PBI-Colombia accompanies NOMADESC in Cali where Indigenous Minga is mobilizing

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 12, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “PBI is accompanying NOMADESC in Cali where the Indigenous Minga begins its caravan to mobilization points and continues from Cauca in the national strike and national minga.”

El Pais has explained that minga is “a word synonymous with resistance or mobilization.”

To get a sense of what this mobilization looks like, please see this short video posted on Instagram by Secwepec land defender Kanahus Manuel.

Significantly, the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking has commented: “Surrounding the Minga is an ethical duty of the Colombian social movement, because it has been the first to stand in solidarity with other struggles, including ours to defend water, territory and life. The peaceful authority of the Indigenous Guard has given us a protection that has never come from the State. That’s why Minga is in Cali: to back up the youth that has been massacred on consecutive days by the law enforcement.”


At the time of a previous Minga in October 2020, Joe Sauca from the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) said: “The risks of the territory have been raised, guarantees are required to be able to be calm and free from the issue of mega-mining, ‘fracking’, from all that situation that affects our peoples.”

And Nelson Lemus, one of the spokespeople for the mobilization at that time, said: “We are inviting, firstly Colombian society and secondly the president, to hold a debate on structural issues of the country : the issue of ‘fracking’, of prior consultation, and that we can express our feelings and the construction of our rights: territory, life, peace, work and all that we have constitutionally as Colombians.”

Extractivism violating Indigenous rights

The American business magazine Forbes has reported: “Nearly a third of Colombia is designated indigenous territory… Often, that land sits atop natural riches that have made it the envy of prospectors. Conflicts abound in Colombia between indigenous communities and extractive industries clawing for oil, gold or lumber.”

And with respect to fracking in Colombia (that three Canadian corporations have expressed support for), Petroleum Economist has reported: “Unconventional assets are also often near indigenous lands, which could pose further headaches.”

NOMADESC on Indigenous rights

NOMADESC (the Association for Research and Social Action) is a human rights organization that advises and accompanies organizations working on social, trade union, civic, Indigenous, Afro-descendant, agricultural and women’s issues.

NOMADESC president Berenice Celeita has stated: “The southwest has been the stage for large-scale megaprojects, particularly mining and energy, megaprojects where the Colombian state has violated free, prior and informed consent.”

She highlighted: “Let’s remember that [there has been a] wave of violence against the Indigenous Guard who are territorial authorities who perform very important protection activities, defending life and the territory.”

Violence against Indigenous peoples during this Minga

On May 9, twelve Indigenous activists participating in the minga were wounded in a shooting that happened in the city of Cali.

Following that armed attack, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) tweeted: “WE DEMAND RESPECT FOR LIFE for those who mobilize in Minga in the national strike: Peasants, Afro, indigenous people, students, teachers and popular sectors continue to fight for life and peace.”

PBI-Colombia continues to accompany human rights groups during the national strike. For more on that, please see Photo journal: PBI-Colombia accompanies human rights defenders during the #ParoNacional national strike.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied NOMADESC since 2011.

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