Andrea Sanhueza Participa, ChileTAI Regional Lead October, 2010
The goal was to stop the installation of the coal-fired power plants in or around Punta de Choros, home to a wealth of biodiversity, including two nature reserves: the Isla Damas, and the Humboldt penguin reserve (which is home to 80% of the total remaining population of this marine species). Such a project would also affect tourism and the local culture.
Starting in July of this year, the Incide project of Corporación Participa began to apply the 8-step advocacy strategy. The challenge was to avoid the installation of the Barrancones Power Plant.
Outreach activities targeted the 19 regional council members who would vote on the project. At the same time, the strategy was essentially based on highlighting the campaign pledge of President Sebastián Piñera regarding his opposition to the installation of a power plant in the vicinity of Punta de Choros. This promise had been disseminated through radio commercials as well as over the Internet.
Modema developed strategic alliances. The job performed by the audio-visual producer CHAO PESCAO was extremely important.
MODEMA compiled 27,000 signatures from various countries in Latin America and Europe.
The issue had not achieved much public attention until the day of the vote. The vote was 15 to 4, in favor of the project (24 de agosto de 2010). This result quickly spread throughout Chile through the internet, Facebook and Twitter, resulting in peaceful protest marches against the decision adopted. The demonstrations demanded that the President fulfill his campaign promise.
The result was that, only two days after the decision, President Piñera decided to personally oppose the Barrancones project. He stated that he had spoken with the Suez Energy company in order to relocate the coal-fired plant to another location, far from Punta de Choros. In addition, he commissioned a research with the goal of establishing protected areas in Chile.