Oaxaca: Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting held in Juchitán

May 16, 2015

Quinto Encuentro Indígena, Campesino y Popular (@CODEP)

Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting (@CODEP)

On 2 and 3 May, the Fifth Indigenous, Campesino, and Popular Meeting was held in Juchitán City.  Approximately 500 members of more than 20 social organizations from Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas, Ciudad de México, Morelos, Michoacán, and Quintana Roo participated in the event, which was organized by the Campesino-Worker-Student Coalition of the Isthmus (COCEI), the Council in Defense of People’s Human Rights (CODEP), and the Committee for Popular Defense (CODECI).

Participants at the meeting analyzed the “death projects” implemented by transnational corporations and strategized about resistance to such.  At the close of the event, those in attendance demanded the appearance with life of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa who were forcibly disappeared on 26 September 2014, and they expressed their utter rejection of transnational projects.  They called for the construction of a large popular bloc that “will avert looting and accumulation by dispossession; arrest the barbarism and death-projects that that brings with it; unlearn the culture of being servile and overcome fear.  From our quantitative majority, let us become a political and counter-hegemonic majority that builds social and popular power from autonomy, making good laws, a new economy, and a new culture so that the people of Mexico win the country.”

For more information (in Spanish):

5° Encuentro Nacional Indígena, Campesino y Popular Por las Resistencias, los Derechos y las autonomías ( Declaración final, 3 de mayo de 2015)

Quinto Encuentro nacional indígena-campesino en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 2 de mayo de 2015)

No a proyectos trasnacionales y sí a la aparición con vida de los 43 normalistas: Quinto Encuentro Nacional Indígena (Página3, 5 de mayo de 2015)


Oaxaca: Second Day for the People, Water, Life, and Land

April 23, 2015

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In observance of the Second Day for the People, Water, Life, and Land on 10 April, there was held a Meeting of Experiences for Consultation amidst Infrastructural and Developmentalist Projects in the city of Oaxaca de Juárez.  Representatives from indigenous and campesino peoples and members and organizations of civil society hailing from the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas, Tabasco, Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, Veracruz, and Distrito Federal met “to discuss and analyze the exercise of our right to decide about legislative and administrative measures as well as ‘developmental’ projects which affect our lands and territories, putting at risk our ways of life.”

At this meeting, the organizations and social processes defending land and territory shared their experiences, including the use of “closed season” for the use of water in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca; the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco; the wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus; the Las Cruces (Nayarit) and Paso de la Reyna (Oaxaca) dam projects and the “Independence Aqueduct” in Sonora; the hydroelectric dams in Puebla and Veracruz; and the Plan for Territorial Exploitation on the Usumacinta River in Chiapas and Tabasco. As a central question, the great difficulty of implementing consultative processes vis-a-vis megaprojects was debated, given that “the Mexican State is promoting a series of consultations that do not respect international standards, but rather lead to a climate of harassment against communal defenders who oppose these projects,” as participants expressed in a final document.  They added that the “information we receive is only partial and distorted; it does not allow us to have a clear understanding of what the impacts are of said projects.  Furthermore, the process that continues is rigged, as there is no guarantee of impartiality.  The result is a number of simulated consultations.  In this way, we denounce the interference of power-groups and armed bands that are allied to the firms within this consultative process.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del Encuentro de Experiencias de Consulta ante Proyectos de Infraestructura y Desarrollo (Educa, 10 de abril de 2015)


Oaxaca: More harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation in the Tehuantepec Isthmus

March 22, 2015

Juchitán de Zaragoza, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Juchitán de Zaragoza, @ SIPAZ archive

Mariano López Gómez, member of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), Héctor and Gloria Sánchez López, directors of civil and political organizations from Juchitán, and David Henestrosa, a columnist covering the Tehuantepec Isthmus, have denounced that they have suffered harassment and threats during the second phase of the wind-energy consultation, which began on 3 March in Juchitán de Zaragoza.  They claimed that they were booed and insulted by people in attendance, but they indicated in particular Eduardo Centeno, the legal representative of the Southern Wind-Energy firm (previously, Mareña Renewables Capital), such that they will submit a penal denunciation holding the wind-energy firm responsible for whatever could happen to them and their families.  Mariano López added that the CTM construction union is bringing “yes-men” to the forum who “obey the interests of the PRI, some PRI property-owners, and other abusers.  They are not taking into account the women’s groups, artisans, or fisher-people.”

