Chixoy Dam Justice And Reparations Delayed: 31.5 Years And Counting

The government of Guatemala rejects obligation to fund Chixoy dam Reparations Plan, pretends to carry out government ‘community development’ projects.  The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank remain silent about on-going suffering and the Guatemalan government cop-out.

Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President
Inter-American Development Bank
1300 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20577 USA
Fax: (1 202) 623-3096

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President
World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA
Fax: (1 202) 477-6391

Dear Negligent directors and other WB and IDB employees,

Shame on your “development” banks for not taking all steps necessary to ensure that reparations are finally paid to the surviving victims of your ill-conceived, illegal and violently implemented Chixoy hydro-electric dam, 1975-1985.

As you know, the government of Guatemala is obliged to pay for the Reparations Plan for the thousands of Chixoy dam victims, as formally agreed upon in 2010 by the President of the country.  That your banks are not also obliged to pay for this Reparations Plan is not due to any notion of justice or fairness, but because of the impunity with which your banks operate.

The Chixoy Dam project was a vaste “development” project of the IDB and the WB planned and carried out in partnership with successive Guatemalan military regimes during the worst years of Guatemala’s State repression and genocide, 1975-1985.  You might continue to pretend publically that you have complied with all terms of your Chixoy Dam project obligations, but you both know, and everyone knows that this is not true.

  • Yes ~ your banks partnered directly with the genocidal regimes of General Lucas Garcia, 1978-1982, and General Rios Montt, 1982-1983, and invested close to one billion dollars in this “development” debacle;
  • Yes ~ over 440 Mayan Achi villagers from the remote community of Rio Negro were massacred by soldiers, police and security guards directly employed by your project, as part of an effort to ‘evict’ them, to help make way for the dam flood basin;
  • Yes ~ 25 villages upstream from the dam wall, and 7 more downstream suffered various degrees of devastation and illegal eviction, due to the project;
  • Yes ~ both your banks profited financially from your investments in this “development” project;

The latest position of the government of Guatemala is to NOT pay for the Reparations Plan, as they are legally obliged to do, but rather for the government, itself, to implement some community development projects in the Chixoy Dam destroyed and harmed communities.  The communities say no, as they should.



In response to a previous communication to the WB (and the IDB), we received a one-paragraph letter (November 2, 2011) from Pamela Cox, vice-president of Latin American and the Caribbean Regional Office of the World Bank, saying:

“we [the World Bank] share your desire for a swift resolution of this process and a satisfactory outcome for the affected Chixoy communities.”

“Swift”?  “Satisfactory”?  This makes a mockery of dire suffering that your banks are directly and indirectly responsible for, suffering that continues today.


While I would be glad to speak with you further about all this, your banks know what you must do, with the government of Guatemala, and you know who you must deal with in Guatemala:

COCAHICH (Comité de Comunidades Afectadas por la Represa Chixoy)

Carlos Chen,
Juan de Dios Garcia,


Grahame Russell

co-director of Rights Action


Copies to:

Government of Guatemala
Presidente Otto Perez Molina, Republica de Guatemala
[+502] 2251 4016
@ottoperezmolina (


Pablo Roldan, representante en Guate,
Alejandro Fros, jefe de operaciones,
Juan José Taccone,

Hugo Amador Us Alvarez, representante en Guate,


Fernando Paredes, representante en Guate,
C. Felipe Jaramillo, Director del depto de America Central y el Caribe,

Government of United States

U.S. Executive Director to World Bank, Ian H. Solomon,

U.S. Executive Director to the IDB, Gustavo Arnavat

Government of Canada
Executive Director for Canada (Ireland & the Caribbean) to the World Bank, Marie-Lucie Morin,

Canadian Executive Director to the IDB,
James Haley and Carol Nelder-Corvari