Defending life, resisting destruction: communities and coal mining in Colombia

Colombia June 2013 037

Two visitors from Colombia will be in the UK this month to attend the AGM of mining multinational BHP Billiton and speak at a public meeting in London on Thursday 22 October and to take part in the Divest Scotland tour.

BHP Billiton part-owns the massive Cerrejon opencast coal mine in Colombia. It also has opencast coal operations in Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa. And it produces oil and gas and is involved in fracking in the USA.

Samuel Arregoces, FECONADEMIGUA
Samuel Arregoces 1Samuel is from the village of Tabaco, a community of small-scale farmers of African descent which was brutally evicted in 2001 to make way for expansion of the massive Cerrejon opencast coal mine, now jointly owned by London-listed miners Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore. The mine is in the province of La Guajira in the far north of Colombia. Samuel is on the committee of FECONADEMIGUA, the Federation of Communities of African Descent Affected by Mining in La Guajira.

Danilo Urrea CENSAT Agua Viva (Friends of the Earth Colombia)
danilo urrea foto 3Danilo is Co-ordinator of CENSAT’s work on mining. He has been accompanying communities affected by the Cerrejon mine and investigating its social and environmental impacts. CENSAT is working with communities and organisations in La Guajira to prevent Cerrejon Coal diverting local rivers for mine expansion, and with many other organisations to challenge the Colombian government’s policy of encouraging large-scale, foreign-owned opencast mining.

You can help!

Two events are being held in London on Thursday 22 October

Demonstration

Support our Colombian friends by joining the demonstration at the BHP Billiton AGM, 10am to 11.30am outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1.

For more info on the demo here.

Public meeting on coal mining and oil impacts in Colombia

Samuel and Danilo will be joined by two other colleagues from Colombia, in Britain to publicise the impacts of oil company BP’s operations there.

6pm to 8.30pm, Drama Studio, Institute of Education, University of London

Speakers at this event will also include Natalie Bennett (Leader of the Green Party), Gilberto Torres (Former trade unionist with Union Sindical Obrera in Colombia), Francisco Ramirez (trade unionist and lawyer with the Colombian Unified Trade Union Federation) and Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman (University of Sussex).

This event is being organised by War on Want in partnership with London Mining Network and  Colombia Solidarity Campaign.

Book a place for this event here.

From 23 to 25 October, Samuel and Danilo will participate in the Divest Scotland tour.

On Monday 26 October, they’ll be back in London for a meeting with members of London’s Latin American community, 7pm to 8.30pm at Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN.

 

 

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