The consultation process for the installation of the wind-energy park has been gravely challenged since its start in November 2014.  The Assembly of Indigenous People of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), in a letter written to the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, affirmed that it does not oppose wind-energy, “but its use should be based in the form and means of life of the indigenous peoples and communities, promoting communal control,” as has been ignored byt he government and the firms that have installed 21 wind-energy parks by means of “injustice, abuse, and the illegal occupation of our communal lands.”

Beyond this, the organizations Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), the Project on Organization, Development, Education, and Investigation (PODER), and the Gobixha A.C. Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) documented in a second report from the Observation Mission the “worrying procedural vices” related to the observance of the right to consultation and free, prior, and informed consent, as well as the rights to participation and information on the part of indigenous peoples.  They detected more than 20 security incidents, including threatening phone-calls and text messages, vigilance, and acts of intimidation in homes, verbal aggressions, and threatening actions taken by armed persons.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian asistentes a consulta eólica hostigamiento de empresa eólica Del Sur (Página 3, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Foro de consulta indígena en Juchitán con tintes violentos (Romo Noticias, 4 de marzo de 2015)

Vicios procesales y violaciones a derechos humanos caracterizan consulta sobre proyecto eólico en Oaxaca (Prodesc, 23 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Consultative process in the Tehuantepec Isthmus challenged on several fronts (16 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec 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: Activist Bettina Cruz is exonerated from federal charges

March 1, 2015

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press-conference, civil organizations reported that Bettina Cruz Velázquez, a human-rights defender who works with organizational processes opposed to the wind-energy megaprojects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus of Oaxaca, was exonerated of the charges that she had faced after a complaint submitted by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

In 2012, she was arrested for having participated in a protest in front of a CFE installation, this being the institution which accused her of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.  The charges were based on her supposed blockading of the entrance and exit to a group of CFE workers during a protest in front of one of the firm’s buildings.

While celebrating the resolution of this case, Santiago Aguirre, subdirector of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, emphasized that this is an emblematic case of harassment that many other defenders suffer from in Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Exoneran de cargos penales a la activista Bettina Cruz (La Jornada, 13 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven a defensora de derechos humanos en Oaxaca (Milenio, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Absuelven de dos cargos a la activista Bettina Cruz (Ciudadanía Express, 12 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz (26 de septiembre de 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

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


Oaxaca: in assembly, peoples of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus denounce threats from PEMEX

March 1, 2015

(@romanoticias)

(@romanoticias)

On 8 February, representatives from 25 communities associated with the communities of San Juan Guichicovi, Asunción Ixtaltpec, Matías Romero, Santa María Petapa, and El Barrio de la Soledad met in an assembly with members of the Union of Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI).   They jointly denounced intimidation and threats made by PEMEX workers who had been preparing the land for the construction of the natural gas pipeline spanning Jáltipan, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.   They warned that they would prevent workers from the state firm and their subcontracotrs from entering their lands and ejidos.

