AguaWil carries message of opposition to fracking in Puerto Wilches at national strike mobilization in Bogota
Photo: AguaWil and CORDATEC in Bogota, May 19.
On May 19, Yuvelis Natalia Morales of the Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and Territory of Puerto Wilches (AguaWil) participated in the national strike mobilization in the capital city of Bogota.
Yuvelis also spoke at this webinar convened by Peace Brigades International on April 29 (the day after the first national strike mobilization).
At that webinar, Yuvelis stated: “We have highlighted the impacts of fracking on not only the environment, but also the health of the people. And when AguaWil became more visible, and didn’t disappear, when we became a problem for the oil companies, those interested in promoting fracking and its economic benefits, they started to threaten, stigmatize, and silence us. More than eight of our youth have been threatened.”
She also noted: “We have a constitutional right to a healthy environment, but the government is not interesting in hearing the communities because we are a problem for them, they aren’t interested in listening to young people. But we will keep fighting.”
Fracking at dialogue tables in Santander
Caracol Radio now reports: “The Central Union of Workers announced that there are already early approaches by the Santander government to set up dialogue tables with the Departmental Strike Committee.”
That first exploratory table meeting will take place today, Thursday May 20.
The article further notes that among the points that will be compiled as a statement of petitions for that exploratory table is the issue of fracking.
Canadian fracking in the Magdalena Medio
To date, two fracking pilot projects have been approved near Puerto Wilches: the ExxonMobil Platero project and the Ecopetrol Kale project.
The Platero project has been authorized on the VMM-37 block co-owned by ExxonMobil and Toronto-based Sintana Energy.
Calgary-based Canacol Energy has welcomed this pilot project and announced it is conducting tests to also pursue fracking in the Magdalena Medio. Calgary-based Parex Resources Inc. has also been named as a company interested in fracking in Colombia.
130+ environmental groups join the national strike
On May 12, more than 130 organizations, collectives, movements and environmental platforms announced their participation in the national strike.
Among the eight demands listed in their statement: “Prohibit fracking, exploitation of unconventional deposits and new offshore deposits; to replace fossil fuel exploitation in the short term and halt the construction of new thermoelectric plants to move towards a fair energy transition as an urgent measure in the face of the climate emergency.”
The signatories of this statement include AguaWil, CORDATEC, the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking, Extinction Rebellion Colombia, Amigos de la Tierra Colombia and the PBI-Colombia accompanied José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (CCAJAR) and the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS).
In its Global Analysis 2020 report, Front Line Defenders documents that 177 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2020. Environmental defenders opposed to fracking in the Magdalena Medio region, including Yuvelis, have faced death threats.
We continue to follow this situation with great concern.