El Salvador urged to declare environmental health emergency in Jiquilisco Bay

By Stephanie Williamson, ENCA Newsletter No.54, November 2011

The southern zone of Jiquilisco Bay has become the country’s priority concern for human health and environmental protection due to critical levels of contamination in the watercourses and saltwater mangrove swamps. A year ago health authorities were alerted to very high incidence of kidney disease, following a survey conducted by Cuban renal experts. The survey found that 11 out of every 100 inhabitants in the Jiquilisco and Bajo Lempa areas suffer chronic renal health problems and that the incidence is particularly high among men. This compares with an incidence rate of 2 per 100 in other countries. There are suspicions that the problem may be related to contamination of water sources, including wells, by insecticides and herbicides used in cotton production decades ago. The Mayor of Jiquilisco has called for the government to declare the zone a state of emergency so that all relevant government agencies prioritise efforts to address the health problems.

The Salvadoran Waterworks Board and the Ministry of Environment are working together to provide clean drinking water as a first step. Locals are demanding a water treatment plant to be set up as they fear that many of the artisanal wells used by rural communities may be contaminated.

The Jiquilisco Bay is one of the jewels of El Salvador’s ecological crown, providing home to over 1,500 species of animals and plants, and serving as an important wetlands for migratory birds. The Bay and its 18,000 hectares of mangroves, the most extensive in all Central America’s Pacific coast, have been declared an international RAMSAR site and Biosphere Reserve. José Acosta from the Salvadoran Centre for Appropriate Technology believes the Bay area deserves permanent special attention and should become a fully protected ecological reserve.

An independent Salvadoran research unit has now detected residues of 10 prohibited pesticides in water samples and evidence that empty pesticide drums are being used to store water for drinking purposes for humans and cattle. The expanding sugarcane cultivation is being blamed for a current wave of pesticide contamination, with run-off draining into the mangrove forests. Ecosystem degradation, along with deforestation by the large-scale shrimp farming industry, has led to an 80 per cent reduction in mangroves in recent years.

So far in 2011 the authorities have distributed 4,000 household water filter units and have submitted for presidential approval plans for a larger programme for drinking water supply. The government awaits news of a US$5 million World Bank project to restore ecological health in Jiquilisco and support employment and local fishing livelihoods.


Sources:
‘El Salvador: Bahía de Jiquilisco con residuos de plaguicidas’, La Prensa Gráfica, 7th October 2010.
‘ANDA en busca de solución de corto plazo’, La Prensa Gráfica, 7th March 2011.
‘Pobladores y autoridades preocupados por casos de deficiencia renal en Jiquilisco’, La Pagina.com 8th August 2011.

The power that makes pitchers overflow and rivers flood their banks

By Erasto Reyes, an organiser, lawyer and member of Bloque Popular, a national mobilising organisation in Honduras.

Extracts from ‘Changing the Flow: Water Movements in Latin America’, a report by Food and Water Watch, Red Vida, Transnational Institute, The RPR Network and Other Worlds, 2009.

We have been working on water since 2000, when we began our struggle against the privatisation of public services – energy and telecommunications. But water has been our greatest focus. Water ignited our struggles in Latin America: the struggles of the Bolivians, the Argentineans, the Uruguayans; the proposals that come out of Venezuela, the experiences in Brazil. These struggles have filled us with hope, and they are why there has been growing popular mobilisation throughout Central America.

… When Central America makes the news, it’s for serious and nasty issues like drug trafficking or natural disasters like Hurricane Mitch. But it doesn’t appear, for example, when in countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, people are reclaiming the human right to water.

In Central America, we have serious problems with sanitation and water supply. Honduras is one of the countries with the largest water reserves in Central America, but the state has no policies to ensure access to water and sanitation. … Water, from our point of view, is a heritage of humanity just like land.

Water is linked to land, and also linked to health. … You could say that the water wars of South America have arrived at our doorstep. The water war in Bolivia gave us a profound conviction to fight water privatisation. We have gone beyond simply protesting in the streets and are developing alternative proposals to meet the needs of our people. We are expanding the spaces where people can participate politically. … This has allowed the social movement fighting for water to cross borders, to move beyond the limits of our villages and towns. We are seeing this in the determined efforts of every country in South America, in Central America and Mexico, and – why not mention it? – in the United States and other countries as well. The people have governments but, until now, with only a few exceptions, the people do not have power. …

What a law says, what a decree says, what the UN says, or what divine grace says, is not enough. We have to make water a human right. …

Infant mortality rates

Country2-page-001-929x1024


Source: United Nations World Population Prospects: 2011 revision.

