Oaxaca: threats and attempted kidnapping against communal defender of the Isthmus

April 26, 2014

Población junto a parque eólico en el Istmo de Tehuantepec. Foto (@Sipaz)

Populace next to wind-energy park in the Tehuantepec Isthmus. Photo (@Sipaz)

The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) has denounced that on 10 April, the communal defender and APPJ member Carmen Ruiz Martínez was followed and restrained by two women dressed in dark uniform wearing books from whom she succeeded nonetheless in escaping.  While fleeing, Carmen could observe that her assailants boarded a taxi that came to pick them up, with a man inside who opened the doors for them to enter.

According to Carmen’s testimony, these women are the same ones who, together with two men in a vehicle, were seeking her out on 4 April in the space where she does business in downtown Juchitán; they are also the same persons who attempted to kidnap her in May.

That same day, two members of the APPJ received threatening phone calls in which a feminine voice warned them of the impending kidnapping of Carmen.

For the APPJ, “these attacks while daily worsen have to do with the struggle that the APPJ has undertaken to recover our communal territory which is being invaded by wind-energy generators–these neoliberal wind-energy projects that are taking our Zapotec land from us.”

The Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) has expressed its concern for the situation of harassment suffered continuously by members of the APPJ, and specifically it worries for the physical integrity of Carmen Ruíz.  It claims the three levels of government will be responsible for any attack suffered by APPJ members.

According to Código DH, “What has happened to Carmen is not an isolated act, and it is just another event on a long list of intimidatory actions that campesinos and fisherpeople of the zone have been suffering by persons who are employed by the firms that are building the Bíi Hioxo wind-energy park in lands that the population has identified as being communally owned […].  We demand an unrestricted respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities and a peaceful resolution to the conflict seen in Juchitán.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado urgente de la Asamblea Popular del Pueblo Juchiteco (APPJ, 11 de abril de 2014)

Código DH: Preocupación por la integridad física de integrante de la APPJ(Igabe, 11 de abrilde 2014)

Preocupación por defensora y activista por la defensa del territorio en el Istmo de Tehuantepec y parte de la Asamblea del Pueblo Juchiteco (APPJ) (Red TdT, 11 de abril de 2014).

Continúan agresiones contra opositores a construcción de parque eólico en Juchitán (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón leave community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 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)

Oaxaca: The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People denounces attack on wind-energy camp (26 October 2013)

Oaxaca: Death by gunfire of opponent to wind-energy projected promoted by multinational Fenosa Natural Gas (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: “The Isthmus at the Crossroads” Seminar (20 August 2013)

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)