The Chixoy Declaration

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Latin American Network against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities, and Water Colonia El Naranjo, Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala

From the lands of Chixoy, the river whose waters carry the blood of 444 Guatemalan farmers - indigenous people, women, youth, children, and elders who resisted the construction of the dam and for this reason were massacred in 1982 by the repressive Guatemalan military.

418 representatives of Indigenous and Black populations, women, farmers, and representatives of social organizations, environmental groups, religious institutions, human rights groups, organized labor, universities, and alternative communications media from 14 Latin American countries, and invited guests from six countries of North America, Europe, and Japan.

Manifest their solidarity with their brothers from the American continent who suffer from social exclusion and from the impacts of recent hurricanes, which are a clear sign of the global climate change to which large dams contribute and for which the "developed" countries bear principal responsibility.

Considering that the insatiable accumulation of wealth by the capitalist system and misguided development models have led to the damming of 60% of the rivers, which are the blood and veins of our planet.

The results of this are the more than 80 million displaced, thousands of deaths, and the destruction of critical ecosystems through the construction of 45,000 dams worldwide. The International Financial Institutions and the large transnational corporations have become even wealthier by impoverishing and excluding millions of people, as well as by generating irreversible environmental impacts which have also had an effect on global climate change. Currently, this situation is becoming more pronounced through the signing of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and Bilateral Free Trade Agreements, the process of privatizing public services, and regional integration plans such as the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP) and the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA).


  1. We support denunciations against the Guatemalan government at the Inter-American Justice Court for its complicity in the silence and in the lack of information regarding the brutal assassinations which took place in 1982 of people who stood up for their Rights, as well as the absence of reparations for the damages caused by the Chixoy dam.

  2. We call on the countries of Latin America to sign an agreement which decriminalizes citizen participation in social and environmental struggles.

  3. We support the demand for the repayment of the cumulative ecological and social debt owed to the peoples of Latin America by the International Financial Institutions, national governments, and the companies which have profited from dam construction.

  4. We re-affirm our commitment to strengthen local, regional, and international organizations of dam-affected people so that they may become protagonists in the determination of their own destiny.

  5. We commit to strengthening alliances among diverse sectors in the formation of broad movements against mega-dams in all the countries of Latin America, reaffirming the value of the presence of Churches of various faiths and the cosmo-vision of Native peoples, and of local authorities, alternative communications media, women, and children in social struggles.

  6. We will strengthen the fight in many of our countries against the privatization of energy and water, which favors multinational corporations.

  7. We will maintain campaigns of denunciation and pressure against the World Bank group and the Inter-American Development Bank for their responsibility in financing destructive projects.

  8. We will strengthen and promote actions against financial institutions and transnational companies such as ENDESA, UNION FENOSA, SUEZ, VIVENDI and against the governments that defend their interests, and will work toward Environmental Justice at all hydroelectric dams in operation or in construction.

  9. We will insist on respect for the will of the people of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Argentina who have, through plebiscites, expressed their rejection of the construction of the Pacuare, Rio Hondo, and Corpus Christi dams.

  10. We will support legal actions against the damages caused by dams, brought by citizens of Paraguay, Guatemala, and Brazil and all other Latin American countries at national and international legal bodies, such as the Inter-American Justice Court.

  11. We recognize as achievements in maintaining the freedom of rivers the Dam-Free zone created in Entre Rios Province, Argentina; in maintaining the Paraguay River free of dams; and in the fact that in Chile five dams were stopped, in Ecuador two dams were prevented, in Panama plans for seven dams were blocked, that five dams on the Pacuare river in Costa Rica were halted, that in Mexico the Itzantun dam was suspended and we trust that the current fight against the La Parota dam will also be successful, as well as in the prevention of water privatization in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

  12. We re-affirm March 14th as the International Day of Action against Dams, and we urge our peoples to mobilize on this date.

Convinced that through our common goals and our unity we are becoming ever stronger, we will continue to promote a different model, consistent with the survival of our peoples and our natural resources.

Free Rivers for Free Peoples!

Waters for Life, not for Death!

Participants from:

Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama, Uruguay. Original Peoples and Indigenous Nations

Invited guests from: Austria, Canada, Spain, United States, Italy, Japan