It should be noted that this new pipeline will occupy 315 kilometers of land within these communities in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Those affected have denounced that the state firm has entered their lands without their permission to carry out topographical surveys.  To date there exist more than 500 who have displaced by works and disasters in these municipalities, and they indicate that PEMEX has “acted very irresponsibly in the face of oil spills, like the one that occurred on 31 December.  The victims still have not been compensated.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Pemex reprime y despoja a a comunidades istmeñas (Comunicado de prensa de UCIZONI, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Piden resultados creíbles de estudio sobre incendio en pozo de Tabasco(La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Pueblos de la zona norte del Istmo, denuncian intimidación de Pemex(Página3, 10 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Violent displacement of UCIZONI members for blockade of refinery in Salina Cruz (8 February 2015)


Oaxaca: Third anniversary of movement against wind-energy projects in San Dionisio del Mar

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ;  Parque eólico en el Istmo de Oaxaca

On 29 January, the Huave people of San Dionisio del Mar commemorated the third anniversary of their wind-energy resistance.  In this sense, there was held a march in which 500 people participated.  During a political act in the municipal auditorium, protestors reiterated their opposition to wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Arturo Lona Reyes, bishop emeritus of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and a representative of the Tepeyac Center for Human Rights, celebrated a mass and affirmed that “the communal assemblies are the light in the darkness.”  Members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), CIARENA, the Network Organization of Young Indigenous Women, the 21 June Mareños Mototaxi group, and the Mugier Ndyuck Civil Association were present at the action.

It should be recalled that in January 2012, following debate regarding the conditions under which a contract had been signed with the Preneal firm in November 2004, the communal assembly agreed to censure the mayor Miguel López Castellano after it was revealed that he had received 20 million pesos from the firm in exchange for an authorization of change in land use.  For the same reason, protestors decided to occupy the municipal palace.

An Ikjoot communard said in an interview with La Jornada that “the threat against our territory persists because the concession for the wind-energy park has no end-date.  Beyond this, now the PRI would like to open the door to more mining.  We know that there are six mining concessions for gold, salt, and other metals in San Dionisio, in the La Riqueza park, where they are attempting to build an open-pit mine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblos impulsan su autonomía tras evitar construcción de parque eólico en Oaxaca (La Jornada 28 de enero de 2015)

Lucha por la autonomía en San Dionisio del Mar (Video Subversiones, 28 de enero de 2015)

Frente al extractivismo capitalista, San Dionisio del Mar lucha por la autonomía (Subversiones, 29 de enero de 2015)

Las asambleas comunitarias son esperanza en el Istmo: Lona Reyes(Quadratin Oaxaca, 29 de enero de 2015)

Cumple San Dionisio tres años de resistencia (Noticiasnet.mx, 29 de enero de 2015)

Huaves conmemoran tres años de “resistencia eólica” en el Istmo de Tehuantepec (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Conflicts over extraordinary elections in San Dionisio del Mar (30 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec 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: Violent displacement of UCIZONI members for blockade of refinery in Salina Cruz

February 8, 2015

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On 28 January, workers from Mexican Petroleum (PEMEX) and the Ica-Fluor union displaced members of the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and other social organizations who were carrying out a sit-in at the Antonio Dovalí Jaime refinery in the port city of Salina Cruz.  The protestors were demanding negotiations with the Secretary of Governance, Osorio Chong, to negotiate the question of the gas pipeline that will connect Jaltipan, Veracruz, to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.  UCIZONI president Juana Inés Ramírez observed that the peoples of the Isthmus demand compensation for the pollution caused by the construction works: on 31 December 2014, “there was damage to cattle, rivers, and marine life.”  More broadly, they demand compensation for the more than 30 disasters that have taken place in the past 2 decades, the definition of actions for environmental remediation and development in the region, as well as information and consultation regarding the Transisthmus Corridor Project.

During the displacement operation, dozens of people were beaten.  It is reported that their assailants were wearing the orange PEMEX uniform, armed with machetes and stones.

For more information (in Spanish):

Atacan en Salina Cruz a integrantes de la Ucizoni por bloqueo de refinería (La Jornada, 28 de enero de 2015)

Trabajadores de Pemex desalojan a opositores al gasoducto en el Istmo(Proceso, 28 de enero de 2015)

Desalojan en Salina Cruz a indígenas que exigen indemnización a Pemex(Nss Noticias, 29 de enero de 2015)

Boletín de UCIZONI (28 de enero de 2015)