Colombia: Demonstrations Will Continue in Caqueta Until Oil Companies Retreat

FARC-EP

With the presence of delegates from the communities and regional authorities, an announcement was made regarding the continuity of demonstrations until oil explorations in the region stop. Also, a regional negotiating table was defined to be launched and will start going into session once oil business activities that are taking place in Caqueta are suspended.

At a hearing that was held in Paujil, Caqueta, rural communities expressed to the Mayors, Governors and the President of Ecopetrol [The largest Colombian Oil Company] their dissatisfaction with the abuses caused by military and police forces, the harm caused to both water sources as well as people´s farms where seismic tests are being developed. Last week it was reported that at least 3 farms were affected by oil companies and ESMAD [riot police].

Also read: The Mad Men of the ESMAD

Although the president of Ecopetrol said that dialogue is the main source of decision making, the inhabitants of the region said that the path of dialogue has not been the form in which these companies have arrived, they´ve done it with the protection of public force, stepping above the claims of the peasants who at times prevented the passage of the machinery until the direct intervention of the ESMAD.

Also read: Colombian Military Forces serving extractive companies

In addition, the communities have been denouncing the non consulted entrance of machinery belonging to the Monterrico Company since April this year in the municipalities of Doncello and Paujil; they´ve been insisting on dialogue. Meanwhile according to data from farmers and the Mining National Agency in Caqueta, there are at least 43 oil blocks with environmental licenses, some of them in lands that have been traditionally occupied by farming families and small livestock farmers.

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Rural communities have been conducting various activities in which not only they generate conscience on the environmental and social damage, but also show their alternative proposals; some of these activities are the marches and carnivals in defense of water, which has unified initiatives such as the popular consultations (referendums) in Ibagué and Cajamarca, and the insistence of peasant movements in defense of the environment such as the Rios Vivos Movement in Antioquia or in Huila.

Also read: Referendum on mining activities to be held in Tolima