Notes:
The Infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births.
The figures given in the table relate to the last three year average.

A new definition of hope – community organisation for water in El Salvador

By Ana Ella Gómez, Centre for the Defence of the Consumer, El Salvador

The Centre for the Defence of the Consumer, where I work, is part of a citizen campaign called Blue Democracy that aims to reclaim the human right to water in El Salvador. We are strengthening a multi-sector alliance in which the common point of departure is the defence of water. …

We are now working on a campaign to reform the country’s constitution and get water recognised as a human right. … We are also working on a proposed water policy that deals with three main types of services: state, municipal, and communal. In the case of El Salvador, we’re convinced that we have to claim the public water supply by strengthening the public company that already exists [ANDA]. We want an efficient public company but we also want a public company with public participation. We also want to strengthen the municipalities that provide good local development with participation by the people. ….

One of Latin America’s victories has been the belief that water must be in public hands, must be held by the community, that the people have the power to make their own decisions and that, whether a company is public or is communally owned, it is essential that the citizens, the men and women, participate in strategic decision-making. …

In the end, what do we want? We want people to be able to not just share their opinions, but also to make their own decisions. Each model must be based on the reality of each community and each community needs to define what type of public, community set-up meets its populations’ needs. We want a commitment to protect our water, a commitment made by everyone, a shared responsibility. We want a system in which service providers are also responsible for protecting and taking care of the water. ….

Right now, our biggest advantage is that we have constructed our own alternative and the commitment to defend it. Our successes so far demonstrate that another way is possible. But the threats continue. Neither the multilateral institutions nor the big corporations are going to yield what they’ve won, whether those victories were from trade treaties or from government policy. …


Source: ‘Changing The Flow: Water Movements in Latin America’, a report by Food and Water Watch, Red Vida, Transnational Institute, The RPR Network and Other Worlds. 2009.

The Sorry History of the Chalillo Dam in Belize

The version of this ‘Sorry History’ that was given in the book was much abridged. This version is the full version as given by Probe International.

Chalillo-photo2-090803

  • The campaign to stop the Chalillo dam begins in 1999.Poster against the Chalillo Dam
  • Environmentalists warn that Chalillo will destroy endangered species’ habitat and major Maya archeological sites, be technically compromised, and uneconomic. Fortis perseveres nonetheless.
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) secretly pays AMEC, a Montreal-based engineering firm, $250,000 to prepare a feasibility study of Chalillo justifying construction. U.S. author Bruce Barcott calls the report “a masterpiece of spin and obfuscation.”
  • AMEC fails to record geological faults and fractures in the project area and says bedrock at the dam site is “granite.” In fact, it is sandstones interbedded with soft shales which have poor load-bearing capacity.
  • London’s Natural History Museum hired by AMEC, predicts the demise of threatened species, and advises against construction of dam. Fortis ignores the warning.
  • Probe International demands that CIDA recall AMEC’s report and notify the Belize authorities that its conclusions are invalid. CIDA denies responsibility.
  • Environmentalists launch lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Belize which is then appealed to the Privy Council, Belize’s highest court of appeal, and loses by a slim margin.
  • Fortis completes construction of the Chalillo dam in 2005 and impoundment begins.
  • Fortis fails to fully comply with its legally required environmental compliance plan. In July 2007, Belizean environmentalists sue and win court case, ordering the government to monitor water quality in the Macal River, establish an emergency warning system to protect downstream residents in the event of a dam break, monitor levels of mercury in the fish and inform the public of findings.
  • Macal River water quality declines. Swimmers and bathers complain of stomach problems, itchy skin, and skin rashes.
  • Authorities warn people not to eat fish from the river because of possible contamination from methyl mercury, a toxin formed through bacterial synthesis in flooded soils and vegetation, which attacks the central nervous system in humans.
  • Sharon Matola, Director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Centre, reports that Scarlet Macaws still return to try and nest along the Macal River and its tributary, the Raspaculo, but their nesting trees are gone and the reservoir becomes “a big mud-hole” every dry season. Nesting boxes the government nailed to trees as a substitute are, says Ms. Matola, a “total failure.” BirdLife International predicts the Scarlet Macaw population will die out within a few years due to habitat loss and poaching by the recent influx of dam construction workers.
  • Under Fortis’s monopoly, Belizeans now pay more for their electricity than consumers in other Central American countries.
  • Summer 2009, shock sediment discharges begin to flow down the Macal River from the Chalillo dam, contaminating the river and marine systems downstream.
  • Belize environmentalists seek an injunction in the Supreme Court of Belize to stop the release of sediments.
  • September 2009, Belizean authorities discuss shutting down Chalillo’s operations to stop the sediment pollution

