Three indigenous activists in Central and South America fight to stop multinational corporations from polluting their waters and destroying their agricultural way of life. We follow their fights as they brave death threats and murder, and in the process reveal a troubling pattern of resource exploitation, corruption and political violence throughout Latin America. In our activist’s struggles we see that the disruption of poor, rural communities has deep roots in Latin America and how it intertwines with the current refugee crisis at our own border.
The feature documentary WATER FOR LIFE weaves together this trio of stories of true heroism, each with the potential to inspire other ordinary citizens around the world. Alberto Curamil, an indigenous Mapuche leader in Chile, successfully stops two hydroelectric projects planned by a Spanish multinational corporation on his sacred Rio Cautín. As retribution, the Chilean government frames him for an armed robbery. After 15 months in prison Alberto is acquitted of all charges but he still faces retribution from the government. Salvadoran farmer Francisco Pineda pulls the curtain back on a US corporation’s cyanide-water poisoning gold mine, and despite the murders of four of his fellow activists, prevails in getting his government to ban all metallic mining; and in Honduras, indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres gives her life protecting her people’s sacred river from a Chinese dam and a Honduran hydroelectric corporation. Now Berta’s three daughters carry on her work.