Heidi McKinnon

Heidi McKinnon (Association for the Integral Development of the Victims of Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achí - ADIVIMA): Heidi holds a BA in anthropology and Spanish from the University of New Mexico and has worked with indigenous communities throughout Latin America since1997. Heidi worked at Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in the late 1990s. Heidi researched human rights and sovereignty issues in every region of Latin America as she was developing content for the permanent exhibits at NMAI. Her research led her to ADIVIMA and the Chixoy Dam, which she recommended for inclusion at the Museum.



Village of Agua Blanca in Danger from Los Chorros Land Slide

17 Jul

ADIVIMA would like to share a video report from Guatemala, in Spanish, that shows the conditions in the village of Agua Blanca, near Chixoy Dam.

The community of Agua Blanca, more than 300 people, is comprised of families displaced by the construction of Chixoy Dam who live in extreme poverty. They have been waiting for reparations from the government for their loss of property for over thirty years.

The January 4th, 2009 land slide occurred near Agua Blanca. With the rainy season underway, tons of silt is accumulating in the river near the village creating a natural dam near the induction tunnels for Chixoy. The situation is critical and leaves the entire community at risk of more landslides or total inundation.

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Emergency response teams from the government seem more concerned about damage to Chixoy Dam than the livelihood of the residents of Agua Blanca. Tunnels for the dam are located at the entrance to the village of Agua Blanca and can be seen in the video. If this tunnel is affected, the country could lose 30% of its electricity generation capacity.

Agua Blanca has decided to take matters in their own hands. Although new land and homes have been promised to them within the year as part of the reparations package, all residents have decided to move to a nearby farm next week rather than wait for government assistance in the matter.

Right now, the community needs assistance to purchase basic foods and simple building materials for temporary shelters on the new property. ADIVIMA is coordinating this effort.

Posted By Heidi McKinnon

Posted Jul 17th, 2009

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