Tag Archives: Juan Manuel Santos

In the Path of the Mining-Energy Locomotive–Resisting Colombia’s Quimbo Hydroelectric Project

9 Feb
By: Entre Aguas

While the tone of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, is much more diplomatic than his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the state policies of militarizing territories to facilitate resource extraction under the guise of economic development and counter-insurgent security have not changed. The forced displacement of inhabitants that it spurred has also not abated.

Santos, the Minister of Defense under Uribe, assumed the presidency in August 2010. He kicked off his administration by naming four focus areas as the “locomotives” of his government´s economic development, one of these being mining-energy generation.

Already inhabiting the projected path of this “locomotive” are thousands of Campesino and Afro-descendent populations, over 100 distinct First Nations as well as some of planet Earth´s most scarce and vital sources of fresh water, cultivable land and endemic species.  In the wake of this locomotive´s “development” is a mass of open pit mines laden with toxic chemicals, hundreds of thousands of hectares of agro fuel plantations, and environmentally disastrous oil and gas extraction. The latter has created a web of pipelines that divide ecosystems and communities. Finally, there are the hydroelectric dams that create colossal reservoirs and kill rivers and the communities that rely on them.

Nationally, this collection of extraction projects is part of the prior government´s neoliberal Colombia 2025 project, which details the timeline for selling off the country piece by piece starting in the early 2000s through the end of the first quarter of the 21st century.  Internationally they are part of the continental mega infrastructure projects of Project Mesoamerica and the South American Regional Infrastructure Initiative (IIRSA). Continue reading