Inhabitants of Toledo and Ituango lift blockades at the entrance of Hidroituango

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Despite the agreements reached with EPM, spokespersons for the demonstrations have mentioned that the protests will be lifted 100% until the general manager of EPM arrives in the sector the company to ratify the consensus reached with the project workers

Inhabitants of Toledo and Ituango lift blockades at the entrance of Hidroituango

They assure that EPM has breached the agreements reached. Photo: Colprensa.

On the morning of this Thursday, November 24, inhabitants of the communities of the Toledo and Ituango municipalities held several demonstrations at the entrance of the Hidroituango project with the aim of having them attend to their claim to maintain the road that connects Toledo with Matanzas and others that are located near the dam.

After nine hours, the inhabitants of both sectors reached an agreement with officials of Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) to meet this and other needs of the communities. However, in statements collected by Semana, Fernando Muñoz, one of the spokesmen for the protesters, stated that the protests will be 100% lifted within a period of 24 hours until the company's general manager, Jorge Andrés Carrillo, arrives to end to ratify the consensus reached with the workers of the megaproject.

Despite this condition, in the afternoon hours of this Thursday, the blockade has been partial, since they have given way to the personnel working on the works, as well as the community to and from the Ituango municipality. In this sense, Muñoz stated that they are willing to stay on the road for as long as necessary, as long as their requests are met. Previously, they had demanded the presence of the governor of Antioquia, Aníbal Gaviria, and the mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero.

For its part, EPM has indicated that this type of protest prevents the development of Hidroituango in its entirety and puts the safety of the communities that live near the project at risk, especially those that are downstream. In this sense, they have shown their gratitude to the Petro administration for their support so that the project can start promptly.

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“EPM thanks the National Government, through its Ministries of the Interior and National Defense, the General Director of the National Police, Major General Henry Armando Sanabria Cely, as well as the Commander of the Antioquia Police Department , Colonel Daniel Mazo Cardona, for his accompaniment in this situation”, stated the entity in charge of the project.

During this Thursday, the mayor of Tarazá, Mario Correa, had requested a direct dialogue with the communities in order to advance safely in the ignition of the first turbines. “We take with us the perception of a solid process, we believe that there are some things that we must improve and correct with the communities. We are creating a space for dialogue, “he said.

It is worth noting that in recent days Mayor Quintero assured that the megaproject will not come into operation on November 30 as previously announced ; and although EPM has a certification from the National Dispatch Center to carry out its work, it cannot be carried out on the stipulated date due to requirements related to the evacuation of communities living in that area.

Beyond the controversy, the desire to turn on the eight turbines of the dam is that, if it does not do so that day, EPM will have to pay a fine of 850 billion pesos to the Energy and Gas Regulation Commission ( ). Added to that, Quintero Calle has said that if it does not start its operations in December, the energy rate throughout the country could increase 100 pesos.