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)

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)