dorset chiapas solidarity

October 14, 2015

Federal Judge Orders Halt to Oaxaca Windfarm Megaproject

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:30 pm


Federal Judge Orders Halt to Oaxaca Windfarm Megaproject

Community Protest Banner:

Community Protest Banner: “No, to Windfarm Project”. 
Foto: Special (Proceso)

Gloria Leticia Díaz, 12th October 2015

Mexico City – Indigenous Communities on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec won a provisional amparo to stop “the authorizations, permits, clearances, approvals, licences and land use changes” for implementing the Southern Windfarm Energy megaproject.

Bettina Cruz, representative of the Binnizá people [Zapotec], community members, lawyers and social organizations reported that on September 30, 2015, the Judge of the Seventh District Court agreed to grant the amparo petition signed by 166,000 of the region’s indigenous people: “to the effect that things be maintained in their current state; that is, that the authorities here identified as responsible not execute the works authorized with the licenses previously described.”

At a press conference, defender Cruz stressed that the triumph of the indigenous Binnizá is grounded in the fact that it was “evident that there was no public consultation, since the project was approved in January by the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources [SEMARNAT], but it wasn’t until June of this year that the supposed consultation, which was only a simulation, was carried out.”

Cruz also recalled that the Southern Windfarm Energy company belongs to the same group of businessmen who established the Mareña Renewable company in 2012. Two years ago, the indigenous peoples won another amparo, but now the same group shows up again under another name.

Attorney Ricardo Lagunes Gasca explained that the Juchitán communities filed the amparo petition against the [municipal] council for the issuance of permits and land use changes for the production of electricity through wind power, but it only benefited the Southern Windfarm company, which is business partners with, among others, the Oxxo convenience store chain and Cuauhtémoc Brewery consortiums.

Designed in 2013, the project, he added, would affect 5,000 hectares with the installation of 132 wind turbines, and “in spite of the fact that the SEMARNAT did not encourage any consultation, except months after they had given their approval.”

Lagunes Gasca also pointed out how SEMARNAT managed this process: “it did not comply with international standards of being a free, prior and informed consultation, which is why the Seventh District Judge granted the provisional amparo.”

The amparo disables the permits granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission, SEMARNAT, the Municipality of Juchitán and even the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), “which had given its seal of approval for destroying the area.”

During the press conference, Fernando Córdova Tapia, with the Advisory Group of the Academy of the Indígenous Community, emphasized that the SEMARNAT approved a project that laid out “chopping down 100% of the jungle area without proposing any measure of compensation.”

Noting that the area’s biological importance as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor was not considered, Córdova pointed out that from the environmental impact assessment presented by the Southern Windfarm company, it is clear that “of 147 impacts to be generated, 82 % are negative, and only 18% are recognized as positive.”

Raymundo Regalado, community leader, warned of possible violent reactions against defenders of the land. They have already received death threats for opposing the windfarm megaprojects. The family of Bettina Cruz has been the victim of an attack and the Regalado family is under 24-hour guard.

Given the legal progress in the case, Cristina Hardaga, with Just Associates (JASS), and Humberto Guerrero, Fundar, both warned of possible “criminalization of the defenders of indigenous territory”. Hardaga recalled that after the project was approved and the “simulation consultation” there were “complicit and corrupt officials who put in motion a barrage of reprisals to hinder the full exercise of human rights.”

Guerrero stressed that criminalization has been a mechanism that operates against defenders to “divert attention from the main objective of the social struggle and wear down the peoples with the legal defence of their leaders.”

Translated by Jane Brundage



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