Articles filed under Impact on People from Mexico
Renewable power companies are directly responsible for creating societal strains, said Juan Antonio Lopez, a coordinator at Mexico City-based human rights group ProDESC, which has led legal challenges against wind projects in Oaxaca state, including EDF’s Gunaa Sicaru. A common mode of operation is converting communal land into private property to sidestep lengthy negotiations with the indigenous communities known as ejidos, he said. The result is local residents are often surprised when they see wind towers go up on their ancestral lands, and then get little to nothing in the way of compensation.
This is not an isolated example of human rights issues with large-scale solar projects, Hudlet told Climate Home: “The consultation process with indigenous communities has become more of a mandatory checklist” than a serious attempt to seek consent… “If we keep allowing companies to press ahead with such projects and only late in the process engage with communities there will be more land conflicts. Cases like this should be a warning signal to get it right.”
Communities in Oaxaca say they were hoodwinked into approving wind parks that pollute their land. As another development looms, they're hoping a legal injunction puts power back in their hands.
A lack of security in the eastern part of the state has put the installation of a wind energy park in Cañada Morelos at risk. Gilberto Marín Quintero, a businessman who is part of the project, revealed that 27 cars and pieces of equipment have been stolen to date. He trusts that the new state authority will guarantee security to investors.
Peoples and organizations of the Tehuacán Valley and the Sierra Negra , in Puebla, as well as Cuicatlán, in Oaxaca, created a Regional Front to demand that governments and legislators prohibit "death projects" and reject the "farce of indigenous consultations." [Death projects refer to large renewable and other energy facilities sited on land owned and farmed by indigenous people. In this instance, Death Project refers to a wind energy facility under construction in Sierra Negra and the Valley of Tehuacán.
In this sense, they have pointed out that the permits for the installation of the Renewable Energy Industrial Wind Park (PIER IV) were made through agreements with the state and municipal governments, without consulting or previously informing the population. The lack of consultation has created a "social conflict." They have also claimed that the Environmental Impact Manifestation (MIA), approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources ( Semarnat ), was carried out without principles of legality.
In an interview, he revealed that the Spanish company, Iberdrola, lied to the peasants, when it assured there would be no environmental impact in their communities due to the construction and operation of the wind farm. Iberdrola's claims do not agree with the Semarnat Environmental Impact Manifestation (MIA) which documented there would be irreversible damage to the endemic flora and fauna of these villages of popoloca origin.
However, a project dubbed Eólica del Sur, Sydvind, which has been given the go-ahead involving the Danish firm Vestas, has been drawing fire from indigenous peoples in the Oaxaca region. The Mexican government is being accused of going ahead with the project and riding roughshod over the feelings of the people living in the area – one of the poorest in Mexico.
A group of activists filed the injunction request on the grounds that the rights of local indigenous communities were violated during the planning and development process for the US $600-million project.
Yesterday, the municipal representative in Pueblo Viejo, Francisco Álvarez, led a group of supporters to the beach where they set fire to some 20 palapa-roofed houses belonging to the fishermen. ...The fishermen claim that Álvarez wants to force them to leave the land so the municipality can grant it to the wind farm project.
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.
The growing wind and solar generation projects in the state of Yucatán are part of a positive change in Mexico's energy matrix. But in the affected communities this expansion is not perceived the same, due to the lack of information and consultation and because of how it alters their lives. “We have no information. We have certain doubts, there are people who say it is good and others that it is bad. We have heard what is being said in other states, ”farmer Luís Miguel told IPS.
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.