By Rulo Bregagnolo
With the contamination of the river, loss of water quality, areas of high environmental quality, they have been buried under water for life, causing the death of wild animals on the islands, a dramatic decrease in fish fauna, are part of the balance negative of this work.
Yacyretá and missionary indifference.
Yacyretá, a place where the moon shines, is poetry, song, life of native peoples, once a place of the best "piques", where the rapids of the Apipé drew smiles to thousands of fishermen for so long. But also, for more than two decades it is part of a sad story, where time, some media, officials on duty and the indifference of a large part of missionaries, among other things, have played against not only the river, but of their lives, that of their neighbors, that of their Paraguayan brothers who suffer the ordeal that every great hydroelectric dam brings with it, transforming beauty into a landscape of horror.
For years, the Yacyretá hydroelectric plant has occupied the pages of provincial and regional newspapers. A contradictory reality, because being daily news the claims of affected families, the constant irregularities, fraud, corruption, improvisations, protests, environmental damage, the dam continues without worrying a great majority of missionaries, of posadeños, the most affected of the Argentine side for the work, as well as for the residents upstream of the Paraná where there will undoubtedly also be direct impact. What are the reasons for so much general indifference? Is the question that has been hitting the heads of those of us who follow the Yacyretá process for years.
The press has played a preponderant role, because it showed - although not always with truths - the reality that was lived. Recognized journalists have echoed the "benefits" of Yacyretá, defending it even with everything known. The advertisements to visit the "great work" have made it not so frowned upon, although the young guides there blush, reveal the lack of conviction in their responses when some tourists visit it. What remained under the water or on the shores but several kilometers away in crowded neighborhoods, or the neighbors who are part of the monthly lines to collect aid bags and previously had a decent job, does not move many and is the daily postcard of the resignation of some, the impotence of so many.
Professionals who no longer have a relationship with Eby, through their teeth and some with a certain shame, make it known that everything there is not as it looks ... That nefarious complicity that somehow makes them responsible for what continues to happen is sad and angry.
Even the top promoters of dams see it as "the worst, the unacceptable" and so many other adjectives that at first glance make it rejectionable wherever and however it is. Despite all this, there are those who, holding that "another Yacyretá" is inconceivable, insist on promoting the elevation of the reservoir to 83 meters above sea level, that is, to increase the current level of the river by 7 meters, limiting it to the rent for the electricity generation and the named but misunderstood "progress" that supposedly would bring this difference in level to the region.
With Yacyretá, the patented political deterioration of corruption, impunity and authoritarianism, has led to national indebtedness, the illicit enrichment of several, the alienation of the national patrimony. The destruction of cultural heritage - that which is impossible to put a price on - with the loss of archaeological sites, of areas of cultural, architectural, and historical value, such as environmental deterioration, with river pollution, loss of water quality, high quality areas They have been buried underwater for life, causing the death of wild animals on the islands, the disappearance of still unknown species, a dramatic decrease in fish fauna and the destruction of unique habitats in the world, are part of the negative balance. of this work.
The expulsion of Moya Guaraní communities from their traditional territory with the submission to a very harsh process of acculturation in places of compulsory and involuntary resettlement, such as the inhabitants of Villa Blossett, El Brete and other emblematic areas of Posadas that until now have not "innovated" nothing in their lives, because the Decree, the Law, have paralyzed them, deprived of growing, of building their history in peace, their freedom to live the dream of even a present, they are a reality so harsh that it can only be felt by being there. From afar or by the means, it is not possible to transmit so much impotence, the waste of the city, the tall grasses, the largest rats and insects, today swarm the place that the posadeños generate, real estate speculators taking advantage of this - many the leadership of the State-, today owners of the lands that were worth little and now cost a fortune. A more outstanding social debt in this impious model of "progress", a violation of all human rights.
The share of injustice is increasing. Those who are on the street expressing concern for the reality that they submit every day, are those who are also frowned upon by society, which is also affected, without realizing it.
We argue that the river is more than running water and seeing it as a commodity undermines any attempt at sustainability. The managers of progress who live on the upper floors of the city that do not sleep are forgotten, with elevators that go up and down every minute, with air conditioners and lamps on all day, encased in their progressive bubbles, which most of the population that works and produces for this country to grow, see their cultures, their natural assets, their places of
recreation, work, so that the energy produced is wasted irresponsibly in large urban centers and much of this ends up in large industries that generate little labor, deplete nature and, above all, pollute the water and air that we all need to live.
When the work began back in 83, the greatness of what man is capable of doing was astonished. Few imagined that behind that stage the lives of many people would change forever.
With some sumptuous works they try to patch the cancer that is the hydroelectric power plant for Argentine and Paraguayan regions. The posadeña waterfront is one of them, the most palpable reality that has made the public's indifference to the river even more noticeable ... This is more the window of an elite than a meeting place for the whole of society, it is a work that excludes. Its cost served to demonstrate what many have not realized: the neighbors have always lived with their backs to the river, like many missionaries in the interior with their backs to the mountain. People sit looking at passing cars, adults doing gymnastics or walking their dogs, cyclists, and they remember the river when a boat passes by or to throw away their papers and from time to time enjoy a sunset. Sun.
Both the Paraguayan and Argentine governments have made the decision to raise the reservoir. Some time ago, more than thirty thousand residents expressed their dissatisfaction with the Eby on the streets of the city - political leaders at the head. Posadas found out, once again, through the media. It is time to wake up and react, not when the water reaches their neck, or they have the Paraná entering through their sewers or absorbent wells. We must be encouraged, governments must do what the people want. They are administrators who do not own our common assets. That silence and indifference do not make accomplices of the Calvary of so many who still do not imagine what will produce -in all senses- the 7 meters that seek to raise what remains of the Paraná River, dying but still alive.-
* Campaign Coordinator Mega Dams Never Again, Ecologist Group Cuña Pirú.
NGO Member of the Ríos Vivos Coalition - Friends of the Earth Federation Argentina.
Member of the Latin American Network for Action against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities and Water.