Written by Probe International, December 2009

www.probeinternational.org

Anyone interested in the story of the Chalillo Dam are referred to the interview with Candy Gónzalez, in the Belize set of interviews

Photos: River turbidity below the Chalillo Dam

chalillo-photo1 Chalillo-photo2-090803 chalillo-photo3-SanIgnacio-090808

IACHR: Human Rights Violations by the Chalillo Dam – 11 years on

In 2004, a petition against the construction of the Chalillo Dam in Belize was presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of the Maya people and those living downstream of the dam by The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO). Since that time the dam has been built; but now the IACHR has declared that the petition has validity. In such cases we might ask if it acceptable that the IACHR should take eleven years to reach a decision regarding the validity of petitions. We include below the press statement recently released by BELPO.

 PRESS RELEASE: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CAUSED BY THE CHALILLO DAM HAVE VALIDITY

June 21, 2016

 In an important decision, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has opened a case against the Government of Belize (GOB) regarding the controversial Chalillo Dam built on Belize’s Macal River in 2005.

The decision is in response to a petition from The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) filed in 2004 on behalf of the Maya People and those living downstream of the dams who say their rights − including their rights to life, liberty and personal security, religious freedom, benefits of culture, legal rights and the right to work − have been violated.

In their brief to the Commission, BELPO documents show how the riverine populations have been harmed: water quality has been so degraded that people can no longer bathe in or drink the water; fish have been poisoned by mercury leaving citizens without their vital source of protein; more than 300 Mayan archaeological sites have been lost under the reservoir eliminating a large body of knowledge to the Maya; changes to river flows and sediment deposition have destroyed farms and ecotourism businesses along the river and unemployment has risen.

chalillo_8aug09

Also, BELPO says the Government of Belize has, in defiance of its own institutions and legislation, refused to abide by the Orders of the Belize Supreme Court to enforce the Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) for Chalillo, which is a contract between the Government and the owner of the dam to take measures to mitigate the damages caused by the dam.

The GOB has also failed to inform the people on the quality of the Macal River water, to disclose mercury levels in fish to the public on a timely basis and to provide a viable warning system to alert downstream populations of dam breaks including the failure to disclose that the dam is built in a seismically active area.

IACHR’s decision to admit our petition is recognition of the severity of the harms to health, safety and property rights, as well as indigenous rights by the destruction of over 300 major Mayan archaeological sites as well as recognition that the people have a right to know the extent and nature of the harm inflicted upon them by contracts made in their name with corporations.

The opening of the case is, above all, a victory for the affected communities, the Maya people of Belize and local social movements, who have endured for all these years, and remain strong and determined in their search for justice and compensation.

As an organization representing the victims of the Chalillo Dam, BELPO remains committed to exposing the human rights violations directly caused by the dam’s construction.

BELPO acknowledges the integral role played by the Environmental Law Alliance (ELAW), the International Rivers Network (including a valiant fighter for the people, Berta Cáceres assassinated in Honduras earlier this year) and Probe International of Canada in the struggle to get these abuses into this international body.

Press Contacts:

George Gonzalez

Dr. Candy Gonzalez

The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO)

P.O. Box 105, San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, Belize

Phone: +501- 824-2476   | email: belpo.belize@gmail.com | candybz@gmail.com

 

Water privatisation protests in El Salvador

Public protest against water privatisation increased dramatically in El Salvador from 2006, when former President Tony Saca’s ARENA party proposed a new General Water Law. The law, not yet passed, would decentralise water administration from the national to municipal levels where local governments would have to contract private firms to manage water for up to 50 years. Civil society groups in the country continue to argue that this is tantamount to privatisation.

In September 2006, residents of Santa Eduviges – a small community of 300 near the San Salvador suburb of Soyapango – blocked the Gold Highway that leads into the capital. Protesters were demanding the de-privatisation of the town’s water supply system with its management to be taken over by the national water agency, ANDA.[1] They occupied the road from morning until evening when police fired tear gas to dislodge the crowd and arrested five people.[2] They were later released.

