Xalala Dam

The Inspiration of Xalala - Part 2

Victor Caal from Las Margaritas Copon
Read Part 1 of the blog.  Victor Caal from Las Margaritas Copon Aviva Imhof Our next stop was Las Margaritas Copón: a village of some 45 families that's an hour's walk away from the river. To get there we took a boat upstream along the Chixoy River: a gorgeous turquoise tropical river surrounded by forests and plots of maize. Parts of Las Margaritas would be flooded by the reservoir, and much of their land would be lost: land where they currently grow cardamom, corn and beans. Here we participated in an assembly of ACODET, the community organization that has been formed to figh

The Inspiration of Xalala - Part 1

Location of Xalala Dam
Location of Xalala Dam INDE A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting communities that would be affected by the proposed Xalalá Dam in Guatemala. It was an inspiring and harrowing experience. Inspiring to witness the organization and strength of communities threatened by the dam: indigenous people proud of their heritage and determined to fight to retain it. Harrowing to hear stories of the legacy of the war and genocide that killed so many people in the area and forever changed the lives of the survivors. To these people, who have been through war, displacement, violence and di

Financial Crisis Stops Xalala Dam - For Now

The indigenous Ixcan communities are strongly opposing the proposed Xalala Dam in Guatemala. Partly due to their opposition, private funding for the dam has now dried up. Will the World Bank and the IDB bail the project out, or will they realize that the time for change has also come for them? Guatemala’s electricity utility INDE has proposed a $400 million, 181 megawatts hydropower project on the Chixoy River. The Xalala Dam would displace at least 2,300 indigenous people, and severely damage their environment. In April 2007, the communities of the Ixcan people held a referendum (or
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