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27 Feb 2017

Greg Schwendinger, Revue

Rivers at Risk in Guatemala

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Across the northern indigenous hinterlands of Guatemala people are up in arms...over the companies involved in damming and mining—particularly hydroelectric projects; over their questionable business practices; deficit of environmental concern; and lack of respect for community well-being and consent, putting rivers at risk.
Incidents both positive and negative continue to play out. In Alta Verapaz, the 195 communities in the Cahabón municipality have been organizing against the Oxec I & II projects for the past year. On Jan. 12, they self-financed a movement of 85 truckloads of villagers to Cobán to demand justice and a "good faith" referendum. In Huehuetenango, the companies' response has been violent....And in Quiché, residents of the Río Copón area are continuing the longest-running, anti-dam resistance movement in the country...
This project...would gravely affect 58 Q'eqchi' communities and have severe environmental impacts...The affected municipalities have responded with popular-vote referendums, with a resounding over-90 percent "no" vote on the project. The situation remains tense.