The proposed dam has led to a number of protests
Controversial El Quimbo dam risks becoming 'Colombia’s Belo Monte'
16th March, 2012
A growing movement of fishing communities, miners and farmers are stepping up their campaign against the dam - one of dozens of hydroelectric projects looming across Colombia - despite violent repression of some protests
Riot police, shielded in head-to-toe black, plastic armour, were positioned in a neat row, waiting for the protestors to arrive. Doorless, brightly painted school buses, chivas, halted at the human barricade blocking the road to the Magdalena River, the principal river basin in Colombia.
But the protestors aboard the chivas were also ready: for a possible confrontation and for a drawn-out battle against a 400-megawatt hydroelectric power project, El Quimbo.
'We are thinking differently about this dam,' said Jimena Chavarro, 32, an unemployed farm worker from the town La Jagua, 30 miles upstream from the dam’s planned site. The mother of one says she lost work within the past year after the Colombian company behind El Quimbo began to purchase land nearby. 'We know our rights. What we want to achieve is difficult, but not impossible.'
El Quimbo, Colombia’s first multinational company funded dam, is quickly becoming Colombia’s Belo Monte – Brazil’s highly contested 11,233-MW dam that stands to displace 40,000 indigenous people, according to the monitoring organization Amazon Watch.
El Quimbo, backed by Colombian company Emgesa, a subsidiary of Spanish...
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