2012: South America

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru


A folk music festival was held in the municipality of Alba Posse, organized by the Provincial Table Against Dams (Mesa Provincial por el NO a Las Represas) to publicize their stance against planned megadams, Garabi and Pnambi. The festival was part of an ongoing campaign to build awareness about the dams, to open up a dialogue and debate about the dams between communities, scientists, and government members, and to increase community involvement in these efforts. 

Eduardo Aníbal Luján


Events organized by the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB)

The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) called on all agencies, organizations, churches, networks, and activists and social movements to organize demonstrations for the International Day of Action for Rivers. Part of their agenda is to create an agency which will deal specifically to assure the rights of those affected by dams are upheld. MAB achieved several victories after a week of actions took place across Brazil. 

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March Against Water Privatization

On March 9th, as part of a week of event across Brazil for the International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life, about 1000 workers of Corsan from various regions and activists of MAB (Movement of Dam Affected Peoples) protested water privatization policies in the streets of Porto Alegre.

Occupation of Eletrobrás Headquarters

In Rio de Janiero, about 500 activists of MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams) occupied the headquarters of Eletrobrás, a major Brazilian power utility, on the morning of March 3rd, in the center of Rio de Janeiro. This action is part of a week of events organized by MAB for the International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water, and Life.

9 Day Camp at Headquarters of Sao Francisco Hydroelectric Company (CHESF)

More than a thousand people affected by dams in the northeast region of Brazil camped out at the headquarters of Sao Francisco Hydroelectric Company, (CHESF). Osivaldo Jose Alves de Oliveira, a national coordinator of MAB in the northeastern region, gave a speech on the development model of dam-building which prioritizes large enterprises. Demands were made for the creation of a national policy for compensating dam-affected peoples. Another agenda item was the non-renewal of leases which expire in 2015; opening up for new leases will allow for greater privatization of the power sector. This gathering achieved some positive results: the government agreed to make public lands available to MAB for the resettlement of dam-displaced communities. A list of demands was delivered to the Executive Secretary of the Civil House of the State Government, Marcelo Canute, who agreed to look at the claims. The document was also delivered to the representative of the government on March 14th.

Protest at Headquarters of Eletronorte

In Brasilia, MAB organized a protest outside the Ministry of Mines and Energy, calling for the creation of a policy regarding the rights of dam-affected peoples, and to enable the government to address their needs. After negotiating with the Secretariat of the Presidency, the government agreed to meet MAB's particular demands for the day: the Secretariat agreed to produce, within sixty days, a methodology to assess dam-affected peoples in Brazil, agreed to prepare a policy draft on how to uphold the rights of dam-affected peoples, and to produce a study on how to create a fund for providing resources for those affected.

In addition, MAB held a vigil in front of the Presidential Palace, and organized a protest outside the headquarters of Electronorte, Brazil's electric utility, in Brasilia.

Over the past 30 years, MAB estimates that over 1 million people had their lives transformed by the construction of dams and 70% did not receive any kind of compensation.

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Seminar on Renewing the Energy Sector and March

On the 14th in Curitiba, a seminar was held on reviving the energy sector. On the 15th, dam protesters from Environmental Institute of Paraná (IAP) marched to the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), the public administration of Brazil that deals with land reform, to criticize the release of licenses for the construction of dams on the Chopin River, and not providing solutions for the communities living around the dam Salta Santiago.

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March and Demonstration in front of Straits Energy Consortium

In Carolina, Maranhao, about 350 people from five cities affected by the dam of the Straits marched and gathered outside of the Straits Energy Consortium (CESTE), responsible for building the dam. Prior to the demonstration, the offices of CESTE were cleared out of all furniture and office documents, and brought to the site of Stratford. The participants were calling for the proper compensation for those who were affected by the dam, including fishermen who are unable to sustain catches due to the dam.

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Demonstrations in Sao Paulo

On March 14th, in Sao Paulo, protests and street demonstrations were held to alert the people of Sao Paulo of the risks from public money being released for the $25 billion loan from Brazilian Development Bank for the Belo Monte project.

