Agency retaliates against protestors, attempts to shut down 5 cenotes

The battle against a pig farm in the cenote zone continues at the gate of the complex. Photo: Punto Medio
The battle against a pig farm in the cenote zone continues at the gate of the complex. Photo: Punto Medio

Humún, Yucatán — While protesters staged a sit-in at the gates of a giant pig processing plant, two vans from an environmental agency arrived and closed five cenotes without explanation.

A crowd of angry residents quickly forced them to allow the cenotes to open again

Profepa targeted cenotes owed by the director of Ka’anan ts’onot (Guardians of the Cenotes), which has been in an ongoing battle against the corporate pig farm

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The group fears waste water will foul their natural and sacred cenotes, which the region depends upon for tourism.

“This group is the one that has promoted the actions to prevent the farm from working. That is why we believe that it is a reprisal, because of the symbolic closure that was made,” said Marta Capetillo Pasos. a representative of human-rights group Indignación.

On social media, an activist posted a video showing Profepa vehicles stationed on the access roat to the Balmil Cenote. Worried neighbors commented that others cenotes — underground swimming holes — were also forced to shut down. They are owned by José May Echeverría, who has been one of the main activists during the conflict.

A group of mototaxistas organized to locate the Profepa inspectors found them in Canunchén, a zone in which there is a circuit of five or six cenotes. There they stopped them and returned them to the places where the officials had placed the clausura seals.

The confrontation ended with the Profepa workers consulting their supervisors, and then allowing the cenotes to reopen.

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The new plant has a reported capacity of 50,000 animals. State officials who approved permits for the complex compared the factory’s environmental impact with the existing 122 small-scale family farms in the area.

But opponents of the facility said the project lacks credible environmental impact studies.

The plant’s owner transported the first group of pigs to the complex on Thursday.

With information from Punto Medio, La Jornada Maya

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