More than 60 Mexican and Guatemalan communities reject hydroelectric project
Almost 300 people from 60 communities in Chiapas and from the Peten Front Against Dams of Guatemala rejected the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Usumacinta River, which would represent an invasion and therefore an eviction from their lands.
During the Forum of resistances and alternatives of the peoples of the north of Chiapas, attendees reported that work on the binational hydroelectric dam Boca del Cerro has already started with the construction of embankments on both sides of the river.
Boca del Cerro is one of five planned dams in the watershed that divides Mexico from Guatemala. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) said that the works are planned to last for four years and will have a limit of 55.5 metres maximum height.
Of the 1,799 hectares which will make up the total area of the reservoir, 707 belong to the municipality of Tenosique, Tabasco, and 1,092 to Palenque.
The work will lead to “the disappearance of the community of San Carlos Boca del Cerro, Tenosique, which will become the offices and camp of the company building the dam,” said the representatives.
They are also sure that “the government will not compensate us for our lands, the cost of living will increase and we, the Chol and Tzeltal indigenous peoples of the region, will disappear.”
The representatives of the communities know that the imposition of the dam by the government violates Article 2 of the Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which deals with the autonomy of indigenous peoples and their right to consultation.
Given this, they pledged to implement a work plan to stop the construction of the hydroelectric project which will pollute their land and river, besides the effect of the weight, and expressed their solidarity “with the actions of sister organizations struggling to stop mining projects, highways, hydroelectric schemes and to expel from our lands the large companies who want to deprive us of our lands “.
Finally, they demanded justice for the murder of the coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Berta Caceres, “and respect for the human rights and the lives of those who fight against megaprojects and against dams in Mexico, Central America and other parts of the world.”
With information from La Jornada
Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service