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The Movement of People Affected by Dams of Latin America (MAR) is calling to participate in a mobilization this March 14, International day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life. In some countries, the actions started on Monday. For instance, in Brazil, approximately 300 people occupied the headquarters of the Minas Gerais Electricity Company, organized by the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB).
MAR invites people to march together "in defense of the rights of communities affected by dams, for the defense of rivers, for the building of a peoples´ energy model and for the strengthening and building of alternative societies to commemorate the 21st International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life", according to their statement. The text was signed by movements of people affected by dams of Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Cuba, Guatemala, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Chile and Panama. It makes reference to companies in charge of building the dams, the governments and companies around the world that continue to take over rivers and destroying lifestyles related to basins, in addition to displacing millions of communities under the pretext of development and clean energy.
The occupation of the Minas Gerais Electricity Company aims to exert pressure on the state government for it to hear the demands of the people who are suffering with the building of these large hydroelectric power plants, states the MAB in its website. There are several dams that are currently affecting people. One of them is UHE, a state power plant launched in 2006, which, according to those affected, has caused water pollution and the extinction of fish species, even compromising fishing activities.
The MAB denounces that Brazil "is experiencing the attacks of transnational corporations that want to take over natural and energy resources", and highlights that the energy issue "is one of the main reasons behind the coup of 2016". The movement warned that in the past days it was announced that the price of electricity would increase by 11 per cent for Brazilian families, while a 20 per cent cut of a tax charged to hydroelectric companies is expected to be implemented. "This cut, together with the rising prices of electricity for people, implies the economic growth of hydroelectric companies, most of them of multinational origin", stated the MAB. On the other side, it will cause a reduction of State revenue. These issues, among others, will be addressed at the seminar "Energy and rights: current situation and perspectives".
“As women, we are the ones who maintain hope. And I think that while we do this, we need to encourage many other women and tell them to dare to go out, to raise their voices, to avoid being afraid to speak. (…) Women have been told to be afraid within our social and cultural circles. (…) We are covered by a blanket of fear, but we need to move forward with a blanket of hope”, said Jakeline Romero Epiayu.
The European Union (EU) made clear this Friday in Geneva that it is ready to block the advance of the negotiations at the United Nations for a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights violations.
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