On January 25, 2019, the country’s Ombudsman’s Office together with the Ecumenical Human Rights Commission (CEDHU) filed a protection action against Hidrotambo SA and seven state institutions, alleging an omission on the part of the State that would result in the violation of the rights of the Nature and the people who live in the community of San Pablo de Amali. The action was rejected in the first and second instance. In April 2019, the Ombudsman’s Office and CEDHU filed an extraordinary protection action against the ruling of the lower Provincial Court of Bolívar. The Constitutional Court selected the case and as of 2023 is still being considered.
In 2002, the Corporation for Energy Research began the San José de Tambo hydroelectric on the Dulcepamba river in the San Pablo de Amalí Community, San José del Tambo parish, Chillanes canton, Bolívar province, Ecuador. In 2005, the Ministry of the Environment approved an environmental license for the construction and operation of the project, which included requirements to meet with the community. The project was subcontracted to the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of the hydroelectric plant. Community members protested the project and were arrested. In 2007, the country’s Ombudsman’s Office made a pronouncement declaring that the Army Corps of Engineers will refrain from initiating any act that constitutes a violation of persons. Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to protect the community’s integrity and leaders who were criminalized. The IACHR accepted the request. In 2008, the Constituent Assembly granted amnesty to the prosecuted community members. The project was suspended between 2008 and 2012. In 2012, the project’s construction began again. Over the next several years, community leaders presented protective action requests, which were denied. In 2015, the Dulcepamba River overflowed in the section diverted by Hidrotambo SA and undermined portions of the community, causing the destruction of 12 houses and killing 3 people. Community leaders Manuel Trujillo and Manuela Pacheco were tried for organized terrorism and were found innocent.