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Rural Mexican Communities Protest Wind Farms

Independent European Daily Express — June 18, 2013

MEXICO CITY, Jun 18 (IPS) – “We can’t sow our fields, which they have rented for next to nothing. What good do we get out of it?” Guadalupe Ramírez complained about wind farms operating in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Ramírez said, “the governments play favourites with big business; our land produces more than what the companies are offering … They said they would come to help us, but that’s a lie,” this 62-year-old Zapotec Indian told IPS when she and other campesinos came to Mexico City from the municipality of Unión Hidalgo, 560 kilometres to the south, to protest the situation.

The Piedra Larga I wind farm, which has been operating in the town since October 2012, comprises 145 wind turbines producing 90 MW of power. It is the property of Desarrollos Eólicos Mexicanos (DEMEX), a subsidiary of the Spanish company Renovalia Energy and the private U.S. investment firm First Reserve.

In 2007 DEMEX approached local people and began to sign rental contracts with members of the “ejido” or communal land, treating them as if they were independent smallholders and not communal rights holders, and setting an average monthly rental of 20 dollars a hectare. The campesinos of Unión Hidalgo farm between three and four hectares each.

But in other municipalities wind energy companies are paying up to 80 dollars a hectare. Moreover, land tenure in Unión Hidalgo is collective, and all decisions pertaining to ejido land have to be made by the entire assembly of the ejido members, so the contracts signed are not actually valid – a fact that at first was not noticed by those who rented out their land.

Ejido members farming communal land in the municipality accuse DEMEX of tricking them by not explaining the clauses of contracts that were written in Spanish rather than Zapotec, of not calling the obligatory assembly of the ejido members, of polluting their land and of denying them freedom of movement on their land.

In 2014 the company will begin operating the Piedra Larga II wind farm, occupying 300 hectares in Unión Hidalgo, which has a population of 13,970, mainly native Zapotec people. A Resistance Committee against the Wind Farm Project has been created, several of whose members came to the capital to protest on Wednesday Jun. 12.

Their protest shows the increasing discontent of Mexican communities with wind energy projects because of their economic, environmental and social consequences. The future of the sector is turning cloudy, just when Global Wind Day was celebrated on Saturday Jun. 15.  Continue reading, here….

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One Comment on “Rural Mexican Communities Protest Wind Farms”

  1. michael fairneny June 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    This is a worldwide epidemic……..These multi-billion dollar companies are “running the show”….This is a money hungry sick world….and our governments are just the puppets…..My world has already been altered by 19 IWT”S….and my wife is ready to move…..NOT GOOD…..if you want more info on Wind Turbines or my dilemma….check out….www.hoosacwindproject.com ………..Thank you and look out…these monsters could be coming to a neighborhood near YOU…..and it will never be the same !!

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