Past fracking in Latin America has been conducted with high impunity and human rights abuses. With major fracking projects planned in Argentina, the negative effects look set to carry on. Two events will be taking place in Manchester to raise awareness and resist the fracking pursuits being carried out by BP in Argentina.
Mehdy C Ortiz
Bob Dudley, the Chief Executive of BP, has previously said that they would not frack in the UK as it would “attract the wrong kind of attention”. However, this has not stopped BP from carrying out mega fracking pursuits in the Vaca Muerta region of Argentina, which has the second largest reserve of gas in the world.
The project, supported by UK and European banks, poses a huge threat to indigenous people’s land rights as well as surrounding air quality levels and drinkable water. BP has a history of infringing human rights and damaging the environment as was seen when they pulled out of Colombia in 2010. To add to this, their actions in Colombia, according to the United Nations, led to around 3,000 trade union activists being murdered and 6,000 others disappearing over the last 30 years. Those responsible are yet to be held accountable and it is the issue of accountability that has been severely lacking in Latin America in the past.
For this reason, solidarity against fracking in the region comes to Manchester this month. The first event, “Anti-fracking solidarity: From Latin America to the UK” will be a discussion held on the afternoon of Saturday 19 May. This will be followed by a second event two days later, which will be a protest and vigil to “Call out BP’s fracking in Argentina.”
“Anti-fracking Solidarity: From Latin America to the UK” will be co-hosted by Platform, War on Want, Argentina Solidarity Campaign, Manchester Friends of the Earth, Fossil Free Greater Manchester and Frack Free Greater Manchester. The speakers will include Fernando Cabrera, from Observatorio Petrolero Sur, Argentina, and Fabian Laverde, from The Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services, Colombia.
The second event – taking place at the same time as BP’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) – will begin with a speaker from Argentina who will explain the negative consequences that fracking has had on the communities and the environment in Patagonia. Fabian Laverde, a Colombian national, will also be joining to demand justice and challenge BP about their human rights abuses.
This will be followed by a vigil that will be staged outside the BP AGM at the Manchester Central Convention Centre, which will be a chance to demonstrate the resistance to passing shareholders.
Both events will raise awareness on fracking in the region and show that there are alternatives. Instead of relying on fossil fuels and worsening climate change, the government of Argentina would be better off investing in an energy sector that is sustainable, clean and accountable. What is currently taking place in Vaca Muerta is fossil fuel imperialism, which leaves little benefits for communities and causes great damage for years to come.
“Anti-fracking solidarity: From Latin America to the UK”. Date: Saturday 19 May 2 pm – 4 pm. Venue: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS. Registration: Eventbrite. For more information, click here.
“Call out BP’s fracking in Argentina: AGM Vigil/Protest”. Date: Monday 21 May, 10 am – 11:30 am. Venue: Manchester Central Library/Manchester Central Convention Centre. For more information, click here.