PBI-Colombia accompanied CREDHOS takes part in cacerolazo protest against fracking in Puerto Wilches
On February 11, the Colombian human rights organization CREDHOS tweeted: “Today in Puerto Wilches at the demonstration against the fracking pilot projects; social organizations and the people of the Magdalena Medio reject fracking in their territories.”
PBI-Colombia also tweeted: “Today CREDHOS accompanies members of the community of Puerto Wilches in a march against fracking pilot projects.”
CREDHOS president Ivan Madero, who participated in a PBI advocacy tour in Canada in November 2019, was in Puerto Wilches for this cacerolazo. Puerto Wilches is about a 100 kilometre drive from where CREDHOS is based in Barrancabermeja.
A short video clip of the cacerolazo (a form of popular protest that involves people banging pots and pans) can be seen/heard here.
Semana Sostenible reported: “In front of the Puerto Wilches Citizen Integration Center, where the Territorial Dialogue on Pilot Projects for Comprehensive Research in Non-Conventional Sites is taking place, a group of inhabitants of that population carried out a cacerolazo as a rejection of the that technique of extraction of hydrocarbons in its territory.”
“With posters, whistles, drums and, obviously, saucepans, the participants told the ministries of Mines and the Interior, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) and Ecopetrol, which were in charge of convening the Territorial Dialogue, that they do not want to fracking.”
That article also noted: “This cacerolazo took place before the public hearing that will be held this Friday [February 12], from 8:00 am, in the Fifth Committee of the House of Representatives, in which the academic arguments of those who defend and oppose this practice will be heard. These spaces have been taking place within the framework of the discussion of bills that seek to prohibit fracking in Colombia.”
Infobae also reported: “Citizens of the municipalities and others close to them joined a cacerolazo convened by the Committee for the Defense of Water, Life and territory of Puerto Wilches – Aguawil –with the accompaniment of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking, days after the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Environment called on Congress to ban fracking in Colombia.”
On January 29, UN Special Rapporteur David Boyd stated: “In light of its obligations under constitutional, international, human rights and environmental law, fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energies. I respectfully maintain that the government of Colombia must pass a law to prohibit fracking.”
The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) has already awarded a contract to Ecopetrol to conduct a fracking pilot project near Puerto Wilches.
Additional contracts are expected to be awarded on March 30.
One of those contracts could go to ExxonMobil in partnership with Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy) that would likely involve the VMM-37 block also situated near Puerto Wilches.
PBI-Canada continues to express concern about the human rights obligations of the Canadian government and Canadian corporations in the context of popular resistance to fracking and the deepening climate crisis.