Anti-fracking protests in Colombia

Residents of the town of San Martín in Colombia's northern Cesar department held protests this week over government moves to open the country to fracking. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) in December approved exploration licenses in San Martín and several other municipalities of the Magdalena Medio region for ConocoPhillips and CNE Oil & Gas. Under a neoliberal reform of Colombia's hydrocarbons sector, the state is only a 2% partner in the projects. "We want to say to the national government that we will defend our water, our territory; we are going to defend life and we will not permit fracking to be realized in San Martín or any part of the country," declared San Martín community leader Carlos Andrés Santiago. (ContagioRadio, April 13)

The government is also facing environmentalist criticism for granting new oil licences in La Macarena range, in the eastern foot-hills of the Colombian Andes. The National Authority for Environmental Licences (ANLA) last month authorized drilling at 150 points in the ecologically sensitive serranía to US-owned Hupecol Cuerva. (El Espectador, April 13)