500 years of Resistance in Colombia
Columbian Coal Extractionism: Historical perspective
Inhabited by at least 80 indigenous groups which conquerers attempted to enslave and exterminate, Colombia was subjected to large wave of importation of African slaves, which have rebelled and continued their uprising against colonizers, then land owners and now corporate interests with resistance continuing to this day. Both indigenous and afro-americans do not equate to this day an economic but emotional, and spiritual connection to the land. While the power to this day remains in hands of limited number of rulling families descending from the colonizers. While discrimination and inequality economic and otherwise has led to guerrilla warfare. Together with the struggle grew paramilitary groups compromising private armies protecting landowners and reinforcing the european development perspective, enforced by deeply ingrained racism.
Largest two coal producing regions are both located in native and Afro-Columbian populated regions La Guajira and Cesar and all coal from these areas is
designated for export and that is the governments idea of progress while there is no electricity in most villages in the region.
The region is inhabited by Kogi, Kankuamo, Chimilas, Wiwas, Arhuacos, Afrocolombian communities and campesinos.
The Mines in Chaves region is a corridor that goes through 4 counties. The corridor goes through Las Cordillera Oriental De Los Andes where the traditional forms of sustenance was small scale farming complemented by fishing. Only small scale mines existed in the 80 run by locals which initially made the locals see mining as work . Drummond, Prodecco, Extrata and Glencore, and Goldmen Sax are the companies engaging in land privatization of communal lands and in extractionism backed by ultra hight level of violence and murder.
Second coal minig region is located in Guajira, inhabited by the Wayuus people the largest indigenous tribe in the country and many of aftro descendent communities. With the name of the sacred land of Cerrejon being the name that the coal mining company appropriated and it is now using while destroying those spiritual sites and the region at large. This corp is jointly owned by BHP Billington, AngloAmerican and Glencore. In both coal mining regions Mass displacent took place with at least 67,000, 3000 people were killed and over 500 dissapeared. All those action were taken by paramilitaries paid officially by the Drummond a sum at least a 1.6 million dollars. Omong those killed were hundreds of activists only in this year 120 activists all around the country were killed in last week over 18 killed and just last suday 5. The social effects of mining have been not just displacement, murders, kidnapping and murder destruction of traditions, human trafficking and sexual trafficking with those as young as eight years old, massive corruption and drug trafficking. Many foreigners mostly of european descent have arrived and displaced local population. Massive displacement of soil and water table distruction. Explosives are
used to break down the mountain sides creating toxic rains from the dust clouds reaching the stratosphere. Over 4 rivers have been destroyed, massive amounts of acids and other toxic pollutants from mining. Local population is plagued by massive respiratory ailmaints, pneumonia, cancer etc. High level of genetic defects has taken place in new borns, including being born with no brain tissue. Hearing ailments from high level of noise. The dust getting in the food chain of the animals and causing high mortality amongh farm animals. The goverment does not notice the effects, social and medical not assuming any responsibility no compensation or assistance is offered. Instead actually even going as far as blaming the local for generating the problems through their poor and uncivilized farming practices.
There is multiplicity of organization forming to offer resistance from young indigenous groups, to academia, social driven groups to militant resistance. Reaching out to both the young and old to share the need to protect the eart. Not having economic
To protect to fight to defend to organize to nobody can destroy our Eart. Not all forms of resistance are possible as people are afraid of being assasinate. Regardless womens groups Mujeres Guerreras de la Sierra(Warrior Women from the Mountains) and ASOASAL Farmers without Land have formed meetings, formed mutual assistance funds, formed collective gardens, to bring back sovereignty the power wielded by their ancestrols. Forming a social economy to be independent of government. Forming bakery cooperatives, and variety of other collectives and cooperative. Learning to reclaim the skills and strentght learned from the previous generation. Preventing the youth from entering the path of drug abuse and prostitution. Teaching youths the impornance of mother earth through theater, films, workshops. The importance of knowing their region and ecosystems and forming a connection to thos.
Forming food sovereignty projects by aquiring new parcels outside of the mine areas and thos even at a distance from the mine are highly affected by lowered by mining water table and the climatic change associated with mining. Connecting to the tradition of fishing impossible now in rivers, ponds have been made for fish farming.
Defending the right for alternative outlook and perspective contrary to the corporate perspective. Resulting in threats.
Marches to defend a local hospital has resulted in one activists being taken by the police and shot in knees and kidneys. 7 of July has been made into a Velaton a Vigil of people staying up all night with candles to commemorate dead leaders and activists. Week later resulting in the strike of over 80 thousands acrost the nation. 7 of September will be protests for all those in Kolombia assasinate for their activism.
Activists coming from Colombia hope to inspire those also engaging in activism for a better world to defend the water
the air and the ecosystems. They extend the invitation to visit the communities in the mining region. Being many it is possible to form better solutions and approaches. To form a net to adress all the problems that are affecting all of us.
RWE imports of Columbian coal have continued to increase over last several decades. Now compromising 23 of its imports. With RWE coal being banned from Dutch and Italian power grids for its bloody costs. The matter should not be left to capitalist driven state commissions to determine coal’s destructive and catastrophic effects.