ABSTRACT

In this chapter, Sanchez discusses research he has conducted in the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, an indigenous territory in Panama, exploring how a for-profit hydroelectric dam backed by the Panamanian Government Kiad threatened to destroy a school, a river, and a 50-year long process of cultural revival. The situation became truly alarming when an addendum to the construction plans would allow an expansion of the dam’s generation capacity, which would mean a taller wall, and that the future flood level of the reservoir would increase to the point of inundating homes, crops, fruit gardens. Sanchez looks at three aspects that drive colonization today: (1) Global-Remote Capitalism, (2) Internet hashtag movement known as #TabasaráLibre, (3) Legibility of borders (Map making). In opening up mapping as both a didactic activity and legal action, participatory countermapping requires indigenous groups and researchers to appeal to the benevolence of bureaucrats, judges, and government executives for legitimation. The chapter explores what do the Ngäbe do to resist and to adapt.