PBI-Canada visits Bajo Simacota, Colombia to see environmental impacts of Calgary-based Parex Resources on water

Published by Brent Patterson on

On July 13, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted: “Heather Neun from @PBIcanada with the support of @Credhos_Paz saw in person the environmental effects, including on water sources, produced by the Canadian company Parex Resources in the El Diviso village in Bajo Simacota.”

In January 2017, CRY-GEAM posted this video on Facebook noting that Parex Resources did not have the needed environmental documents for the Aguas Blancas field.

Then in April 2017, CRY-GEAM posted this photo on Facebook of a truck with concerns about runoff into the Colorada River.

Also in April 2017, CRY-GEAM posted this video on Twitter with the text: “Parex in Simacota, Campo Aguas Blancas, without archaeological management plan, without environmental permit, above the law and communities. Who responds?”

When CREDHOS president Ivan Madero visited Ottawa in November 2019 on a PBI-Canada organized advocacy tour, he raised his concerns about Parex at a meeting with Export Development Canada (EDC).

According to this online information from Export Development Canada, its financing and support to Parex Resources has included: $25-50 million (07-05-2018), $50-100 million (22-02-2019), and $50-100 million (27-05-2019).

CREDHOS has highlighted that community members undertook a blockade of the Parex oil field in Simacota in March 2020.

By September 2020, Parex had taken two social leaders to court over this protest claiming it had harmed their good name. Adolfo Salinas Coba, one of the social leaders taken to court by Parex, says: “We defend water, because water is life, and I would not exchange a glass of water for a glass of oil.”

By October 2020, a municipal court had dismissed the company’s challenge against the two social leaders.

In March 2021, CREDHOS tweeted: “For a healthy environment, CREDHOS accompanies and supports the processes in defense of water in the territory. We highlight the struggle of the Bajo Simacota community against contamination by oil spills, caused by Parex.”

This visit in July 2021 by PBI-Canada’s Heather Neun is a signal of our commitment to continue to follow the situation in Bajo Simacota.

Beyond these concerns, Parex may also be interested in fracking in Colombia. In March 2019, Colombian energy minister Maria Fernanda Suarez named Parex as one of the companies interested in the fracking pilot projects.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CREDHOS since 1994.

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