Then in March 2007, on World Water Day, approximately 5,000 people took to the streets of San Salvador to protest against the high cost of water and its unjust distribution.

On July 2, 2007 another anti-privatisation demonstration took place in the town of Suchitoto. El Salvadoran police used rubber bullets and tear gas and arrested 14 protestors. Thirteen were charged with acts of terrorism and became known as the ‘Suchitoto 13’. Jason Wallach, writing on the Upside Down World website, said that after six months of deliberation, all charges were eventually dropped. On 2 May, 2008, however, the youngest protestor – 19 year old Hector Antonio Ventura – was murdered by unknown assailants in a house in Valle Verde, Suchitoto.[3]

His death is thought to have been politically motivated considering that just days earlier, he had agreed to speak at the Day Against Impunity to be held on July 2, the first anniversary of the arrest of the Suchitoto 13.[4]

Human rights groups including Amnesty International accused the government of unjustly using anti-terrorism legislation in order to quell future public protest.[5]


[1] Jason Wallach (27 September 2006) ‘El Salvador’s Water: Not for Sale’, Upside Down World, http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1276/68/ (Accessed 21/07/09)
[2] North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) website https://nacla.org/node/1499 (Accessed 21/07/09)
[3] Op.cit. (Jason Wallach)
[4] UNHCR website, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4a6452bc8.html (Accessed 21/07/09)
[5] Amnesty International website, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR29/002/2007/en/a09ac5c1-5055-47ff-b2fa-7ba042d9e6ab/amr290022007en.html (Accessed 21/07/09)

International Human Rights Clinic submits brief addressing environmental and human rights violations in Belize

Included here is a blog from Santa Clara Law’s International Human Rights Clinic.  They submitted a brief in support of BELPO’s Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. I am grateful to Chloe Tomlinson for permission to reproduce the blog entry in The Violence of Development website.

By Santa Clara Law student Chloe Thomlinson and Prof. Francisco Rivera

On June 13th, 2018, Santa Clara Law’s International Human Rights Clinic submitted an amicus curiae brief before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of communities affected by the construction of the Chalillo Dam in Belize. The brief addresses novel legal issues and provides the Commission with a unique opportunity to further develop the human rights obligations of States and businesses in the area of environmental harms caused by large development projects.

Chalillo Dam in Belize.

 

Fourteen years ago, the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) submitted a petition before the Commission alleging human rights violations caused by the approval, construction, and operation of the Chalillo Dam in the Macal River basin. Construction on the Dam began in 2002 and was completed in 2005. The petitioners allege the dam was approved in violation of applicable regulations that required, among other things, further studies on mitigation of impacts to wildlife, archaeological ruins, and the environment, as well as publication of required water tests.

People living in the Macal River Basin depend on the river for drinking water, employment, bathing, fishing, and recreation. The dam’s construction has severely damaged the Macal River and caused major, irreversible, negative environmental impacts, destroyed unique and critical habitats, and submerged unexplored Mayan archaeological sites, which are of cultural importance to the Mayan communities in the region.

On October 27, 2015, the Commission declared this petition admissible and a decision is pending on its merits.

The Clinic’s brief supports the petitioners’ allegations and argues that:

(1) Belize violated the human rights to life, health, and water by contaminating the communities’ water and food supplies and by making clean water economically inaccessible to them;

(2) Belize violated the right of access to information by failing to comply with public awareness requirements under the dam’s environmental compliance plan, provide adequate responses to requests for information, and offer an effective mechanism to guarantee the right to access information;

(3) Belize violated the right to work by negatively impacting tourism, fishing and farming in the Macal River Valley, and

(4) Belize violated the right to access to justice and judicial protection by failing to provide an effective recourse to address violations of the dam’s environmental compliance plan.

Clinic students Susan Shapiro, Chloe Thomlinson and Kyle Heitmann interviewing a local business owner in Belize.

 

Five Clinic students worked on the brief during a year-long process that included a fact-finding trip to talk to affected communities in the Macal River in Belize. “Interviewing the affected community members in Belize was an exceptional experience;” said clinic student Chloe Thomlinson, “it made the issues we were discussing all the more real and significant”. Students canoed down the Macal River with affected community members who described the negative effects the dam had on the river and on their livelihoods. Some community members, including children, developed skin rashes and stomach problems due to the contaminated water. For the community, the Macal was more than just a river; it was where they grew up, made memories, and worked, and it was a source of food and clean water.

