Rivers of Hope and Tears
Sebastián Alonzo, a subsistence farmer from the Ixquisis micro-region in Guatemala, was murdered while demonstrating against the hydroelectric company that would divert the river and affect the crops which his family and community depended upon.The enterprise Energia y Renovacion (formerly PDH S.A.) project aimed to divert the three major rivers of the area, the Pojom, the Rio Negro and the Primavera and to divert their flow into an hydro-electric complex that could produce up to 40MW. The Chuj and Kanjobal people inhabiting the area and living without electricity, denounced having been promised much needed roads and electricity by the company Energia y Renovacion, but were not provided. Community leaders gathered their population into a movement of opposition against the company and against the state who granted the company permissions. They denounced the environmental destruction originating from the mega-projects and the violation of The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (1989) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which impose a consultation with the local communities to allow the constructions.Despite the threats, the violences and the fears that the opponents of the project suffered since the beginning of the constructions, their fight succeeded for the first time in history to cause the withdrawal of the Inter-American Development Bank Invest (IDB Invest)’s fundings to the project. Yet the company has not given up its project, the murder hasn’t been solved and peace between the communities have been severely compromised.