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By Gustavo Castro Soto
In just six months, the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers has made remarkable progress. The members of the movement have managed to deepen their analysis and weave together the issue of water, electricity, dams, privatizations, water and river pollution, the processes of trade agreements and the fight for the environment, among others. elements
The Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) was born as part of the agreements and strategies emanating from the II Encounter of the Mesoamerican Movement against Dams that was held in La Esperanza, Honduras, in the year 2003. In Honduras, the Mesoamerican movement made a commitment to form national networks to strengthen the fight against the dams that invade the territory of the Puebla-Panama Plan. Thus, the Mexican delegation proposed to launch the I MAPDER meeting in 2004, which was held in Guerrero, where communities are fighting against the construction of the La Parota dam. After six months the II MAPDER is carried out in the bottom of the Huentitán ravine where only one woman, Guadalupe Lara, remains in the resistance against the Arcediano dam and denies to sell her lands. However, many social, civil and environmental organizations in the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, among others, have joined the fight for the defense of water, the environment and human rights.
In just six months the Mapder has made remarkable progress. Various groups and organizations have joined in this great alliance. The members of the movement have managed to deepen their analysis and weave together the issue of water, electricity, dams, privatizations, water and river pollution, the processes of trade agreements and the fight for the environment, among others. elements. The members of MAPDER are now more aware and above all the space for analysis, reflection and sharing experiences has borne fruit in the clarity that it is not only possible to stop the construction of the dams, but also to dismantle them. There is still a long way to go in organization and action strategies, but in just six months the results are important. The MAPDER process is framed in the context of three basic elements: the fact that the country's dams end their useful life of 50 years; in which the government of President Vicente Fox intends to privatize the electricity and water sectors; and in that the process of neoliberal globalization and free trade agreements lay the foundations to try to attract foreign investment, which will not arrive if it does not have enough electricity, which is the engine of this neoliberal development model. In these three contexts an unprecedented movement arises in the history of the country.
The III MAPDER Meeting has been convened again in the state of Jalisco, but now in the region where the San Nicolás dam is to be built, for the month of March 2006. The communities that will be affected have offered their houses and their hopeful struggle to host the next match. At the same time, the II Latin American Meeting against Dams has been convened to be held in the communities evicted by the El Chixoy dam in Guatemala for the month of October 2005 (see www.mapder.org).
In the community of Arcediano, municipality of Guadalajara, Jalisco, from March 11 to 14, 2005 we held the II Meeting of the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER). The 350 delegates from communities affected by the dams and future hydroelectric projects in the country, as well as those affected by river contamination, come from 13 entities: Jalisco, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Michoacán, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz, Nayarit, Federal District, State of Mexico and Oaxaca. In addition to invited organizations from Spain, Belize, Guatemala, Italy and the United States.
The 60 organizations present at the II MAPDER Meeting consider that the neoliberal development model, which is currently being promoted by the Mexican government, is aimed at favoring the maximum profit of capital under the scheme of a development that facilitates the appropriation of strategic resources in the hands few transnational corporations and large national business groups. In this framework and in the context of the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Puebla Panama Plan (PPP) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the European Union Mexico Global Agreement, the trend towards the privatization of water , of electrical energy, of our biodiversity, of forests and other natural resources, the Mexican government hands over the sovereignty and cultural heritage of the Mexican people in exchange for greater external debt promoted by the multilateral banks. The construction of infrastructure such as dams and other communication works whose effects are the displacement of the peasant and indigenous population from their lands, effects on the health of the peoples and other irreversible damages, the most affected being boys, girls and women, away The possibilities of integral and sustainable development break the productive chains of the peoples, exacerbate migration and the increase in displacement from their places of origin towards the slums or towards the United States, and destroy the social fabric of the communities. These dams are imposed without consulting the peoples, which constitutes a violation of ILO Convention 169, comprehensive human rights, and national and state constitutions.
