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Resistance against extractivism

The excessive activities of the mining companies in Colombia are not only affecting the environment but also the local residents. The “Plataforma 12 de Octubre” is organising a forum to oppose this lethal practice.


Marcella Via


The communities of Guajira (Colombia) live in a high-risk situation due to the negative effects caused by the mining of Cerrejón, documented in “Cuando el río suena, piedras y otras cosas lleva”, the most recent report carried out by the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz).

Cerrejón is one of the biggest businesses in the Latin American region which dedicates itself to extracting coal. According to the report, the impact on water and the environment caused by this company’s extraction activity has repercussions on the health conditions of the communities that live in the area.

In fact, after the investigation, the institute made known the presence of contaminating agents in the Ranchería River and its streams. These agents are a product of the mining activities carried out in the river, such as dumping industrial waste water. This activity generates lead and other heavy metal contamination. Furthermore, the study confirmed the expansion of the mine “has generated a potential risk due to contamination of water wells and the river which is used by people to wash and supply themselves with water”.

The repercussions of extractivism in Guajira do not only affect people but also the fauna that lives by feeding from the water of the tributaries. For this reason, the “Plataforma 12 De Octubre (P12O)” has organised the event “Extractivism, resistance and solidarity”.

The platform is made up of several organisations: Bolivia Solidarity Campaign (BSC), Colombia Solidarity Campaign (CSC), Gran Polo Patriótico-UK (GPP), Hands Off Venezuela and Movimiento Micaela Bastidas-UK.

All of them seek the realisation of this forum to speak of resistance to extractivism, which is the direct result of colonialism and from which the implications on the environment and local communities are disastrous.

The event will have video projections, workshops and traditional Andean dances. There will also be a commemorative talk about the 45 years of coup in Chile, where participants will include members of the first and second generations of Chilean exiles, women who were political prisoners and their children.

“Extractivism, resistance and solidarity” will take place on Saturday 13th October, from 2 pm to 7 pm, at SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG, London. For more information visit the event on Facebook.

(Translated by Donna Davison – Email:

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