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on the Parota Dam
The Puebla-Plan Panama represents a multi-billion dollar investment by national governments and multi-lateral organizations in large-scale infrastructure projects in
Update and Chronology of Events
The Parota case is considered for the first time by the Latin American Water Tribunal (TLA). Presented by the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the Parota (Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositores a
Subcommandante Marcos, as part of
Espacio DESC presents the Report of Civil Society Organizations on the Situation of Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights in
…assure that the indigenous and local communities affected by the
Finally, the Mexican Movement for those Affected by Dams and in Defence of Rivers (MAPDER) organizes a caravan passing through several Mexican states, including Guerrero, to focus on the impact of dam projects such as the Parota.
At the request of CECOP and the Tlachinollan Mountain Centre on Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos de
In March 2007, the Rapporteurs on Housing, Food and Indigenous Peoples write a joint letter to the Mexican Government. According to available information, this letter expresses that the CFE is in contempt of existing legal resolutions that prohibit it from entering communal lands to carry out any work related to
On March 27, the Unitarian Agrarian Tribunal (TUA) issues its decision on Judgement 447/2005 pertaining to the communal lands of Cacahuatepec (Bienes Comunales Indigenas de Cacahuatepec), deciding in favour of the campesinos opposing the Parota project. The verdict of the TUA revokes the proceedings of the August 23 Assembly, as well as all the accords, agreements, and judicial actions agreed to therein. This decision is significant given the fact that the campesinos supposedly authorized the CFE to expropriate their lands as part of the Parota Dam project in the proceedings of the August 23 Assembly. The judgement affirms that neither the state nor the federal government can legitimately enter or occupy the communal lands of Cachuatepec and that all actions in contravention of this decision are invalid and likely to accentuate existing levels of conflict in the region. Faced with this decision, authorities decide to call a new Assembly for May 6, 2007.
At the end of April 2007, Rodolfo Chavez Galindo, one of the advisors to the opponents of the Parota project, is detained and imprisoned for five hours. This action is widely seen as part of renewed efforts on the part of the CFE to push through the Parota project.
Towards the end of April and the beginning of May, a delegation of opponents to the dam, including the CECOP, Espacio DESC and the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Centre, with the support of the German Coordinating Body for Human Rights in Mexico and the International Institute for Food and Development Policy, travels to Germany, Brussels and Geneva to seek solidarity for their cause. Part of this strategy includes meetings with: parliamentarians from
A group of German and European organizations attending the congress undertake an “urgent action” and demand that Mexican authorities respect the human rights of those opposing the Parota project and avoid the use of force in settling resulting conflicts. This action includes a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderon (of the National Action Party [Partido de Acción Nacional, PAN]) and to State Governor of Guerrero, Zeferino Torreblanca (of the Revolutionary Democratic Party [Partido de
According to CECOP, the assembly called for on May 6, 2007 was intended to legitimize the expropriation of the comuneros’ land in order to begin the construction of the Parota dam. In short, this assembly sought to reinstate the one that took place on August 23,
The delegation notes several irregularities in the organization of the assembly, including failure to announce the meeting in the most visible places and failure to hold the meeting in Cacahuatepec, as consistent with community traditions. Other irregularities involve meeting registration procedures, including the fact that the Commissioner did not bring with him the official register of comuneros in contravention of Agrarian Law. Despite this, the Commissioner requests that registration for the meeting commence. Only two people then register, without showing adequate identification to prove they were comuneros. Immediately afterwards, the Commissioner, without having conducted an official attendance count, suspends the assembly, indicating the failure to achieve a sufficient quorum with only 543 comuneros in attendance. This figure is, however, impossible to corroborate given the lack of an official attendance count.
The May 6 meeting is cancelled by authorities only fifteen minutes after its commencement, with authorities posting (on their way out of the meeting) what appears to be a previously-prepared postponement notice announcing the second assembly for later in May. The postponement notice states that the assembly was cancelled because of “violent acts” on the part of opponents of the dam, a claim flatly refuted by the observatory mission. The observatory mission expresses its concern that such fabrications will be used to justify the use of state-sponsored force and repression in future meetings. In response to the assembly irregularities noted above, the observatory mission also calls for adherence to established meeting and consultation procedures in the interests of ensuring fairness and mitigating the mounting tensions between supporters and opponents of the Parota project. The observatory mission also expresses its concerns regarding the lack of adequate information and consultation needed to properly discuss an infrastructure project with such significant social, economic and cultural implications. It calls for all parties to come together and resolve their differences through existing legal and political channels in a peaceful, fair and transparent manner.
As a result of the cancellation of May 6 Assembly, a second assembly is called for May 20, 2007. Another observatory mission is then organized to witness and monitor meeting procedures and consultation processes at the May 20 Assembly scheduled to take place in the community of Bejuco. Subsequently, the May 20 Assembly is also cancelled for failing to achieve quorum. Opponents to the dam then seek to negotiate a meeting to ensure that the next assembly will be used to provide information rather than voting on the expropriation of lands to construct a project for which there is insufficient information. The meeting to discuss the details of such an assembly – focusing solely on providing information on the Parota project – is then scheduled to take place on May 23.
The May 23 meeting takes place in the community of Agua Calientes and lasts approximately two hours. At the meeting, CECOP is recognized as a valid and legal interlocutor in the Parota project. Those present also agreed that any decisions pertaining to community lands belongs in the hands of the comuneros themselves, and not in the hands of the government or the CFE. It is also agreed that the CFE should provide more information on the advantages and disadvantages of the Parota project, although details as to how this will be accomplished are not finalized. Although these agreements still require further discussion and even ratification by additional committee members, this meeting is perceived as being a tentative but important first step towards a more productive form of engagement and exchange between supporters and opponents of the Parota project. Notably, this meeting marks the first time supporters and opponents of the dam project have met together since the conflict began.
Finally, campesinos involved in CECOP, along with the support of the Union of Mexican Electricians (SME), will take the Parota case to the ILO, citing violation of their consultation and participation rights as designated in Articles 6, 7 15 and 16 of the ILO’s Convenant 169. This action arises from the irregularities observed in the four community assemblies held to date with respect to expropriating the lands needed to construct the Parota project and the lack of meaningful consultation with the majority of those affected by the proposed dam project.
 Ejidos are a form of communal land or social property created by Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution.
 CECOP was formed in June 2003 by campesinos in the affected areas opposed to the Parota project.
 Established in 1998, Espacio DESC is a network of 13 civil society organizations dedicated to human rights and development with a long history of promoting and defending economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (ESCE rights) in
 The Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples had previously visited the region at the request of CECOP and the Tlachinollan Mountain Centre on Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos
 For more than three years, thanks to the lobbying of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) and Food Firs Information Action Network (FIAN), the Rapporteurs for the Right to Adequate Housing and Food have sent letters to the Mexican Government expressing their concerns regarding the Parota case and requesting more information.
 The legal defence of the case at the local level is led by the Tlachinollan Mountain Centre on Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos
 The final declaration of the Congress can be read in Spanish and German at: http://www.ini-mex.org/espanol/Principal/principal.html.
 Comuneros have certificates of agrarian rights or certificates for use of common lands.
 Established consultation procedures, for example, include those set out in Convenant 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) that pertain directly to indigenous communities.