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Protests and Street Performances Against Belo Monte Dam

On March 14th, in Sao Paulo, protests and street demonstrations were held to alert the people of Sao Paulo of the public money being released for the $25 billion loan from Brazilian Development Bank for the Belo Monte project.

This action was part of a week of events organized by the Movement of People Affected by Dams for the International Day of Action Against Dams, for People, Water, and Life.

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Peaceful Protests Against Belo Monte Dam

In the streets of Altamira, about 400 people came out to protest the Belo Monte Dam. It was a peaceful protest, but military police ROTAM shock troops were present. However, a bus from Belo Monte Builder Consortium (CCBM) - a conglomerate led by construction company Andrade Gutierrez - escorted the length of the march. The march began at the City Forum, where the focus was on judicial procedures related to dam construction, and in particular the case of Sebastion, a farmer who was expelled from his land by the company Northern Energy. The protesters also passed by the Power Plants of Pará (CELPA), a distributor of energy on the brink of bankruptcy, whose workers went on strike recently.

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Dam-Affected Communities Receive Support

Communities affected by the Garibaldi, which is being built on the river Canoas, in Santa Catarina, received public support from various organizations and personalities, among them the bishop of the Diocese of Lages, Bishop Irenaeus Andreassa. A manifesto was sent to President Dilma Rouseff and the Chief Minister's Secretariat of the Presidency, Gilberto Carvalho, demanding that the government make an immediate decision to stop the construction of the dam and make amends for those already affected, and recognizing the struggles of MAB.

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Protest Against HidroAysén
Protest Against HidroAysén
Protest Against HidroAysén

Patagonia Sin Represas organized a demonstration outside HidroAysén's corporate offices in Santaigo, and a bike ride through the city, to show the mass support against the planned construction of five dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers in the Aysén region, as well as over a thousand miles of a electricity transmission line from the dams to Santiago. One of their main messages was, "Aysén is not for sale."

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Celebration on Cauca River
Celebration on Cauca River
Actions on the Cauca River

Celebrations were held on the Cauca River in Colombia, in recognition of its many provisions and the need protect its ecological integrity. Celebrations were also held on the river during February and early March, including 70 kilometer boat rides.

Julián Fernandez Arango
President, Cabildo Verde Cauca Limpio

Colombian Movement for Living Rivers: Actions across Colombia


Between March 12th and 13th, hundreds gathered for the first National Meeting of the Living Rivers Movement.

On March 14th, there was a festival at the Park of Lights, where solidarity with dam-affected communities was expressed through dances, musical performances, street art, poetry,and story-telling, including stories of the struggle to protect eight territories. Artisan miners from the Cauca region also demonstrated how to extract gold without the use of chemicals or heavy machinery, and explained how this was part of their ancestral heritage and survival option.

There was a debate at the University of Medellin, involving people from government, industry, academia and the community. Topics included: energy and mining projects in the region, the associated development model and alternatives to it, and community involvement in evaluating and implementing development plans in the region.

Homeage was paid to the Magdalena River.

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Bogota - Young academics, environmentalists and academics gathered outside the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, where they expressed their opposition to dams in the country, in particular El Quimbo Dam.

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Huila - On March 14th, the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), the Quebec Coalition on Social and Environmental Impacts of Transnational Corporations in Latin America (QISETAL) and others in civil society, stood in solidarity with the international actions for rivers taking place, and paid particular homage to Yuma River (Rio Magdalena) and the communities in resistance to the advancement of the Quimbo Hydoelectric Project in Hulia, by transnational Endesa-Enel Emgesa. A march was held in the municipalities of Huila Hobo, Giant and Garzon between March 14th and 17th - paradoxically the day that Emgesa will celebrate World Water Day.

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Ituango - A day of cultural exchange, including of stories of struggle related to development projects in the region.

Santander - On March 16th, there was a regional mobilization for the movement for living rivers.

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Ceremony Over Lurin River

To raise awareness about the importance of keeping the Lurin River free from foreign materials which are diminishing the biodiversity of the seasonal river, there was a small ceremony held on the Panquilma Bridge over the river. A poem was read to the river, signs placed along the bridge, and children cast flower petals into the river. Many participants will be students from nearby schools.

Lilia Salgado

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