Raptured Relationships with Rivers: The Failure of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent Against the Invasion of Hydroelectric Development in Guatemala
From its conception in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization: the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) has been a site of negotiation between different ways of being and theories of well-being. It uses the human rights framework to defend something larger than the individual human: the community, which in Mayan ontologies includes people, water, and land. Guatemala ratified the convention as part of a reconciliation process in the wake of the Guatemalan Genocide, what is considered to be its Third Colonial Invasion. However, despite the juridification of Indigenous Peoples’ community-rights in Guatemala, such rights have been ignored and intentionally undermined through the process of hydroelectric development, which employ the same tactics of colonial violence as Guatemala’s previous Invasions. In order to understand why the right to FPIC has failed to protect Indigenous communities in Guatemala against hydroelectric development, it is necessary to understand hydroelectric development within the framework of colonization. The Consulta movement, which seeks to exercise FPIC, is more than a site of negotiation, it is a site of resistance against what Indigenous Guatemalans call “the Fourth Invasion.” In this paper, I examine the ontological paradox that undergirds colonization in Guatemala and perform a historiography on each of the prior iterations of colonial invasions in order to synthesize the characteristics of coloniality in Guatemala. I then triangulate three bodies of data: (1) empirical evidence on the human rights abuses associated with each contested hydroelectric project, (2) discourse employed in social mobilization against hydropower projects, and (3) interviews with land defenders who have participated in dam resistance efforts. The four patterns that emerge from this research illuminate the ways in which hydroelectric dam development repeats this same tradition of colonial violence as prior invasions in Guatemala. Although land defenders strategically (and sometimes successfully) invoke the right to FPIC in their resistance, their experiences suggest that colonial structures and strategies are intrinsic to current hydroelectric development in Guatemala, and therefore, FPIC, which requires a decolonial process, will not succeed until development models change.
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Politics, culture, and governance in the development of prior informed consent in indigenous communities Rosenthal, Joshua P. (2006-02)