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11 October 2010 | |

Free Rivers

Resistance against megaprojects that threaten Chilean Patagonia

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Chilean Patagonia Without Dams is a campaign against hydroelectric megaprojects in the Chilean Patagonia to generate power for mining transnational companies and not the population.

In an interview with Real World Radio, Victor Formantel, member of this movement, explained that there are two main threats: the HidroAysen project that ENDESA (Spain) and ENEL (Italy) are trying to develop on Baker and Pascua Rivers, and the Swiss-Australian mining company Xstrata Copper that aims to build a dam on Cuervo River.

Formantel was interviewed at the 3rd International Meeting of Dam-Affected People which took place in Temacapulin, Mexico, last week. He said that the companies are planning to build 8 hydroelectric dams, but that this is only the beginning.

He also said that all Patagonian rivers in the Aysen region in Chile are threatened, although he added that the companies were delayed since their plans were to build the dams in 2008, but they weren´t successful due to the reactions of the community.

With reference to the fact that the energy would be generated for the mining companies and not the population, Formantel said that the companies want to destroy the Patagonia to continue destroying the north of the country with mining, where the water of rivers cannot be used for human consumption now.

According to Formantel, the origin of this situation is very clear: the military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990.

“In the last months of Pinochet´s dictatorship, the rights of water were granted for free and forever to the people who privatized the national energy company, ENDESA, which was then sold in 1998 to Spanish capitals and now to Italian capitals. Now we have ENEL, the Italian company, trying to get their hands in the Chilean Patagonia, and with one third of ENEL in the hands of the Italian State: we have other countries trying to intervene and we are in the hands of corrupt powers, with a State that does not have adequate legislation to protect the interests of the people who live in the territories”, he concluded.

Photo: http://www.patagoniasinrepresas.cl/

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