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In an action typical of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Jalisco State´s governor authorized the expansión works in El Zapotillo Dam, which would flood the populations of Temacapulin, Acasico and Palmarejo, contradicting his own committments and promises to the community.
The decision was made public on April 10, less than 24 hours before Easter Week holidays when the government offices are closed, and caused outrage among the population of Temacapulin and the Salvemos Temacapulin, Acasico y Palmarejo Committee, who have been opposing this dam. The population, lawyers and organizations rejected the attitude change of Aristoteles Sandoval and announced they will appeal the decision that would make their communities disappear before local and Inter American spaces.
The organized population, who has repeatedly expressed its opinion through democratic consultations against the abandonment of the community is announcing that they will not accept being relocalized or that their lands are expropriated.
The dam on Rio Verde is being built with public funds and it aims to gather freshwater to supply Leon city, Guanajuato State. The government is supporting its aim to expand the dam´s height on a resolution by the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) of Mexico, which is giving “security” reasons and technical aspects, leaving aside a resolution by the Supreme Court of Justice that ordered to limit the dam´s height to 80 meters.
With 105 meters, the height planned for the dam, Temaca would disappear. The new height would flood a larger area, which does not have the municipal authorization required. However, the project and the political-economic commitments behind it seem to have more power than the Mexican environmental regulation itself.
The people resisting stated that CONAGUA´s resolution, supported by the government, goes against the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice that deemed the collaboration agreement between the Jalisco and Guanajuato´s governments to build the 105-meter-high El Zapotillo dam was null. “It is clear that the local and federal authorities are not respecting the law when repealing their own resolution, such as the Environmental Impact Statement authorized to build an 80-meter-high dam. This fact is an example of the lack of capacity to coordinate which results in the violation of the fundamental rights of the population”, said the Committee in a statement once the decision was made public.
Lawyer Guadalupe Sauceda talked to our collaborator in Mexico and member of Hijxs de la Tierra group, Monica Montalvo, who explained why the government´s decision represents an abuse of authority and contempt since federal legal and environmental resolutions were ignored.
“We will carry out a press conference and then we will go to Temaca to talk to the people to see how we move forward”, said Sauceda to Real World Radio. He said the population of Temaca is outraged and expect to receive the governor in their town.
Even though the arguments in favor of the building of the dam make reference to the supply of drinking water to Guadalajara, the Temaca inhabitants insist on the fact that there are other water sources and that the real aim is to supply the industries of Guanajuato State.
According to “Mary Chuy” Garcia of the Comité de Hijos e Hijas Ausentes, Sandoval has broken his promise to protect the community “We´ve realized that we cannot trust these people”, she said in the interview with Monica Montalvo for Real World Radio.
Sadness and outrage were the words used by the activist to describe the feeling of the population. “We are furious”, she added. The population wants Sandoval to visit the town to explain his decision, as he did a year ago. “All this makes us believe that Mexico continues being a large estate and that there isn´t justice here. I refer to it as the struggle between those who deceive and those who get deceived”, said Mary Chuy.
The members of the Committee issued a call at national and international level addressed to human rights organizations, activists and environmentalists “to mobilize and carry out political actions from this moment on”.
And they added: “If Jalisco does not have a Governor, we say that Jalisco and Mexico have dignified people who defend their rights and dignity and who will struggle to the end until victory and until they save their place in the world”.
Imagen: Comité "Salvemos Temaca"
José Luis Abarca, hijo de un luchador ambiental asesinado en noviembre de 2009 por encabezar la resistencia a un proyecto minero en el municipio mexicano de Chicomuselo, estado de Chiapas, interpuso el 5 de febrero una denuncia administrativa ante el Comisionado para la Integridad de la Administración Pública de Canadá.
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