dorset chiapas solidarity

March 23, 2016

Dried Up and Displaced: Dams Force 200,000 from Homes in Mexico

Filed under: Displacement, Human rights, Uncategorized, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:56 am



Dried Up and Displaced: Dams Force 200,000 from Homes in Mexico



Children cross a river on the mountain range of Zihuatanejo in Guerrero state Sept. 22, 2013. | Photo: Reuters


Many of Mexico’s over 4,000 dams are on Indigenous and campesino land, where communities heavily rely on river resources.

Some 200,000 people have been displaced by the construction of dams across Mexico, while advocacy groups warn the country’s new water law will only continue to make the situation worse, Mexico’s Sin Embargo reported Tuesday.

According to researchers, many of Mexico’s 4,462 dams registered in official records are in Indigenous and campesino communities, which are not only located near main water sources but also vulnerable to exploitation. Over 660 of the dams are considered large.

Statistics on the number of people displaced by dams in Mexico have been difficult to find, according to researchers, but various investigations have now revealed that the number is likely to be around 200,000.

Some of the largest mass displacements took place in the early 1980s, with tens of thousands of people pushed off their land in large dams projects. Thousands more have been forcibly displaced by new construction since.

Even when families are not forced from their homes, hydroelectric projects can impact the social fabric of a community, as well as compromise food production and local public health.

Resistance against dam projects also takes a heavy toll. Since 2005, over 40 activists fighting to defend rivers have been killed in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia, according to GeoComunes. At least eight have been killed in Mexico.


“The cost of defending rivers and land.”

One of the most recent victims of this violence is famed Honduran leader Berta Caceres, an environmental activist who fought to defend Indigenous territory and rivers against the privatization of vital water resources. Caceres was assassinated in her home on March 3.

Water grabbing, including through dams and other projects, is a global phenomenon that goes hand in hand with land grabbing and displacement that deprives communities of land and water access, the international human rights organization FIAN reported Tuesday.

Water is a human right considered fundamental to the realization of other rights, including the right to food.



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