Honduran human rights defender notes Canadian financing of dam during PBI-USA organized World Water Day webinar

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: MADJ coordinator Martín Fernández Guzman and PBI communications coordinator Hannah Matthews from today’s webinar.

On March 22, PBI-USA hosted a World Water Day screening of La Sangre de la Tierra (The Blood of the Earth), a documentary about community struggles against hydroelectric dams in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.

After the screening, Martín Fernández Guzman, a member of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) spoke about the resistance in Honduras.

He highlighted the Canadian financing of a hydroelectric dam (at about the 1 hour, 13 minutes and 38 seconds mark in this video).

We have previously noted in this article that MADJ opposes the construction of a dam on the Jilamito River that is being financed by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), of which Canada is a member.

On December 4, 2020, it was announced that IDB Invest had approved a $20.25 million loan to support the development, construction, and operation of the dam.

Then Maria Caal Xol of the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, a collective of 38 Maya Q’eqchi communities, spoke about the resistance to the Oxec and Renace hydroelectric dams on the Cahabón River and its tributaries in Guatemala.

Key land defence struggles against hydroelectric dams on Indigenous territories in Canada include the fight against the Site C dam (Treaty 8 territory in British Columbia) and the Muskrat Falls dam (Innu territory in Labrador).

The Canadian Dam Association has noted: “There are over 15,000 dams in Canada of which 1,157 are categorised as ‘large’ dams under the ICOLD [International Commission on Large Dams] definition [meaning 15 metres or higher].”

Historically, the PBI-North America Project visited Nitassinan (Quebec-Labrador) when the Innu community of Maliotenam was opposing the construction of the Sainte-Marguerite III hydroelectric project on the Sainte-Marguerite River.

The video of the webinar can be seen here.

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