PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón opposed to Canadian-designed dams on Q’eqchi’ territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

On January 18, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“#PBI accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón. We visited the communities of Sactá and Las Tres Cruces. We met with leaders and members of the Resistance who shared with us the risks they face in defending the rivers and the land. PBI is very concerned about the increase in criminalization in the region.”

PBI-Guatemala has explained: “The Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón is made of more than 190 Q’eqchi’ communities who live in the Cahabón River basin. Since 2015 they have organized around defense of territory and against the launch of the OXEC I and OXEC II hydroelectric projects installed on the Oxec River, a tributary of the Cahabón River.”

Hatch and OXEC II

NS Energy has reported: “Hatch would be engaged to deliver the conceptual design and detailed design-build-engineering for the Oxec II Hydroelectric Project.”

Hatch was founded in Toronto, Canada, by W.S. Atkins as W.S. Atkins & Associates in 1955. It has offices around the world with its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.

From list of Hatch Ltd. office locations in Canada.

Commenting on OXEC II, Ian Ainslie, a Hatch project manager based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, noted: “Hatch has been active in developing hydroelectric sites in Guatemala for over 20 years.” And Hatch’s managing director of power, Jim Sarvinis, says: “Projects like Oxec II are exactly why we do the type of work we do at Hatch.”

OXEC II became operational in September 2018.


In April 2023, Power Technology noted: “Oxec III is a 75MW hydro power project. It is planned on Cahabon river/basin in Alta Verapaz. The project construction is likely to commence in 2025 and is expected to enter into commercial operation in 2027.”

On May 10, 2023, PBI-Canada observed a march by the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón in Guatemala City that included a banner that read: “We demand that the Oxec 3 licence be cancelled.”

Breakbulk Magazine has previously reported Hatch’s project manager for Oxec II Hooman Ghassemi “has been working on Oxec II since 2015 and finished the conceptual design for Oxec III [in 2017].”

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance Cahabón since July 2017.

We continue to follow the Q’eqchi’ resistance to dams on the Cahabon River.

Photo: Maya Q’eqchi environmental defender Bernardo Caal Xol spent four years in prison for his peaceful resistance to dams being built on ancestral territory without consent. He was released from prison in March 2022. PBI-Canada met with him on May 5, 2023, in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.


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