PBI-Canada webinar on fracking and the risks for environmental defenders in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 8, PBI-Canada organized a webinar that focused on the community resistance to the fracking pilot projects in Puerto Wilches in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, the dangers faced by environmental defenders opposed to fracking, and the role of Canadian finance in this human rights crisis.

You can watch the video of this webinar here.

Key excerpts from the webinar include:

“The presence of Canadian extractive companies, particularly in the oil sector, in this region of Colombia goes back more than 100 years. Canadian companies were among the first to open this region to extractives.” – Luis van Isschot, PBI-Canada

“Since 2012, Export Development Canada has given CAD $1.4 billion in government backed loans to oil and gas in Colombia. This is 44 per cent of all G20 international public finance for energy in Colombia in this period.” – Bronwen Tucker, Oil Change International

“When you go and exploit other countries, when your companies and banks are investing in mining and energy megaprojects in other countries where human rights are being violated every day, you are not an environmentalist country, you are not a green country. I’m sorry to be so blunt. This is a reality that people don’t often want to say because when you open your mouth that could mean you are shot in the forehead. This is the situation faced by Carolina, Juan Camilo and myself.” – Yuvelis Morales, Committee for the Defence of Water, Life and the Territory of Puerto Wilches (AGUAWIL)

“My committee has eleven individuals, eleven of us who are part of the CREDHOS human rights committee in my municipality, five of us are threatened. We fight to defend our river and all of our water sources, our animals and plants, everything that we have that is so beautiful that we could lose.” – Carolina Agón, CREDHOS human rights committee and president of the Fishermen’s Association in Puerto Wilches

“It’s very concerning when we look at the historic relationship between the oil companies and organized illegal groups, specifically paramilitary structures, which has led to human rights violations and attacks against social leaders and environmental leaders from the municipality of Puerto Wilches. They have been stigmatized, some have been forcibly displaced, others have experienced assassination attempts.” – Juan Camilo Delgado, the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS)

The Colombian Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa says: “We continue with the intention of having the first drilling [with the Kalé fracking project] on August 7.”

The Platero fracking project is scheduled to begin in early 2023.

It has been estimated that commercial fracking in Colombia could extract 7 billion barrels of shale oil and 30 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

We continue to follow this situation closely.

The video of this webinar can be seen here.


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