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Call for an international campaign against ENEL’s energy model

ENEL is the largest Italian energy utility and second in Europe by installed capacity. In 1999 it underwent privatization, and it is now listed on the Stock Exchange and counts 1.2 million shareholders. It partially remains a public company since it is owned for the 31% by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, hence by the Italian citizens.

Nowadays Enel operates in the electricity and gas sectors in 40 countries. In 2009, following the final acquisition of the Spanish electric company Endesa, Enel inherited facilities and projects in many Latin American countries. Unfortunately, these projects are tied together by a common thread of a colonial legacy, which include anti-democratic national legislations and clearly deficient environmental evaluation systems, biased towards the corporate sector. This can be highlighted by the severity of their socio-environmental impacts and the harsh attitude of the company towards the involved communities. Also in Italy ENEL’s arrogance has manifested harshly towards the territories involved in its projects and the local population.

Despite the green image and the commitment to sustainability the Italian multinational company continues to declare through its promotional messages, the reality is quite different.

ENEL continues to build coal plants in spite of all the commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meantime using a misleading terminology such as “clean coal”. This is made possible thanks to the so-called Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms, that allow companies to continue to pollute, assigning out-and-out emission permits in exchange for the construction of renewable energy facilities. But energy can be considered “green” only under specific conditions. Neither when it threatens to destroy pristine ecosystems as in the case of the HydroAysèn project in Chilean Patagonia and the foreseen projects in the Italian Alps, nor when it tramples on people’s rights, threatens local economies and restricts the access to water to farmers communities and indigenous communities in violation of ILO’s 169 Convention as it happens in Guatemala, Colombia and Chile. Energy cannot be considered as green or renewable, when its production causes aquifers to drain away and results in the emission of substances which may harm people’s health or expose the population to incalculable risks as in the case of Mount Amiata geothermal plant and nuclear power plants in Slovakia or Russia.

ENEL is therefore responsible for the promotion in Italy and the exportation abroad of an unsustainable and obsolete energy model, compounded by an authoritarian and disrespectful attitude towards local territories. A model based on a centralized production by means of large plants, imposed on local communities and clouded by financial compensation paid to accommodating municipalities or governments, often hidden behind corporate social responsibility policies which divide entire communities. A model fostering major building projects which thrive corruption, speculation, conflict of interest and produce greater profits at the expenses of the environment and local communities’ rights. A production model aiming not at improving citizens’ quality of life and ensuring their energy supply, but mostly at feeding the mining industry and an economy based on looting and unlimited exploitation of resources. A model that is inevitably creating environmental and social conflicts with local communities.

Worldwide, the main social and environmental conflicts with ENEL are unfolding in Chile and specially in Aysén Region in Patagonia, in the ancestral territories and sacred places in Panguipulli (Chile), in the indigenous municipality of San Juan Cotzal (Guatemala), in the area of El Quimbo, in the Department of Huila (Colombia), in Porto Romano (Albania), in Mohovce (Slovakia), in the Galati District (Romania), in Kaliningrad (Russia), and, in the Italian context,in Civitavecchia, on the Mount Amiata, on the Dolomites, in Porto Tolle, in Brindisi, Bastardo, in Fusina, in Genoa, in La Spezia. The response that the alliance between company and governments has reserved to the local communities who are fighting to defend their territories, often resulted in repression, violence and criminalization through special laws.

We urge for a different energy production, distribution and management model to be followed as well by a redefinition of the priorities, based upon the principle of energy democracy. We support a reticular, decentralized and efficient model based on renewable small-scale energy facilities, that brings production closer to consumption, therefore eliminating the need of invasive transmission lines, which provides for the effective participation of local communities in planning and decision-making processes and which will not damage people’s health and the environment.

For these reasons we are launching an international campaign that aims at:

  • denouncing and stopping an extractivist development model and an energetic model which is unsustainable and destructive for the environment which violates human rights and the right to participation of the involved communities
  • fostering an alternative energy model, focused on human rights, on the citizens’ healthcare and on the protection of the territories as common good
  • jointly supporting the struggles and demands of the local communities in Italy and abroad
  • promoting a global campaign which tightens communities, social movements and the associations involved in the different conflicts


The International Campaign intends to support a network at local, regional, national and international level putting in place communication, legal and mobilization strategies which emerge from grassroots social movements.

