Monti Aguirre

Monti Aguirre's picture
International Rivers
Job title:
Latin America Program Coordinator
Keep our Rivers Free Flowing
Personal bio:
Ms. Aguirre works as part of International Rivers’ Latin America program to support local movements for the protection of rivers; to identify new dam projects in Latin America and to examine their economic, social, and environmental impacts; and to design strategies to counteract their effects. She has worked for more than a decade in support of Amazon indigenous peoples’ rights and is co-producer of Amazonia: Voices From the Rainforest, a film on the fight of grassroots groups in the Amazon to defend their lives and their land. She has also been a tireless supporter of the people affected by Chixoy Dam in Guatemala. Prior to joining International Rivers in 1998, Ms. Aguirre worked with the Environmental Action Coalition and El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in New York City. Ms. Aguirre has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree from New York University in Environmental Education and Conservation.
Date: Friday, May 29, 2020 - 12:00
The global COVID-19 crisis has shed a light on the deep-seated inequities in the way our rivers and the people who depend on them are treated. With the exposure created by this crisis comes an opportunity.
Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 11:18
To provide immediate assistance to Ríos Vivos and community activists on the ground, visit Ríos Vivos Colombia. 
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 12:36
"Our entire outlook is about the health of the river. It took us 175 years. We're not speaking for us; we're speaking for our grandchildren." - Maori sisters and grandmothers, Dianah and Maki Ngarongo.
Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 11:29
It has been more than a year since our friend and colleague Berta Cáceres was murdered. Berta was the coordinator of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), headquartered in La Esperanza, Intibucá in western Honduras. Eight men have been charged with the murder of Berta, including three with military ties.
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 13:04
In the '90s, we stymied efforts to build the destructive Patuca II Dam in Honduras. Now a new project, Patuca III, has raised its head. We examine its implications in a new factsheet.
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2016 - 09:52
Our latest study examines two current plans for Peru's energy future, and finds them both troubling. The current plans double down on the use of dams and fossil fuels, ignoring significant risks, and only timidly promote true renewables and energy efficiency.
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 14:00
Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - 18:48
The Puelo River is an astounding, emerald-toned river surrounded by snow-packed mountains, massive granite walls and waterfalls. It runs through Chile's Tagua Tagua Park, and the pristine forests around it are home to high-diversity ecological areas and numerous species, including Darwin’s frog. So why does Chile want to dam it?
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 08:38
After a long and painful journey, Guatemala's Maya Achí people have finally received justice: The government delivered the first reparations checks to survivors of the Chixoy massacres.
Date: Monday, November 17, 2014 - 10:42
On Saturday, March 13, 1982, a young Maya Achi man named Carlos Chen’s life was forever altered. That day, he painfully learned that his wife Paulina Iboy, children Enriqueta and Antonio, and sisters Marta Julia and Bernarda, had been viciously massacred.
Date: Monday, April 28, 2014 - 12:01
I’m overjoyed to announce that Ruth has been awarded the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize for Central and South America for her work to protect the Ene River and stop the Pakitzapango and Tambo 40 dams. Working alongside her to protect the Asháninka people and the rivers of the Peruvian Amazon is a great honor.
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 19:47
The word reparations ­– feared by people in the world of infrastructure development – is finally starting to find a well-deserved and long-awaited place. Reparations means making up for a past wrong. US President Barack Obama is about to sign a bill that includes in its mandates reparations for the Maya Achi communities who were affected by construction of the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala. Financiers of the project – the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank – are now on the hook to right the wrongs that accompanied construction of the Chixoy Dam.
Date: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 16:49
Drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and institutional dysfunction are some of the major causes of the high rate of violence in Honduras. The National Commission for Human Rights has calculated that there is a violent death every 74 minutes in this small nation of about eight million people. It has the highest murder rate in the world per capita. But the bullet that killed Tomás Garcia came from an army officer, and was intended for killing the people who oppose construction of the Agua Zarca Dam in Honduras.
Date: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 15:07
Colombian police and soldiers interrupted a peaceful protest by communities affected by Ituango Dam on March 14th. The protest was to mark the International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life.
Date: Friday, November 30, 2012 - 15:32
In an exciting development, Chixoy Dam affected communities met with officials from Guatemala’s new administration of President Otto Perez Molina on November 22nd. This is the first time communities have met with the new government to address the legalization and implementation of the Reparations Plan for affected communities.
Date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 16:27
An offering of Oaxacan blue corn tortillas, fruits and candles set the stage for the Pre-Hearing on “Dams, Rights of Peoples and Impunity” organized by the Permanent Peoples Tribunal in Temacapulin, Mexico.
