Mexico: victory for campesino struggle against La Parota dam

After nearly 10 years of struggle, Mexican campesinos fighting to protect their lands from the planned La Parota hydro-dam on the Río Papagayo won a definitive victory with the Aug. 16 signing of the “Cacahuatepec Accords” by Guerrero‘s Gov. Ángel Aguirre Rivero and the Council of Ejidos and Communities in Opposition to La Parota Dam (CECOP). Under  the agreement, Aguirre has committed the state not to approve La Parota dam if affected communities do not accept it, if they are not justly compensated, or it will impact the environment—effectively ending the project. Aguirre is also committed to seek an audience between CECOP and Mexican President Felipe Calderón to assure a commitment to the same principles from the federal government. La Parota dam would have flooded  17,000 hectares, impacting some 100,000 local residents. 

With announcement of the Accords, the local Tlachinollan Human Rights Center said that its attorney Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, who had fled the country in May due to threats on his life, would return to Guerrero to hold the authorities to their commitment to assure the security of threatened social leaders. Rosales, who had defended many opponents of La Parota on legal charges related to the protest movement, started receiving death threats this year at his home in Ayotzinapa from an anonymous group calling itself “The Law.” (Root Force, Aug. 22; International Rivers, Aug. 20; APRO, Aug. 9; LAWG, June 7)