Finally, here’s the article I’ve been predicting: “Teachers and APPO and communal land owners announce the boycott of Venta II,” accompanied in action by other organizations including The Front of the People of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land. President Felipe Calderon and Governor Ulises Ruiz are inaugurating the construction of the new wind farm to generate electricity, owned by a Spanish transnational, on Wednesday March 28 (see the video newsreel, The Windmills of Capitalism). About two hundred hectares of communal land and about nine sub-municipalities of Juchitán are in dispute. The wind farm is seen as a basic part of the development of the Plan Puebla Panama, and infringes on the autonomy of the indigenous residents of the area. The area is protected, according to Noticias, by a circle of military soldiers.
Ninety-eight wind generators already operate with a supposed capacity of 83.3 megawatts. In the second stage the transnational company, Iberdrola, has invested $100 million. The World Bank has recently loaned $20 million for the development of La Venta III, which confirms that regardless of who’s protesting, the project will go ahead.
On March 3 three-hundred-and-sixty men from the Federal Preventative Police, traveling in vehicles with dark windows and carrying high power weapons, evicted the communal land owners from the neighborhood Tres de Abril located within the polygon of Venta II, because they were an “obstacle to the project.” Many believe that the outcry against the wind generators has more to do with the offensively low rental and a voice for the people whose land has been “rented” for thirty years. The rental was reportedly carried out by agents who ignored the community assembly process and were in turn allegedly paid off handsomely by the government and/or Iberdrola.
It has been pointed out that not as much farming goes on as did in the past, but the acquisition process itself is a criminal offense taking place on indigenous lands. It is also reported that damage to migrating birds has been ignored. In any case, in my opinion what we are seeing is a last ditch defense against the neoliberalization of the Isthmus. Apparently, Felipe Calderon also called on Harvard University to come and help “develop” Oaxaca (see note by George Salzman).
By Nancy Davies
28 March 2007
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