In the II MAPDER meeting we demand:
1) The cancellation of all dam projects in Mexico and all of Latin America and we invite the construction of a sustainable development model for and from the peoples. Although it is true that water is a renewable resource, current world policies for its use and management lead to the depletion of water resources and the breakdown of the water cycle.
2) That the repression, harassment and imprisonment in the communities that by legitimate right oppose and resist these projects cease. We also demand the withdrawal of the criminal action against Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz and Francisco Hernández Valeriano, opponents of the Parota dam and other states. No more prisoners for the Dams!
3) Suspension of the water privatization process since it is an inalienable human right and it cannot be seen as a commodity as established by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
4) The disappearance of the bureaucratic and inefficient structure of the National Water Commission (CNA) and the creation of a citizen body to carry out the self-management of this resource.
5) We demand the immediate removal of the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, Ing. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, since he authorizes all permits for the construction of large dams and approves false analyzes of the environmental impact that hide the true effects on the populations and The Biodiversity. Since some academic sectors and university authorities such as Guadalajara, Guerrero and the highest house of studies through the University Environment Program (PUMA) of UNAM lend themselves to pro-business interests, we call for the creation of a interdisciplinary civil body of independent scientists and researchers who report in a real way about the consequences of dam plans in the country.
6) That the Cuenca Citizen Councils be constituted so that they are not in the hands of government officials and business interests.
7) That instead of generating dams (for irrigation, flood control, electricity generation and water supply) based on the interests of large corporate capital, we promote sustainable and decentralized development alternatives for the benefit of the population, with respect for the environment and human rights. It is necessary to implement before considering the construction of a dam the alternatives in the efficient use of water in the countryside and the city.
8) We request the intervention of the WHO to investigate the cases of leukemia diseases caused by contamination in the basin and the Ahogado dam in the communities of Juanacatlán, El Salto and Cajititlán.
9) We demand an investigation into the causes of the deaths of workers at the Aguamilpa dams (approximately 300 deaths, of which 37 were officially recognized) and El Cajón (approximately 30 deaths) in the state of Nayarit.
10) We demand that the murders of the ejido commissariats in Nayarit, Valentín Ibarra Navarrete from the Carretones de Cerritos ejido and Esteban Abreg from the San Rafael ejido, be clarified.
11) We demand the exoneration of the defendants and the immediate release of the five fellow prisoners in the Puente Grande prison imprisoned during the repression suffered on May 28, 2004 in the framework of the III Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean held in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Likewise, the investigation of the acts of torture and the punishment of those responsible.
12) We demand immediate compensation for families flooded by sewage in the Huizachera Zone.
In this II Meeting:
1) The Mapder recognizes the problem and sympathizes with the struggle and resistance of the people of Jalisco and especially Ms. Guadalupe Lara Lara against the construction of the Arcediano Dam. Likewise, we hold the three levels of government and their dependencies responsible for the physical and psychological aggression that comrade Guadalupe Lara has been suffering and that could suffer. We condemn the deception, fraud and bad faith used by the government to evict the population of Arcediano. The Mapder supports the return of said population to the just replacement of their lands.
2) The Mapder welcomes the struggle of the people and organizations of Huitiupán, Chiapas, which has led to the definitive cancellation of the Itzantún Hydroelectric Dam.
3) The Mapder celebrates the achievement of the protection that suspends the construction of the El Cajón Dam, in Nayarit.
4) El Mapder sympathizes with the tireless struggle of the ejidos and communities of Guerrero for the suspension of the La Parota Dam.
5) El Mapder congratulates the determined action of the inhabitants of Los Altos de Jalisco to peacefully stop the initial work on the San Nicolás dam.
With this Declaration, MAPDER stands in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Belize against the construction of the El Chalillo Dam.
We stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Indian peoples against the projects of the PPP and the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC).
