Colombia: still more ‘consultas’ reject extractivism

More localities in Colombia are formally rejecting mineral and oil exploitation within their territories through popular consultas (consultations, or referenda). Two victories were reported July 9, as "no" votes prevailed overwhelmingly in the municipalities of Arbeláez, Cundinamarca department, and Pijao, Quindío. Celebrations broke out in the streets of Pijao as the results were announced. Mónica Flórez of the local Comité Ecológico said, "We went through the entire municipality, vereda by vereda, so that everyone could understand the importance of going out to vote in this consultation."

The Pijao Comité Ecológico is affiliated with the global CittaSlow movement, initiated in Italy to promote sustainable communities. Arbeláez municipality faced an imminent threat, as Australian Drilling Associates and Alange Energy had recently been granted rights to explore for oil within its lands. Of the five such consultas that have now been held by Colombia communities, all have rejected extractive activities. (El Tiempo, July 10; Contagio Radio, July 6; Contagio Radio, July 4; El Tiempo, May 12)

consultations, or referenda