The Clinic’s brief aims primarily to support and supplement the remarkable work that the petitioners and local NGOs have done to seek reparations for the damage done by the construction of the dam. Additionally, the Clinic expects the Commission to develop clear language on the relevant obligations States and businesses have in the area of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights, particularly in the context of large development projects that contaminate rivers and cause harm to rural and indigenous peoples.

Read the amicus brief on Chalillo Dam in Belize.

http://law.scu.edu/ihrcblog/international-human-rights-clinic-submits-brief-addressing-environmental-and-human-rights-violations-in-belize/

The Mayan resistance to private concessions of rivers sees some light in Guatemala: Review of ‘Let’s Free Our Rivers’ by Madre Selva

Published on 14 March 2018 by ACAFREMIN (Central American Alliance Against Mining).

We are grateful to ACAFREMIN for permission to reproduce the article here.

Translated by Pamela Machado

The Guatemalan ecological group Madre Selva recently published a book narrating the resistance of the Q’eqchí Mayan communities from Santa María Cahabón, in the northern department of Alta Verapaz, to the Oxec and Oxec II hydro-electric projects.

The book, entitled ‘Let’s free our rivers’ and edited by researcher Simona Violetta Yagenova, aims to inform the Guatemalan population about opposition to the ‘privatisation of the rivers’, emphasising the process of ‘defence’ by surrounding communities to stop the development of projects along the Cahabón river and its tributary, the Oxec. The book, supported by the Hienrich Boll Stifting Foundation, brings a historical analysis of the ‘social fight’ against hydro-electric projects.

Both projects belong to the Energy Resources Capital Corp group, registered in Panamá, and they received definitive authorisation to operate from the Ministry of Energy and Mines on 7 August 2013 and 12 February 2015 for Oxec I and Oxec II, respectively.

The investigation narrates how, from 2012 to 2015, the population of Santa María Cahabón had suffered from assassinations and evictions of community settlers, as well as the imprisonment of some of their leaders who opposed the installation of the two projects.

The movement grew from an extensive defamation campaign, which included the criminalization of one of the directors (Bernardo Caal, detained on 5 February [2017] for supposedly committing the offenses of illegal detention and robbery), charges orchestrated by the ‘corporate’ and ‘local powers’, with the connivance of the Executive and Judiciary bodies

Photo credit: latrillamediosindependientes.blogspot.com

The Cahabón river, which is 19,596 kilometers long and spans across the north and east of the country, is made up of over 50 rivers and streams, among those the Oxec,

Canlich and Chiacté, where six hydro-electric plants are currently operating: the Renaces I, II, III and IV (owned by Multiinversiones Corp), the Oxec I and II and the Chichaic.

The construction of many dams, says the document, “seriously changes the fluvial ecosystem” around the riverbeds, “destroying habitats, modifying the flow and changing the basic water parameters.”

After a detailed analysis of the different actions, previous consultations, support and resolutions by the Constitutional entity – that in May allowed the hydro-electric station to continue working despite the fact that a prior consultation, based on ILO Convention 169, had not been held – the Madre Selva publication affirms that there were contradictions in the resolution.

The book concludes that doing “community consultations in good faith are mechanisms of social regulation, conflict resolution and decision making that are collectively built.”

Last December [2017], the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry celebrated the end of a community consultation process led by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, between September and November in 11 neighbouring communities, where they supposedly reached agreements that were then transferred to the Supreme Court of Justice. However, this process was criticised by activist groups like Madre Selva.

When presented with the results, the Minister of Energy, Luis Chang, said that the agreements delivered to the Supreme Court focus on establishing “relationships in an atmosphere of harmony”, and that the company will comply with “environmental mitigations during and after the construction and operation of the project.”

That is a statement opposed by the book ‘Let’s Free Our Rivers’ which holds that the Guatemalan state has historically “deprived the local people in successive historical periods under the flag of development and progress.”

While the Oxec I and II hydro-electric plants are expected to generate around 100 MW per year, hundreds of people and activists warn that the project has left 50 communities without water.

La resistencia maya a la concesión privada de los ríos ve la luz en Guatemala: Revista de ‘Liberemos Nuestros Ríos’ por Madre Selva

Publicado 14 de Marzo 2018 por ACAFREMIN (Alianza Centroamericana Frente a la Minería). 
Les estamos agradecidos a ACAFREMIN por el derecho de reproducir el artículo aquí.