MAPDER sends its solidarity to the Mayan people of Guatemala who resist with their struggle to repair the damages caused by the construction of the Chixoy Dam, financed by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that caused the massacre of 400 Achí Mayas, and we demand the release of the Mayan prisoners.
With this, Mapder joins the convocation of the IV Encounter of the Mesoamerican Movement against Dams and the III Latin American Encounter against Dams that will be held simultaneously in the communities affected by the Chixoy dam in Guatemala in October 2005 .
In the same way, we join the call for the VI Mesoamerican Forum against the PPP and mega investment projects that will take place on December 4 and 5, 2005 in Costa Rica.
With this declaration, MAPDER announces the definitive cancellation of the Arcediano Dam.
On the International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life. Arcediano, Jalisco, March 14, 2005.
Jalisco: Cuenca-Lerma-Lake Chapala-Santiago Foundation (AC); Say it (AC); State Agronomic Federation; La Huizachera; The Regional Barzón; Arcediano Pro Defense Committee (AC); affected by the La Yesca dam in the municipality of Hostotipaquillo; Instituto Vida AC; Friends of the Barranca AC; San Nicolás Pro Defense Committee; Institute of Environmental Law AC (IDEA); Tianguis Cultural Guadalajara AC; Zapatista Front for National Liberation Guadalajara; Indigenous Peasant Council; Mexican Institute for Community Development AC (IMDEC); Citizens for the Environment AC (CIMA); Red Ciudadana AC; Pastoral Social of the Catholic Church; Citizen Water Council; Santa María Tequepexpan Indigenous Community; Water and Life Committee of Santa Cruz AC; Central de Organizaciones Campesinas y Populares AC (COCYP); Valle de Juárez Human Rights Center; Valle de Juárez Citizen Power; South Without Borders; Jalisco Ecologist Collective (CEJ); Network of Sustainable Agricultural Alternatives of Jalisco (RASA); State Front for Urban and Social Struggle (FELUS); Coordinator May 28; students from La Salle University and geography and sociology students from UdeG.
Warrior: Council of Ejidos and Communities Opponents to the La Parota Dam (CECOP); Collective Rebellion; Guerreros Verdes de Acapulco Environmentalist Association.
Chiapas: The bees; Education for Peace (EDUPAZ), Chiapaneco Front Against Dams (FCCRP); Community Action Policy and Economic Research Center (CIEPAC); Mission of Guadalupe; Diocesan Coordinator of Women (CODIMUJ); Altamirano Parish; Council of Traditional Indigenous Doctors and Midwives of Chiapas (COMPTICH); Convergence of Movements of the Peoples of the Americas (COMPA); Wiltliltón Huitiupán.
Mexico state: Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land of San Salvador Atenco.
Tabasco: Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement AC (MAIZ); Tabasco Network of Action against Neoliberalism (MAIZ, Tabasco Human Rights Committee -Codehutab-, Santo Tomás Ecological Association and the Macuspana Indigenous Human Rights Committee).
Guanajuato: Dame AC (affected by the Tequen company).
San Luis Potosi: Affected by the Tamaoin thermoelectric plants; Ecological Rescue AC of the ejido Las Palmas.
Nayarit: Affected by the El Cajón, Aguamilpa and San Rafael dams; Kupuri; El Manglar Ecological Group.
Mexico DF: Radio UNAM; Mexican Action Network Against Free Trade (RMALC), Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center; UPREZ; Habitat International Coalition AL (HIC); Greenpeace Mexico; DESC space; CENAMI; Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA).
Veracruz: Indigenous Council of Uxpanapa AC (CIUX);
Michoacan: researchers from the Colegio de Michoacán; affected by the contamination of Lake Zirahuén.
Oaxaca: Ñu ujikandi Human Rights Center; affected by the Ixtayutla hydroelectric project; Cortamortaja Collective; Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus Area AC (UCIZONI).
Chihuahua: Affected by the Los Conchos river.
Belize: Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (Belpo) and We Belizeans Against Di Dam (WeBAD).
