350.org América Latina signs letter in support of threatened anti-fracking activists in Puerto Wilches, Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 26, 350.org América Latina signed an open letter expressing concern about the threats made against anti-fracking activists in Puerto Wilches, which is situated in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia.

It says that the safety of human rights defenders of the Middle Magdalena “who express their opposition to fracking and deepening oil extractivism in the region, especially in the case of underage protesters” must be protected.

It also highlights the right of AguaWil and other organizations to peacefully mobilize against the Kalé and Platero fracking pilot projects must be ensured.

AguaWil is accompanied by the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS), which in turn is accompanied by PBI-Colombia.

Earlier this month, Alfredo Molano Jimeno wrote in El Espectador about the threats faced by opponents of fracking in the Magdalena Medio including Yuli Velasquez, Luis Alberto González and 20-year-old Yuvelis Natalia Morales, a member of the Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and Territory of Puerto Wilches (AguaWil).

And in November 2020, eighteen social leaders in Magdalena Medio were threatened with death through a pamphlet signed by the Black Eagles paramilitary. Six of those threatened are members of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking.

The first licence for a fracking pilot project in Colombia was awarded by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) to Ecopetrol on November 25, 2020 for its Kalé project near the community of Puerto Wilches, Santander.

A second licence could next be awarded to ExxonMobil for its Platero project on April 8. It is not known if the ExxonMobil Platero project refers to the VMM-37 block it holds near Puerto Wilches, Santander. If it is, 30 per cent of that holding is held by Toronto-based Sintana Energy (and its Colombian subsidiary Patriot Energy).

The full letter signed by 350.org América Latina can be read in Spanish here.

For further reading, please also see the 350.org Climate Defenders Report titled Human Rights Abuses by Fossil Fuel Companies.

“We defend water because it is the most important resource on which our community depends.” Image by CREDHOS.

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