El colectivo guatemalteco ecologista Madre Selva publicó hoy un libro en el que narra la resistencia de las comunidades mayas Q’eqchi’ de Santa María Cahabón, en el departamento norteño de Alta Verapaz, a los proyectos hidroeléctricos Oxec y Oxec II.

La obra, titulada ‘Liberemos Nuestros Ríos’ y editada por la investigadora Simona Violetta Yagenova, tiene como objetivo “nutrir” a la población guatemalteca sobre la oposición a la ‘concesión privada de los ríos’ con énfasis en el proceso de ‘defensa’ que han realizado las comunidades aledañas para impedir que se desarrollen los proyectos en los ríos Cahabón y su afluente Oxec. El libro, que contó con el apoyo de la Fundación Hienrich Böll Stiftung, realiza un análisis histórico de la ‘lucha social’ de los dos proyectos hidroeléctricos.

Ambos pertenecen al grupo Energy Resources Capital Corp., registrado en Panamá, y obtuvieron la autorización definitiva para operar del Ministerio de Energía y Minas el 7 de agosto de 2013 y el 12 de febrero de 2015 para Oxec I y Oxec II, respectivamente.

La investigación narra cómo desde el año 2012 al 2015 la población de Santa María Cahabón habría sufrido asesinatos y desalojos a pobladores de la comunidad, así como el encarcelamiento de algunos de sus líderes que se opusieron a la instalación de dichos proyectos.

Fotografia por: latrillamediosindependientes.blogspot.com

El movimiento, añade, emergió y se desarrolló a pesar de una extensa campaña de difamación, que incluye la criminalización de uno de sus dirigentes (Bernardo Caal, detenido el pasado 5 de febrero por supuestamente haber cometido los delitos de detención ilegal y robo), orquestada por ‘el empresariado’ y ‘los poderes locales’, con la connivencia de los organismos Ejecutivo y Judicial.

Del Río Cahabón, que cuenta con una longitud de 195,95 kilómetros entre el norte y el oriente del país, se desprenden más de 50 ríos y arroyos entre los que se encuentra Oxec, Canlich y Chiacté, en los cuales operan actualmente seis hidroeléctricas: las Renaces I, II, III y IV (de la Corporación Multiinversiones), los Oxec I y II y la de Chichaic.

La construcción de varias represas, señala el documento, “altera gravemente el ecosistema fluvial” alrededor de los cauces, “destruyendo hábitats, modificando el caudal y cambiando los parámetros básicos del agua”.

Tras un análisis detallado de las diferentes acciones, consultas previas, amparos y resoluciones del ente Constitucional -que en mayo pasado resolvió que la hidroeléctrica podría seguir trabajando pese a no haber esperado a la consulta previa basada en el Convenio 169 de la OIT- la publicación de Madre Selva asegura que hubo contradicciones en la resolución.

El libro concluye que “las consultas comunitarias de buena fe constituyen mecanismos de regulación social, resolución de conflictos y toma de decisiones que se construyen colectivamente.”

En diciembre pasado [2017], la Cámara de la Industria de Guatemala celebró el fin a un proceso de consulta comunitaria que encabezó el Ministerio de Energía y Minas entre septiembre y noviembre pasados en 11 comunidades aledañas, en los que supuestamente se llegaron a acuerdos que fueron trasladados a la Corte Suprema de Justicia. No obstante, dicho proceso no fue bien recibido por colectivos de activistas, como Madre Selva.

Según dijo al presentar los resultados el ministro de Energía, Luis Chang, los acuerdos entregados al poder Supremo se centran en constituir “relaciones en un ambiente de armonía” y que la empresa cumpla con “mitigaciones ambientales durante y posterior a la construcción y operación del proyecto.”

Una afirmación a la que se opone el libro ‘Liberemos Nuestros Ríos’, el cual sostiene que el Estado guatemalteco, históricamente, “ha despojado a los pueblos originarios en sucesivos periodos históricos bajo el lema del desarrollo y el progreso.”

Mientras las hidroeléctricas Oxec I y II guardan la esperanza de generar unos 100 MW anuales, han sido centenares de pobladores y activistas los que advierten que el proyecto ha dejado sin agua a unas 50 comunidades.

Major types of Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs)

  • Partnerships between two public authorities
  • Partnerships between public authorities and communities (and/or NGOs as well as with trade unions)
  • Development partnerships (with an international dimension)
  • International associations

Source:
David Hall, Jane Lethbridge and Emanuele Lobina (2005) ‘Public-public partnerships in health and essential services’, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), London.