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.
Articles from Mexico
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.
How safe would giant wind turbines, power stations, high voltage lines, and a dump proposed for East County be during a powerful earthquake? Consumer advocates and area residents are raising those questions-and the answers in some cases are unsettling.
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.
A wind power project on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southeastern Mexico has stripped massive amounts of land and natural resources from hundreds of indigenous campesinos in Oaxaca. Those affected are mostly from non-Spanish speaking indigenous communities. Members were manipulated into giving up their lands in up to 60-year tenancy contracts through misinformation.
The Mexican government is preparing a big wind energy project, but peasant farmers and bird experts aren’t too happy about it. The government’s aim is for wind-generated electricity — which now accounts for just 0.005 percent of the energy generated in Mexico — to reach six percent by 2030. The project has the blessing of some big corporations and environmentalists. Achieving that goal involves setting up more than 3,000 turbines in Mexico’s windiest zone, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, as well as several other wind farms around the country with dozens of turbines each. But erecting the windmills, tall towers with a 27-metre blade span, requires negotiating with landowners, most of whom are farmers. Some have complained that they were taken advantage of when the first wind farm was created in 1994. Meanwhile, ornithologiests experts warn that many bird species are at risk of being killed by the giant blades, which could cause an environmental chain reaction across the continent, because various birds are migratory. “Everything is bent towards facilitating the wind farms, but there is not much interest in the birds, which in the long term could bring much broader problems,” RaGBPl Ortiz-Pulido, spokesman for the Mexican office of BirdLife International, told Tierramerica.