Latin America is a vast and ecologically diverse region known for the power and beauty of its river systems. International Rivers works in river basins throughout Latin America that are hotspots of biodiversity and that are also threatened by extensive large hydropower development, including the Amazon, the world’s largest river basin; Colombia’s Magdalena River and Peru’s Marañon; and the crystalline waters of Patagonia.

These magnificent rivers are fountains of life for an incredible diversity of plant and animal species, as well as for indigenous peoples and riverine communities.

A group of 17 people holding signs to protest a dam in Chiapas, Mexico.
No to the dam in Barillas, reads sign in Chiapas, Mexico for the Day of Action for Rivers | Photo by DasNadin Chen.

Despite the fundamental social, economic and ecological importance of rivers, corporations and  governments treat these natural treasures as a resource to be exploited for electricity, industrial-scale irrigation and mining. Fortunately, International Rivers and its partners are organizing to fight new dams, demand reparations for harm caused by old ones, save the region’s imperiled freshwater from pollution, promote permanent protection of these vital waterways, and enable a just energy transition.

Related Resources

Belo Monte: After the Flood

Directed by award-winning environmental documentarian Todd Southgate, and produced with International Rivers, Amazon Watch and Cultures of Resistance. The film explores the history and consequences of one of the world’s most controversial dam projects, built on the Xingu River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.  

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