Palo Viejo Hydroelectric Power Station (Guatemala) by ENEL Guatemala, a company controlled by ENEL (2011)

In the heart of Maya Ixil territory, Enel – in association with a local landowner involved in several scandals and known for forcing slave conditions on his workers, even minors – wanted to build a hydroelectric power plant to access which it would have been necessary to pass through some indigenous villages.

Heavy vehicles could not travel through the existing streets, so Enel proceeded to redesign the layout of some villages, building imposing roads.

Guatemala has ratified the ILO 169 Convention, which obliges the Government and companies wishing to carry out projects in territories where an indigenous population lives to consult it and acquire its consent, which ENEL Guatemala intended to do by presenting itself to the meetings with the indigenous leaders, escorted by the army that surrounded the villages.

On 29/7/11 a letter was sent to ENEL – never found, nor contested – in which these distortions were reported; subsequently, according to reports from the communities, they were actually abandoned.

Following a series of meetings with the communities and their lawyers in 2012, the former then decided to continue the dispute before the local courts.

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