By: Daliri Oropeza of Pie de Página
Civil organizations filed two new legal and international appeals against five megaprojects: Interoceanic Corridor, New Santa Lucia International Airport, Dos Bocas Refinery, Morelos Integral Project and Maya Train. They assure that they consider them to violate Human Rights.
The legal actions filed by members of the la Anticapitalist-Anti-patriarchal Metropolitan Coordination and the Indigenous Government Council (Consejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG} its initials in Spanish) are a claim for indirect protection in the Fifteenth Court in Mexico for the grave Human Rights violations of the five megaprojects.
They also filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for violating the rights of indigenous peoples established in the Constitution and that are part of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) signed by Mexico. They were filed on August 7.
In a press conference, Carlos González, a lawyer specializing in agrarian law, said that for the first time civil organized civil society filed the legal actions in order to remove the communities from a direct confrontation with the federal government. In addition, by filing requests for protection (amparos) from the five megaprojects, they give an overall vision of the problem and the interests to which they respond.
“These megaprojects are part of a large project, the Plan Puebla Panamá, later called the Mesoamerican Project (Proyecto Mesoamerica) and now presented to us in a different way. The five megaprojects as a whole obey the geopolitical interests of the United States. They have been imposed; the affected populations have never been consulted, especially the indigenous populations, with which a specific procedure must be carried out and adapted to international standards that are framed in the conventions to which Mexico is a party at the constitutional level,” González says.
Pedro Uc, a defender of Maya territory was also at the conference, and he assures that, in the case of the Maya Train, the communities were not freely, previously consulted or properly informed, nor in good faith.
He assures that the peoples have been sidelined in the legal bodies, although “the legal way is not our great hope. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity to go through it. The laws that are constructed were made from a Western perspective and vision and they did not look at forms of coexistence and existence of indigenous peoples.”
Pedro Uc denounces that: “within the framework of the misnamed Maya Train, we put in a first amparo (request for protection) that the judicial power refused to accept because no work was being done in Yucatán.” He denounces that there is still racism from the courts, there are no indigenous judges or courts in Mayan languages. And they do not consider the peoples’ forms of organization.
“The paradox is that the official discourse says that the train is going to remedy our problems of marginalization, poverty, health and education. This is one of the discourses that all past governments have made. And now the train is a miraculous god that’s going to solve our needs. This is what many people have been led to believe. (…) A train is not going to solve our problem. We want to coexist with our forests, our animals and make decisions about our development, decisions that don’t treat us as stupid, as they have been for 500 years,” he adds.
According to the lawyer Carlos González, since the government is the intention to rearrange territories with these five megaprojects, in addition to buying gas from the United States; that’s why they are proposing more gas pipelines, thermoelectric plants and industrial zones on the Trans-Isthmus Corridor that would be connected with the southwest, because it’s a “hinge” megaproject.
The lawyer reiterates: “The intension is to build 10 urban industrial corridors and to fix the population so that they won’t migrate to the north. In the Maya Train project that contemplates 30 stations, they want to build development poles in 19 of them and some industrial ones; urban industrial or tourist corridors. All these projects have a tremendous impact on populations and on nature.”
Territorial defender Pedro Uc said that the communities would continue with legal strategies and any way that permits them to ensure the life of their peoples and nature.
“The violation of the powers of their own laws is a real shame. Even with laws for their own benefit, with a form in which they have advantage, treachery and premeditation, they’re still not enough for dispossession. We have known how to find the loopholes and nooks of these laws in order to defend ourselves,” Uc says.
He also denounces that, the theme of the consultation has been a joke on the government’s part, and that they have never approached the defenders of territory to start a dialogue. “Before the current president took office he had already announced the construction of the misnamed Maya Train and this makes us think that what follows from this is a kind of justification of a decision that had already been made.
He deployed propaganda and a crusade with the ejido commissioners through Fonatur officials,” denounces Uc, who emphasizes that they offered scholarships, and support from “Welfare” in exchange for endorsing the project, of which the communities are still completely unaware.
He emphasizes that the 135 forthcoming consultations that the Semarnat announced on the [Yucatan] Peninsula to evaluate the Environmental Impact Statement also violate the rights of the Maya peoples, since the project has not been endorsed. You can’t continue advancing legally if the communities don’t accept it, he says.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee