The year 2012 in South Colombia initiated with the mobilization of the communities affected by the Quimbo Hydroelectric Dam, the six month old destruction of the Paso del Colegio Bridge as well as the Yaguará-Iquira-Tesalia, la Plata-Leticia and the la Plata-Garzón highways that have cut off southwest Huila and Eastern Cauca from the city of Neiva and the issuing of the environmental license for nine oil wells that will gravely affect the Páramo of Miraflores putting at risk the hydrological resources of that region.
These three issues have as a common element that forced displacement of hundreds of peasant families from their lands. These peasant families sustain the food security and sovereignty of the region and the country.
These are the reasons that the Association of Communities affected by el Quimbo- ASOQUIMBO and the Civic Committee of La Plata convened a peaceful mobilization that as of today has closed its second day of resistance. On the first day the Roundtable for the Protection of Human Rights was formed with the participation of the Vice President of the Senate and the President of the Senate´s Commission of Human Rights Mr. Alexander López, the President of the Commission of Human Rights of the House of Representatives Ms. Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo, the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Huila, the Organization House of Memory (Corporación Casa de la Memoria), Movement of Live Rivers (Movimiento Ríos Vivos), Organization Comune-unity (Corporación Com-Unidad), ASOQUIMBO and the organization Planeta Paz. At the end of this convening the strike received communication from the Comptroller’s Office of the Nation that a formal investigation has been opened against the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Office of Environmental Licenses and the Autonomous Corporation for the Upper Magdalena- CAM, for the violations that have happened since before the issuing and the subsequent modifications of the Environmental License for the Quimbo Project. It has been demonstrated that there has been technical inconsistency to not present the Environmental Diagnosis of Alternatives offered by the corporation EMGESA, the responsibility of this corporation in the destruction of the Paso del Colegio Bridge, as well as the lack of legitimate studies regarding the seismic activity of the region.
On the second day the communities from diverse regions of Huila continue to wait for the arrival of the Civic Authorities to initiate a process of dialogue regarding the immediate reconstruction of the Paso del Colegio Bridge, the total suspension of the construction of the Quimbo Dam, the suspension of the Exploration License issued by the Ministry of Environment to the petroleum corporation Emerald Energy for oil extraction in an ecologically sensitive region such as Miraflores, and the reparations and compensation to all the inhabitants from South Huila that have been impacted by this destruction. Today construction of the Quimbo Dam was completely paralyzed and it is demanded that the government should support this suspension until the investigation of who is responsible is finalized by the Comptroller’s Office
On the third day up to 30 representatives from different sectors in the mobilization met with representatives from the regional government, from the Ministry of Environment and INVIAS (the national transportation department) in the regional capitol building of Neiva, Huila exposing all violations lived by the communities. Regardless, the strike remains strong.
It is for these reasons the organizations present in the mobilization have agreed to strengthen the regional movement for the defense of the territory due to the fact that the development model being imposed is an offensive to the vision and concept of good life (buen vivir) of the peasants and indigenous peoples of the region. Those in the strike make a call to all the organizations and communities of Huila, the country and the world to join in solidarity with the Regional Strike for the Defense of the Territory.
Waters for life, not for death
¡Our territory is not for sale, it is to be loved and defended!
Communities of Puerto Seco, Association of Loggers, Community of La Jagua, Community of La Cañada, Association of Fishermen of Hobo, Community of La Honda, Community of Guajo, Community of Jagualito, Community Council of Matambo, Association for the Macizo Colombiano- ASOMAC, Community of La Plata, Intersectional Association of Gigante & Garzón -Paramo of Miraflores, Movement of Live Rivers (Movimiento Ríos Vivos), Community of Garzón, Community and Municipal Council of Culture of Gigante, Association of Fishermen of La Jagua, Association of Coffee Growers, Association of Tobacco Growers of Garzón -ASOTAGAR, Transporters of la Plata Huila, Day laborers of la Jagua, ASOQUIMBO, Community of Zuluaga, Organization House of Memory (Corporación Casa de la Memoria), Cultural and Environmental Association of the South – ACAS, National Roundtable of Students- Huila (Mesa Amplia Nacional Estudiantil-Huila) and the Regional Indigenous Council of Huila (Consejo Regional Indígena del Huila).