14 March marks the Day of Struggle of people affected by dams. The Latin American Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAR) is growing and taking its motto to different places around the world: “Water and energy are not commodities! Water for Life, not for death!”.
In the midst of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Real World Radio interviewed Diana Giraldo, coordinator of the Rios Vivos Movement Colombia, member of MAR, which will hold several activities in defense of the territories throughout the month of March.
On 13 March they carried out a sit-in in Huila for the defense of Ecopetrol and its workers and for the right to land of those affected by the Asoquimbo project.
While the calendar will be revised in the next hours according to the official measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of the virus, Rios Vivos, together with CENSAT Agua Viva (Friends of the Earth Colombia), scheduled to assembly biodigesters together with the social movement for the defense of the Sogamoso and Chucurí Rivers in Santander department; and also to hold peasant markets, ecomarkets and reforestation works in Antioquia, from 17 to 29 March.
Giraldo highlighted that we need to take into account some of the previous conditions of the people defending the territory (such as autoimmune diseases, cancer or breathing problems) who have been fighting and resisting their whole lives and have survived armed conflicts, state violence, forced displacements and hunger. She also insisted on the need to share self-care strategies for defenders and strengthen organizational processes, exchanging experiences and circulating alternatives for a just energy transition to stop extractivist projects affecting entire communities.
“We need national policies for people affected by dams, because we are the ones who will suffer from energy shortages. We want a just mining-energy political transformation, respecting life in the planet” – Diana Giraldo, Rios Vivos Movement Colombia.
Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) joined the mobilizations held by MAR in different countries, recognizing the importance of this day of action to demand reparation for all families affected by the criminal action of companies developing projects with dams, impacting territories and communities.
ATALC is also demanding adequate governance policies to end with the impunity that allows transnational corporations to act without facing legal consequences. That is why they highlighted the need for the UN to adopt a legally binding treaty for transnational corporations and human rights, known as the Binding Treaty, to end impunity and supports the quest for justice.
Friends of the Earth expressed solidarity with the people of Marianna and Brumadinho in Brazil and remembered those who have been murdered or criminalized in the continent for fighting against dams.