Oaxaca: “Any consultation to be realized now is illegal”; more than 15 wind farms have already been imposed

June 13, 2014
San Dionisio del Mar (@SIPAZ)

San Dionisio del Mar (@SIPAZ)

“For us, any consultation to be realized now is illegal, because it should have taken place 10 years ago. Now we want respect for our common land, 68,154 hectares that we were recognized by presidential resolution in 1964”, complained Mariano Gómez López, spokesperson for the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ). Currently, there are more than 15 wind farms in the communal lands of Juchitan, La Venta and other municipalities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, all of them imposed without prior and informed consent, as the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (that was ratified by Mexico) requires. López Gómez reported that villagers from Juchitán filed a constitution protection demand, asking the companies to justify why they did not conduct prior, free and informed consultation.

For this reason, representatives of the Ministry of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the General Secretariat of the Government of Oaxaca will meet in Juchitán de Zaragoza. The APPJ spokesman expressed that “probably they want to design a strategy on free, prior and informed consultation for the energy reform laws. But for us it does not apply, as the 15 wind farms already installed; or the one that Mareña Renewable (expelled from San Dionisio del Mar), now called “Southeast Wind Power and South Wind-farms” wants to build in Juchitán; or the Bii Hioxio wind farm which Fenosa Natural Gas builds on communal lands in Juchitán and that has continued to be built illegally, when its construction should have stopped. “

Furthermore, a workshop around the theme “What and How is a Consultation?” was held in the city of Juchitan, took place on June 7, because “today we are surrounded by huge fans using wind to generate energy. But do you know where these projects come from and how they affect or benefit us? This huge project of energy production was installed without asking the communities that live in the region and without giving information. People from the Isthmus and from the country have the right to be consulted when a project of this type is to be installed in our territory. “

For more information (in Spanish)

Ahora cualquier consulta sobre parques eólicos en Oaxaca es ilegal: juchitecos (La Jornada, 6 de junio de 2014)

Taller informativo: El Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas a la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada (Blog Tierra y Territorio, 4 de junio de 2014)

Escucha en Vivo el Taller informativo El Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas a la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada (Blog Tierra y Territorio, 7 de junio de 2014)

For more Information from SIPAZ (in English)

Oaxaca: threats and attempted kidnapping against communal defender of the Isthmus (April 26, 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)

Guerrero: CECOP announces case against CFE over damages caused by La Venta dam

October 25, 2013


Photo @Willy Hernández, hijosdelamadretierra.blogspot.mx

Members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP) will promote a collective legal case against the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over the damages suffered by the peoples living at the margins of the Papagayo River, given that they do not believe these to have been caused by nature but rather due to the construction of the La Venta dam.  The community of Venta Vieja, in the rural zone of Acapulco, which resides near La Venta (operated by the CFE), was completely destroyed by tropical storm Manuel.

Residents of the region related that the storm and concomitant increase in water levels, which increased 40 meters beyond normal, devastated approximately a hundred homes, in addition to a primary school and the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús church.  CECOP believes that the CFE is responsible for the inundation of Venta Vieja and the disasters seen in at least 16 communities belonging to the Communal Goods of Cacahuatepec.  This zone suffered losses of paths and hundreds of gardens, given that the dam’s evacuation measures were not adopted in a timely fashion.  For this reason, the water level overflowed the dam, leading to the destruction seen downstream.

For more information (in Spanish):

Fotografias sobre la situación actual de la zona del CECOP-Guerrero 3 OCTUBRE 2013 (Hijos de la Madre Tierra, 3 de octubre de 2013)

Acuerda el Cecop recorrer comunidades para sumar gente a querella contra CFE (Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de octubre de 2013)

Anuncia Cecop demanda internacional contra la CFE por abrir las compuertas de la presa (La Jornada de Guerrero, 6 de octubre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Humanitarian crisis caused by tropical storm Manuel continues in the Mountain (5 October 2013)

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)

Oaxaca: Tension maintained in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

November 26, 2011


On 4 November 2011, opponents of the Wind-Energy Project of Unión Hidalgo in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca, presented a legal denunciation for injuries, gunshots, dangerous assault, and death-threats before the municipal agent of La Venta, Ventura Ordaz Santiago.

In a press-release the opponents recalled that on 28 October, members of the Assembly of the Peoples of Isthmus for the Defense of the Land and Territory, as well as members of the Committee of Resistance to the Wind-Energy Project of Unión Hidalgo, organized a peaceful protest in the La Venta-Unión Hidalgo section of the Pan-American Highway, against the construction of turbines on their lands.  During this protest, they distributed flyers to inform about the problem confronted by the “Piedra Larga” wind-energy project.  In this sense, they denounced that members of the La Venta community who are in favor of the wind-energy project arrived and threatened the opposing group.  The protestors reported that a group of men armed with pistols and machetes arrived to the place and beat some of the assembled, among them Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Juan Regalado Martíneza, whom they kicked, threw to the ground, and threatened with death.  15 minutes after having left, one of the men linked to the armed group, Reynaldo Ordaz Velásquez, died due to gunshot wounds under vague circumstances in the same place.  The authorities arrived after the homicide and the members of the group close to the municipal agent of La Venta alleged that the protestors were responsible for the crime, a version that was followed by local media.

