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Illegal closing Barro Blanco dam puts native lands under water

Against all agreements, the Panamanian government and the company Genisa closed the locks of the Barro Blanco dam in the Tabasará River. This while they had agreed earlier that the dam reservoir would not be filled until a new agreement between all stakeholders would have been reached.

According to the project operators this was only to test their equipment and operating procedures. Nevertheless, a test with far-reaching consequences, as the houses and arable lands of the nearby Ngäbe-Buglé-community will now be flooded. Last week, SOMO signed an open letter to the President of Panama, where he is asked to protect the life of the indigenous communities and to immediately suspend the activities.

The Dutch development bank FMO has invested $25 million in the project and is,according Both Ends and SOMO, responsible for the illegal activities that are currently taking place. On its website FMO says to have confidence that everything is going according to the rules and there is no reason for concern. For the indigenous people, who see their lands slowly moving underwater, this is incomprehensible. Therefore SOMO and other civil society organizations ask FMO to exert their influence as a financier and demand that the locks of the Barro Blanco dam be opened immediately, until the various parties actually come to an agreement.

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