2012: Mesoamerica

Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama

BELPO campaign at La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge
BELPO campaign at La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is a multi-day canoe race along the Macal and Belize Rivers, beginning in San Ignacio and ending in Belize City. The race coincides with the National Heroes and Benefactors day (previously called Baron Bliss Day).

Community members, and members of the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO), used this race as a time to educate people about threats to healthy rivers and watersheds. Three dams are in operation on the Macal River, and sources of pollution include the sugar, citrus, agriculture, aquaculture, mining, and oil industries, and from sewage.

Candy Gonzalez
Email: candybz@gmail.com
Phone: (501) 824-2476

The Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy
Phone: (501) 802-0220
Web: http://www.elaw.org/node/3607
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Belize-Institute-of-Environmental-Law-and-...

El Salvador

Protest outside Hidroelectric Comission of the Lempa River (CEL) 

Residents from flood-affected communities, the Salvadorian Ecological Unit (UNESCO), and the National Movement Against Death Projects, protested outside the offices of the Hidroelectric Comission on the Lempa River (CEL). Signs were held reading, "We Demand a Real Energy Policy! Stop the Dams!" The protest was organized in response to the devastating social, ecological, and economic impacts of dams in the country. A letter was also delivered to Jose Leopoldo Gomez Samour, president of CEL, requesting that he seek a solution to the environmental problems caused by the dams. Testimony was also shared by peasants in who were affected by the flooding and deforestation of 20,000 acres, and by winter discharges from the dams which affect their crops and homes. The protesters also delivered a piece of correspondence to the Legislative Assembly that will be directed to the Presidential House.


First Community Consultation on Dams

Announced on March 14th, the first Community Consultation will be held by the Petén Front Against Dams on April 28th.



The Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and In Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) organized actions across the country, and demanding that the government respect affected communities' rights and cancel La Parota, El Zapotillo, Las Cruces, Reyna step, Archdeacon, and Boca del Cerro dam projects, in addition to those planned in the state of Veracrus and on the Usumacinta River, as well as justice for peasants and fishermen disrupted by the Cerro de Oro, El Cajon, La Yesca and Pichachos dams.

Guerrero - The Mexican Movement of Those Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER) and the Council of Common Lands and Communities Opposed to the Presa Dam (CECPO) organized a press conference in which the state governor, Angel Aguirre Rivero, was invited to sign the Agreement of Cacahuatepec to cancel the La Perota hydroelectric project.

Oaxaca - Communities that make up the Council of Peoples for the Defense of the Green River (Copudever) disseminated information about the affects of dams to the media that they have access to.

San Cristóbal de las Casas - Otros Mundos Chiapas organized a talk on "The Un-Sustainability and Affects of Dams" on March 6th. On the 14th there was a symbolic and cultural activity in the Plaza of Resistance in front of the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas, followed by a press conference

Temacapulín - Forum: Impacts and Mismanagement of El Zapotillo Dam. The forum discussed the environmental, economic and social impacts of the Zapotillo dam, and how the project is linked to water privatization efforts in the country. The Forum also announced the pre-hearing of the Tribunal of Permanent Peoples (TPP) which will be carried out in June of this year, in which national and international judges will be presented the cases of human rights violations caused by construction of the Zapotillo Dam.

Colima - Ten events were planned for Colima, including a lecture on the, "Situation of Dams in Mexico" by Mónica Olvera, from Mapder y RMAL, screenings of the documentaries Water for Life," "First the Water," "Rivers for Life," in addition to a photo exhibition, discussions and musical performances.

Xalapa -  The organization La Vida Anaa hosted a talk in the Humanities Facility about the International Day Against Dams and in Defense of Water and Rivers.

More information:

Campaign against La Fragua Dam

In Las Piedras Negras, a letter describing the International Day of Action for Rivers and the particular threats to the San Rodrigo River from La Fragua Dam began circulation.

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Flyer distribution and Mass Gathering

Flyers were distributed about the impacts of dams, and an event held at Las Tablas farm - with a population of almost 2000 people - featuring a film screening and more information distribution.


Indigenous March to National Assembly
Picket, Camp and March

On March 14th, several actions took place in Panama. La Red Panameña de Afectados por Hidroeléctricas (The Panamanian Red Affected by Hydroelectric Projects) organized a picket in front of Supreme Court of Justice for an Environmental Impact Assessment on the hydroelectric project on White Mud River Tabasará. A movement against these hydroelectric projects has continued for 12 years. Media sources were also connected to cover the intersecting issues of water, energy, human rights and legal security, and how to open up a dialogue with the government on these issues. The day ended with a peaceful march from a 40-day long camp-out site of indigenous resistance, to the National Assembly, where the presidency of the Republic of Panama is located. This march was brought together by the Coalition in Defense of Natural Resources, Ngäbe Bugle, and was led by the Chief General, and Silvia Carrera, a representative of indigenous peoples in the region.

More information:


Larissa Elana Duarte A

Please email us with your plans for this year's International Day of Action For Rivers at dayofaction@internationalrivers.org.