Florentino Pérez: Do not destroy the Quekchí indigenous river in Guatemala

More than 29,000 Quekchí indigenous people in Alta Verapaz (Guatemala) who live near the Cahabón River see day by day how the river is dangerously losing its flow due to the construction of the hydroelectric complex Renace. There are five phases to the project which takes over 30 kilometers of the river. After two years of extensive research, Alianza por la Solidaridad has verified serious environmental impacts, violations of the Rights of the communities who live near the river, and the criminalization of opponents of the project.

Florentino Perez can change the lives of 29,000 people. Reborn, which will be the country's largest hydroelectric plant, it is managed by the Corporacion Multi-Inversiones (CMI) Guatemalan group, which has contracted three of five phases of construction to the Spanish company Cobra Group (ACS), which is chaired by Florentino Pérez. We need to at least stop the final two phases currently being planned and under construction before the Cahabón River dries up. And you can help us.

Without any warning

Consideramos muy grave que no se haya realizado una consulta previa e informada a las comunidades quekchíes afectadas por el proyecto como obliga la legislación internacional suscrita por Guatemala.

De hecho, recientemente, un tribunal guatemalteco ha ordenado paralizar otra obra que se estaba llevando a cabo en este río, justamente por obviar la voz de las comunidades afectadas.

Además, las comunidades que se han opuesto al proyecto están siendo amenazadas y criminalizadas por manifestarse e intentar hacerse oír abiertamente, siendo víctimas de casos de espionaje, grabaciones ilegales y difamaciones.

ACS washes their hands of the situation

As the United Nations underlines, the private sector whether investor or subcontracted, such as ACS, must respect the Human Rights of the populations and protect the natural resources. It has not happened with Renace: CMI and ACS’s intervention in local communities is more of a commercial promotion than anything else.

COBRA/ACS, which is involved in three of the four phases in process of construction, does not considered itself responsible for the investment’s impacts and forgets that they are also subject to protecting Human Rights, are directly responsible for the disappearance of water flow, access to water and pollution.

29.000 quekchís te necesitan para defender sus derechos

Indigenous communities must be the first ones to benefit from business projects in their territory, in the development of basic services like electricity, portable water and stable employment. None of these have happened in the Renace hydroelectric-plant on Cahabón River.

Alianza por la Solidaridad believes that the only acceptable alternative is the suspension of Renace Phases IV and V works until an exhaustive evaluation of the social, economic and environmental impacts over the whole hydroelectric complex is made. The project has to guarantee, in addition to its profitability, the Right to water, participation, information, equality and non-discrimination, as well as the mechanisms necessary for repairing or compensation.

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