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30 March 2011 | | |

Longlive Temaca

Testimony of the resistance to El Zapotillo dam

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The residents of Temacapulin, in Jalisco state Mexico have had enough. After five years of resistance to the construction of El Zapotillo dam on River Verde, which would displace this ancient community, and despite the opposition of human rights organizations, the constructor and the government authorities have decided to move forward with the works.

For this reason on March 28, a 150 residents of “Temaca” (short for Temacapulin), together with members of the Mexican Movement Against Dams and For Rivers (MAPDER) have occupied the construction site and staged a peaceful sit-in. This will only end when their rights will be guaranteed over business interests.

Neither the firm pronouncement of the community against the dam, which was recently ratified in a public consultation held in Temaca, nor the court rulings that have declared the works illegal for lacking the permissions on land use have been considered by the promoters of the work, which is now stopped by this pressure measure of the population.

Last October Real World Radio visited the site where the occupation is taking place, during the 3rd Meeting of People Affected by Dams and its Allies held in Temacapulin. There were hundreds of international delegates and we could verify the outrage of the residents as a result of the accelerated pace of the works. They said at the time that if things continued like that their community would end up flooded and displaced long before the time the authorities had originally announced. The work was based on deceit.

Meanwhile, the sounds of the bulldozers working in the construction site to build a “new Temaca” could be heard. This is the center of the population created in the highest region, where a fourteen century old community would be displaced.

Along the Verde River there is also a sort of cemetery of dams that are now abandoned to complete their useful life and which reactivation turns out to be more expensive for the capitalist interests, than building a new one.

A big concrete wall is erected several kilometers from the entry to the construction site, where there is no telephone or Internet connection. This is an inhospitable place, with a landscape that has already been modified by the works and where big trucks are constantly driving by.

As a result of this, communication with the camp site is difficult and the situation of the ones who promote this protest measure is precarious and insecure if it were not for the solidarity and information.

Ten hours after the occupation Real World Radio contacted MAPDER activist Marco Von Borstel, who described the spirit of the people in the area. Marco highlighted that besides being illegal and illegitimate, the construction of the dam was unnecessary since the cities of Guadalajara (Jalisco) and León (Guanajuato) can improve their water use. They currently waste nearly 40 per cent as a result of leaks due to bad pipelines.

The activist called for international solidarity and to be on the alert since there was increasing police presence, even though there had not been violent incidents.
“People are tired, it has been five years of struggle of a very small community. It is worth noting that in the last year twelve eldery people died in Temacapulin, when the annual rate is of two deaths a year. It is a very strong psychological and social damage that we are suffering and the elderly seem to be resisting with their own lives. This dam is something they have never chosen and they want its construction to stop permanently”, said Marco.

When describing the atmosphere of peaceful civil resistance, Von Borstel said they expect the presence of official authorities, which have not appeared before the community in the long five years of struggle against El Zapotillo dam.
MAPDER calls to join the protest either at the site or by sending food and all the necessary things for a protest measure that will last indefinite time.

Photo: http://cronicadesociales.org/

(CC) 2011 Real World Radio


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