CENTRAL AMERICA / MEXICO
The threat of hydroelectric plants
Large projects turn water into a commodity.
“Native peoples are the principal victims of an economic model obsessed with economic growth that attacks lives and favors a greedy group of companies and people,” said the 264 participants in the Fifth Mesoamerican Forum of the Latin American Network against Dams in Boquete, Panama April 22-25.
Ana Ella Gómez, of the Consumer Defense Center in El Salvador said that all of Mesoamerica, which includes southern Mexico and Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, the Pacific coast of Honduras, Nicaragua, to the Nicoya Gulf of Costa Rica, has large amounts of water — 1,064 cubic meters (35,570 cubic feet) per capita, but they are poorly distributed. Only half of the region´s population has access to clean drinking water.
Gómez said that some 12 million people in the region lack clean drinking water, forcing them to purchase this vital substance at high prices, and many of them lack the funds to pay for it.
Forum participants denounced hydroelectric projects such as La Parota, Paso de la Reyna and Yesca, in Mexico; Xlalá and Hidroxalbal, in Guatemala; Wancarque in Honduras; the El Tigre dam on the Honduras and El Salvador borders; El Chaparral, El Cimarron, Sensunapán II, in El Salvador; Pacuare, Diqués, Savegre, in Costa Rica; and Bocas del Toro, in Panama, as being damaging to citizens´ lives.
“The supposed clean energy that hydroelectric plants provide has been a fraud by the companies who run the so-called environmental impact studies … whose real aim is to facilitate investments and fabulous private earnings.” —Latinamerica Press.