As a first appointment we met in Rome on the 29th of April in an international meeting gathering Italian committees and representatives of local communities and movements from Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, Albania, Romania and Russia. Today 30th of April, on the day of ENEL annual shareholders meeting, we are gathering in front of the company’s headquarter for a press conference to launch the international campaign:

 “STOP ENEL. For a new energy model”

To join the campaign contact:


Amig@s MST-Italia/Roma, Ass. di amicizia con il popolo Mapuche, Ass.  COLORE – Cittadini contro le mafie,  Ass. culturale Aktivamente, Ass. Il Cerchio, Ass. Italia-Nicaragua, Ass. Kiwani – Il risveglio, Associazione No.Di-INostri Diritti, Associazione Stelle Cadenti – artisti per la pace, A Sud, ATTAC Italia, Campagna di solidarietà con le Comunità Ixiles del Guatemala, Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, Centro Comunicazione COMBONIFEM, Centro Missionario Giovanile dei Servi di Maria, Centro studi Juan Gerardi, CETRI-TIRES, CEVI – Centro di Volontariato Internazionale, CISV – Comunità Impegno Servizio Volontariato, Cittadini Liberi – Porto Tolle, Collettivo Lucciole per lanterne, Comitato 11 Ottobre, Comitato Carlos Fonseca, Comitato Italiano Amigos Sem Terra, Comitato Lametino Acqua pubblica, Comitato No Carbone – Rossano (CS), Comitato Provinciale Acqua Bene Comune di Reggio Emilia,, Comitato SpeziaViaDalCarbone, Confederazione COBAS, Coordinamento trentino Acqua Bene Comune, D.A.D.A. (Dipartimento Autogestito Dell’Alternativa, ex-bar sede centrale Università Federico II), FabioNews, Forum Ambientalista, Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua, Il sud siamo noi, Legambiente Reggio Emilia, Movimento di Giurisprudenza (Movimento Studentesco Facoltà di Giurisprudenza Università Federico II Napoli), Movimento No Coke Alto Lazio, ONLUS Amici del Guatemala, Pax Christi Italia, Pontinia Ecologia e territorio, Progetto Sur Onlus, Punto pace Pax Christi Reggio Emilia, redazione, Reggae Circus di Adriano Bono, Retenergie,, Servizio Civile Internazionale, Solarecollettivo Onlus, Sos Geotermia Coordinamento dei Movimenti per l’Amiata, Spazio Sociale Occupato Ex-51, SUR – Società Umane Resistenti, WILPF Italia (Lega Internazionale di donne per la Pace e la Libertà), Yaku

CEE Bankwatch Network, Ecodefense (Russia), Asociación de afectados por el proyecto hidroeléctrico El Quimbo – ASOQUIMBO (Colombia), “Movimiento colombiano por la defensa de los territorios y afectados por represas RIOS VIVOS” (Colombia) ARIN (Romania), EDEN Center (Albania), Parlamento Mapuche de Koz Koz (Chile), El movimiento ciudadano Patagonia Unida y Patagonia Sin Represas – Organizaciones comunitarias “Defensores del espiritú de la Patagonia” Cochrane (Chile), “Defensores de la Cuenca del Murta” Bahia Murta (Chile), “Herederos de la Patagonia” Villa Cierro Castillo (Chile), Agrupacion comunitaria Rio Pascua Villa O’Higgins (Chile), Agrupacion comunitaria social y ambiental Chomke Caleta Tortel (Chile), Comunidades Ixiles de San Juan Cotzal, Chajul y Nebaj (Guatemala), Comunidades Q’eqchi de Copon Uspantan (Guatemala), Asociacion Tierra y Libertad para Arauco (Arcueil, Francia), Consejo de Juventudes Maya, Garifuna y Xinca (Guatemala), Comité Central Menonita (Guatemala – El Salvador), Colectivo Informativo Mapuexpress (Wallmapu, Pueblo Mapuche), Grupo de trabajo por derechos colectivos (Chile), Red de organizaciones sociales y ciudadanas de Temuco (Chile), ILSA – Instituto Latinomericano para una Sociedad y un derecho Alternativos, ACIN – Asociacion de Cabildos de Indigenas Norte del Cauca (Colombia), International Rivers, AFRICANDO (España)

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