Coinciding with International Environment Day, the Bishop of the Diocese of Puerto Escondido, Pedro Vasquez Villalobos, conducted a Mass in which he expressed the full support of the diocese to the community of Paso de la Reina and other communities organized in the Council of Peoples United for the Defense of the Verde River (COPUDEVER). In relation to their resistance to the construction of the Paso de la Reina Hydroelectric Dam, in the Municipality of Jamiltepec, Oaxaca, he stressed: “I say to those who live here and are striving to protect this river and the land, feel our support … our spiritual presence and strength of will because we are united to you, saying NO to the construction of the dam at Paso de la Reina … We are united with you, it is an union of the Church with you … “.
The bishop noted that the project violates the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people and stressed the importance of the river to the lives and development of communities that benefit from it: “You are the guardians of water, plants, animals, and the land they inhabit,” said the bishop in reference to the Indians, “rightful owners of these lands and territories”. 3.100 hectares of 40 villages from six municipalities would be affected by the dam.
About the smear campaign undertaken by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) against the Diocesan Church of Puerto Escondido, the bishop said: “It has made serious disqualifications against our work saying that we come from outside the region and accuses of misinforming and confusing public opinion. “
For more information (in Spanish):
Pronunciamiento diocesano (Diócesis de Puerto Escondido, 5 de junio de 2014)
La Iglesia se opone a proyecto hidroeléctrico en Oaxaca (Proceso, 5 de junio de 2014)
CFE desprestigia a Diócesis de Puerto Escondido por oponerse a Presa Paso de la Reina (Página 3, 5 de junio de 2014)
La Diócesis de Puerto Escondido y agentes de pastoral reiteran su apoyo al Consejo de Pueblos Unidos en defensa del Río Verde (Fé y resistencia, 6 de junio de 2014)
Respalda obispo lucha de pueblos contra Paso de la Reina (Noticias, 6 de junio de 2014)
Reitera Diócesis de Puerto Escondido oposición a hidroeléctrica Paso de la Reyna (E-Oaxaca, 6 de junio de 2014)
CFE desprestigia a Diócesis de Puerto Escondido por oponerse a Presa Paso de la Reina (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de junio de 2014)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English)
Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (July 19, 2013)