous individuals from the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants (5 July 2011)

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)


Oaxaca: indigenous individuals of the Isthmus denounce threats by Spanish firm in response to their opposition to planned construction of wind-plants

July 5, 2011

Tehuantepec (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

Zapotec ejidatarios from Unión Hidalgo in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec have denounced that they have been threatened by representatives of the Spanish firm Demex who on 23 June arrived with State Agents of Investigation (AEI) who, armed, observed and protected the Spanish businesspeople aboard a white Nissan truck without tags.  These ejidatarios have been organizing themselves to protest that Demex has failed to comply with its promises to rent their lands and avoid greater environmental degradation by means of the construction of a wind-energy project that would supply the bread-making operations of the Bimbo corporation.

In a press-release the affected, supported by the Assembly of the Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, denounced that “The intent of the representatives of Demex is to displace us from our lands by threatening us and intimidating us with the presence of the [AEI] who have declared that they continue with a penal investigation against us due to our opposition to false development thoroughly unfair contract.”

They assured that the Spanish firm entered their lands without giving them complete information about the project, in violation of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, which stipulates that “It should be prevented that foreign persons take advantage of the customs of peoples or their lack of knowledge of laws to appropriate property or the possession or use of their lands.”

They warned that they have agreed to organize themselves to recover their lands and demand the cancellation of the rent-contracts.  At the same time they demand “the cancellation of the wind-energy megaproject of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec due to its violation of the rights of indigenous peoples.  The cancellation of the civil-rent contracts that we have signed with Demex, the cancellation of the investigations and arrest-orders against all of us who oppose the looting of our territory.  [We would also like to know whether] the government of Gabino Cué is on the side of the people or on the side of the firms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Zapotecos acusan de abusos a empresa española constructora de parque eólico (La Jornada, 27 June 2011)

Denuncia pública de los Ejidatarios de Unión Hidalgo, afectados por DEMEX y de la Asamblea de los Pueblos del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y Territorio (24 June 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Possible conflict regarding wind-energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (18 January 2011)