For over two decades the people of Costa Rica and the international whitewater rafting community have resisted the construction of dams on the Río Pacuare. In 2005, the organized resistance, led by Amigos del Río Pacuare (Friends of the Pacuare River) culminated in a plebiscite-referendum. 97% of votes reflected the desire to prevent dams from being constructed on this breathtakingly beautiful river that is the cultural hearth of the Cabecar Indians.
Costa Rica's president at the time, Abel Pacheco, stated that he would move forward with plans to designate the river as a National Park. These plans, however, were thwarted in 2006 when a new administration came to office with a development agenda that included plans to dam the Pacuare. Nonetheless, as a result of continued efforts by Amigos del Río Pacuare to protect the river, the national electric company, ICE (el Instituto Costarricense de la electricidad), stated in 2009 that they’d postpone damming the river for 20 years. This announcement, however, does not insure that the river will remain dam free as ICE is subject to national policy.
It’s been 8 years since the people of Costa Rica voted in the plebiscite and it’s time their voices are heard around the globe. It’s time for the Pacuare and the people that depend on its free-flowing waters to be protected forever from dam development.
Amigos del Río Pacuare needs your help. Sponsorship for travel, lodging, transportation, meals, and cinematography made an amazing filming trip possible. They visited remote indigenous villages in the river canyon, traveled to towns across Costa Rica impacted by dam development, and interviewed key figures involved in the debates around damming vs. protecting the Río Pacuare. After filming for 33 days and gathering over 60 hours of footage, they're setting out to finish editing and distribute the documentary.
The people here in Turrialba have selfish reasons for wanting to stop the dam. There are jobs that need protecting, as well as cultures and the environment that thrives alongside this stunningly beautiful part of the world. We love where we live and love sharing that with visitors. A new dam in this area will kill any tourism and will forever change the way of life of so many people, including the indigenous people that live along the banks of the river.
Costa Rica wants to sell the electricity created by this dam, to other countries. The government will earn carbon offset credits by producing hydro power, but the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism is failing due to the fact that hydroelectric dams in tropical countries produce an extraordinary amount of greenhouse gases and these are not part of the carbon offsetting calculations.
As always, we can use your help. Please give today and pass along to your friends. We need your contributions in the form of a donation and every little bit helps.
On behalf of the Pacuare River, Costa Rica Rios and Amigos del Río Pacuare.
Source: Costa Rica Rios Video: Youtube