by Jeff Abbott
Thousands of indigenous Q’eqchi, Achí and Pomcomchí Mayas took part in a series of protests on Oct. 17 against hydroelectric projects along the Cahabón River in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. The simultaneous protests, which took place in Guatemala City and the municipality of San Pedro Carcha, aimed to force the government’s hand over a delayed consultation on the project in Santa María Cahabón.
“[The company] entered [our community] without advising anyone,” said Bernado Caal Xol, one of the organizers of the movement against the hydro project. “We filed this complaint in order that they inform us, and consult us about the project.”
Nearly 200 men, women and children traveled to the city to march through the streets to demand that the courts respect the community’s right to consultation prior to the construction of the hydroelectric projects along the Cahabón River. During the march in Guatemala City to the Constitutional Court, women carried inverted water containers to symbolize the loss of access to the water of the river.