The University of Arizona

Insurrection for land, sea and dignity: resistance and autonomy against wind energy in Álvaro Obregón, Mexico

Alexander Dunlap

Abstract


Providing a glimpse into the reality of wind energy development, the story of Álvaro Obregón is one of resistance. Álvaro Obregón is a primarily Zapotec semi-subsistence community located near the entrance of the Santa Teresa sand bar (Barra), where in 2011 Mareña Renovables initiated the process of building 102 wind turbines. Demonstrating the complicated micro-politics of land acquisition, conflict and unrest, this article argues that climate change mitigation initiatives are sparking land grabs and conflict with the renewed valuation of wind resources. Insurrection against the Mareña Renovables wind project has spawned a long-term conflict, which has created social divisions and a type of low-intensity civil war within the town. This article will chronicle the uprising against the wind company, battles with police, and the town hall takeover, which includes analyzing the conflict taking place between the cabildo comunitario and the constitucionalistas. Subsequent sections examine the different perspectives within the village and how this battle between the Communitarians and the wind company continues today. The article reveals the complications associated with land deals, the conflict generating potential of climate change mitigation practices and, finally, concludes by reflecting on the difficulties of formulating alternatives to development within a conflict situation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v25i1.22863