Paso del Colegio Bridge, Gigante
January 8, 2012
On January 5th in the Capitol Building of the Department of Huila in the City of Neiva, Colombia, a debate was held regarding the economic, social, environmental, cultural and transportation problems that have been generated in Central and Western Huila as well as the Northeast of Cauca. These problems have been caused by the construction of the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project, the authorizing of an environmental license for Emerald Energy Petroleum Company and the destruction of the Paso del Colegio Bridge.
During the event different people spoke representing sectors such as the affected communities, local mayors, politicians and parliamentarians from Huila and delegates from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. Without a doubt the arguments with a foundation in technical and scientific research presented by the affected communities denouncing the deep irregularities in the process of the dam were decisive so that the Governor Dr. Cielo Gonzalez Villa, cooperated and signed on to a solicitation for an Environmental Public Audience regarding the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project with an attached declaration demanding that all construction be suspended immediately. This solicitation was drafted and signed on January 3 by the Association of Affected by the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project – ASOQUIMBO, by legal representative, Elsa Ardila; the Organization Com-Unidad, by the legal representative, Yamile Johanna Peña Poveda; the Cultural and Environmentalist Association of the South- ACAS, by the legal representative, Carlos Ernesto Gomez Sanchez and other signees affected by the construction of the Quimbo Dam. This solicitation for a public audience and immediate suspension of the environmental licenses is in conformity with Decree 330 of the year 2007 and other legislation including the Numeral 11 of Article 189 of the Republic of Colombia´s Political Constitution and Articles 1°, Numeral 12 and 72 of the Law 99 of the year 1993.
The delegates of the Ministry of Environment made a commitment with the departmental government and the communities to review the prior solicitation and to give a response no later than Friday, January 6, 2012, a commitment that was not kept. For this reason, the Regional Movement for the Defense of the Territory not only ratified the decision but collaborated with the Departmental Government for an Environmental Public Assembly but also has been in a regional peaceful strike that has been active since January 3rd. The strike is being led by the affected communities in a determined and lucid manner amidst being in an environment of disinformation and threatened with the efforts of corrupt politicians to delegitimize the action of civil resistance and attempt to break the spirit of the participants.
The Regional movement for the Defense of the Territory ratified the solicitation for the Comptroller’s Office to quicken the “preliminary investigation” of the Ministry of Environmental and Territorial Development, the Regional Autonomous Corporation –CAM and INVIAS – Institute for Highway opened by Case Number 015 of the year 2011 and 6-068-11 of the year 2011.
As consequence of the breaking of the commitment agreed upon by the Government, a general assembly of urgent nattura is being convoked all the affected communities for Monday, January 9th at 3pm in the Paso del Colegio Bridge with the purpose to evaluate and reflect on the development of the peaceful resistance. All Human Rights Organizations are invited to accompany the process of resistance at the Paso del Colegio Bridge.
Regional Movement for the Defense of the Territory
Movimiento Colombiano por la Defensa de los Territorios Afectados RIOS VIVOS
Communities of Puerto Seco
Community of la Jagua
Community of la Cañada
Fishermen Association of El Hobo
Commuity of la Honda
Community of Majo
Community of Jagualito
Comunity Action Junto of Matambo
Municipalities of the Macizo Colombiano connected to ASOMAC
Community of la Plata
Intersectional Association of Gigante, Garzón Paramo of Miraflores
Movimiento Ríos Vivos
Community of Garzón
Community Council of Cultura for Municipality of Gigante
Ficherman Association of la Jagua
Association of Cofee Growers
Association of Tobacco Growers of Garzón ASOTAGAR
Union of Transporters of la Plata Huila
Day Laborers of la Jagua
Community of Zuluaga
Corporación Casa de la Memoria
Cultural and Environmentalist Association of the South -ACAS
National Student Roundatable Huila
Regional Indigenous Council of Huila CRIHU
For more information please contact…
Profesor Miller A. Dussan teléfono 316 755 54 27
Elsa Ardila Muñoz teléfono 313 465 61 46
Padre Samuel Pineda teléfono 320 451 75 98
Armando Acuña teléfono 320 499 31 45