Mérida, Yucatán — Carrying with them concerns about both the environment and their economy, the Ka’anan Ts’onot group has taken their protest to the doors of state government.
Demonstrators gathered Friday at the offices of the Secretariat of Urban Development and Environment (Seduma), the state agency that approved a large-scale farm large enough to house 45,000 pigs.
Aside from threatening the general water supply, the farm would threaten the area’s sacred cenotes and ruin the area’s tourist appeal, residents fear. According to the group, about 400 people work in ecological tourism, but only 45 will work on the pig farm.
Employing irony to make their case, protestors unfurled a “clausurado” banner, symbolically closing down the agency and imitating how state officials mark illegal construction projects.
Seduma promises that the farm will employ “state-of-the-art technology” to protect groundwater and air quality.
Ka’anan Ts’onot members also allege that the indigenous people of the area were not given a chance to contribute to the debate before the government green-lighted the farm.
“We are surprised that the authorities have given authorizations without consulting us, and even more so when Homún is in the geo-hydrological reserve Anillo de los Cenotes, in accordance with decree 117 of the government of the state of Yucatán,” they said at a press conference last September.
The farm is owned Producción Alimentaria Porcícola, which belongs to the owners of television and newspaper giant Grupo Sipse.
Later, the residents demonstrated at the administrative offices of Kekén, a meat processing plant that would be a likely customer for the farm. They demanded the board of directors reply to the question of whether they would buy pork from Alimentaria Porcícola.
Protestors asked investors and government officials “to recognize that they committed an error from the beginning by violating their own laws and by denying us the greater right … to decide our lives.”
“Entrepreneurs talk about win-win when they win by hurting the environment and the rights of the people. How about we change the formula to respect-respect?” protestors wrote in an open letter.
Ka’anan Ts’onot has filed three writs of amparo before federal and state courts.
Sources: La Jornada Maya, Indignacíon