- Government Ministry of Panama
The Panamanian Government today requested the endorsement of the Guna indigenous General Congress for the electric interconnection between Panama and Colombia, a project of nearly 500 million dollars suspended since mid-2012.
Interconnection is a project that dates back to 2009 and has been suspended indefinitely since August 2012 due to lack of capital and problems in the technical and socio-environmental aspects, according to official spokespersons.
The Panamanian Minister of Government, Carlos Rubio, was in charge of requesting the approval of the General Guna Congress held this Friday in Narbagandub Dummad, in the Comarca Guna Yala, on the Caribbean coast bordering Colombia, informed the Government Ministry of Panama.
Already in June 2015 the government had requested the endorsement of the indigenous General Congress, but he denied it, a government source told Efe.
Then the Government said it had requested the guarantee to build the Morti-Mulatupu highway and to set in that way the route to establish the electric interconnection line between Panama and Colombia, which would total 600 kilometers.
In addition to the interconnection between Panama and Colombia, Minister Rubio requested the consent of the Guna Congress for other projects that include the electrification of several communities and the construction of an environmental corridor and roads that the Government seeks to develop.
The projects were presented by the Panamanian Minister of Public Works, Ramón Arosemena and the electrification specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), José Arosemena, before the Guna Congress, which brings together more than 49 communities in the region.
The Minister of Public Works explained the project that includes the construction of some 70 kilometers of highway that would connect the communities of Mortí and Mulatupu, and that passes through Palmira in the province of Darién, the Government said Friday.
Meanwhile, the electrification project, part of the "Energy for All in Panama" program with a $ 100 million IDB budget aims to the improvement of the electric service in the Guna Yala district, the electrification of the communities of Cartí and of Mulatupu.
It also includes the construction of a strategic environmental corridor for the development of these projects, it added.
"For all these projects, we ask Congress to allow the start of environmental studies in order to advance in their development," said José Arosemena, according to official information.
The studies include an extensive period of consultation and participation of the communities, directly or indirectly benefited to reach the management plan and compensation to advance the Indigenous Peoples Development Plan, which is promoted by the Ministry of Government.
The Guna General Congress also had the participation of the general manager of Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica, S.A. (ETESA), Gilberto Ferrari; the governor of Guna Yala, Carlos López; and the director of Planning of the Ministry of Government, Carlos Blandón, according to official information.