In their communiqué, the opponents expressed that “In light of this situation the communities and organizations signed below lament the loss of a life and we categorically reject violence.  Regardless, Mr. Ordaz Santiago and the attackers have falsely accused the deceased Mr. Regalado Martínez and Mr. Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, whom we find completely free of responsibility.  We insist that the investigation into the death of Ordaz Velásquez be profound and impartial, and that those responsible be juridically processed and punished.  We roundly criticize the climate of persecution that makes it possible that the state-government, the caciques, and the wind-energy companies use this event to criminalize peaceful social protest.”

One day prior, Amnesty International (AI) expressed its concern regarding the possibility that the state government use the death of Ordaz Velázquez to unjustly process protestors and dissuade future protests.  The organization recalled that the industrial and development projects which affect indigenous and campesino communities of Mexico are undertaken frequently without providing believable information to the affected indigenous communities, without having consulting them or obtaining their free and informed consent.

For more information (in Spanish):

Interponen denuncias penales por violencia en el Itsmo de Tehuantepec (Boletín de prensa, 4 November 2011)

Opositores a proyecto eólico en Oaxaca presentan denuncia penal por amenazas (La Jornada, 4 November)

Preocupa a Amnistía Internacional procesamiento injusto contra activistas de Oaxaca (Proceso, 2 November)

Comunicado de prensa de UCIZONI (29 October 2011)

Boletín de prensa de la Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (29 October 2011)

For more information (in Spanish):

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: The Gathering of Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance

November 24, 2008

On Novermber 15 and 16, 2008, SIPAZ attended a gathering titled “Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance” at the Ecological Center in Juchitán de Zaragoza located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The 200 participants included various organizations such as the the Tepeyac Human Rights Center of the Isthmus of Tehuantpec, the June 14 Educator and Popular Collective, the Assembly for the Defense of Land and Territory, the Solidarity Group of La Venta, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-determination of the People, the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams and in Defense of the Rivers (MAPDER), the Mexican Anti-mining Network (REMA), the Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), as well as members of various communities in the region.

The themes that were discussed in the meeting included: Struggle and Resistance in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; The Mesoamerican Project and its components (including the Wind Energy Project and super-highway infrastructure); Agrarian Deregulation such as the Program of Certification of Ejidal Rights (PROCEDE) and the constitutional rights being violated; the Economy of Deprivation and Mega-projects; the Ecological Debt. On the second day of the meeting the participants visited the La Venta II and La Venta IV wind farms.

The meeting ended with a final declaration in which they stated “We pronounce a clear NO to the highway, dam, mine, and transnational wind energy projects, because they do not contribute to the development of our communities, instead they displace us and deprive us of our land … they only bring economic benefit for businesses and the government”.

Below is audio (in Spanish) of Teodosio Ángel Molina of UCIZONI discussing the history of resistance in the area and his analysis to date.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Declaración final del Encuentro de Nuestras Voces de Lucha y Resistencia (16/11/08)

Página web de la UCIZONI

Oaxaca: La Venta IV Wind Farm

November 24, 2008

On November 16, within the framework of the meeting “Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance”, there was a tour of the La Venta II and La Venta IV find farms located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. Alejo Girón, a community member of La Venta, explained to those present which transnational companies are running the windmills and who is benefiting from the energy that they are producing.

The conflict in the area has existed for almost 20 years, during which more than 60 thousand hectares have been lost due to ‘rigged’ contracts in which community members and ejidatarios (communal land holders) were pressured by transnational companies as well as federal, state, and local officials to sign. These rental contracts allow the companies to rent the land for 60 years at the price of 150 Mexican pesos per year per hectare. The companies named by the community members and ejidatarios include the Spanish companies ENDESA, GAMESA, Unión FENOSA, PRENEAL, and IBERDROLA.

The community representatives have denounced the federal and state governments for not complying with Convention 169 of the ILO (International Labor Organization) which guarantees the right of indigenous peoples to be informed and consulted in relation to the Wind Energy Project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Because of this, the community members are denouncing not only the deceit on the part of the transnational companies but also on the part of the government and local authorities in the region.

The resistance to the Wind Energy Project has had some success in a few cases. 400 hectares of land have been regained from the Spanish corporation PRENAL and they have managed to halt the production of the wind park La Venta IV which was being carried out by CEMEX and ACCIONA ENERGIA through the EURUS project. In the video, the entire testimony of Alejo Girón at La Venta IV wind farm can be heard (in Spanish).

For More Information (In Spanish):

Declaración Final del Encuentro de Nuestras Voces de Lucha y Resistencia (16/11/08)

Pronunciamiento del Foro Regional Parque Eólico del Istmo: Impactos ambiental, económico, social y cultural de los proyectos privados de energía eólica (05/11/05)

Rechazo al Corredor Eólico del Itsmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca (27/09/05)