Despite the fact that the Arcediano Dam, proposed to supply drinking water to more than three million people in the Guadalajara Urban Area, with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank, lacks a master plan indicating the characteristics of the dam wall, the total cost of the dam, and the methods and costs of drinking water treatment.
Despite the fact that the government of the State of Jalisco has not been able to demonstrate that the water from the Arcediano Dam, to be built on the severely contaminated Santiago River, will be fit for human consumption, and that the Pan-American Health Organization has affirmed that by no means will it be possible to decontaminate the Santiago River before finishing dam construction.
Despite the fact that, on 21 March 2006, the Latin-American Water Tribunal resolved to: "exhort the responsible authorities to order the suspension of the works associated with the Arcediano Dam in the Huentit?n-Oblatos gorge, until a comprehensive study on its human health implications is held."
Despite the fact that the house of Lupita Lara, a defender of the right to health and to a safe environment and the last resident of the village of Arcediano opposing the dam, was protected by two federal injunctions, defending her against dispossession, eviction and the demolition of her home (injunctions 1496/2003 with the fourth district court and 67/2004 with the second district court).
On Wednesday, 20 June 2007, from 05:00 to 09:00 a.m., employees of the state government demolished her house, without providing prior notification either to Lupita Lara or her legal representatives. Local authorities have argued that this resulted from an expropriation process initiated by the General Ministry of the Interior of Jalisco in state courts. However, as the property was on communally owned ejido land, the expropriation process was illegal, as only federal authorities have jurisdiction on that land.
With this provocation and this clearly illegal action, the state government continues to demonstrate its will to impose this unviable project, in violation of Lupita Lara’s rights as well as of the right to safe drinking water of the more than three million people protected by Lupita’s injunctions. This, together with the destruction of the historic suspension bridge in Arcediano and the recent unwarranted detention of Jaime Gutiérrez, a member of the Mexican Movement of Dam Affected People and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) in Jalisco, has led civil society organization to commence a series of actions, including the presentation of the Arcediano Dam case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, petitioning for a political judgment against state Governor Emilio Gonz?lez M?rquez, the judges involved, the Attorney General of the State of Jalisco and other authorities.
The brave resistance of Lupita Lara, defending her fundamental human rights for more than four years, represents the protection of the collective rights of all those who would receive the polluted waters from the Arcediano Dam.
We condemn the actions of the three branches of government - the legislature, executive and the judiciary - which together carried out this violation of the rights of Lupita Lara, thus violating the right to health and to a safe environment of the population of the Guadalajara Urban Area.
For more information about the Arcediano Dam see http://www.irn.org/programs/arcediano/.
Guadalajara, Jalisco. 22 June 2007
Amigos de la Barranca, A.C.
Ciudadanos por el Medio Ambiente, A.C.
Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco, A.C.
Comité Pro Defensa de Arcediano, A.C
Congreso Ciudadano de Jalisco