Guatemala: Petenero Front Against Dams.
U.S: Committee of Absentees of San Gaspar in Action (CASA); Let's Save Our Peoples; International Rivers Network (IRN).
Spain: Coordinator of People Affected by Large Reservoirs and Transfers (COAGRET).
To the Inhabitants of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, (ZMG)
To the authorities:
C. Vicente Fox Quezada, President of Mexico.
C. Ing. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources.
C. Francisco Ramírez Acuña, Governor of the State of Jalisco.
H. Congress of the State of Jalisco.
To all the People of Mexico:
Those attending the Second National Meeting of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (Mapder), gathered in the town of Arcediano, Municipality of Guadalajara, Jalisco, site where the Governor of the state of Jalisco Francisco Ramírez Acuña, with The authorization of C. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, Secretary of the Environment, intends to build the Arcediano Dam, we pronounce ourselves by:
Close and definitively cancel all works, projects and / or activities related to the construction of the Arcediano Dam based on the following considerations:
First.- That the Arcediano project for the water supply of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area (ZMG) does not guarantee for the city's inhabitants access to clean water, a fundamental human right for the existence of any person, by virtue of the fact that:
A) Dirty water, even with the treatment, does not guarantee to avoid damage to the health of the inhabitants of the ZMG; because the authorities have not yet scientifically or technically demonstrated that the water will be fit for human consumption.
Second.- The Arcediano project does not guarantee the right that everyone has to live in an environment suitable for their development and well-being, by virtue of the fact that:
A) It was improperly approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, who completely illegally changed the conditions imposed for the construction of the Dam, which established that before starting the construction of the curtain and other works, the waters from the Santiago River should be clean and all the hydraulic treatment infrastructure working, to allow the construction of the curtain, the reservoir and the water treatment to begin simultaneously.
B) The costs of the Arcediano project are not the real ones, since they do not include the cost of pumping, treatment, environmental, social costs and the cost of health damage (cumulative over time).
C) It does not guarantee the preservation of the Barranca del Río Santiago, known as the Barranca de Huentitán, one of the main climatic regulators of the ZMG, as well as a natural corridor of wild fauna and endemic flora, which give it unique environmental values.
D) The Arcediano project is totally incompatible with the conservation policy for the Barranca de Huentitán and the Río Santiago, which has had a protection decree since 1934.
Third.- The Arcediano Project violates the constitutional guarantee of the right that every family has to enjoy dignified and decent housing when, without due process and nullifying the possibilities of defense of the inhabitants of the town of Arcediano, it displaced more than 30 families who lived here, Throwing them to swell the marginalized areas of the city through his henchmen, Lic. Héctor Pérez Plazola, Secretary General of the Government in the state of Jalisco and Lic. Carmela Chávez Galindo, today a brand-new alternate magistrate elect of the Administrative Court of the state of Jalisco .
Consequently, the National Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers states that:
We closed and definitively canceled the construction of the Arcediano Dam.
We reiterate our unconditional support to C. Lupita Lara Lara, in all the actions undertaken in defense of her land and of the Barranca de Huentitán patrimony of the Mexicans and we demand the end of any harassment by the authorities of the Governor of the state of Jalisco towards her person and family.
1. To the authorities of Guadalajara and the State of Jalisco, to repair the damage caused to their heritage and livelihood, since in a totally arbitrary way they knocked down the store and looted it, without paying a fair amount to date compensation for such damage.
2. That the Attorney General of the State of Jalisco stop overlapping the officials responsible for such an aberrant act and expedite the preliminary investigation filed by C. Lupita Lara Lara for the commission of the crimes of damage, robbery, dispossession and abuse of authority.
3. Stop the construction of dams, and businesses disguised by the authorities in turn.
Arcediano, Jalisco. March 13, 2005
* Gustavo Castro Soto
Newsletter "Chiapas al Día" No. 457
Center for Economic Research and Community Action Policies