PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón in its struggle against dams

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 13, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted on its Facebook page, “This weekend we accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, visiting new communities that joined the resistance.”

That post adds, “With them they strengthen their fight for the defense of the territory.”

PBI-Guatemala has previously noted, “Many of these communities are suffering intensely the environmental impacts caused by the Renace company dams.”

In October 2016, BBC Mundo reported on community opposition to the controversial “Renace hydroelectric complex, which consists of four power plants” on the Cahabón River.

On February 21, 2017, Telesur reported, “Dozens of Indigenous Q’eqchi Mayans came from several towns along the Cahabon River, in the northern Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz, to the capital, to protest against hydroelectric projects carried out by the Spanish group Cobra, owned by Real Madrid’s President Florentino Perez.”

That article highlighted, “Indigenous leader Bernardo Caal Xol told reporters that the firm has left about 50 communities without water, whose survival directly depended on the Cahabon River, among many other negative environmental impacts.”

PBI-United Kingdom has posted, “In August 2017, PBI provided security support to the good-faith consultation in which the 195 communities of the Cahabón River overwhelmingly rejected the Oxec hydroelectric projects, which threaten to seriously disrupt local ecosystems and water supplies.”

And in November 2018, Caal Xol, a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader, was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.”

Telesur notes, “It was Caal Xol who filed three lawsuits against the Oxec construction company at different institutions, including accusations for failing to consult the local population, and illegally cutting down 15 hectares of trees.”

Telesur has also reported, “The communities claim the Oxec and Renace hydroelectric projects are illegal because the local Indigenous Q’eqchi’ peoples were not properly consulted and informed about it, as established by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.”

A May 2018 interview with Caal Xol conducted by PBI-Guatemala and published by PBI-UK in English can be read here.

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Resistance since July 2017.

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