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Hydroelectric Resistance: MAB’s Energy Politics for Brazil

November 2013

The article below orginally appeared in La Jicarita: An online magazine of Environmental Politics in New Mexico following a presentation by Leonardo Maggi (from the Movement of People Affected by Dams) and Sara Mersha (from Grassroots International).

Audio recordings by ERIC SHULTZ

For many years, Cam and Susan Duncan have supported the movement-building organization, Grassroots International. During a [July 2013] solidarity tour, Grassroots’s grants and advocacy director, Sara Mersha, visited at Sue and Cam’s Tesuque home with a distinguished guest. Leonardo Bauer Maggi is the Projects Coordinator for Brazil’s Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB)—the movement of people whose lives have been disrupted by that country’s 2,000 existing hydroelectric dams, and those whose lives are threatened by dozens of other dams being planned or under construction.

To a house party of supportive listeners—many with long involvements in solidarity with Latin American peoples’ movements—Leonardo explained the profit-driven political economy of hydroelectric power in his country, the complex movements of popular resistance that daily challenge the power of global capital that threatens the lives and livelihoods of Brazil’s diverse rural communities, and some of the elements of his organization’s vision for an energy economy different from the “systematic cruelty” of the current regime. Click on the links below and hear Leonardo and Sara, who both translated for Leonardo and who gives a description of Grassroots International’s history, its mission, and the current tour.

Leonardo Maggi on MAB, Tesuque NM 19 June 2013 (trans. Sara Mersha)

Leonardo Maggi Q&A, Tesuque NM 19 June 2013 (trans. Sara Mersha)

Sara Mersha on Grassroots International, Tesuque NM 19 June 2013

For more Information on both of these organizations, visit the MAB website (with its English-language version) at and the Boston-based Grassroots International at


Photo by Eric Shultz: Sara Mersha of Grassroots International (right) translates for Leonardo Maggi of Brazil’s Movement of People Affected by Dams.

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