World Rainforest Movement

Guatemala: neighborhood action against dams that deprive communities of water

Pea_GuatemalaCommunities of the middle and lower basins of Madre Vieja River on the Pacific side of Guatemala are being deprived of water because of dams built by companies planting African palm and sugar cane. Neighbors and organized communities – some of them belonging to the International Redmanglar Network – have repeatedly claimed that these companies are using, retaining and diverting water for their large-scale plantations. “They want us out of our communities to continue expanding the plague of sugar and African palm, they want to dry the mangrove in order to justify the advance of monoculture into this important ecosystem,” they state. Given the lack of response from the authorities and companies, and the despair due to the lack of water, in April 2015, the communities decided to take direct action: with picks and shovels they opened four dams to free the passage of water. Members of the various communities monitored the slow return of the river that after three months regained its natural course. Upon arrival of the river at the sea, they celebrated. See note (in Spanish) at: