On 3 April, three activists and a journalist who attended a meeting opposing the construction of a dam in Jalisco state, western Mexico, were threatened by men claiming to be federal employees. Three days later, an organization working with communities near the dam site received an anonymous threat. The four individuals and staff of the organization are in danger.
The public meeting about the construction of the El Zapotillo dam was held in the town of Temacapulin, Jalisco state. Residents of the nearby communities of Tamaca, Acasio and Palmarejo face being displaced by the construction of the dam. The four had participated in the public meeting organized by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Save Tamaca, Acasio and Palmarejo Committee (ComitÃƒÂ© Salvemos Temaca, Acasico y Palmarejo). They are three men - Marco Joachim von Borstel, who works for the human rights organization the Mexican Institute for Community Development (Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario, IMDEC), and brothers, Manuel de JesÃƒÂºs and Juan AgustÃƒÂn Carvajal JimÃƒÂ©nez, who are members of the CommitteeÃ‚Â - and one woman, Jade RamÃƒÂrez Cuevas Villanueva, a journalist who works for Guadalajara University Radio. When the meeting finished, the four were followed to a local bar by three men. The men approached them and said Ã¢â‚¬Å“the four of you have fucked up, you are going to die because you have been shaking things upÃ¢â‚¬Å“(los cuatro ya valieron para pura chingada, se van a morir pronto porque estÃƒÂ¡n alborotando la galleraÃ¢â‚¬Â). The three men claimed to be federal employees and continued to intimidate the activists until they were finally asked to leave.
At 3am on 6 April, an anonymous caller telephoned the office of IMDEC in the city of Guadalajara. The male caller said: "Now we know where you are, son of a bitch"(Ya te tenemos localizado, hijo de tu puta madre) before hanging up. This threat and the earlier incident were reported to the Jalisco State Public Prosecutor's Office.
The project to build El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco state, approved in 2006, has led to concern among local communities, particularly those of TemacapulÃƒÂn, Palmarejo and Acasico. Since plans for the dam were amended to increase its height, there has not been a full review of the impact that the construction of the dam would have on the local area. Work on the dam has already started, but the Jalisco state human rights commission has called for a halt to the work pending a full report on its likely impact. In 2009, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action on behalf of a local journalist who wasÃ‚Â threatened after publishing critical reports on the consultation process with local communities affected by the dam (UA 82/09, AMR 41/017/2009).
UA: 86/10 Index: AMR 41/028/2010 Issue Date: 19 April 2010