Center Prodh

The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center

“They have destroyed the life of this place”: Megaproyectos, human rights violations, and environmental damage in Mexico

HANDESTRUIDO

Large-scale public works projects and resource extraction initiatives (known as mega-projects or megaproyectos), such as dams, highways, and mines, are on the rise in Mexico. While the Mexican government claims that these development projects are undertaken in the public interest, megaproyectos can have devastating consequences for local communities and the environment, and often benefit powerful interests at the expense of poor, rural, and indigenous communities.

This report documents the environmental and socioeconomic effects of a select number of megaproyectos in Mexico. In February 2011, a team of researchers visited four project sites: the Supervía Poniente highway project in Mexico City, the Zapotillo dam in Temacapulín, Jalisco, the Fortuna Silver mine in San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, and the New Gold mine at Cerro de San Pedro, San Luis Potosí. The findings from this trip are presented in the form of case studies. During the visit, investigators spoke with residents who are fighting for their rights to a healthy environment and to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Their experiences and the common threads in their struggles form the core of this report. In addition, the report discusses the experiences of residents affected by La Parota dam in the state of Guerrero, and by Paso de la Reina dam in Oaxaca, both of which have been well-documented by environmental and human rights advocates in Mexico. Finally, the case of Rodolfo Montiel Flores and Teodoro Cabrera García, environmental defenders from Guerrero and victims of state-sponsored violence and torture, is briefly reviewed.

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