Our partners in Guerrero, Mexico, need your help. For the past eight years, they have been fighting to defend their homes and communities against the threat posed by the planned construction of a new megadam in the region. If built, the La Parota Dam would displace at least 25,000 people from their lands and negatively impact an additional 75,000 people.
Our partners from CECOP – the grassroots network leading the campaign to stop the dam – have defied ongoing violence, threats and harassment to continue resisting through peaceful actions like public protests and legal petitions. “Development that floods 28 entire communities and causes the forced eviction of thousands of people should not be called development” says Rodolfo Chávez, one of CECOP’s leaders who attended WITNESS’ Video Advocacy Workshop in Mexico last January (video interview here).
Local courts have sided with CECOP repeatedly, ruling five times that the Mexican government failed to properly consult or inform the local populations about the planned dam and finding that the “consultations” organized by the local authorities with the affected communities were fraudulent and therefore not valid.
Despite this, the project continues to loom and Mexican authorities have not met CECOP’s demand of definitively scrapping plans for the La Parota Dam.
On May 7th, a new channel of dialog was established with the newly elected governor of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre, who agreed to visit the communities to listen to their demands directly. It was the first time a governor visited the region in 32 years. CECOP’s youth video collective (started by 3 activists from the affected communities who attended our training) put together a video-letter to show to the governor at the meeting, remixing footage of violence the community has suffered in past years because of the project and calling on Aguirre to stay true the promise he made in his inauguration speech of upholding human rights. Some progress was made when Aguirre committed to respect the recent court order in favor of CECOP and the community. However, Governor Aguirre fell short of CECOP’s main request, which was to support the definitive cancelation of the Parota Dam. He promised to read CECOP’s proposal and respond soon. Then silence. Even worse, four days later local media outlets reported that governor Aguirre told supporters of the Parota Dam that the project would move forward.
This new video (in Spanish) by the youth collective of CECOP reports back on the meeting with the governor and calls on you to take action:
Stand with the communities of Guerrero by SIGNING THIS PETITION and sharing it with friends. Help us get 3000 signatures by June 7th to call on Aguirre to support the definitive cancelation of the La Parota Dam for once and for all.
** A huge thankyou and acknowledgement to the many activists and organizations who have been fiercely supporting the affected communities in Guerrero for the past eight years: our partners at HIC-AL (and Espacio Desc), Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, the amazing Laura Salas, and many many others.