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 14:47
International Rivers' Monti Aguirre has been invited to be a judge at a pre-hearing of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) on environmental destruction, which will take place November 5-6 in Temacapulín, Mexico. They will review documentation and hear from dam-affected or threatened peoples from El Zapotillo, Cerro de Oro, Paso de la Reina, La Parota and El Naranjal dams.
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 15:57
A law that would let foreign companies build mines, dams, hotels, and other projects on Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous lands in Panama has the local indigenous people quite worried. US energy company AES is already building Chan 75 Dam, even though there was not meaningful consultation or fair compensation for communities. Several mines are already operating in their territories.
Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 16:51
The Occupy Movement reached Colombia's Upper Magdalena River on January 3, 2012. Communities affected by the proposed El Quimbo Dam project paralyzed dam construction by blocking a bridge and road access for 15 days. Inhabitants of this area are concerned that flooding 21,000 hectares of fertile lands will wash away the lives of communities that have made these valleys their homes for centuries.
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 16:29
Ashaninka BabyOdebrecht is withdrawing from a commitment to develop the Tambo-40 Dam on the Tambo River in the Peruvian Amazon. It is a good day for Ashaninka communities in the Amazon.In an official letter to the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines, Odebrecht stated that after completing preliminary studies and learning of the strong opposition by indigenous communities, the company decided to “respect the opinion of local populations” and withdrew from the project.
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 15:40
Men holding protest signFoto SERFor over a month, close to 2,000 people in the Puno area of the Peruvian Amazon went on strike in an effort to convince the government to cancel mining concessions and the Inambari Dam. They blocked access roads to the region and held mass protests.To appease the strikers, the government established a high-level commission to review the Inambari Dam. After a tense meeting with local communities on June 13, Commission Chair and Vice-Minister of Energy Luis Gonzales Talledo cancelled the project, stating that the Brazilian consortium Egasur's rights to develop the project had been revoked.The Inambari Dam was to be built at the corner of Puno, Cusco, and Madre de Dios states, 300 km from the border with Brazil.The project would have flooded 410 square kilometers of forest, including part of the Bahujan Sonene National Park buffer zone. More than 15,000 people would be deprived of their agricultural lands and thus their main source of livelihoods. 
Date: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 11:44
The struggle against ill-conceived dam projects often comes hand in hand with criminalization, and in some cases, violence against those who stand up for their rights. Opposition to the construction of the Urra I in Colombia resulted in numerous human rights abuses, including several murders. It has been 10 years since the murder of Kimy Pernia Domico, an Embera Katio leader who opposed the dam in his people's territory. The paramilitaries who defended the construction of the dam had already killed other prominent Embera leaders, including Alonso Maria Jarupia Domico and Lucindo Domicó Cabrera.Kimy was a spokesman for the Embera on the rights of its people and the defense of their land. He spoke to international audiences on the harassment and violations committed against the Embera by the government, the Urra dam company, the paramilitaries and guerrillas.In 1999, the Emberas marched from their territory into Bogota and set up camp at the Ministry of the Environment's gardens – a journey of some 700 kilometers. They protested the illegal filling of the reservoir, and demanded consultation as required by law. Colombian government authorities shunned the claims of the Embera, and disregarded the rights of the indigenous peoples. The Emberas had no choice but to set up tents and wait until they were heard.
Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 16:25
International Day of Action For Rivers Across Latin AmericaProtest at site of Hidrosogamoso on Colombia's Chicamocha RiverA great variety of events took place in Latin America to celebrate the International Day of Action For Rivers, which is today the greatest global event demonstrating that rivers have friends and that we are going to defend them! Since the International Day of Action For Rivers was created in 1997, it has spread across the globe and Latin America is a great example of the "let's defend our rivers" domino effect. In Colombia despite knowing that for protesting you can lose your life, a huge mobilization of indigenous peoples, peasants, fishing folks, students, workers, and environmental activists held actions throughout the country in defense of people's lands and rivers. More than 2,000 people defending the Magdalena River marched to protest El Quimbo Dam, and close to 4,000 people mobilized against the Pescadero-Ituango project on the Cauca River. Many peasants have already been killed because they refused to give way to this project and leave their lands, and yet resistance remains strong.
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 14:19
Lempa River no longer threatened by El Cimarron Dam.David Cruz Reprieve for Central America's Longest River  Belching heavy clouds of diesel, a line of old US yellow school buses crossed Salvadorian mountains that stretched as far as the eye could see. The buses carried communities from all over Mesoamerica to the Municipality of Carolina in San Miguel Province, where the Third MesoAmerican Forum Against Dams took place in 2004. It was my first time in El Salvador and the spirit of this caravan of dam-affected people ready to work was contagious.