Sierra Club highlights threat faced by anti-fracking activist Carlos Andrés Santiago in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 8, the Sierra Club published this article about the rising levels of violence against environmental defenders, notably in Colombia.

Their article reported:

Carlos Andrés Santiago is the director of ‘No Fracking’, an environmental group that organizes against fracking efforts in San Martín, Colombia. He describes a state that seems unwilling to address a worsening cycle of violence.

He first started receiving threats against his life and those of his family members five years ago. He even provided the names and phone numbers of those responsible to local police.

“All this time, and there have been no consequences,” he told Sierra. “I regularly called the prosecutor to check on the cases. This year they told me the cases had been closed and refused to provide further information.”

In 2019, while Santiago was visiting Bogotá for a conference on alternative energy, he was approached in his car on the highway by a man who pointed a pistol in his direction and yelled threats. Despite the fact that he reported the incident and the license plate of the man’s vehicle, the police have made no progress in identifying his assailant.

“The state now provides me with bodyguards,” he said. “But they don’t address the underlying issues. There are no consequences for those who commit these threats, or even most of those who commit violence. It is a common denominator across the region.”

He continues to report threats not because he hopes the Colombian government will take action, but so that he has official documentation that they are happening.

The first licence for a fracking pilot project was awarded by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) on November 25, 2020 to the Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol for its Kalé project near Puerto Wilches, Santander.

The ANH has set a second-round deadline of March 8 for companies to submit proposals. Three more contracts are expected to be awarded on March 30. One of those contracts could be in the proximity of San Martin, Cesar.

Late last year, 18 social and environmental defenders in the Middle Magdalena region were threatened by a paramilitary group called the Black Eagles. Six of those threatened are members of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking.

PBI-Canada continues to be concerned about the increased threats that will be faced by environmental human rights defenders as contracts are awarded and the fracking pilot projects begin to be implemented later this year.

For more, you can also read this CIVICUS interview with Carlos Andrés Santiago: Colombian activists: ‘We are paying with our lives to defend water’.


Categories: News Updates


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *