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6 October 2010 | | |

Born Dead

International delegation and residents of Temaca at the relocation center of El Zapotillo project

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As part of the 3rd International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and their Allies, delegates from all parts of the world, together with members of Temacapulin community visited the dam and the center where the residents of this community will be displaced against their will, in Jalisco State, Mexico.

The structure of the center could be cruel and mean torture for many people. The center would be built sorrounding Temaca, and the “new houses” will be facing this town. The population would then have a panoramic view of the flooding of their old homes.

Day and night, from the peaceful Temaca, with its old stone streets and its colonial square where the residents share their news and concerns, we can hear as background music, as if it were a funeral march, the excavators and trucks taking material to the relocation center, whose streets are sad and empty, and lack the history of 14 centuries which will be destroyed by the megaproject.

Real World Radio visited the place together with the delegation to know at first hand El Zapotilllo and other dams, among the tens existing in Mexico. We gathered the testimonies of the local population and the foreign visitors, and we were witnesses of the concerns and sadness among the population who are being forced to live in a place where they don´t want to live and who are seeing how the works in El Zapotillo are advancing rapidly.

Lola Carbajal from Temaca told us what she feels when she walks and visits the houses some businessmen designed without even consulting them.

Meanwhile, international delegate Pedro Luis Sáinz from Spain said: “we are looking at houses that will never be occupied”.

The visit by almost one hundred delegates surprised the engineers and workers, most of whom are hired from outside Jalisco State and Los Altos area, to avoid their involvement with Temaca´s case. The population demands a halt to the project which will supply water to companies in Guanajuato State and which will bottle and sell water without including in its registers the hundreds of lives and years sacrificed.

Father Gabriel Espinosa Iñiguez, a leader in Temaca´s struggle in the past five years, said that this population has water and is “offering it to everyone, except a handful of private companies” which will profit with it.

“We won´t be able to grow our arbol chile pepper or bury our dead”, said Father Gabriel Espinosa.

Finally, on our way back, we gathered the testimony of Esteban de Esesarte Francke, from the Mexican Movement of Dam-Affected People and in Defense of Life (Mapder).

“When the Spanish came in 1530, Temaca was already 900 or 1000 years old and now they want us to trade it for some houses that may look nice but don´t even have lands to grow our food. What are we supposed to live of, here in the middle of nowhere? We may have a roof over our heads but we won´t have our livelihoods”, he said.

Photo: jovenestehuelches.blogspot.com

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