Last updateFri, 07 Dec 2018 11am

Funding threat to unfinished dam

A proposed 1.5-billion-peso infusion for the stalled Zapotillo dam project in northern Jalisco as a part of the nation’s 2018 budget is being met with fierce opposition from opponents of the public work, including prominent political leaders.

pg4A recent top-trending Twitter hashtag is #NiUnPesoMasAlZapotillo (not one peso more for Zapotillo), implying that the public is less than indifferent to the controversy in the Los Altos region, which has been ongoing since the project was given a green light back in 2005.

And Twitter isn’t the only means used by those with an eye towards gutting the Zapotillo dam’s proposed budget.

Late last October, anti-dam organizers distributed a petition via Change.org called “El Zapotillo: La presa de la corrupcion,” which is pointed directly at federal congressmen and women who will help approve a budget in the next few weeks.

“The construction of the Zapotillo dam has long been characterized by a continual and systematic violation of human rights, and plagued by irregularities, corruption, and wasting of public funds,” reads the petition. “In 2005, the cost of the project was 10.37 billion pesos, while in 2017 it has almost tripled to 27.26 billion. For these reasons we demand that congressmen do not allocate any more funds to the Zapotillo project.”

A key political force behind the push to pinch off funding for further work on the dam – currently stalled due to a court injunction – are members of the upstart Movimiento Ciudadano (MC), of which Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro is a leading light. The dam’s most high-profile cheerleader, meanwhile, is Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval, member of the nationally-dominant Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI).

MC federal legislator Clemente Castañeda has made it known he will request that funds meant for the dam be reassigned to areas that he says have greater need of them, including university-related construction in Tlajomulco and Zapotlanejo, efforts related to the epidemic of “forced disappearances” which has plagued Jalisco recently, and those relating to the protection of advocates of human rights and journalists.

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