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The Ascanio Villalaz hydroelectric Project in Panama directly affects the Kuna indigenous communities living in the border with Colombia. The residents are still waiting for a compensation since the works for the construction of the dam began in 1970.
The Ascanio Villalaz dam is located on river Bayano in Kuna Yala indigenous village, near the Colombian border. It was built during Omar Torrijos’ dictatorship in the 70s.
The local residents are suffering the impacts of the reservoir and the high tension lines, besides the displacement they had to endure decades ago. The project is part of the Central American Electrical Interconnection System (SIEPAC), within Plan Puebla Panama, now dubbed Mesoamerica Plan.
During the 6th Mesoamerican Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams and For Rivers, their Communities and Water (Redlar) in Costa Rica, Real World Radio interviewed Tania Edman of the Kuna Youth Movement of Panama.
She said that ironically the indigenous people that was displaced and is still living next to a dam, has no electricity. “We took no benefit from the dam because progress to us does not mean having hydroelectric dams, because in our indigenous cosmovision we are part of Mother Earth”, she told Real World Radio.
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