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September 14, 2012

WILDCOAST And Chontal Leaders Protest Oaxaca Oil Spill

Fay Crevoshay
In the Angel of Independance in Reforma St- Asking the Mexican Oil Company to Clean Up Its Act


Mexico City. Thirty Chontal leaders from the southern coast of Oaxaca joined WiLDCOAST and Greenpeace-Mexico in a September 12 protest of the Oaxaca oil spill at the annual congress of PEMEX in Mexico City.


“Over 20 beaches in Oaxaca were impacted by the August 11th oil spill in Salina Cruz,” said Serge Dedina Executive Director of WiLDCOAST. “More than 120 miles of coastline have been hit by oil. There hasn’t been any comprehensive effort to clean up the remains of the oil which is damaging some of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting and surfing beaches.”


More than fifty sea turtles have been reportedly killed as a result of the oil spill and to date PEMEX has not made an effort to carry out a long-term cleanup program to make sure that Chontal communities impacted by the spill are able to resume their fishing, surfing tourism and sea turtle conservation activities.


“This is only one of more than 53 oil spills that have occurred this year alone in Mexico. The communities that have been impacted need to be compensated for their livelihood losses as a result of the spill,” said Greenpeace-Mexico Campaign Director Gustavo Ampugnani.


Many of the beaches impacted by the spill are world-famous for the hundreds of thousands of sea turtles that nest there each year and known world-wide by surfers for their quality of the waves. Barra de la Cruz was listed by Surfer Magazine as one of the best waves in the world and was the location for a 2007 ASP World Tour surfing contest that attracted the world’s best surfers.


Pablo Narvaez of Barra de la Cruz was one of the Chontal leaders who brought their surfboards to the protest. “We need to make sure that PEMEX works with out communities to clean up the spill,” he said. “There is no excuse for PEMEX to take so long to respond to the spill. PEMEX needs to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and that it has a plan to deal with spills in the future.”


After the event at the PEMEX Congress, WiLDCOAST and the Chontal leaders met with Senator Benjamin Robles at a special session in Mexico’s Senate. They discussed the impacts of the spill and the goal of having PEMEX carry out extensive cleanup operations and indemnify communities impacted by the spill.


“This needs to be taken care of now,” said Narvaez.


WiLDCOAST is an international conservation team that conserves

 coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife.