Counterinsurgency for wind energy: the Bíi Hioxo wind park in Juchitán, Mexico

A.D. Dunlap

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Sustainable development and climate change mitigation policies, Dunlap and Fairhead argue, have instigated and renewed old conflicts over land and natural resources, deploying military techniques of counterinsurgency to achieve land control. Wind energy development, a popular tool of climate change mitigation policies, has consequently generated conflict in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Istmo) region in Oaxaca, Mexico. Research is based on participant observation and 20 recorded interviews investigating the Fuerza y Energía Bíi Hioxo Wind Farm on the outskirts of Juchitán de Zaragoza. This paper details the repressive techniques employed by state, private and informal authorities against popular opposition to the construction of the Bíi Hioxo wind park on communal land. Providing background on Juchitán, social property and counterinsurgency in Southern Mexico, this paper analyzes the development of the Bíi Hioxo wind park. It further explores the emergence of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ counterinsurgency techniques used to pacify resistance against the wind park, enabling its completion next to the Lagoon Superior in October 2014. Discussing the ‘greening of counterinsurgency’, this contribution concludes that the Bíi Hioxo wind park has spawned social divisions and violent conflict, and intervened in the sensitive cultural fabric of Istmeño life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-652
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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