Saturday, October 14, 2006


Mehuin, Chile

Mehuin is a coastal town in southern Chile, approximately 2 hours from Temuco. It is a small fishing community of approximately 1700 people. The beaches are picturesque, and aren't as full of tourists as larger coastal towns. Freshly caught seafood can be bought at the local market for unbelievably low prices. If you plan to stay in Mehuin for a few days, many of the local houses rent out rooms, or tents can be set up near the beach.

Beautiful Coastline of Mehuin
Seafood Market in Mehuin

In 1960 Mehuin was destroyed by the tsunami that resulted from the 1960 earthquake. It has since been rebuilt, but is now much smaller. Mehuin now faces an equally grave threat - a proposal to build an industrial waste pipeline from a factory of the Chilean industrial giant, the Chilean Pulp Company (Celco). For the last ten years the community has been battling the corporation, which received the approval of the government under Ricardo Lagos. The proposed pipeline would pump waste chemicals at a rate of 900 liters per second directly into the bay, effectively shutting down the fishing industry in Mehuin, and destroying the livelihoods of 400 families.

The members of the fishing community have succesfully blocked previous testing from being accomplished in the bay, but it is inevitable that they will eventually lose the fight. See the following blog for a video of the local fisherment sucessfully shutting down testing by the armed Celco ship.

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