Library filed under Impact on People from Mexico
Some 500 people from Unión Hidalgo marched Saturday to protest the planned Gunaa Sicarú wind farm that firm Eléctricité de France (EDF) plans to build, according to local media reports. The coastal town and fishing community of Unión Hidalgo is inhabited by people of the indigenous Zapoteco ethnic group, who claim to not have been consulted about the planned project.
Besides the lack of information, and of free, prior and informed consent, as the law and international conventions require, indigenous people complain about impacts on migratory birds, rise in temperatures in areas with solar panels and water pollution caused by leaks from wind towers. ... the process of energy development has legal loopholes that have to do with superficial contracts and environmental impact studies.
Mexican and foreign energy companies have paid off local power brokers to bring landowners on board, according to lawyers and activists. Yet in some cases, money they had donated for social projects evaporated in the hands of municipal officials. “We’ve had years of wind projects, but poverty is the same.”
A palm hat worn down by time covers the face of Celestino Bortolo Teran, a 60-year-old Indigenous Zapotec man. He walks behind his ox team as they open furrows in the earth. A 17-year-old youth trails behind, sowing white, red and black corn, engaging in a ritual of ancient knowledge shared between local people and the earth.
“All these agencies and companies are in lockstep on this green energy rush, whether it’s actually beneficial to us or not,” said Donna Tisdale, a resident of Boulevard in East San Diego County. Tisdale is leading the lawsuit against Energía Sierra Juárez, which also names the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the Department of Energy issued a Presidential Permit without considering environmental impacts in Mexico or alternative clean energy projects, as required by law.
This means a tense and possibly bloody situation is emerging and the people of Álvaro Obregón will need support in their struggle for autonomy against the invasion of wind turbines, political parties and the state police and military. ...Such “green” construction, it turns out, isn’t much different from many other large-scale industrial projects that altered or destroy the natural environment and the people who stand in the way of these kinds of developments.
“It hurts us that our land is affected, and the environmental impacts are not even measured. Wind farm projects affect streams and hurt the flora,” said Zapotec Indian Isabel Jiménez, who is taking part in the struggle against the installation of a wind park in southern Mexico.
San Mateo del Mar already said "No" to the proposed wind project in 2007. However, the Mexican government and big companies refuse to leave us in peace, causing divisions and conflicts in our communities. Even if we refused, the negative effects of this mega-project will hit us anyway, because we live in the same area and share the same ecosystems. Now we are asking ourselves: what will we live from if the sea and the lagoons are contaminated?
"There is a pattern of human rights violations in the communities. Wind energy companies advertise themselves well, offering money and jobs, but the jobs are temporary. The companies' actions are not transparent, nor do they meet established standards," Alejandra Ancheita, the head of Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales.
The wind farm projects is already affecting the lives of Zapotec peoples, as well as our Ikoots communities, living in Isthmus - Mexico's windiest region. Zapotec communities that depend on agriculture and livestock farming have already seen their fields overtaken by wind turbines, limiting their food sovereignty and impoverishing soil fertility.
Foreign energy firms have flocked to a narrow region of southern Mexico, known as one of the world's windiest places, to build towering wind turbines ...their presence has angered some of the indigenous populations, with some protests turning violent. Last week, more than 20 people were injured when police clashed with a group of protesters.
Saul Celaya, a Huave Indian farmer and San Dionisio resident, said the lagoon project would damage mangrove swamps where fish, shrimp and other sea life breeds, and scare off the fish that locals depend on. "Just when they were doing soil studies, there was a mass die-off of fish," Celaya said, adding that projects opponents "are being intimidated, they're afraid to leave their houses, they're threatened."
The groups recalled that the Oaxaca state ombud's office on Nov. 14 issued a note urging authorities to protect the activist's safety. That after Cruz Velazquez and members of the so-called Committee for the Resistance to the Union Hidalgo Wind Project were attacked on Oct. 28, 2011, by local political bosses and municipal police while protesting against construction of wind turbines on their land.
Members of an indigenous community in Oaxaca, southern Mexico have been threatened by security staff from a wind farm construction company. The company has been building on their land. Two human rights defenders have also received death threats. Their lives are a risk.
Iberdrola is alleged to have broken a contract between itself and the ejidatarios who hold rights to the land, according to Bettina Velázquez, who helps lead opposition to wind-power development in the region.
During the months of November and December, a press agency from the Netherlands (www.noticias.nl ) has been travelling for a project called LA Ruta. The project's intent is to report on the MillenniumGoals from the perspective of the civil society and social movements. In this important video, LA Ruta visited Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico to report on the conflict between the farmers and wind-energy firms. Click here for more information on the situation in Juchitán. Duration: 4 minutes 12 seconds
There were contracts drawn up for the farmers so they could lease their land for transmission, wiring, generators and windmills to provide. The contracts were in Spanish, but the wind company "forgot" that the majority of the population could not read or write. Those that could, conversed in Zapotecs, a pre-Hispanic language. Many farmers signed, trusting in the promises of the government and the Spanish companies. The farmers gave away use of their land for next to nothing so the wind farm could be constructed. For the La Ventosa wind farm, which were inaugurated in early 2009, farmers received between 25 and 100 pesos per hectare. The company had promised 30,000 pesos a year.