James Rodríguez has put together a new piece of photo-reportage regarding the first payments of the government reparations to the survivors of the massacres and forced displacements of communities in the Chixoy River basin.
“On October 15, 2015, the Guatemalan Government began paying reparations to hundreds of families from 33 former communities displaced or submerged during the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam and subsequent flooding of the Chixoy River basin in the early 1980’s.
“The infamous Chixoy hydroelectric project, funded by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is a well-known case study on how transnational capital prioritizes economic development projects above human rights. In fact, the project, managed by Guatemalan military dictatorships, continued to receive funding from the World Bank in 1985, three years after numerous massacres had been carried out by the Guatemalan Armed Forces against local Achi Mayan communities – particularly those in Rio Negro – in order to forcibly displace them.
The money, which will come in partial payments until hopefully all 2,329 families are paid the entire 170 million Quetzales (US $22 million), does not come out of the goodwill of the Guatemalan Government. In fact, pressure from the US Congress to pay the reparations are a key element in reinstating military aid to Guatemala.
According to Rio Negro massacre survivor and principal negotiator for the Coordinating Committee of Communities Affected by the Construction of the Chixoy Dam (COCAHICH), “this payment is a right, and not a gift from the authorities. And it has come after decades of struggle and hundreds of lives lost.””
You can view the full piece, including all the photographs, on the MiMundo site here.